Graduate Program

M.S. in Health and Exercise Science

General Program Description

The Health and Exercise Science MS program has two options; a research track and a clinical track. The program of study differs by track, and both are detailed below. In your application letter, you must request the research or clinical track, but you must note that decisions regarding admission to the MS program AND the specific track are made by the departmental admissions committee.

The Master of Science Research Track in Health and Exercise Science offers students a health-oriented, science-based curriculum and research experience. The program is a scientifically rigorous, research focused program that prepares students for further education and/or careers in health and exercise science related fields. The program is structured to prepare students for further education that includes doctoral study, physical and occupational therapy, and medicine (e.g. physicians/physician assistant and nursing). Most students are supported during their graduate study by graduate teaching assistantships (GTA). Faculty members work closely with students for academic, professional and personal advising. On-site research facilities are state-of-the-art and include the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory. The Plan A program offers the possibility of a direct, continuous-enrollment admit to the PhD program. By this plan the master’s student must complete a distinct research project, with hopeful submission for publication, prior to beginning the PhD program. Prospective applicants to the research track must establish contact with a prospective thesis mentor before applying; no research track admissions will be made without a mentor in place.

Master of Science Research Track Handbook

The Master of Science Clinical Track in Health and Exercise Science offers students a health-oriented, science-based curriculum and outreach experience. The program prepares students for further education and/or careers in health and exercise science related fields. Graduates are represented by careers in health related research and development, hospital or corporate health promotion/wellness, clinical exercise physiology, and medical and allied health professions. Most students are supported during their graduate study by graduate teaching assistantships (GTA), although Clinical Track students have an opportunity to compete for Graduate Service Assistantships (GSA), which allows for an assistantship in either our Adult Fitness or Heart Disease Prevention Programs.

A common core of classes, elective classes, practicum experiences, and a thesis optional research experience highlight the Clinical Track graduate program. Faculty members work closely with students for academic, professional and personal advising. On-site research facilities are state-of-the-art and include the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory. Outreach programs such as the Adult Fitness Program, the Heart Disease Prevention Program, and the Youth Sport Camps also provide a unique practicum opportunity for students in which to develop specialized experience related to their career goals.

Master of Science Clinical Track Handbook

Colorado School of Public Health Initiative

For those interested in a degree in Public Health, the Department does participate in the Graduate Program in Public Health, and students are directed to that site for complete information.

Note: Students selected for financial support by the Department are required to interview on campus.

Entry Requirements


  • Undergraduate GPA > 3.0
  • Personal Statement/letter of application
  • Contact and provisional acceptance into a specific laboratory (faculty mentor) within HES (research track only)
  • Completion of the following prerequisite classes:
    1. Physiology (300 level or equivalent)
    2. Physiology of Exercise (300 level or equivalent)
    3. At least two of the following four classes
      • Nutrition (300 level or equivalent)
      • Neuromuscular or Movement Science (300 level or equivalent)
      • Biomechanics of Kinesiology (300 level or equivalent)
      • Biochemistry (300 level or equivalent)

Contact the Department if there are any questions regarding entry or prerequisite requirements or see the list of Frequently Asked Questions (below) for additional information.

Program Requirements

Research Track Program of Study (42 credits total)

Year 1
Semester 1Credits
HES 602: Advanced Exercise Physiology (Fall only)3
HES 600: Research Design in Health/Exercise Science (Fall only)3
HES 610: Exercise Bioenergetics (Fall only)3
HES 693: Seminar (Fall or Spring)1
Semester 2
Statistics elective (Fall or Spring)3
Elective (Fall or Spring)3
HES 698: Var. Research (Fall or Spring)3
*HES 693: Seminar (Fall or Spring)1
Year 2
Semester 1
Elective (Fall or Spring)3
HES 699: Var. Thesis (Fall or Spring)6
*HES 793: Bioenergetics Seminar (Fall or Spring)1
Semester 2
Elective (Fall or Spring)3
HES 699: Thesis Credits (Fall or Spring)6
Elective (Fall or Spring)3

*Students are required to complete two semesters of HES 693, and one semester of HES 793.

