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Exercise Science

mercyhurst graduate exercise science

The Masters of Science in Exercise Science is not accepting applications at this time

The exercise science graduate program is a 33-credit Master of Science degree designed for professionals who are certified in specialized allied health-related fields, or those with bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology, sports medicine, physical education, healthcare, wellness or athletic training. It provides knowledge and certification in the use of exercise programming for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of diseases.

The program's primary goal is to train exercise science clinicians. Many graduate programs focus primarily on the academic aspects of exercise science; in addition to a focus on academics, Mercyhurst faculty also heavily emphasize the clinical skills necessary for our graduate students to best serve their patients and athletes. The clinical emphasis is well suited for students with bachelor’s degrees in content areas such as exercise science, physical education, wellness or athletic training.

Coursework and fieldwork focus on the theory, foundations, research and practice of evidenced-based assessment and instruction with multiple populations. Due to the clinical focus of our program, the degree is completed during one calendar year and runs during five consecutive terms of classes. Students begin in summer session (in June), complete the traditional academic year with three trimesters (Fall, Winter and Spring), and then complete a second summer term.

To successfully complete the program, students will sit for the highest level certification currently offered by the American College of Sports Medicine in exercise physiology, the Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM- RCEP). Graduates of the program are qualified to work in athletics at many levels, including at the collegiate and professional levels, adult fitness, corporate fitness, multiple hospital settings (including cardiac rehabilitation), wellness, strength and conditioning coaching, and with working special needs populations.

As a result of coursework, field experiences and applied research requirements, students completing the master’s degree in exercise science will be highly qualified to enter/reenter the field of exercise science or to pursue additional higher education. Graduates will possess a strong connection between theory and practice, with multiple opportunities for carrying out applied research prior to their degree completion.


A degree from Mercyhurst prepares you for this exciting and dynamic career.


Exercise Science


Admissions Requirements

The Masters of Science in Exercise Science is not accepting applications at this time

Our mission is to develop Exercise Scientists as clinicians and practitioners to work as health care providers, educators, and agents of change within their communities. Highly qualified health professionals need expertise in both core knowledge and evidence based medical practices. We provide both foundational and advanced coursework in scientifically based content and the clinical skills of Exercise Science. Students will acquire and expand upon clinical skill sets, work on patient interaction and assessment, and implement exercise testing and protocols to progress patient outcomes. The curriculum focuses on preparation for American College of Sports Medicine's certification exams.

Vision: We aspire to gain prominence within the region as the leading clinically focused Exercise Science graduate program. The American College of Sports Medicine is a world leader in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science and is dedicated to helping people worldwide live longer, healthier lives. They drive innovation and progress across the dimensions of science, practice, education and policy. The ACSM has designated Domains, each including related content and core knowledge that practitioners must attain proficiency in to pass certification exams.

  • Demonstrate a high level understanding of human anatomy and physiology
  • Evaluate and communicate scientific findings in a professional manner Attain proficiency with technical writing, to the current industry standard
  • Understand, assess, and design research methodology based on sound industry principals Understand and properly implement statistical techniques Conduct scientific experiments using proper lab and/or field techniques
  • Attain and interpret pertinent health history information from medical records and patient interview, including medication usage Collect and evaluate clinical and health measurements including resting vital signs and symptoms
  • Implement assessment protocols and pre-participation health screening procedures to maximize participant safety and minimize risk. Select, administer, and interpret tests to assess health related fitness components Calibrate, troubleshoot, operate, and maintain testing equipment.
  • Evaluate and document exercise goals and motivations of the patient to design an individualized Ex Rx. Determine and document the Ex Rx for exercise training based on the patient's history, available data, and goals and discuss with the patient. Implement the program and continually assess participant feedback, clinical signs and symptoms, and exercise tolerance, and provide feedback to the participant about their exercise, general program participation, and clinical progress. Regularly evaluate the appropriateness of and modify, as needed, the Ex Rx based on the patient's: progress, feedback compliance, signs/symptoms, and physiologic response to the exercise program
  • Optimize adoption of and adherence to exercise programs and other healthy behaviors by applying effective behavioral and motivational strategies. Provide educational resources to support clients in the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Educate the participant about performance and progression of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercise programs. Provide disease management and risk factor reduction education based on the participant's medical history, needs, and goals. Assess knowledge of and compliance with health behaviors and apply behavior change techniques to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors. Teach relapse prevention techniques for maintenance of healthy behaviors Understand when and how to appropriately make referrals for matters of patient's mental health
  • Establish policies and procedures for the management of health/fitness facilities based on accepted safety and legal guidelines, standards, and regulations. Manage fiscal resources to provide efficient and effective services. Promote the program and enhance its reputation through excellent communication and customer service. Regularly conduct departmental needs assessment and develop/modify programs to accommodate changing environment. Evaluate the exercise environment to minimize risk and optimize safety by following routine inspection procedures based on established facility and industry standards and guidelines Comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws and industry accepted professional, ethical, and business standards in order to maintain confidentiality, optimize safety, and reduce liability.

