Southern is one of only 153 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. The university earned gold-level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program, as well as earning EIM’s COVID Conqueror Badge, a new honor given to campuses that demonstrated creative adaptations to physical activity programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exercise is Medicine 2021 Gold Campus Award

Mission Statement

The M.S. in Exercise Science- Clinical Exercise Physiology concentration prepares graduates for a career as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in a clinical or research setting. Students are prepared to work with a diverse set of populations as a clinical exercise physiologist including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise oncology, and in metabolic disease (e.g. obesity, T2DM) management. The graduate program prepares students through its comprehensive coursework to sit for the ACSM-CEP (ACSM’s Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification), which is required by the majority of clinical positions.

Current clinical research is examining:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Obesity and physical activity
  • Aging
  • Health disparities
  • Autonomic function
  • Gait analysis for clinical populations
  • Injury prevention and sport performance
  • Nutritional supplements for performance

Program Features

  • No program prerequisites
  • Accelerated (4+1) options available to qualified students
  • Opportunities to get involved with faculty research
  • Individualized advisement to focus education on student goals
  • Well-equipped laboratories featuring the following equipment for student research
    • EKG
    • Bod Pod Body Composition Testing
    • Sphygmocor (pulse-wave velocity measurement)
    • Metabolic Carts
    • Accelerometers (physical activity measurement)
    • Nexfin (measurement of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity)
    • Treadmills
    • Cycle Ergometers
    • Treadmill with 3-D Video and Force Platform
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students to sit for and pass the ACSM- Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification exam
  • Hybrid (mix of online and on-ground) curriculum
  • We offer a limited number of assistantships to qualified students

M.S. Exercise Science - Clinical Exercise Physiology Curriculum

31-34 Credits Required

Core Curriculum (25 credits)

HMS 500 Foundations in Exercise Physiology

HMS 552 Biomechanics & Applied Kinesiology

HMS 554 Research Methods

HMS 558 Advanced Exercise Physiology

HMS 571 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Testing & Prescription

HMS 574 Cardiac Rehabilitation

HMS 578 Behavior Change in Health & Physical Activity

HMS 589 Exercise Prescription for Diverse Populations

HMS 598 Special Topics in Clinical Exercise Physiology

Elective (0-6 credits)*
HMS 555 Obesity Prevention & Treatment

HMS 570 Exercise & Aging

HMS 594 Exercise Oncology

*Students in the comprehensive exam track need to select 2 electives (6 credits); no electives required for thesis track


Comprehensive Exam Track (3 credits)
HMS 600 Independent Study


Thesis Track (9 credits)
PCH 515 Biostatistics

HMS 590 Thesis Seminar: Proposal Development

HMS 591 Thesis Completion

Career or Professional Opportunities

The MS in Exercise Science program has a long history of producing high quality graduates who have gone on to become leaders in the field. Opportunities post-graduation include the following:

  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist

    • Cardiac Rehabilitation
    • Exercise Oncology
    • Metabolic Disease (e.g. obesity, diabetes)
    • Aging
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • Doctoral Programs
  • Corporate wellness
  • Allied Health Care Professions

Requirements for Admission

  • Undergraduate degree with a GPA ≥ 3.0
  • All undergraduate transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Essay


Visit the graduate catalog for program requirements and further information.


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Contact Us

Dr. Robert Axtell, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-CETT
Program Coordinator, M.S. Exercise Science – Human Performance Concentration