About the Graduate Program

The graduate program in Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences focuses on how physical activity and sports contribute to the quality of life. These issues are considered from several disciplinary perspectives, including:

  • Biology
  • Education
  • Management
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

This multi-disciplinary approach enables graduates to conceptualize and analyze human movement holistically.

Flexible Curriculum

Academic programs are individually designed to meet the objectives and needs of students within a variety of emphasis areas. A typical program includes core classes in health, exercise, and sport sciences. Students also can supplement their programs with courses in biology, business, chemistry, education, pharmacy or psychology.

Research and Experiential Learning

Graduate students are also given opportunities for experiential learning and collaborative research. The Independent, Growth, Networking, Inquiry, Transferable Education (IGNITE) initiative provides applied experiences for HESP graduate students who have demonstrated subject-matter competency within their required and elective classes. IGNITE experiences can take the form of an industry internship, thesis or applied research opportunities.

Career Success

Graduates of the Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences master's program have obtained employment at local, regional and national organizations or obtain admission to top doctoral programs across the country.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available to men and women who qualify for admission to the graduate program and are candidates for the Master of Arts degree in Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences.

Assistantships are available in the following areas:

  • Teaching in the Activity Class Program
  • Assisting in the Human Performance Lab
  • Assisting professors in academic courses/discussion leader
  • Assisting in the athletic training program

A full-time graduate assistant will receive full tuition remission (8 units per semester) and a stipend and is expected to put in 20 hours per week of service to the department.

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Department of Recreation also offer graduate assistantships for students pursuing graduate studies in Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences.

Admission Requirements

  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Bachelor's degree in a health, exercise, or sport science related field from an accredited institution. (Students holding a bachelor's degree in another subject area will be considered, but may be required to complete selected undergraduate courses prior to receiving full admission.)

Degree Requirements

Two program options lead to an M.A. in Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences:

Plan A (Thesis Option)

Satisfactorily complete six courses and a thesis (28 units). Four of the six courses must be at the graduate level (numbered 200 or above).

The student must also present an open colloquium (an oral presentation of a proposed research project) and must demonstrate their breadth of professional knowledge and successfully defend their completed thesis with an oral examination.

Plan B (No Thesis Option)

Complete eight courses (32 units), with a minimum of five courses being at the graduate level.

In addition, students must successfully demonstrate a breadth of professional knowledge in the form of a written comprehensive examination.

Graduate Courses

HESP 233. Advanced Kinesiology (4)

A graduate seminar which considers the musculoskeletal analysis of human movement, posture, exercise prescription, and rehabilitation. Prerequisite: HESP 133, graduate standing or permission of the instructor.

HESP 235. Grad. Nutrition/Exercise Metabolism (4)

A thorough study of the principles of nutrition as they relate to health and participation in sport or physical activity. The course includes calculation of energy needs and expenditures, and the role of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water in sport and physical activity.

HESP 247. Advanced Exercise Physiology (4)

Advanced study of physiological responses to exercise with emphasis on laboratory methods and procedure for testing and demonstrating these responses for research application. Prerequisites: HESP 147 or equivalent, and permission of the instructor. Lab fee required.

HESP 248. Applied & Clinical Physiology (4)

This course is designed to study the fundamental principles of exercise testing and interpretation for high risk, healthy, and athletic populations. The course is structured to focus on the cardiovascular, metabolic, and pulmonary responses to aerobic exercise and implications for designing training programs for enhancing health, fitness, and performance. This course will serve as a foundation for clinical exercise science and the use of exercise testing in the study of cardiac, metabolic and respiratory pathology. Prerequisite: HESP 147.

HESP 255. Advanced Motor Learning (4)

This graduate course examines both the information processing and dynamical systems approaches to the study of human motor behavior and skill acquisition. Content is theoretically and research based with a behavioral emphasis. Topics covered will include: variability and motor control; visual control of action; the role of reflexes; task interference; limitations in information processing, effects of stress on performance, and the Schema theory. It is intended to provide students with an advanced understanding of the conceptual, functional properties of the motor system and human motor performance and their application to teaching, coaching, industrial and therapeutic settings.

HESP 257. Advanced Clinician in Sports Medicine (4)

This course integrates theory and practice and requires students to develop a research topic, consistent with an explicitly and narrowly defined area of interest. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

HESP 259. Professional Prep. In Sport Sciences (4)

Course is designed for the future professional practitioner who wishes to deliver an effective, meaningful clinical or educational experience to a diverse population and help them sustain it through the knowledge to conceive and plan meaningful programs, the administrative skill to produce an organizational structure within school and/or practicum that optimizes the impact of the program, and the creative energy to link the program to opportunities for children and adults. Students will engage in an in-depth study of the research on teaching and the application of research-based knowledge to the teaching and clinical professions.

HESP 261. Advanced Biomechanics of Sport (4)

Advanced study of mechanical principles which influence human movement; both non-cinematographic and cinematographic/videographic techniques are used to analyze and evaluate motor skills and errors in performance; critical evaluation of current research findings in biomechanics. Prerequisite: undergraduate course in kinesiology or biomechanics or permission of the instructor. Lab fee required.

HESP 265. Advanced Sports Law (4)

This course addresses legal issues and responsibilities relevant to professionals in the areas of sports medicine, sport management, sport pedagogy and athletics. General legal principles supported by case law in such areas as negligence, contract law, constitutional law, antitrust laws and unlawful discrimination are offered.

HESP 272. Advanced Case Analysis in Sport and Fitness Management (4)

A graduate seminar designed to provide breadth and depth of topical knowledge beyond that covered in the introductory course.

HESP 279. Research Methods in Sport Sciences (4)

An in-depth evaluation of the various methods used in the disciplines of the sport sciences, including experimental, descriptive, qualitative and historical; means of selecting a research problem and planning its solution; important considerations regarding review of the literature; overview of proper form and style in research writing. Student must complete a fully developed Research Proposal as part of this course. Prerequisites: graduate standing and completion of a course in statistics.

HESP 291. Independent Study (2-4)
HESP 293. Special Topics (3, 4)

Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of the instructor.

HESP 297. Independent Research (1-4)
HESP 299. Thesis (4)


Graduate Program Director

Sharon West-Sell, PhD, ATC
Email: swest@pacific.edu 
Phone: 209.932.3287
Office: Main Gym, Second Floor
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211