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Health and Human Movement: MS

Health and Human Movement

The MS degree is designed to provide an advanced course of study and prepare graduates for roles in the disciplines of health education, exercise science (biomechanics, exercise physiology, or wellness programming), or athletic training. Graduate studies in health and human movement allow students a more in-depth course of study within their discipline, combining advanced coursework with research and practical experience to prepare graduates for employment opportunities in their field. The MS degree also provides an excellent preparation for students pursuing admission into medical school, dental school, physical therapy, or other health professions.


Students must choose a specialization.

  • Exercise Science: This specialization provides a comprehensive background in the physical, biological, and mechanical sciences. It prepares students for professional applications or advanced study in exercise physiology and biomechanics.
  • Sports Medicine: Students in this specialization work as a certified athletic trainer serving the 16 Division I sports of USU Aggie Athletics. This experience will further develop clinical skills and provide opportunities to develop management skills with various sport teams while pursuing advanced studies and research toward a master’s degree.

Exercise Science Specialization

  • Advanced study in exercise physiology and biomechanics
  • Fitness specialist
  • Fitness instructor
  • Coaching

Sports Medicine Specialization

  • Athletic trainers for professional and collegiate sports teams
  • Trainers in sports medicine clinics
  • Athletic trainers for public school districts

Health Education Specialization

  • Health promotion for corporations
  • Public health departments
  • Volunteer health agencies
  • Hospitals

Admissions Requirements

It is preferred that applicants have an undergraduate background in an area related to their proposed field of graduate study. If, however, they have relevant experience or undergraduate coursework, their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students applying for the sports medicine specialization must be a certified or certifiable athletic trainer.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

The department has the following application deadline for students wishing to receive assistantships:

  • Fall semester – March 1

The deadline for admission without funding is:

  • Fall semester – June 15

Program Requirements

Health Education Specialization:

Students in the health education specialization must complete a 400-hour field work experience. The department’s graduate advisor meets with each student to find a setting that fits well with their professional goals. Students must keep an extensive journal of their experiences during their field work experience.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students with a health education specialization can receive the MS by pursuing the Plan A option; students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.

Students with a sports medicine or exercise science specialization can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

The department awards 20 graduate assistantships each year for qualified graduate students to teach in the HPER physical activity program, selected undergraduate academic courses and laboratory sections, and work with faculty with ongoing research projects. Each first-year graduate assistant or teaching assistant is awarded $6,700 and is expected to earn Utah residency status to receive the in-state tuition and fees schedule. Applicants are evaluated based on previous academic success, experience and/or ability to teach a variety of activity classes and/or research potential or background in the HPER discipline.

An additional 11 assistantships are available each year to students in the sports medicine specialization. Students, including out-of-state students, with these assistantships receive $10,000 per year in addition to tuition and fees. These assistantships are renewable; however, out-of-state students must obtain Utah residency for their second year or they must pay the out-of-state portion of their tuition themselves.

Additionally, the cost of living in Logan, Utah, is about 12% lower than the national average.

A variety of additional funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, tuition awards, and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Dennis Dolny, PhD, Kent State University
Department Head and Professor
Area: Exercise Physiology, Aquatic Exercise Evaluation
Office: HPER 122 A
Phone: (435) 797-7579

Julie Gast, PhD, Southern Illinois University
Professor of Health Education and Promotion, MPH Director
Area: Community health
Office: HPER 138
Phone: (435) 797-1490

Richard Gordin, EdD, University of Utah
Area: Motor learning, sport psychology
Office: HPER 136
Phone: (435) 797-1506

Edward Heath, PhD, Oregon State University
Area: Exercise physiology
Office: HPER 161
Phone: (435) 797-3306

John Kras, EdD, East Texas State University
Associate Professor
Area: Coaching
Office: HPER 135
Phone: (435) 797-3881

Maya Miyairi, PhD, University of Utah
Assistant Professor
Area: Body image and health behavior
Office: Brigham City Campus
Phone: (435) 919-1303

Sydney Schaefer, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Motor control and neuro-rehabilitation
Office: HPER 142
Phone: 435-797-8441

Breanna Studenka, PhD, Purdue University
Assistant Professor
Area: Sensory Motor Behavior and Motor Control
Office: HPER 144
Phone: 435-797-0109

Dale Wagner, PhD, University of New Mexico
Area: Exercise physiology
Office: HPER 155
Phone: (435) 797-8253

Phillip Waite, PhD, University of Utah
Associate Professor
Area: Community health
Office: HPER 140
Phone: (435) 797-7217

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance: AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, recreation, fitness, sport and coaching, dance, health education and promotion, and all specialties related to achieving a healthy and active lifestyle.

