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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, 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. Students will complete data analyses including binomial and poison distributions, analytical techniques, and testing of statistical concepts in exercise science and health.

Offered as needed. 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.

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.

Offered as needed. 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. Prerequisite: Admission into the MS in exercise science 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


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.

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.

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.

In this course, students will learn the relationships between cardiac anatomic structure, cardiac physiology, cardiac cycle, and electrocardiogram tracings. Students will learn a five-step systemic approach to reading and interpreting an electrocardiogram by assessing an electrocardiogram for rate, rhythm, axis, hypertrophy, and infarction. Finally, students will learn to provide concluding comments about an electrocardiogram, as determined by the five-step approach.

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