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 – Human Performance Concentration
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) granted Applied Exercise Physiology status in 2017. This concentration provides the student opportunity for advanced study in a wide variety of the exercise sciences including: advanced exercise physiology, advanced strength and conditioning, biomechanics & applied kinesiology, cardiac rehabilitation, laboratory techniques in exercise testing & prescription, exercise prescription for diverse populations, and more. Graduates are prepared to accept leadership roles under the fitness umbrella known as sports medicine. There are several well-equiped research/teaching laboratories, including the human performance laboratory. Our labs are equipped to assess anaerobic power, cardio-pulmonary fitness, autonomic physiology, body composition, isokinetic muscle strength, balance and stability, EMG analysis, resting and exercise metabolism, body mechanics, and human gait analysis.

Current Exercise Science- Human Performance Research is examining:

  • Power strength performance
  • Running gait variability
  • Performance testing validation
  • Supplementation and health outcomes
  • Aging
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Obesity and physical activity

Program Features

  • A combination of online, hybrid, and in person course delivery
  • Accelerated (4+1) options available to qualified students
  • Opportunities to get involved with faculty research
  • Individualized advisement to focus education on student goals
  • Experience in a variety of exercise physiology and biomechanics assessment techniques including:
    • Metabolic measurement systems
    • Instrumented treadmill with cameras and EMG system integration; force plates
    • Body composition – Hydrostatic weighing, Air displacement plethysmography
    • Isokinetic strength
    • Static and dynamic balance
    • Lactate and glucose analysis
    • GPS Units for training tracking
    • Physical activity measurement – Accelerometers  (ActivPal, Actigraph)
    • Inertial measurement units
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students to sit for and pass National Strength and Conditioning Association Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification and the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Exercise Physiologist – Certified (EP-C) examination.
  • Qualifies for NEBHE Tuition Break program for Maine and Vermont residents
  • We offer a limited number of assistantships to qualified students

M.S. Exercise Science – Human Performance Concentration

Program Pre-requisites (12 credits)

HMS 281-282 Anatomy and Physiology I & II

HMS 383 Biomechanics

HMS 384 Exercise Physiology

30 Credits Required

Core Curriculum (21 credits)

HMS 552 Biomechanics and Applied Kinesiology

HMS 554 Research Methods

HMS 558 Advanced Exercise Physiology

HMS 565 Advanced Strength and Conditioning

HMS 571 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Testing and Prescription

HMS 574 Cardiac Rehabilitation

HMS 589 Exercise Prescription for Diverse Populations

Elective (0-6 credits)*
HMS 553 Psychology of Sport

HMS 555 Obesity Prevention and Treatment

HMS 570 Exercise and Aging

HMS 578 Behavior Change in Health and Physical Activity

HMS 583 Advanced Exercise Physiology

HMS 594 Exercise Oncology

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

Comprehensive Exam Track (3 credits)
HMS 595 Internship in Health & Movement Science

Thesis Track (9 credits)
HMS 590 Thesis Seminar: Proposal Development

HMS 591 Thesis Completion

PCH 515 Biostatistics

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. Graduates have entered doctoral programs at such schools as the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Florida.  Graduates interested in health care have become cardiac rehabilitation clinicians or have pursued degrees in allied health programs such as physical therapy and medical sonography. While other graduates have become college strength coaches and performance specialists. The MS in Exercise Science with Human Performance concentration uniquely prepares students for post-graduation opportunities as/in:

  • Strength and Conditioning

    • College/University
    • Private sector
  • Research- Exercise interventionist
      • Oncology
      • Cardiovascular
      • Aging
      • Parkinson’s Disease
      • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Fitness and Wellness
    • College and University Fitness Center Directors
    • YMCA and Community Center Directors
    • Corporate Fitness
    • Private Fitness
  • Industry
    • Product design and development
    • Medical equipment sales
    • Pharmaceutical sales and research
  • Exercise Physiologist
    • Cardiac rehabilitation
    • Pulmonary rehabilitation
    • Exercise oncology
  • Doctoral Programs

Requirements for Admission

  • Undergraduate degree with a GPA ≥ 3.0
  • All undergraduate transcripts
  • Undergraduate coursework in:
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Biomechanics
    • Exercise Physiology
  • 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