Clinical Track Program of Study

Year 1
Semester 1Credits
HES 602: Advanced Exercise Physiology (Fall only)3
HES 600: Research Design in Health/Exercise Science (Fall only)3
**HES 686B: Practicum - Wellness management or elective (Fall or Spring)3
*HES 693: Seminar (1) or elective (3) (Fall or Spring)1 or 3
Semester 2
HES 420: Electrocardiography and Exercise Management (Fall or Spring)3
HES 650: Health Promotion Programming (Spring only)3
*HES 693: Seminar (1) or elective (3) (Fall or Spring)1 or 3
**HES 686B: Practicum - Wellness management or elective (Fall or Spring)3
Year 2 Example
Semester 1
PBHL 550: Applied Behavior Change Theory (Fall only)3
*HES 693: Seminar (1) or elective (3) (Fall or Spring)1 or 3
HES 695 A-D: Var. Independent Study (Fall or Spring)3
**HES 686A:Practicum Adult Fitness-HPCRL or elective (Fall or Spring)3
Semester 2
HES 520: Advanced Exercise Testing and Prescription (Spring only)3
Elective (Fall or Spring)3
*HES 693: Seminar or elective (Fall or Spring)1 or 3
**HES 686A:Practicum Adult Fitness-HPCRL or elective (Fall or Spring)3

*Students must complete 2 semesters of HES 693.

**Practicums are taken one of the two semesters of each year.

Departmental Electives (regular courses):

The department offers several 500-600 level "regular" courses. 700 level courses are available with instructor approval. Non-regular courses (independent, group study, etc.) cannot be used as "electives" for purposes of meeting the minimum credit requirements for the degree.

Variable credit or non-regular course electives:

  • HES 684 Supervised College Teaching (1-3)
  • HES 695D Independent Study Exercise Science (1-3)
  • HES 696E Group Study Exercise Science (1-3)
  • HES 696C Group Study Exercise & Nutrition (1-3)
  • HES 687 Internship (9)

Courses in other departments are available; these can be discussed with your thesis advisor or the graduate program director.

Students are encouraged to seek professional certification from an appropriate professional organization, as exemplified by the American College of Sports Medicine Certification Program.

Application Process

The DEPARTMENTAL deadlines for receipt of completed applications for the MS program are:

  • December 31 for Fall admission.
  • August 31 for Spring admission. Please note that there are generally very few funded positions for spring admission. In addition, note that the curriculum is designed for a fall semester start. Questions about spring admissions on any given year can be directed to the graduate program coordinator.
  • Applications received, or remaining incomplete, after these dates will not be considered.

A completed application will include ALL of the following:

  • A completed On-Line Application form (all fees paid) from:
  • TRANSCRIPTS FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS –submit ONE official transcript of all collegiate work completed. Colorado State University transcripts are not required.
  • INTERNATIONAL applicants are referred to the Graduate School website to follow those requirements.
  • MILITARY: Training course transcripts from branches of the U.S. military that show credit received with neither grades nor degrees awarded are exempt from the transcript requirement.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • Applicants to the research track must include an additional letter of support from the prospective mentor with whom they have been corresponding.
  • NOTE: incomplete applications will NOT be considered, contact the Department if you are having problems completing your application.

Graduate School Forms

All Graduate School forms, policies, and procedures can be found at the hyperlink above. Your will find fillable PDF versions of each form via this hyperlink (or simply go to: The most commonly used forms are described below

Graduate Program of Study (GS6)
The Program of Study is a document which must list all the required courses (taken and planned) to achieve your degree. The Program of Study must be filed with the Graduate School before the time of the fourth regular semester registration – this occurs in the third semester. Students who fail to meet this requirement may be denied subsequent registration. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to applying for graduation.

Report of Final Examination Results (GS24)
All Ph.D. students and Master’s Plan A and Plan B students are required to complete and pass a final examination/defense. The examination must be held by the published deadline of the student’s graduating term. The completed and signed form must be submitted to the Graduate School Office within two working days after the results of the examination are known.

