Exercise Science (MS)

Apply to the Exercise Science MS Program.

The Exercise Science Program at Northeastern University provides students with knowledge, skills and abilities to improve the health of individuals and communities. Faculty engage in exercise based translational research and community practice, to inspire students to succeed and become lifelong contributors in the fields of exercise, physical activity and public health.

Program Overview

The Department of Health Sciences currently offers a Master of Science in Exercise Science with a public health emphasis. The Concentration in Physical Activity and Public Health recognizes that inactivity is a major public health problem and represents a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Moreover, this concentration integrates key competencies for a degree in exercise science recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) including knowledge of exercise physiology and the assessment and development of physical activity and exercise programs for the general and clinical populations. Graduate students seeking this degree are members of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences –a leading national model for education and research in the health, psychosocial and biomedical sciences, which supports the University’s mission of educating students for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment and creating and translating knowledge to meet global and societal needs through inter-disciplinary research, urban engagement, experiential learning, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. Faculty in the department are exploring a range of research topics including acute/chronic effects of exercise, community-based exercise and nutrition interventions, nutrition epidemiology, health disparities, urban public health, and application of technology for measuring and motivating behavior change.

Two unique features of the program are

  • The program offers three pathways of study based on student interests. These are (1) Research, (2) Public Health, and (3) Practice-Based pathways. Students take 2 electives to enhance their knowledge in their selected pathway. These pathways train students to pursue a terminal degree in exercise science/opportunities in a research setting, serving in federal/ private/non-profit institutions, and employment in a clinical setting.
  • We offer students with internship, practicum, and research opportunities at both on and off-campus sites. Experiential education is a key component of the program because application of classroom knowledge provides valuable preparation for a career in exercise science.

Application Due Date

Applications due date for Fall 2015

3/1/2015 ( to be considered for scholarships and assistantships)
6/1/2015  (final deadline for all applications)
Contact Information
Carmen Sceppa

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, MD, PhD
Director, Graduate Program in Exercise Science
316 Robinson Hall
Tel: 617.373.5543


A total of 12 courses or 36 semester hours are required for completion of this degree and includes the following core and elective courses.

1. Exercise Science Core (5 courses; 15 SH) provides the foundation for the understanding of advanced principles of exercise physiology on acute and chronic responses to endurance and strength exercise in major body systems including the cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems.

  • Advanced Exercise Physiology
  • Cardiopulmonary Physiology
  • Exercise and Musculoskeletal Health
  • Assessment and Prescription for Exercise and Physical Activity
  • Electrocardiography

2. Research core (3 courses; 9 SH) provides the foundation to understand the fundamental principles and concepts of conducting scientific research including study design, research methods, biostatistics, and epidemiology. The research practicum allows the integration of this knowledge through experiential learning where students design a research study and undergo peer-evaluation.

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Applied Research Methods

3. Public Health Core (2 courses; 6 SH) provides the foundation to plan, develop, and evaluate primary prevention programs. Students will be able to apply this knowledge to implement evidence-based physical activity wellness programs in real-world settings.

  • Health Education and Program Planning
  • Public Health Administration and Policy

4. Elective Courses in the concentrations (2 courses; 6 SH). Students will be able to elect 3 courses in either public health, practice-based, or research concentrations to deepen their knowledge in one of these competency areas.

  • Public Health concentration Electives
    • Urban Community Health Assessment
    • Environmental Health
    • Global Health
    • Public Health Nutrition
    • Practicum
  • Practice-based concentration electives
    • Clinical Nutrition Applications in Health & Disease
    • Patient-Centered Health Informatics
    • Internship in Exercise Science
    • Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice
  • Research concentration electives
    • Thesis I & II
    • Directed Study
    • Applied Regression Analysis
    • Advances in Measuring Behavior

Total Semester Hours: 36

Admission Criteria

To be considered for admission, students must have completed the following requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree in a science or health-related discipline from an accredited college or university
  • Two undergraduate courses in anatomy and physiology, and one course in exercise physiology from any accredited university. Applicants may be accepted provisionally while completing this prerequisites.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the student’s academic or clinical experience
  • Official copy of scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). These tests must have been taken within the last 5 years.
  • The GRE is required and cannot be waived for students with baccalaureate degrees. Students with a master’s degree should contact the program director to determine if the GRE can be waived.
  • For applicants whose native language is not English, an official copy of the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Individuals with a score of less than 250 must be certified by the English Language Center before they can be admitted.
  • One year of health-related work experience is recommended, but not required

For more information about applying, please visit the Graduate Student Services website.

Experiential Learning and Collaborations

The experiential learning and collaborations listed below are some examples to illustrate the range of activities students can get involved in to complement their didactic instruction. These include translational and interdisciplinary research, fitness and health promotion, and assessment and prescription of wellness programs.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program will have a solid foundation in exercise science, public health, and research as they seek job opportunities in organizations that focus on improving health and wellness though physical activity. These include local, state, federal, private, professional, and nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and community health centers. Students will also be qualified to pursue a doctoral degree and a career in physical activity research.

Graduates from our program have been employed at the following institutions: