Our Program

The graduate specialization in Exercise Physiology is a scientifically rigorous program that prepares students for further education and important careers in related fields. The program offers advanced multidisciplinary coursework and extensive opportunities to pursue innovative practical experiences and research.

Both the master’s and doctoral programs are designed to be flexible. Students can adjust their programs to line up with their future directions and career goals. Students can pursue a practical route (M.Ed.) focused on functional and real-world coursework or a research-intensive route (M.S., Ph.D.) based on the degree they choose.

Faculty members will work closely with students to tailor an academic, practical, and research program based on the interests of the students. This targeted coursework allows students to lay a foundation for the professional, technical, and practical aspects of their future careers.

Central Research Themes

The overall mission of the Exercise Physiology group is to use integrative and translational approaches to discover and disseminate basic, applied, and clinical knowledge on the metabolic, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, and autonomic responses to exercise. This research encompasses transitions within the lifespan including from health to disease, from young to old, and from sedentary to active. We view inclusiveness and excellence as interconnected in our research programs and strive to target diverse and underserved populations in our investigations. We are committed to improving the health of all our communities.

Some central aims addressed in our research laboratories include:

  • Discovering the most effective methods to counteract physical inactivity is central to Kinesiology. That includes determining the amount, type, and timing of exercise that promotes health, particularly in people who lack the resources of free time, access, and knowledge. This especially applies to older adults, adolescents, and home-bound individuals. (Coyle)
  • Type 2 diabetes severely impairs the cardiovascular health of millions of Americans. Our objective is to determine whether exposure to intermittent hypoxia improves oxygen-carrying capacity, glycemic control, and vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes. (Lalande)
  • Although increases in blood pressure are essential to providing adequate blood flow to exercising muscles, individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes respond to exercise with dangerously high spikes in blood pressure, which may cause a heart attack or stroke. Our research focuses on the mechanisms responsible for the altered neural control of blood pressure during exercise during the development and progression of these diseases. (Stone)
  • Vascular function and functional capacity deteriorate with advancing age more markedly in underserved ethnic and racial minorities. The current emphasis is placed on arterial stiffness in African Americans via the ‘Jackson Heart’ study and in ‘Hispanics via the Study on Latinos.’ In particular, we evaluate the efficacy of various lifestyle modifications to prevent and reverse these age-associated changes in vascular function. (Tanaka)
  • Regular physical activity is associated with improved public health and we aim to evaluate the roles of the individual, the environment, and policy levers to increase physical activity in the community. (Kohl)
  • African Americans have attenuated endothelial blood vessel function and exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise, compared to Caucasian Americans. We aim to understand the underlying mechanisms and develop interventions to improve cardiovascular health in African American men and women. (Kaur)

Program Resources

The facilities of individual faculty members are state of the art. In addition to individual faculty's laboratory space, the program is enriched by the research support of the Health and Integrative Physiology Laboratory and Physical Activity Core Laboratory that can be used for exercise intervention studies.

The current interest in healthy lifestyles and the role that exercise plays provides a remarkable range of career opportunities related to Exercise Physiology. This includes

  • strength and conditioning coaching for professional and intercollegiate athletic teams,
  • personal training,
  • cardiac rehabilitation,
  • worksite health, and
  • corporate wellness programs.

By participating in cutting-edge research and coursework, students will have the opportunity to invest in the future of exercise physiology.

Please note, however, that before you begin working in a laboratory, you are required to perform:

Advising

Each student is advised by the professor whose research or expertise corresponds with the academic interest of the student. The role of the adviser is to

  • provide sample coursework for the degree,
  • approve the selection of specific courses within the student’s program, and
  • provide feedback about student progress.

Please contact the appropriate faculty member for more information on advising.

Related Professional Organizations

Admission Requirements How to Apply