American Association for Health Education: The mission of AAHE is to advance the profession by serving health educators and others who strive to promote the health of all people through education and other systematic strategies.

American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM promotes and integrates scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.

American Council on Exercise: ACE is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity. As America’s authority on fitness, ACE protects all segments of society against ineffective fitness products, programs, and trends through its ongoing public education, outreach, and research. ACE further protects the public by setting certification and continuing education standards for fitness professionals.

American Kinesiology Association: AKA promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications. AKA does this by advocating for kinesiology at national and international levels as well as by supporting its member departments by providing resource materials and leadership and educational opportunities for university administrators in kinesiology.

American School Health Association: ASHA is a multidisciplinary organization of administrators, counselors, health educators, physical educators, psychologists, school health coordinators, school nurses, school physicians, and social workers. Its mission is to build the capacity of its members to plan, develop, coordinate, implement, evaluate, and advocate for effective school health strategies that contribute to optimal health and academic outcomes for all children and youth.

American Society of Exercise Physiologists: ASEP is a national nonprofit professional organization committed to the advancement of exercise physiologists. Founded in 1997, the society provides a forum for leadership and exchange of information to stimulate discussion and collaboration among exercise physiologists active in all aspects of the profession. The society works to set standards for exercise physiologists through ASEP-approved curricula in universities and colleges in the United States.

National Strength and Conditioning Association: NSCA is an international nonprofit educational association founded in 1978. NSCA develops and presents the most advanced information regarding strength training and conditioning practices, injury prevention, and research findings. Unlike any other organization, the NSCA brings together a diverse group of professionals from the sport science, athletic, allied health, and fitness industries. These individuals are all in pursuit of achieving a common goal: the utilization of proper strength training and conditioning to improve athletic performance and fitness.

Labs, Centers, Research

Body Composition Laboratory: This facility contains the Bod Pod air displacement plethysmography system for body composition analysis. It also has other body composition assessment devices, including a hydrostatic weighing, a RJL Quantum II bioelectrical impedance analyzer, an Omron HBF-500 full-body analyzer, several Omron HBF-306 hand-held BIA machines, several Lange skin fold calipers, a Harpenden skin fold caliper, anthropometers, anthropometric tape measures, and a wall-mounted stadiometer.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory: The Exercise Physiology Lab includes a Parvo Medics TrueMax 2400 Metabolic Measurement System with resting metabolic rate and residual volume capabilities, a Quinton Q5000 ECG with treadmill, two Monarch 824 E cycle ergometers with one equipped for the Wingate using SMI software, two other Monarch cycle ergometers, polar heart rate monitors, two Jamar hand grip dynamometers, sphygmomanometers, three commercial treadmills, a recumbent cycle ergometer, an upright cycle ergometer, and a Pacific universal weight machine.

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building: The HPER building contains approximately 50,000 square feet of programming space. It houses the HPER Department and USU Campus Recreation advising and faculty offices, a number of classrooms, three gymnasiums, one dance studio, two swimming pools, a 1,500-square-foot weight room, six racquetball courts, and male and female locker rooms. Adjacent to the HPER building is a grass outdoor facility used for activity classes, club sports, and intramurals. Eight outdoor tennis courts complete the HPER complex.

Jim and Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex: At USU’s Romney Stadium, the Jim and Carol Laub Athletics-Academic Complex hosts an 11,000-square-foot sports medicine complex and a sports medicine research center. Faculty and students from HPER collaborate with USU sports medicine staff on research projects related to exercise evaluation, training, and rehabilitation. The complex houses two underwater treadmill systems, a cold plunge pool, and a number of other systems to aid in this research.

Motion Analysis Laboratory: This laboratory houses the Vicon motion analysis systemand, which is complete with seven 500Hz Vicon cameras, two Bertec 3-D force platforms, a Bassler 200Hz video camera, a BIOPAC MP150 data acquisition system with 8-channel telemetric electromyographic and pressure pad modules combined with motion analysis software.


Kinesiology and Health Science Department


Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services

Academic Advising

Dennis Dolny
Department Head and Professor
Office: HPER 122 A
Phone: (435) 797-7579

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