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This 36 credit Master of Science (MS) degree in Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion (EFHP) takes a science-based approach toward the fields of exercise science, sports medicine, athletic training, biomechanics, exercise physiology, sports performance and strength and conditioning.

The program focuses on the role of physical activity in the promotion of health, fitness and quality of life. The degree promotes scholarly inquiry and cultivates professionals able to understand and apply evidence-based scientific principles when working with physically-active individuals. Completion of the degree prepares individuals for employment in exercise, wellness, health and human performance-related professions or the pursuit of further academic study. The program is recognized by the NSCA Education Recognition Program (ERP) which recognizes regionally accredited academic institutions for their educational programs that have met, and continue to meet, education guidelines recommended by the NSCA.

This program offers the traditional research master's thesis option or a research project option.


This program has a limited number of competitive graduate research assistantships that may be available through the College of Education and Human Development or other external research funding sources. Other university funding opportunities (e.g. scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, loans) exist as well. Students may indicate their interest in being considered for an assistantship in their admission application.


For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Banner Code: E1-MS-EFHP

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36

All students are required to complete all core courses as well as courses in one concentration and a capstone thesis or research project (6 credits). The typical plan of study for the advanced practitioner concentration is 4 semesters of full-time classes (3 classes/9 credits per semester). In the wellness practitioner concentration, students can choose to attend part-time.

MS Core Coursework

EFHP 610Advanced Exercise Physiology3
EFHP 611Movement and Fitness Assessment3
EFHP 612Scientific Foundation of Applied Kinesiology3
EFHP 620Research Methods for Applied Kinesiology3
EFHP 640Principles of Strength and Conditioning3
Total Credits15

Concentration in Advanced Practitioner (APRC)

EDRS 620Quantitative Inquiry in Education3
Three credits of3
Independent Study EFHP
EFHP 613Advanced Applied Biomechanics3
EFHP 614Advanced Exercise Nutrition3
or EFHP 618 Exercise and Sport Psychology
EFHP 690Scientific Communications3
Total Credits15

Concentration in Wellness Practitioner (WPRC)

EFHP 520Medical Terminology of Health Professionals3
EFHP 522Functional Anatomy for Health and Wellness Practitioners3
EFHP 526Prevention, Recognition, and Management of Fitness Related Injuries3
EFHP 614Advanced Exercise Nutrition3
or EFHP 618 Exercise and Sport Psychology
EFHP 660Management of Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion Organizations3
Total Credits15

Thesis or Project

Three credits of3
Special Topics
Three credits from one of the following:3
Project 1
Thesis 2
Total Credits6

Research Project Option: students complete EFHP 598 Special Topics and EFHP 798 Project. In the topics course, students conduct a directed research project with an EFHP faculty member that is aligned with the faculty member’s research agenda. Then, in the project course, students work with the EFHP faculty member to develop a paper and presentation in the format of submission to a peer-reviewed journal and presentation at professional conferences, respectively.


Thesis Option: students complete EFHP 598 Special Topics and EFHP 799 Thesis. In EFHP 598 Special Topics, students develop independent research proposals. Then, in consultation with the EFHP Program Coordinator, students select two additional faculty members to form a three-member thesis committee. One committee member may be selected from faculty outside of the program. Students may not register for thesis credit until the student’s thesis committee and the EFHP Program Coordinator have approved a proposal. Once the committee approves the proposal, students register for thesis credit and conduct their independent research projects.

Bachelor's Degree (any)/Exercise, Fitness and Health Promotion, Accelerated MS


Qualified Mason undergraduates may be admitted to a bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain a BA or BS in any degree area and an Exercise, Fitness and Health Promotion, MS. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree for policies related to this option.

Application Requirements

Applicants must have an overall GPA of at least 3.00 and have successfully completed BIOL 124 and BIOL 125. See the Accelerated Master's Admissions webpage to apply.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students complete the following courses in their senior year:

EFHP 610Advanced Exercise Physiology3
EFHP 611Movement and Fitness Assessment3
EFHP 612Scientific Foundation of Applied Kinesiology3
EFHP 620Research Methods for Applied Kinesiology3