Application for Graduation or reapplication for Graduation (GS25)
A student must apply or reapply to graduate by the published deadline of the student’s graduating term. A student applying to graduate will start the process using the “Apply or Reapply to Graduate” link in RAMWeb.

Departmental requirements Clearance (GS25B)
Departmental requirements listed in Section 4 of the GS25 Application for Graduation may be cleared by completing this form. This form must be signed and submitted to the Graduate School when these requirements have been met and by the published deadline of the student’s graduating term.

Request for Letter of Completion (GS26)
This letter can be issued to a student who has completed all of his/her degree requirements, including the posting of grades. Letters will be issued until the degree is recorded on the studentduatfficial transcripts.

Thesis/Dissertation Submission (GS30)
This form is required of all Master’s Plan A students and Ph.D. students submitting a thesis or dissertation after the final thesis/dissertation has been reviewed and approved by the student’s committee. The completed and signed form must be submitted to the Graduate School Office by the published deadline date of the student’s graduating term and before the electronic submission of the thesis or dissertation.

Frequently Asked Questions

I do not have all the prerequisite courses, can I still apply?

No, all prerequisite courses must be completed before admission.

My undergraduate GPA is 2.97, how will this affect my application?

We cannot admit a student with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, regardless of how close the GPA is to 3.0. In rare circumstances, the Department can petition the graduate school to admit a student with less than a 3.0 GPA, but there must be strong evidence to support this type of admission. The Department cannot financially support a student admitted in this manner, as they are admitted conditionally, on probation. We generally do not review applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA.

My undergraduate GPA is 3.0 from my degree granting institution. As part of my degree, I did take a couple of courses from a community college. Will those courses affect my GPA?

Yes. Your undergraduate GPA is calculated based on all courses taken at all institutions involved in your degree program. This may lower or raise your current GPA.

I have a 3.3 GPA in my last two years, though my overall GPA is 2.9. Do you consider the last two years or the GPA in the major when reviewing an applicant?

No, we consider the overall GPA. In this case, it is less than a 3.0 and would not be considered. If the overall GPA were 3.0 or better, we would also consider how the student performed in courses relevant to the graduate program to further evaluate the student. We do not separate the last two years or the GPA in the major. Current average GPA of admitted students is 3.6.

I am an in-state resident, will this help my application?

No. The state in which the applicant resides is not considered when reviewing the applicants, therefore it neither helps nor hinders. The Department encourages in-state applicants to apply.

I am an out-of-state resident, how do I become an in-state resident for tuition purposes?

It requires a calendar year to become an in-state resident. Our Graduate Teaching Assistants are required to achieve in-state status for the second year. Students must begin immediately prior to their first semester to meet the requirements. The website for residency has the requirements.

How many applications do you receive and how many do you admit?

For Fall admission, we typically receive around 60 applications. While it varies, we typically admit from 6 to 10 students for Fall. As noted above, spring admissions are far smaller in number. There are typically 5-10 applicants, and admit (with support) only 0 to 2 students.

How large is your program?

We typically have 25-28 Master's students. We have 20 graduate faculty. Graduate classes typically are 10-15 students. We have over 1500 undergraduate majors.

