The MS program offers advanced study in exercise and health sciences. Depending on the option of study chosen, students fulfill program requirements by: (1) completing a research thesis; (2) designing and completing a supervised practicum project; or (3) passing a comprehensive examination after the completion of their coursework.
Located in Boston, the program is one of a handful located in an urban setting. This provides students with the unique opportunity to study issues regarding physical activity and urban health in a multicultural setting. The program’s research focus will enhance the career growth potential of our students, whether they choose to apply their research skills in advanced academic study, or in workplace settings where sophistication in conducting and managing research and other projects is required.
A wide range of course electives and faculty research areas complement the tight focus of core coursework, which covers research methods, health fitness assessment and advanced physical activity, and nutrition and health. Students are encouraged early in the program to choose a faculty mentor with whom they wish to study.
The 38-credit hour MS program (26 core credits and 12 elective credits for the thesis option; 29 core credits and 9 elective credits for the project option; 23 core credits and 15 elective credits for the exam option) encompasses research methods, biostatistics, public health, physical activity measurement, clinical and exercise physiology, exercise in special populations, chronic disease prevention and management, and behavioral strategies for improving health.
The program is designed to take 2 years of full-time study, and students are required to complete 38 graduate credits in the following sequence.
- (for the project and thesis options)
- Last core course (for the project/exam option)
- EHS elective (for thesis and exam options)
- Elective (exam option only)
Form Thesis, Project, or Exam Committee
During their third semester, each student’s faculty advisor will help identify at least two additional faculty to comprise the student’s thesis, project, or exam committee. Project committees will also include the student’s project supervisor. The committee, once approved by the graduate program director and the dean of graduate studies, guides the student in completing their thesis, project, or exam, as well as in the oral defense of their thesis or project portfolio.
Completing the Thesis Option
The student who elects this option intends to pursue further academic or scientific study in the field. The student will identify a thesis topic in consultation with their major faculty advisor and thesis committee, consisting of the major advisor and two other faculty members selected for their expertise relative to the student’s topic. The thesis option requires the student to demonstrate their ability to carry out a research project in two stages. The thesis proposal stage involves conducting a literature review, writing objectives and aims, determining the study design, and a making a written and oral presentation of the proposed research (3rd semester). The second stage of the thesis involves conducting the research, analyzing the results, writing the thesis, and passing an oral defense (4th semester). The final thesis product will be in a manuscript-ready format eligible for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The student’s major faculty advisor will coordinate the student’s oral defense of the thesis.
Completing the Project Option
The student who elects this option wishes to strengthen his/her project management and leadership skills in an exercise or health-related workplace. The student will identify a project topic in consultation with their faculty advisor, the project committee (consisting of the advisor and two other faculty with expertise related to the desired topic), and the practicum site supervisor. This option requires a written proposal and an oral presentation for an original project (3rd semester), completion of the project at the practicum site, a written portfolio, and a final oral defense (4th semester).
Completing the Examination Option
The student who elects this option wishes to obtain advanced academic credentials in order to enhance his/her future professional career. The Comprehensive Examination will be conducted during the final semester of the program and will consist of four areas of coursework agreed upon by the faculty advisor and the student.
The Exam Committee will consist of at least three faculty who have expertise in the areas selected. The exam will be conducted over the course of several days within a 1 week period. Each question must be completed within 3 hours. Students must pass all areas on either the first or second try. The Exam Committee will grade the written exam.
MS applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, nutrition, or a related field from a nationally accredited college or university or its international equivalent. The review committee will admit applicants with degrees in other disciplines at their discretion. The graduate program director will review coursework from other graduate programs on a case-by-case basis to determine transferability of credits up to a maximum of 6 credits.
Preference will be given to applicants whose transcripts show attainment of a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and completion of the following courses (also with a minimum GPA of 3.0), taken within the past seven years: one year of anatomy and physiology with lab, exercise physiology with lab, chemistry with lab, fitness assessment, and statistics. Students may be required to address deficiencies as a condition of acceptance.