Graduate Program

M.S. in Health and Exercise Science

General Program Description

The Health and Exercise Science MS program, revised in 2014, now has two tracks; research and clinical. The program of study differs by track, and both tracks are detailed below. In your application, you must state your choice of the research or clinical track 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). Graduates are represented by careers in: health related research and development and medical and allied health professions. 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 designated 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 other types of assistantships are available.

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
  • Graduate Record Exam General Test
  • Personal Statement
  • Contact and provisional acceptance into a specific laboratory within HES (research track)
  • Completion of the following prerequisite classes
  • Physiology (300 level or equivalent)
  • Physiology of Exercise (300 level or equivalent)
  • At least two of the following four classes
    1. Nutrition (300 level or equivalent)
    2. Neuromuscular or Movement Science (300 level or equivalent)
    3. Biomechanics of Kinesiology (300 level or equivalent)
    4. Biochemistry (300 level or equivalent)

Contact the Department if there are any questions regarding entry or prerequisite requirements or see our 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 Physiology3
HES 600: Research Design in Health/Exercise Science3
HES 610: Exercise Bioenergetics3
HES 693: Seminar1
Semester 2
Statistics elective3
HES 698: Var. Research3
*HES 693: Seminar1
Year 2
Semester 1
HES 699: Var. Thesis6
*HES 793: Bioenergetics Seminar1
Semester 2
HES 699: Thesis Credits6

*Students required to take 693 two semesters, and HES 793 once

Clinical Track Program of Study

Year 1
Semester 1Credits
HES 602: Advanced Exercise Physiology3
HES 600: Research Design in Health/Exercise Science3
**HES 686B: Practicum - Wellness management or elective3
*HES 693: Seminar or elective1 or 3
Semester 2
HES 420: Electrocardiography and Exercise Management3
HES 556: Wellness and Health Promotion Concepts3
*HES 693: Seminar or elective1 or 3
**HES 686B: Practicum - Wellness management or elective3
Year 2
Semester 1
*HES 693: Seminar or elective1 or 3
HES 695 A-D: Var. Independent Study3
**HES 686A:Practicum Adult Fitness-HPCRL or elective3
Semester 2
HES 520: Advanced Exercise Testing and Prescription3
HES 645: Epidemiology of Health and Physical Activity3
*HES 693: Seminar or elective1 or 3
**HES 686A:Practicum Adult Fitness-HPCRL or elective3

*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:

  • January 31 for Fall admission.
  • September 30 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 generally be considered.
  • NOTE: these deadlines differ from the Graduate School deadlines and supersede the Graduate School deadlines

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.
  • Official scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Exam
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation on Departmental Recommendation forms
  • 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.

Where to send materials:

  • The Online Graduate School Application is submitted automatically. The application fee (payable to Colorado State University) is sent to:
    Admissions Office
    Spruce Hall
    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, CO 80523-0015
  • NOTE: When applying online, you still need to complete the Departmental Recommendation forms, letter of application, and GTA application forms (if applying for a GTA position). See the link below.
  • GRE scores to Colorado State University [code #4075, no department code]
  • Send to the Department: Graduate Director
    Department of Health and Exercise Science
    1582 Campus Delivery
    Fort Collins CO 80523-1582
  • Include any other documents you want to be considered
  • Official transcripts to the Department at the above address
  • Letters of recommendation [Departmental form] to Department at the above address
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant application forms are sent to the Department
  • NOTE: While the Department will assist the applicant where possible, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure a completed application

Required Departmental forms are on-line HERE

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 can not 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.

What GRE scores would be competitive?

Students currently applying successfully to our program typically scores in the 75 percentile or above on verbal and quantitative components, and 4.5 or higher on the written portion of the exam.