Graduate Career Examples

Health and Exercise Science M.S. Graduate Career Placement

  • Ph.D Program CSU, Health and Exercise Science
  • Clinical Physiologist with Physical Therapist
  • Exercise Physiologist, Arizona Heart Institute, Phoenix AZ
  • Professional Research Assistant, UCHSC Denver
  • Employee Wellness Program Coordinator, U. Michigan
  • Rocky Mt. Cancer Institute, Cancer Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologist
  • Physical Therapy School, Washington University, St. Louis MO
  • Exercise Physiologist, Rocky Mt. Cardiology, Boulder, CO
  • Professional Research Assistant, Barbara Davis Center, UCDHSC, Denver
  • Health and Wellness Director, YMCA, Seattle
  • Research Assistant, UCDHSC, Denver CO
  • Professional Research Assistant, UCDHSC, Denver CO
  • Ph.D., Nutrition, CSU
  • Ph.D. Program, CSU, Physiology
  • Ph.D. Program, Exercise Science, University of New Mexico, NM; Asst. Prof. UW Eau Claire, WI
  • Ph.D. Health Education, U. of Minnesota
  • Women's Ice Hockey Coach, New England College
  • Exercise specialist, Las Vegas, NV
  • Ph.D., Physiology, CSU; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Univ. of Colorado Health Sci. Ctr., Denver
  • Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Professional Research Assistant, Exercise Science, CA; Ph.D. Program, U. Wisconsin-Madison
  • Pharm. D. Program, UCHSC, Denver, CO
  • Toyota Headquarters, CA Corporate Health
  • Strength & Conditioning, USOC, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Charlotte General Hospital, South Carolina
  • Ph.D. Program, Nutrition, CSU; Post-doctoral fellow UCHSC, Denver
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation, Albuquerque, NM
  • Instructor, Kinesiology, University of Wyoming
  • Exercise Specialist, Coordinator of Cancer Rehabilitation, HEALTHSOUTH, Fort Collins, CO
  • Teacher, Public School System, Verona, CO
  • Research Dietitian, Healthetech, Denver, CO
  • Instructor, Front Range Community College, Fort Collins
  • Professional Research Assistant, UC Davis School of Medicine, CA
  • Head Athletic Trainer, WY
  • Exercise Specialist, Knope Inst. For Core Strength, Tucson AZ
  • Health Promotion/Denver CO
  • Weld County Public Health, Greeley, CO
  • Staff Research Associate/Technician, University of California at Irvine Medical Center
  • Director, Wellness Center, Casper WY
  • Professional Research Assistant, Orthopedics, Baylor College SOM; Ph.D. program U. Houston
  • U. of Colorado Doctoral Program In Integrative Physiology
  • Professional Research Assistant, UCHSC, Internal Medicine, Denver CO
  • Professional Research Assistant, Joslin Diabetes Ctr.
  • Physicians Assistant Program Midwestern University AZ
  • Field Analyst, Nike Sport Research Lab, Portland OR
  • Exercise Physiologist, University of Minnesota, MN
  • Health Education, Central Jr. High School, Denton, TX
  • Adult Fitness Director, Virginia Tech, VA
  • Professional Research Assistant, Exercise Physiology, MA
  • Wellness Program Director, Drake University
  • Co-Founder, Valeo Systems, Houston, TX
  • Ph.D., Pharmacy, University of Rhode Island; Pharmacist
  • Ph.D. Program, Kinesiology, UC-Boulder, CO; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University
  • Ph.D. Program, Exercise Science, South Dakota State; Post Doctoral Fellowship Colorado State Univ.
  • DO program University of Illinois
  • Instructor, CSU Health and Exercise Science
  • Ph.D. Program, University of Michigan
  • Clinical Instructor, University of Utah, Exercises and Sport Science
  • Professional Research Assistant, Nike, Portland OR
  • Ph.D., Physiology, University of Vermont, VT
  • Ph.D., Exercise Physiology, Brunnel University, Scotland
  • M.D., University of Colorado
  • Ph.D., CSU; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard, MA; Scientist, Medtronics, MN

Recent Graduates/ Thesis Projects


  • Matt Carnal
    Validation of Smartphone-Based Assessment of Sit-To-Stand Power
    Advisor: Dr. Brian Tracy
  • Kelley Covington
    Cancer Fit: The Feasibility and Effectiveness of a Community, Group-Dynamics based Exercise Program for Cancer Survivors.
    Advisor: Dr. Heather Leach
  • Jaime Laurin
    Evaluation of a Novel Phytochemical Nrf2 Activator on Cytoprotective Gene Expression and Proteostasis in Vivo
    Advisors: Dr. Karyn Hamilton and Dr. Ben Miller
  • Ashley Sanders
    Effectiveness of a Low Dose Behavior Change Intervention on Physical Activity Maintenance in Pre-Type 2 Diabetics
    Advisor: Dr. Heather Leach
  • Jeremy Theisen
    Endurance Exercise Performance in Hypoxia: The Role of Modality-Specific Training
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell


