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Exercise Science and Wellness Emphasis

The Exercise Science and Wellness program is designed for the student who desires to pursue advanced study in the scientific areas of exercise related to apparently healthy populations as well as those with cardiovascular, pulmonary and/or metabolic disease. This emphasis will help to strengthen the background of those individuals already involved in conducting fitness programs or to prepare individuals for careers in health-related fields that utilize exercise as preventive or rehabilitative medicine in settings such as hospitals, government agencies, and corporate wellness centers.

The Exercise Science and Wellness curriculum follow the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Students are encouraged to earn ACSM certification as a Health Fitness Specialist or Clinical Exercise Specialist, or Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Requirements for the emphasis are as follows (36 hours total):

Core Courses (24 hours):

EXSC 528 Exercise Prescription for Chronic Diseases
HMS 630 Exercise Physiology
HMS 642 Clinical Exercise Testing and Prescription
HMS 661 Seminar in Nutrition for Sports and Health
HMS 727 Advanced Biomechanics
HMS 730 Advanced Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology

FOUND 612 Research Methods
FOUND 722 Statistics

Requirements for different tracks are as follows (the student will select either a research or internship option):

Thesis Track Courses (12 hours):

HMS 698 Thesis
HMS 699 Thesis
Plus 6 hours of electives

Thesis Steps

Research-Problem Track (12 hours):

HMS 636 Research Problems
Plus 9 hours of electives

Non-research Track (12 hours):

HMS 667 Internship
Plus 6 hours of electives

Supportive electives may be chosen from a restricted list of courses in human movement sciences, sports management, biology, or other areas of relevant study.


Admissions will occur in the Fall semester. The application deadline is March 1 (this is for a complete application containing college transcripts, GRE scores, and other material as indicated by Graduate Admissions). An admission decision will be made by April 1, with some individuals placed on a waiting list if needed.

Students must (1) have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.80 and an average of 3.00 in the undergraduate major and (2) have a score of at least 291 between quantitative and verbal on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to regular status. Students who have either a low GPA or a low GRE score may be considered for admission to provisional status. GRE's are required for consideration of admittance. Additionally, students must be computer literate.

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the University and the Darden College of Education, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Exercise science and wellness prerequisites are two semesters of anatomy and physiology and one semester of exercise physiology. One semester of biomechanics is a prerequisite for the core course of Advanced Biomechanics (HMS 727), though it may be taken after admission.  


Students must (1) have an overall grade point average of 3.00; (2) have a grade point average of 3.00 in the major; (3) demonstrate writing proficiency; (4) satisfy all course competencies; (5) pass a comprehensive examination; (6) complete an internship or research project; and (7) have an exit interview.


David Swain, PhD, FACSM
Graduate Program Coordinator-Exercise Science
2026 Student Recreation Center
Human Movement Sciences Department
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-6028 (office); 683-4270 (fax)
E-mail: dswain@odu.edu