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 typically have 15 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
  • Ph.D Program CSU, Health and Exercise Science
  • 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
  • Ph.D. Program, CSU Health and Exercise Science
  • Professional Research Assistant, UCDHSC, Denver CO
  • Ph.D., Nutrition, CSU
  • Corporate Wellness Director, Storage Tech, Loveland, CO
  • Exercise Test Technologist, Virginia
  • Fitness Specialist, Orchard Athletic Club, Loveland, CO
  • Health Club Director
  • Physical Therapy Program, Boulder, CO
  • 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
  • R.D. Internship
  • Professional Research Assistant, UCHSC, Denver, CO
  • Director, Wellness Center, Casper WY
  • Professional Research Assistant, Orthopedics, Baylor College SOM; Ph.D. program U. Houston
  • Technician, HPCRL, CSU; PA School CA
  • Athletic Trainer, Denver, CO
  • Personal Trainer, Northern California
  • 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
  • Cycling Trainer OTC; Exercise Physiologist, International Center for Performance and Health, Denver
  • Director of Graduate Teaching Assistants and Youth Sport Camps, HES, CSU
  • Field Analyst, Nike Sport Research Lab, Portland OR
  • Ph.D. Program, Human Bioenergetics, Colorado State University
  • Ph.D. Program, Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado
  • Ph.D. Program Human Bioenergetics, CSU Fort Collins CO
  • Teacher, Science, Grand Junction CO
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Oregon
  • High School Science Teacher, Douglas Co., CO
  • Exercise stress Technician, Minneapolis, MN
  • Exercise Physiologist, University of Minnesota, MN
  • Ph.D., CSU, Asst. Prof. Indiana University, IN
  • Health/Fitness Director, University of Utah
  • Wellness Specialist, Wilmington Hospital, Wilmington, NC
  • Health Education, Central Jr. High School, Denton, TX
  • Wellness Specialist, Jenny Craig, Fort Collins, CO
  • Adult Fitness Director, Virginia Tech, VA
  • Professional Research Assistant, Exercise Physiology, MA
  • Wellness Program Director, Drake University
  • Professional Recruiter, Denver, CO
  • Program Director, Fort Collins Club, CO
  • Research Dietitian, Boulder, CO
  • Real Estate Broker/Agent – RE/MAX, Fort Collins, CO
  • Athletic Trainer, Colorado Rockies System, CO
  • Health and Fitness Specialist, Healthetech, Golden, CO
  • Physical Therapy, Norway
  • Director of Activates Program, University of Utah
  • Ph.D., Exercise Physiology, U. Northern Colorado
  • 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.
  • Fitness Specialist/Trainer at The Toledo Club
  • Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, White Plains NY
  • Ph.D. Program, St. Louis MO
  • M.D. Program, MO
  • Teacher, Charlotte, NC
  • Exercise Specialist, Knope Inst. For Core Strength, Tucson AZ
  • Exercise Specialist, Knope Inst. For Core Strength, Tucson AZ; Owner Moore Training Tucson, AZ
  • Nursing Program, U. Northern Colorado
  • Personal Trainer, Fort Collins Club, Fort Collins CO
  • Wellness Coordinator, Clatsop Care Center Health District, Seattle WA; Ph.D. Program BYU
  • Assistant Director of Fitness, Kettering University; Strength and Fitness Coordinator CSU Rec. Ctr.
  • Research Associate, Integrative Physiology University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Instructor, Sterling Community College, Sterling CO
  • Ph.D. Program University of Colorado, CO
  • DO program University of Illinois
  • Diet Counselor, Fort Collins
  • State Farm Insurance, Windsor, CO
  • Asst. Athletic Trainer, University of Northern Colorado; Asst. Athletic Trainer, Boise State
  • Fitness specialist, Seagate, Longmont, CO
  • Nursing, Buena Vista, CO
  • Ph.D. Program CSU FSHN
  • Worksite Wellness Coordinator, Weld Co., Colorado
  • Instructor, CSU Health and Exercise Science
  • Ph.D. Program, University of Michigan
  • CSU Veterinary School, Veterinary Medicine
  • Teacher, Middel School Science, Twin Valley Middle School, PA
  • Ph.D. Program, CSU Health and Exercise Science
  • Clinical Instructor, University of Utah, Exercises and Sport Science
  • Professional Research Assistant, Nike, Portland OR
  • Dietetics Internship, Northern Colorado
  • Ph.D. Program University of Northern Colorado
  • United Health Group, MN
  • Doctoral program, Applied Physiology, Columbia University
  • Doctoral program, Human Bioenergetics, Colorado State University
  • Head Athletic Trainer, Denver West High School, CO
  • Dietetics Internship, Univ. of Virginia
  • PA School, UCHSC, Denver, CO
  • Physical Therapy School, Northwestern University
  • Health Education, Utah State University
  • Ph.D., University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO
  • Ph.D., Physiology, University of Vermont, VT
  • MedEX-Rehab, Fort Collins, CO
  • Ph.D., Exercise Physiology, Brunnel University, Scotland
  • Education, Augusta College, GA
  • MedEX-Rehab, Fort Collins, CO
  • M.D., University of Colorado
  • Athletic Trainer, Colorado Rockies System
  • Ph.D., CSU; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard, MA; Scientist, Medtronics, MN
  • Wellness Specialist, Seattle, WA
  • Aquatics Director, YMCA, Phoenix, AZ
  • Athletic Trainer, McKee Medical Center, Loveland, CO
  • Wellness Specialist, Storage Tech, Loveland, CO
  • Public Relations Director, Sterling, VA
  • American Lung Association, Denver, CO
  • Wellness Specialist, American Lung Association, Denver, CO
  • Professional Research Assistant, Jewish Hospital, Denver

Recent Graduates/ Thesis Projects


  • 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


  • M. Scott Claiborne
    Exercise training improves exercise capacity despite persistent muscle mitochondrial dysfunction in the taz shRNA mouse model of human Barth Syndrome.
    Advisor: Dr. Adam Chicco
  • Greg Giordano
    Short-Term Sprint Interval Training: Influence of Exercise Modality.
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell
  • Drew Harms
    Effect of age on ground reaction forces during stair negotiation.
    Advisor: Dr. Raoul Reiser
  • Brittni Jensen
    Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lifestyles Club: An After-School Intervention to Promote Cardiovascular Health in Elementary Students.
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson
  • Bethany Murphy
    Age-related changes in the control of shortening and lengthening contractions.
    Advisor: Dr. Brian Tracy
  • Erin Rauh
    Physical Activity Across the Elementary School Day: When and How Much?
    Advisor: Dr. Ray Browning
  • Cody Stephenson
    Translational regulation of Nrf2 activation
    Advisors: Dr. Karyn Hamilton and Dr. Ben Miller
  • Emily Van Wasshenova
    Stress testing as a diagnostic and risk stratification tool.
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson


  • Theresa MacGregor
    Epigenetics and exercise. Implications for public health recommendations.
    Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nelson
  • Grant Overmoyer
    Relationships between Asymmetries in Functional Movements and the Star Excursion Balance Test.
    Advisor: Dr. Raoul Reiser
  • Garrett Lee Peltonen
    Inhibition of the Sympathetic Nervous System Attenuates Hypoxia Induced Insulin Resistance
    Advisor: Dr. Chris Bell
  • Antonio Ricciardi
    Prediction of Exercise Adherence with Goal Orientation and Motivational Climate.
    Advisor: Dr. Brian Butki