Reduce health risks and improve quality of life for individuals and communities.

Physical inactivity is one of the most common, but modifiable, risk factors for many chronic diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. There is growing national demand for professionals who not only understand the physical and mental health benefits of physical activity, but also have the knowledge and skillset to effectively promote and program physical activity to targeted populations.

Exercise is Medicine 2021 Gold Campus Award

Mission Statement

The M.S. in Physical Activity & Chronic Disease is an interdisciplinary Master’s Degree, with coursework in the Departments of Health & Movement Science and Public Health. This degree program prepares graduates for a career dedicated to the promotion and programming of physical activity as community health workers or other public/private sector health promotion positions. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this emerging field, graduates of this interdisciplinary program are uniquely qualified for careers in physical activity promotion at the community and population level. The graduate program prepares students through coursework and a 3-credit internship to sit for the Physical Activity and Population Health certification (ACSM/NPAS) sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Program Features

  • No program prerequisites
  • 100% Online
  • Discounted tuition for all of New England (MA, VT, RI, NH, & ME)
  • 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 physical activity assessment and measurement
    • Objective measurement (e.g. Actigraph accelerometers, ActivPal)
    • Subjective measurement
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students to sit for and pass the Physical Activity and Population Health certification (ACSM/NPAS) sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine

Requirements for Admission

  • Undergraduate degree in any field
  • All undergraduate transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Essay

M.S. Physical Activity & Chronic Disease Curriculum

33 Credits Required

Core Curriculum (27 credits)

HMS 500 Foundations in Exercise Physiology

PCH 500 Foundations in Public Health

HMS 510 Epidemiology, Physical Activity, & Chronic Disease

PCH 515 Biostatistics

HMS 554 Research Methods

PCH 564 Health Systems and Policy

HMS 578 Behavior Change in Health & Physical Activity

HMS 581 Physical Activity Programming & Evaluation

HMS 584 Health Promotion Strategies in Physical Activity


Elective (0-3 credits)*

HMS 555 Obesity Prevention & Treatment

CSP 569 Theories of Counseling

PCH 520 Social & Behavioral Foundations in Public Health

SWK 550 Human Behavior and Social Environment

SWK 551 Diversity, Oppression, and Social Functioning

CSP 578 Social and Cultural Diversity

REC 533 Socio-Leisure Needs of Individuals w/ Disabilities

REC 572 Planning and Dev. Of Recreation Programs and Leisure

SHE 508 Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Health

SHE 570 Advocacy and Leadership in School Health

*Students in the comprehensive exam track need to select one elective (3 credits); no elective required for thesis track


Comprehensive Exam Track (3 credits)

HMS 595 Internship in Health & Movement Science


Thesis Track (6 credits)
HMS 590 Thesis Seminar: Proposal Development

HMS 591 Thesis Completion

Career or Professional Opportunities

The MS in Physical Activity & Chronic Disease uniquely prepares students for opportunities post-graduation which include the following:

  • Physical activity programming and assessment:

    • Community Health Worker
    • non-Profit organizations
    • Hospital
    • Industry (corporate) wellness
  • Health Promotion and education
  • Research Coordinator
    • Community-based participatory research
  • Health and wellness coaching
  • Doctoral Programs in Exercise Science, Public Health, or similar fields   


Visit the graduate catalog for program requirements and further information.


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Contact Us

Dr. Kristie Rupp, PhD, ACSM-CEP
Program Co-Coordinator
M.S. Physical Activity and Chronic Disease

Elizabeth Schwartz, MPH
Program Co-Coordinator
M.S. Physical Activity and Chronic Disease