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Online Master's in Exercise Science: Curriculum

Curriculum Details


As a student of the online Master’s in Exercise Science program, you’ll complete 7 core courses and three concentration-specific exercise science courses online. Available concentrations include performance and sport science, sport and exercise administration, and health and exercise rehabilitation.

Core Courses

This course is a general research methods course for students in the health sciences. Topics include the scientific method, research planning and designs, data collection, descriptive and inferential statistics, and evaluation and dissemination of research.

Understanding and interpreting data is a necessary skill for understanding health metrics and making good public health decisions. You will learn statistical methods and principles necessary for understanding, calculating, and interpreting data used in public health and policy evaluation and formation. Topics include descriptive statistics, graphical data summary, sampling, probability and distributions, statistical comparison of groups, correlation, and regression.

In this course, students will investigate motor control, coordination, and motor skill acquisition and re-training, ranging from activities of daily living and rehabilitation to the performance of athletes.

Course topics also include how to train the body to move efficiently, prevent injury, improve balance and flexibility, build strength, and improve overall quality of life. Applied functional movement techniques will be taught, including understanding fascia, movement screening, and assessments.

In this course, students will study physical efficiency and physiological principles involved in human exercise. Emphasis will be placed on the responses of the respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular systems. The course includes the physiology of factors affecting performance such as the environment and use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Students will apply principles and techniques used in assessment of physiological responses to exercise to design an appropriate exercise program.

Students will examine the role of nutrition in fitness and sport with an emphasis on human performance optimization. Topics will include advanced manipulation of macro and micronutrients, ergogenic aids, supplementation, fluid balance, body composition, and nutrition in changing environments.

This course is an approved setting where students have the opportunity to enhance skills in their chosen concentration area. Students will work under the supervision of an individual at the externship site as well as a Calvin faculty member. Completion of a project which allows them to integrate their academic preparation through problem-solving or program implementation in a worksite setting is due by the end of the course.

The exercise science capstone course provides an opportunity to culminate all aspects of the graduate program through development of an exercise science final project. Examples may include a publishable journal article, employee handbook, personal website, a marketing proposal, instructional media, program or facility development, on-line course materials, lab manual, curriculum development, or event plan. Students will post their capstone project to classmates and graduate instructor. Throughout the course, students will examine faith and leadership topics from a Christian perspective in order to develop their own vocation mission statement by the end of the course.

Performance and Sport Science concentration

This course examines the ways in which psychological factors influence one’s sport performance and exercise adherence. Research-based topics include an examination of attentional styles and issues, causal attributions, motivational factors, somatic and cognitive competitive anxiety, and issues related to mood states, self-talk, self-concept and self-efficacy. This course also examines an array of research-based psychological principles and skills which an individual can employ to motor performance, including the following topics: use of imagery, motivational strategies, goal setting, thought-stopping techniques, cognitive restructuring, methods to manage somatic and cognitive anxiety, attentional control skills, and strategies to enhance one’s self-concept and self-efficacy.

In this course, students will apply scientific knowledge to train individuals for the primary goal of improving athletic and job performance. They will design sport-specific testing sessions, implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and integrate general guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention.

Students will also learn to how to design and facilitate strength training programs to increase the performance, readiness, and longevity of tactical professionals while decreasing the likelihood of fitness-related injuries.

In this course, students will apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology, motor learning, functional movement and strength and conditioning to injury prevention and return to play and activity. Students will learn how to identify individuals and situations which contribute toward higher risk of injury as well as design appropriate training and conditioning programs for prevention and mitigation.

Sport and Exercise Administration concentration

This course is designed to give students advanced information and knowledge on the operation and management of athletic and recreational facilities. Strategies and techniques required to run successful sporting, workplace wellness, and fitness and exercise events will be applied. Students will learn how to manage logistics – the who, what, where, when, and how – of running events, including task list development, process management, and development of contingency plans.

This course helps students gain a deeper understanding of the breadth of sport and exercise marketing by an in-depth examination of product, price, place, and promotion. Topics will include market segmentation, branding, sponsorships, marketing research and strategy, licensing, public relations, and venue and event marketing.

Groups and team are an integral part of modern businesses and organizational life. To be better prepared to succeed as a leader, manager or member of teams, this course: (1) creates opportunities to lead and manage dynamic teams and design and implement effective team processes, and (2) introduces the critical theories, concepts and frameworks used by successful managers to diagnose team performance and the threats and opportunities teams face.

Health and Exercise Rehabilitation concentration

In this course, students will examine models of cardiac rehabilitation program delivery from inpatient to post-rehabilitation care. Cardiac disease patients and special demographic populations will be studied, with regards to modifiable lifestyle practices such as nutrition and physical activity, cardiovascular risk factors, behavior modification, program adherence, and management of potential emergencies. Students will gain skills in administrative and managerial procedures, program assessment, and case management.

In this course, students will study the clinical aspects of exercise physiology including fundamental knowledge of disease-specific pathology and treatment guidelines. Exercise testing and training principles for patients with chronic diseases and disabilities will be examined, including metabolic, respiratory, immune, neuromuscular, and bone and joint disorders. Special populations studied will include children, elderly, and pregnant and post-partum women.

We live in an era when advances in medical technology and treatment rush at us so fast and furiously that it is easy to lose sight of the critical role of our own behavior in our health and longevity. Health behaviors, attitudes, and overall well-being are also influenced by our gender, age, personality, ethnic and cultural background. This course will promote your understanding of, and respect for, the differences among groups of people; it will increase your awareness of the special challenges and problems faced by various groups. Some of the challenges are, of course, beyond our control, but many are not. We will use research evidence to structure our understanding of social and behavioral aspects of health. We will evaluate appropriate outcomes of behavioral modifications related to health and well-being.

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