M.S. in Exercise Physiology

Students who complete the Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology are prepared to pursue a number of career options. Graduates from our program have continued their education by completing the Ph.D. in fields such as exercise physiology, physiology, biochemistry, and the M.D. Because many of our students seek to work in the fields of cardiac rehabilitation and corporate wellness, the curriculum is structured to satisfy the preliminary requirements for certification as "exercise technologist" or "exercise specialist" as set by the American College of Sports Medicine. The curriculum provides students the necessary knowledge base and course work to satisfy entrance into the certification process (which is under control of the American College of Sports Medicine and requires both a written and practical exam).

The goal of this program is to develop a quality exercise scientist who demonstrates excellence in knowledge, skills, and abilities in the research, theory and application of exercise physiology.

Nate Gilbert

The M.S. in Exercise Physiology program at UofL has provided an in-depth understanding of the physiological mechanisms that are impacted by exercise and physical activity. This knowledge has allowed me to better understand how and why training adaptations occur from various modes of exercise. The curriculum, critical thinking skills, and faculty have given me additional tools that I will use to improve the lives of others through exercise.

Nate Gilbert, Exercise Physiology student

Strength and Conditioning Concentration

The Exercise Physiology program has developed a collaborative effort with the Athletic Department to offer a concentration in strength and conditioning.

The curriculum has been designed to meet the requirements of the National Strength and Conditioning Association for a program of recognition in strength and conditioning. The curriculum will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to participate in strength and conditioning internships supervised by strength and conditioning specialists in the Athletic Department.

The addition of the Strength and Conditioning concentration builds on the strengths of research and practical application of the Exercise Physiology program. The program is designed to prepare students for strength and conditioning positions in College Athletics. The concentration will produce qualified strength conditioning specialists, and provide the opportunity for student-based research.

The following courses have been added to the MS in Exercise Physiology program to support the concentration in strength and conditioning.

  • EXP 608 – Strength and Conditioning I
  • EXP 609 – Strength and Conditioning II
  • EXP 607 – Neuromuscular Mechanics
  • HSS 530 – Nutrition and Athletic Performance
  • EXP 620 – S&C Internship


The curriculum provides the necessary knowledge base and course work to satisfy entrance into the certification process for tests given by the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Graduate Student Outcomes

CAAHEP Graduate Student Outcomes

Year of Graduation

National Certification Exam Results

2 Year Graduation Rate

Student Satisfaction
(Based upon Graduate Exit Survey Data)

Graduate Placement
(Based upon Graduate Exit Survey Data)


Pass on 1st Attempt = 83%

Total Graduates: 10
Grad Rate = 83%




Pass on 1st Attempt = 100%

Total Graduates: 13
Grad Rate = 100%



Two-Year Average





CAAHEP Accreditation

The Exercise Physiology Clinical Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences.
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
1361 Park Street
Clearwater, FL 33756

For information on program accreditation click here.

NSCA Education Recognition Program

ERP logo

The NSCA Education Recognition Program (ERP) recognizes and distinguishes schools with standardized, approved strength and conditioning or personal training curricula in undergraduate and graduate settings designed to prepare students for the NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®) and NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) certifications.
Address: 1885 Bob Johnson Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Related Links and Resources

For details about program curriculum, visit the Graduate Catalog.

Note: Meeting GRE score and GPA minimums does not guarantee a student will be accepted to the program.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the University of Louisville School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. For admission, candidates will need to:

  1. Provide evidence of academic excellence:
    • Earning an undergraduate major (exercise science, kinesiology, physical therapy, medicine, physiology, nursing, biology, chemistry, etc.) with a Grade-Point Average ≥ 2.75 on a 4-point scale
    • Completion of all required prerequisite courses from the following list with a grade ≥ 3.0 on a 4-point scale:
      - Exercise Physiology
      - Biomechanics/Structural Kinesiology
      - Anatomy & Physiology (minimum of 6 credit hours)
    • Competitive applicants will also have completed some recommended courses from the following list:
      - Physics
      - Advanced Mathematics
      - Organismic Biology
      - Chemistry
      - Nutrition
      - Statistics or Research Methods
      - Applied Exercise Science Courses (e.g., laboratory methods, testing and prescriptions, strength & conditioning, special populations)

    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm@louisville.edu

  2. Submit a personal statement (500 words or less) where candidates will explain their interest in the program and professional objectives.
  3. Submit a resume where candidates will describe the experience they have accumulated in the fields of exercise science, exercise physiology, sport science, and/or strength and conditioning.
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential. Applicants are strongly encouraged to have at least one recommendation from a university faculty member who is familiar with the applicant's work as a student.
  5. Students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by successfully completing one of the following: Note: International students who have earned a degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. are not required to complete the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo.
  6. This program is open to all eligible students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

Following review of materials listed above, eligible candidates will be invited to an interview with the selection committee where they will be provided with information about the program and will further discuss the content of their application. Admission to the program is competitive and admission is not guaranteed to those who meet minimum requirements.

Deadline for Admissions

Please note that admission to this program is for fall only. For those considering early admissions and Graduate Assistantships, please submit a complete application by March 1st. Those interested in competing for a graduate assistantship must also include a 500-word statement supporting your application. Final fall admission deadline is May 1st.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact Lynne Ernst, Admission Counselor, at 502-852-7697.

If you have questions about Graduate Assistantships, please contact Dr. Kathryn Harman.


Learn more about our program faculty.

Department of Health & Sport Sciences
College of Education & Human Development
Room 105F - SAC E
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Exercise Physiology Faculty

Kathryn Harman

Kathryn Harman

Opportunities for Graduates

Exercise physiologists work in health promotion, fitness development, colleges and universities, clinical rehabilitation, and sport and athletic programs. Hence, they are hired as:

  • sports and wellness program instructors and directors
  • strength coaches for college, university and professional sports programs
  • teachers at institutions of higher learning (i.e., if they have a PhD)
  • researchers in companies that make physiological equipment for testing and evaluation
  • managers and exercise leaders in corporate wellness programs
  • instructors in health and fitness clubs
  • supervisors of specialized health, fitness, wellness, or lifestyle programs in correctional services, police, fire, and emergency response organizations
  • fitness instructors in YMCAs, spa and resort centers
  • exercise specialists in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs
  • fitness directors and managers in the military (such as the air force and army)
  • exercise technologists in cardiology suites
  • fitness instructors and supervisors at the state, regional, and national levels in sports and athletic programs
  • sports consultants in areas of psychology and training, biomechanics, efficiency and metabolism, and nutrition
  • electrophysiology technologists in hospital settings

Research Job Opportunities

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for all fitness workers were expected to increase 29 percent from 2008-2018, www.bls.gov. While opportunities may vary for exercise physiologists, jobs will be created by the increasing population and the need for research in exercise science. In November 2011, PayScale.com reported that most exercise physiologists earned $26,703-$53,951 annually, including bonuses. Among the factors that PayScale.com cited as influencing pay were experience and the certification an individual holds.

Financial Aid

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

Graduate Assistantships within the program
Contact: Mike Jett

I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if your UofL advisor approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Who is my advisor and how is it determined?

Once you are enrolled in the program, faculty advisors are assigned to each student. You will be notified in your admission letter, upon acceptance, of the identity of your faculty advisor.

How often do I meet with my advisor?

Students must meet with their advisor at the end of each semester to plan the next semester and discuss any questions or concerns. However, students may meet with their advisor more often if necessary.

What are the academic requirements for this program?

Students in the program are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA. If the GPA falls below a 3.0, then the student may be placed on academic probation.