The Exercise Science Department currently maintains two laboratories — more than 1,200 square feet of dedicated departmental space — used during course instruction, as well as for student and faculty research projects.

Equipment includes:

  • Two: Parvomedics TrueOne® 2400 (metabolic carts) |
  • Biodex System 4 Pro |
  • Biodex Balance System SD |
  • Bod Pod |
  • Landice treadmills
  • Monarch cycle ergometers
  • Biochemical sample and analysis capabilities, including YSI lactate and handheld analyzers

Tim Harvey:

  • Efficacy of non traditional recovery drinks following exercise
  • Comparison of rowing ergometers
  • Comparison of muscle activation using varying lifting techniques



What will I learn?

  • How to use exercise to assess health, fitness and disease.
  • How to prescribe exercise to maintain health, achieve fitness and treat disease.
  • How chronic diseases occur and progress AND how to positively impact the lives of those suffering from them.
  • How to keep those that are healthy that way.
  • To assess and train athletes at ALL levels of ALL ages in multiple athletics.
  • Use the latest equipment, technology and techniques effectively.

Is this graduate program right for me?

Our clinical emphasis is well suited for students with bachelor’s degrees who studied exercise science, athletic training and kinesiology; but our program is open to anyone meeting the entrance requirements.

If you want to educate and motivate patients and clients to use exercise to attain health and fitness, this is the discipline and program for you. There are so many ways to use exercise to promote and attain health and fitness that career opportunities are limited only by your drive and imagination.

Is the structure of the program lectured based?

We not only focus on the theory and academics of exercise science, but we also emphasize the clinical skills necessary for YOU to best serve your patients, clients and athletes.

We give YOU the theory, foundations and research skills to become a successful clinician. You will learn the importance of an evidence-based approach to expand your clinical skills.

How long does it take to complete this program?

Because of our clinical focus, the program is FULL-TIME, comprehensive and completed in approximately 14 months (5 terms). All students begin in Summer Session (June), then complete a single traditional academic year with two semesters and one intersession in January, and then it wraps up with a complete second summer term.

What skills will I learn?

We train you to be an effective critical thinker and problem solver, who helps people make the most of their health and fitness. Our program gives you the knowledge and skills to work with patients and clients ranging from those with chronic diseases such as: diabetes and cardiovascular disease to elite athletes.

I want a career where I can make a positive impact — can I do that with exercise science?

We strive to create professionals who want to make a difference in the health and well being of those that they go on to serve — in whatever clinical setting they choose! In spite of all that we know about how exercise positively impacts the lives of people all across the lifespan, we as a nation and globally continue to get heavier and more sickly. Become part of the solution for a healthier future, and enter into the M.S. in Exercise Science here at Mercyhurst University.


David Hyland
Timothy Harvey, MS, ATC
Coordinator of Health/Fitness Promotion Concentration, Instructor