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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Exercise Science

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Exercise Science


California University of Pennsylvania offers the only online master's degree in exercise science in the country. The degree is designed for working professionals and recent graduates, ensuring flexibility and convenience.

Featured Online Programs


California University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion is offered entirely online. It is a 12-month, 30-credit program that boasts a 99% graduation rate — evidence that supports the program's convenience and flexibility. The asynchronous program format allows students to access and attend classes anywhere.

Career Support

California University of Pennsylvania wins best online master's degree program in exercise science. Cal U's Global Online Career Services and the Internship Center offers the Career Advantage Program (CAP), which gives students access to personal mentoring through Cal U alumni and employers, job shadowing, co-op, and internship opportunities, and career workshops and practice interviews. CAP videos and podcasts for career advice and other helpful career information.

Financial Support

At California University of Pennsylvania, approximately 90% of all students receive financial aid. Global Online students are eligible for federal and private loans, and financial aid specialists from the Office of Web-Based Programs will help online students with tuition and financial aid related issues.

Technology Support

California University of Pennsylvania wins best online master's degree program in exercise science for technology support. University Technology Services offers a Help Desk providing instruction on email accounts, web page help, network drive access, available security and class software, learning management system help, and security awareness information. UTech is available by calling or emailing the UTech Help Desk.

Student Engagement

California University of Pennsylvania uses the cohort model for its Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion program. Students will begin the program together, take all courses together, and graduate together. This format encourages students to work, learn, and communicate with each other online. The cohort model builds a sense of community as students function as a group of interactive peers.

Library and Research Support

California University of Pennsylvania's (Cal U) Global Online students have access to the print and electronic resources available at Cal U libraries. Students can obtain reference assistance and library instruction. They will also have document delivery, interlibrary loan, and electronic course reserve services at their disposal.

Learning Support

Students enrolled in California University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion program can select from one of four tracks: wellness and fitness; sport performance enhancement; rehabilitation science; and sport psychology. Advisors are available to answer questions, and each web-based degree has a designated program coordinator.

Faculty Credentials

California University of Pennsylvania's faculty consists of 12 full-time instructors. All faculty have completed a required eCertification courses that prepares them to teach in the online environment, and 90% of full-time teaching faculty have terminal degrees.

New Online Student Orientation

California University of Pennsylvania wins best online master's degree program for exercise science. Cal U's Global Online orientation offers students the opportunity to take a quiz to determine whether or not online learning is suited for you. Online orientation also covers admission, registration, advisement, and student services. Email and communication, as well as course operations including lectures, assignments, course discussions, and using the Desire2Learn management system are also addressed through the online orientation.

Explore a Master's Degree in Exercise Science

Exercise science explains and utilizes the body's response and adaptations to exercise and training, and may be applied to rehabilitation or athletic performance. A graduate degree in exercise science is ideal for students working toward a career in public health, nutrition, and fitness as occupational therapists or physical therapists. Careers that utilize exercise science require medical knowledge, interpersonal skills, analytical thinking, physical fitness, and communication skills.

Class Curriculum

Exercise science may require course work in mechanical analysis, motor learning and control, cardiopulmonary respiratory exercise physiology, muscle physiology, and endocrinology. An exercise science master's degree program may also include course work in organic and biological chemistry, nutrition, biomolecules and catabolism, and human physiology. The following are specific courses that may be included in a master's degree in exercise science:

  • Exercise Physiology. Exercise physiology covers the neurological and muscular systems during exercise. Cellular, molecular, and biochemical processes during stress are analyzed.
  • Biomechanics. Biomechanics covers human movement through basic mechanical principles. Students learn the musculoskeletal anatomy and the behavior of biological tissues in human function and movement.
  • Biostatistics. Biostatistics cover the statistical methods used in public health, clinical, and biological studies. Students learn confidence intervals, regression, analysis of variance, probability, and data graphics.

A master's degree in exercise science may require research related to course work in subjects like biomechanics, exercise physiology, and biological chemistry. Exercise science graduate students may be require to analyze data sets and read current studies related to exercise science class lecture.

Building a Career

Exercise science graduate students may find work in medicine, athletic training, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy, or fitness training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness trainers or instructors had a median annual wage of $31,090. Fitness trainers and instructors employment is expected to grow by 24% between 2010 and 2020, and those in this field usually possess certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a degree from an accredited program in exercise science, exercise physiology, physical education, nutrition, sports management or kinesiology.

The BLS reports that athletic trainers, on the other hand, had a median annual wage of $41,600. Employment for athletic trainers is expected to increase by 30% between 2010 and 2020. While a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for a position as an athletic trainer, a master's degree is common and may be necessary for advancement. Most states also require athletic trainers to have license or certification. Keep in mind, though, that employment and wage figures may depend on a variety of factors such as position, employer, area, and experience, so these figures are not guaranteed to all graduates.