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Master of Arts (MA): Sport-Exercise Degree Overview

Master's degree in exercise, health and/or sport science programs are for individuals seeking expertise in the multifaceted area of human movement. Learning usually takes place in a range of settings, including classrooms, seminars, independent study sessions, clinics and laboratories.

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Essential Information

Master's students in sport-exercise should have completed undergraduate education before applying for admission to these graduate programs. Once enrolled, they could receive in-depth training and instruction in several disciplines, such as biomechanics, physiology and motor control.

In addition to general instruction, students might have the option of selecting a specialized area of study in sports psychology, exercise physiology or human performance. Toward the end of their studies, students might be required to complete a thesis project based on original research.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
  • Sports Medicine

Master of Arts Degree in Sport-Exercise

Schools may give special consideration to students whose undergraduate course of study offers sufficient preparation in exercise and sports science, physical education or health promotion. Students without sufficient undergraduate preparation might be required to take developmental courses before beginning the master's degree curriculum. Prospective students also might be required to provide GMAT or GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

Students learn important theoretical concepts related to sport and exercise, such as the biological and psychological underpinnings of stress and disease, fundamentals of human exertion, theories of data organization and principles of effective leadership. They could learn to correctly tape and brace injuries, provide sound nutritional advice, conduct injury diagnoses and carry out emergency management procedures. Some aspects of study might include professional sports, amateur sports and fitness regimens.

Curricula generally are based on theoretical and practical training. In addition to academic training, students learn while working closely with various professionals, such as athletic coaches and physical therapists. Specific courses that students may be required to take include:

  • Statistical methods
  • Exercise psychology
  • Biomechanics instrumentation
  • Sport psychology
  • Systematic biology

Popular Careers

Graduates of these degree programs might work with sports teams or sports facilities. Job titles available might include:

  • Clinical researcher
  • Coach
  • Physical education teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 6% increase in job opportunities for coaches and scouts during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS determined that coaching professionals earned an average yearly salary of $40,050. An exercise physiologist, another job option in the exercise science field, averaged $49,740.

Continuing Education

Graduates interested in advanced careers in research might consider pursuing a Ph.D. in a field such as exercise science or sport nutrition. Ph.D. programs can prepare graduates for employment in health care and government institutions, as well as teaching or research positions.

Students interested in careers involving sports and exercise science should consider applying to a Master's degree in sports-exercise. These programs will provide students with comprehensive training in key aspects of biology, physiology and science relevant to sports and exercise.

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