Master of Science in Exercise Physiology

The focus on health has never been greater, sparking the growing need for professionals with deep knowledge of how exercise can prevent injury and disease.

No matter your goals, our MSEP program will prepare you for a career focused on improving health through fitness and nutrition.

Our graduates are prepared to work in clinical settings, research, education, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, public health, or the medical device industry.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Degree Completion in 12-15 Months
  • Conduct Your Own Research Project
  • Use Advanced Lab Equipment
  • New and Unique Lab Spaces

professor talking to student

using software

student on bike

The MSEP program at St. Ambrose allows you to earn your degree in as few as 12 months, grow your knowledge and experience through research, be guided by faculty with diverse expertise, and apply your new skills in state-of-the-art labs.

Read our fact sheet on the MSEP program

Discover your potential at SAU

Where can your MS in Exercise Physiology from St. Ambrose take you? Watch this video to find out.

More Information About the M.S. in Exercise Physiology

What will I learn?

We give you the academic foundation to assess, plan and implement fitness programs to help people improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, or flexibility.

You will learn basic biochemistry and pharmacology principles, medical physiology, advanced exercise physiology topics, investigate biomechanical aspects of human movement, performance, and injury; nutrition and its role on physical activity and athletic performance; and movement and physiology as it pertains to general health, performance, and injury/disease.

You will study the latest research in exercise science and human performance and take the lead on an original research project.

You choose the track that best fits your goals. We offer a 12-month or 15-month program (includes a thesis).

Our program will prepare you for certification exams offered by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). MSEP faculty will assist students who seek observation hours to meet their clinical goals.

Read MSEP course descriptions

What are some potential job outcomes?

This degree gives you so many options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in exercise physiology will grow by 11 percent by 2024 – which is faster than the average for all occupations. We will prepare you to work in a variety of settings: research, education, nutrition, self-employment, and healthcare. Clinical positions, such as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, also are possibilities.

Some graduates choose to work in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries; public health; or within government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our graduates are well-qualified to enter doctoral programs or begin graduate studies in health professions such as physical therapy.

Read about Jake Hirst '18. His MSEP paved the way to a job as a Yankees hitting instructor. 

Tell me more Ambrose Advantages

We give you a different option: our MSEP program is research-based and you can earn your degree in as little as 12 months, which is half as long as most graduate programs require. We offer a thesis and non-thesis option so you can cater your education to your career path and achieve your goals.

Our academic program is focused on research, and for good reason. Exercise physiologists who choose careers in rapidly advancing, and growing, fields such as wearable technology, nutritional supplements and exercise equipment need that background. It also helps exercise physiologists who want to specialize in cardiac rehabilitation or be a university-level strength and conditioning coach.

Each field requires a deep understanding of how the human body performs and responds--knowledge you need to guide a person to a healthier lifestyle. We want our graduates to have the skills to be successful today and tomorrow.

During the program, you get to apply what you learn in our brand new, state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center. This massive, 80,000 square-foot building holds exercise physiology laboratories, classrooms, research-quality equipment, and a group exercise room.

Our professors represent diverse fields of expertise and research, which ensures you receive a well-rounded education in all areas of exercise physiology and kinesiology. At SAU, we are proud of the personalized attention we give students. We cap our MSEP cohorts at 20 students, and cohorts begin each summer.

At SAU, you have the resources needed to succeed in class, in your career, and to further your goals.

How much is tuition?

We realize the cost of a graduate education can seem daunting, but our students know that the investment they are making is worth every penny.

2022-23 Tuition

Tuition is $806/credit hour, and there are a few additional fees for technology and graduation (see below).

We encourage students to consider serving as a graduate assistant, office worker, or adjunct; please see those details below. By spending up to 20 hours per week assisting our faculty and serving in other non-teaching roles on campus, you can reduce your tuition bill. 

You can see complete information about scholarships, loans, and grants on the Graduate Financial Aid page.

