Master of Science in Exercise Physiology

The focus on health has never been greater, sparking the growing need for professionals with deep knowledge of how exercise can prevent injury and disease. No matter your goals, our MSEP program will prepare you for a career focused on improving health through fitness and nutrition.

Our graduates are prepared to work in clinical settings, research, education, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, public health or the medical device industry.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Achieve Your Goals Quicker
  • Learning Rooted in Research
  • Unique and Advanced Lab Facilities

Student on Cable Machine

instructor fitting person with breathing apparatus

Personal Training Session

The MSEP program at St. Ambrose allows you to earn your degree in as few as 12 months, grow your knowledge and experience through research, be guided by faculty with diverse expertise, and apply your new skills in state-of-the-art labs.

Read our fact sheet on the MSEP program

More Information About the M.S. in Exercise Physiology

What will I learn?

We give you the academic foundation to assess, plan and implement fitness programs to help people improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, or flexibility.

You will learn basic biochemistry and pharmacology principles, medical physiology, advanced exercise physiology topics, investigate biomechanical aspects of human movement, performance, and injury; nutrition and its role on physical activity and athletic performance; and movement and physiology as it pertains to general health, performance, and injury/disease.

You will study the latest research in exercise science and human performance and take the lead on an original research project.

You choose the track that best fits your goals. We offer a 12-month or 15-month program (includes a thesis).

Our program will prepare you for certification exams offered by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). MSEP faculty will assist students who seek observation hours to meet their clinical goals.

Read MSEP course descriptions

What are some potential job outcomes?

This degree gives you so many options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in exercise physiology will grow by 11 percent by 2024 -- which is faster than the average for all occupations. We will prepare you to work in a variety of settings: research, education, nutrition, self-employment, and healthcare. Clinical positions, such as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, also are possibilities.

Some graduates choose to work in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries; public health; or within government agencies such the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the annual average wage of exercise physiologists was $49,740 in 2016. The highest salaries were paid to exercise physiologists working in higher education, federal and state governments, individual and family services, and outpatient care centers.

Our graduates are well-qualified to enter doctoral programs or begin graduate studies in health professions such as physical therapy.

Tell me more Ambrose Advantages

We give you a different option: our MSEP program is research-based and you can earn your degree in as little as 12 months, which is half as long as most graduate programs require. We offer a thesis and non-thesis option so you can cater your education to your career path and achieve your goals.

Our academic program is focused on research, and for good reason. Exercise physiologists who choose careers in rapidly advancing, and growing, fields such as wearable technology, nutritional supplements and exercise equipment need that background. It also helps exercise physiologists who want to specialize in cardiac rehabilitation or be a university-level strength and conditioning coach.

Each field requires a deep understanding of how the human body performs and responds--knowledge you need to guide a person to a healthier lifestyle. We want our graduates to have the skills to be successful today and tomorrow.

During the program, you get to apply what you learn in our brand new, state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center. This massive, 80,000 square-foot building holds exercise physiology laboratories, classrooms, research-quality equipment, and a group exercise room.

Our professors represent diverse fields of expertise and research, which ensures you receive a well-rounded education in all areas of exercise physiology and kinesiology. At SAU, we are proud of the personalized attention we give students. We cap our MSEP cohorts at 20 students, and cohorts begin each summer.

At SAU, you have the resources needed to succeed in class, in your career, and to further your goals.

Much is tuition?

We realize the cost of a graduate education can seem daunting, but our students find the investment they are making is worth every penny.

Tuition is $700/credit hour for the 2017-18 academic year, and there are a few additional fees for technology and related to graduation.

We encourage students to look into serving as a graduate assistant. By spending up to 20 hours per week assisting our faculty and serving in other, non-teaching roles on campus, your tuition bill is reduced. 

You can see complete information about scholarships, loans, and grants on the Graduate Financial Aid page.


St. Ambrose University sets rates for tuition and fees each fall. Tuition, fees, room and board are due each semester before students attend class, unless payment arrangements are made with the Student Account Services Office.

All students attending St. Ambrose University will be assessed a technology fee based upon courseload. Some courses carry additional fees.

2018-19 Fees

Undergraduate/Accelerated students taking 12 or more credit hours $280/yr. ($140/semester)
Undergraduate/Accelerated students taking 11 or less credit hours $140/yr. ($70/semester)
Graduate level students taking 9 or more credit hours $280/yr. ($140/semester)
Graduate level students taking 8 or less credit hours $140/yr. ($70/semester)
Online course fee $25/credit hour
Matriculation $75 (undergraduate only)

Graduate Assistantships

Most of our graduate programs offer graduate or departmental assistantships, which might include stipends or tuition benefits. Graduate assistantships typically contribute 20 hours of work each week, and their appointments may be anywhere on campus, including:

  • Research with College of Business faculty members
  • Handle public relations with the sports media
  • Organize Wellness and Recreation activities and events
  • Coordinate and develop student activities

To learn more about a graduate assistantship opportunity or inquire about open positions, please contact Human Resources.

Ready to Apply?

These are the requirements for application to the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology program:

  • Undergraduate degree in exercise science or science-based major from an accredited institution
    • Prerequisites: At least 8 credits (including lab) of undergraduate anatomy and physiology; 3-4 credits exercise physiology; and 4 credits physics (which should include Newtonian mechanics)
  • Undergraduate GPA least 3.0 GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation (.docx)
  • GRE or MCAT scores (SAU undergraduates are exempt)
  • Personal essay explaining reason(s) for wanting to pursue graduate education
  • TOEFL score of 79 or 6.5 on the IELTS for students whose native language or undergraduate experience is not English

Applications are due by Jan. 31 each year or until cohort is full.

Apply Visit Info


Rhiannon Seneli, PhD, Program Director

Kinesiology Department
Hayes Hall
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 26 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!