  • Alissa Ackerman:
    The Effects of Obesity and Duration on the Energetics and Biomechanics of Walking in Children.
    Advisor: Dr. Ray Browning
  • Tim Brodsky:
    Fatigue Resistance vs. Fall Resistance: Sprint Interval Training and the Dissociation of Stamina andSstability in Older Adults.
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell
  • Sarah Ehrlicher:
    Nrf2 Activation but not Vitamin C Treatment Promotes Proteostatic Maintenance during an Oxidative Challenge
    Advisors: Dr. Karyn Hamilton and Dr. Ben Miller
  • Neal Fox:
    The Influence of Soft Tissue Deformations on the Mechanics and Energetics of Walking in Obese Children.
    Advisor: Dr. Raoul Reiser
  • Nate Grimm:
    Liposomal Alpha-lipoic Acid, Benfotiamine, and Curcumin: Making the ABC's of Diabetes Prevention Bioavailable?
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell
  • Nathan Ketelhut:
    Rehabilitative Targets to Increase Physical Activity in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
    Advisor: Dr. Thorsten Rudroff
  • Sean Nielsen:
    A Gut Feeling: The Impact of the Intestinal Microbiome on Type 1 Diabetes
    Advisor: Dr. Matt Hickey
  • Ricky Pimentel:
    Lower-Extremity Asymmetries and their Correlations to Disability in Multiple Sclerosis
    Advisor: Dr. Raoul Reiser
  • Cassandra Ortiz:
    Review and Analysis of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, Preservation of the Force and Family, Human Performance Intervention among the 10th Special Forces Group Airborne.
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson
  • Corrie Voss:
    Depressive Symptoms and Metabolic Syndrome Risk factors in Male and Female Coloradan Firefighters
    Advisor: Dr. Dale Devoe


  • Scott Binns:
    Combining Curcumin and Alpha Lipoic Acid to Treat Metabolic Syndrome
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell
  • Trevor Connor:
    The Influence of a Wheat-Free Diet on Autoimmune Progression
    Advisor: Dr. Loren Cordain
  • Melanie Lashbrook:
    Functional Responses of Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria to Hyperphagic Obesity: Are All Obesities The Same?
    Advisor: Dr. Adam Chicco
  • Sarah Lewis:
    Evidence-based Criteria for Using Mobile Technology to Prevent the Decline in Physical Activity in College Students.
    Advisor: Dr. Ray Browning
  • Rob Musci:
    Investigating the Effects of an Endogenous and an Exogenous Oxidant Stressor on Protein Synthesis in C2C12 Myoblasts
    Advisors: Dr. Karyn Hamilton and Dr. Ben Miller
  • Jenny Newman:
    Built Environment Strategies to Promote Healthy Behaviors for Obesity Reduction
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson
  • Mark Prescott:
    Losing your MND: a Contributing Factor in Sarcopenia
    Advisor: Dr. Matt Hickey
  • Kylie Soliday:
    Effects of Prolonged Standing on Ground Reaction Force Control and Core Muscle Activation
    Advisor: Dr. Raoul Reiser


  • Joe Beals
    Acute beetroot juice ingestion improves estimates of insulin sensitivity in obese adults during an oral glucose tolerance test.
    Advisor: Dr. Chis Bell
  • Janelle Davis
    Vitamin C supplementation: influence of delivery method on ability to resist oxidative stress induced by ischemia-reperfusion.
    Advisor: Dr. Chis Bell
  • Beth Dussinger
    Predictors of health behaviors and cardiovascular disease risk factors for professional firefighters.
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson
  • Allison Mossing
    The role of erythrocyte ATP release in blood flow and oxygen delivery to the human forearm during hypoxic exercise.
    Advisor: Dr. Frank Dinenno
  • Hunter Paris
    What goes down need not go back up: Decreasing the biological drive toward weight regain by increasing energy flux.
    Advisor: Dr. Chis Bell
  • Monica Stewart
    Tissue-specific regulation of angiogenesis: achieving therapeutic balance.
    Advisor: Dr. Matt Hickey
  • Rachel Woods
    Accuracy of walking metabolic prediction equations using a large diverse dataset.
    Advisor: Dr. Ray Browning