Graduate Fees

2021-22 Fees

Graduate level students taking 9 or more credit hours $280/yr. ($140/semester)
Graduate level students taking 8 or less credit hours $140/yr. ($70/semester)

MSEP Graduate Assistantships and Paid Department Work

Graduate Assistant (GA)

• Teach undergraduate exercise physiology labs under full-time faculty
• Conduct open lab hours for undergraduate students
• Assist in ongoing research projects as needed
• Assist lab coordinator with equipment maintenance and inventory
• Assist in classroom and lab set up for kinesiology courses

• Enrolled in the M.S. in Exercise Physiology program at SAU
• Bachelor's degree in exercise science or related field
• Exercise physiology lab experience (may include undergraduate coursework)

Time Commitment:
• 10 hours/week during Fall and Spring semesters

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (33-36 credits)

All courses are 3 credits until otherwise noted.

*8 credits of Anatomy and Physiology
College Physics (recommended)
3-4 credits exercise physiology (recommended)

KIN 625 Advanced Physiology, 5 credits
KIN 509 Exercise Pharmacology
KIN 510 Biomechanics
KIN 512 Sport Nutrition
KIN 560 Special Topics
KIN 600 Research Methods
KIN 602 Statistics
KIN 608 Exercise Biochemistry
KIN 610 Seminar in Exercise Science
†KIN 615 Advanced Exercise Physiology

KIN 620 Independent Research, 1 credit, and KIN 660 Thesis, 4 credits
KIN 650 Comprehensive Exam, 4 credits

Please refer to the Online Course Catalog for course descriptions.

* SAU students must take BIOL 230 Human A&P I & BIOL 232 Human A&P II or BIOL 205 Essentials of Human A&P
Pre-requisite: SAU equivalent pre-requisite: KIN 390 Exercise Physiology or KIN 366 Applied Exercise Physiology

Accelerated Plan of Study
Term Offered

REQUIRED CoursesCredit Hours
Summer KIN 600 Research Methods 3
KIN 602 Statistics  3
KIN 512 Sport Nutrition 3
  Summer Total 9
Fall KIN 625 Advanced Physiology 5
KIN 608 Exercise Biochemistry 3
KIN 560 Special Topics 3
  Fall Total 11
Spring KIN 509 Exercise Pharmacology 3
KIN 510 Biomechanics 3
KIN 610 Seminar in Exercise Science 2
KIN 615 Advanced Exercise Physiology 3
KIN 620 Independent Research (for thesis option only) 1
  Spring Total 11-12
Summer KIN 660 Thesis OR KIN 650 Comprehensive Exam 4
  Summer Total 4
Total Program Credits 33-36
Standard Plan of Study
Term Offered

REQUIRED CoursesCredit Hours
Summer KIN 602 Statistics in Exercise Science 3
  Summer Total 3
Fall KIN 625 Advanced Physiology 5
KIN 600 Research Methods 3
KIN 560 Special Topics 3
  Fall Total 11
Spring KIN 509 Exercise Pharmacology 3
KIN 610 Seminar in Exercise Science 2
KIN 615 Advanced Exercise Physiology 3
  Spring Total 8
Fall KIN 608 Exercise Biochemistry 3
KIN 512 Sports Nutrition 3
KIN 620 Independent Research (Thesis) 1
Fall Total 6-7
Spring KIN 660 Thesis OR KIN 650 Comprehensive Exam 4
KIN 510 Biomechanics 3
  Spring Total 7
Total Program Credits 33-36
Ready to Apply?

Read about the admission requirements to the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology program.

Applications are most commonly submitted for the summer cohort, but also are accepted for the Fall and Spring. Priority is given to those applications received 6 months prior to start date.

Apply online today.

Faculty and Staff

Sandy Lund, PhD, Assoc. Professor and Chair
Rhiannon Seneli, PhD, Asst. Professor, MSEP Director

Kyle Bohnert, PhD, Asst. Professor
Michael Dahlinghaus, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Chris Schwartz, PhD, Asst. Professor
Nick Voth, MEd, Clinical Staff
Suzanne Wiese, Administrative Assistant

Jake Hirst '18 MSEP

Jake Hirst will be applying real science, learned and honed at SAU, to his work as a Yankees hitting instructor. Here, he learned physics and how to apply it to his research on biomechanics. He studied the neurophysiology of vision and applied that to developing a better batting eye at the plate. Another lesson he gained from his SAU professors: the importance of networking. "They really encouraged me to go to hitting clinics, put myself out there and meet people," Hirst said.

Read Jake's Story

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.