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Get the best of both worlds in our Sport and Exercise Science Master of Science program with Exercise Physiology emphasis. UNC’s exercise physiology program combines exceptional opportunities to gain both direct clinical experience and an extensive basic-science background. Build a broad, well-rounded foundation that prepares you for doctoral work or for careers in clinical exercise, cancer or cardiac rehabilitation, athletic performance, biomedical research or another specialty. 

UNC offers unique practical experience at the UNC Cancer Rehabilitation Institute, an on-campus facility with a national reputation for cutting-edge applications in clinical exercise. We have a small exercise physiology department with highly attentive faculty, so you can count on lots of one-on-one academic guidance and career mentoring. Whether you are bound for a doctoral program or for the work force, you'll get excellent preparation for future success.

Degree Details

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Degree Option

M.S. in Sports and Exercise Science: Exercise Physiology

In the Exercise Physiology emphasis of UNC’s Sport and Exercise Science Master of Science program, you will examine the body’s response to exercise. Our program focuses on acute and chronic adaptations to exercise, with particular attention to the heart, skeletal muscle and metabolic systems. The program totals 33 credits. You will complete the degree either with a master’s thesis or by passing a specified national certification exam in one of the following areas: Health Fitness, Clinical Exercise, Cancer Exercise or Strength and Conditioning.

Degree Requirements

Greeley Campus Program

Your Future in Exercise Physiology

Through UNC's exercise physiology emphasis you'll explore the potential for clinical applications and rehabilitative therapies related to exercise. Scientific researchers and health care clinicians are rapidly expanding the uses for clinical exercise, creating a spike in career opportunities for specialists in this field. UNC prepares you to make the most of your career by providing an integrated scientific-clinical perspective that cultivates well-rounded skills.

Consider UNC’s M.S. in Exercise Physiology if you want to:

  • Go on to pursue a doctorate in exercise physiology
  • Develop a synergistic perspective that unites laboratory science with clinical application
  • Work with patients as a rehabilitation therapist or clinical exercise specialist
  • Conduct basic science research related to physical adaptations to exercise
  • Build a career in strength and conditioning or athletic performance

You’ll learn:

  • Applied techniques for clinical exercise, working directly with patients
  • Laboratory skills for basic scientific work and research
  • Advanced concepts in physiology and biochemistry
  • To apply clinical exercise in cancer and cardiac rehabilitation

Sample courses:

  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Muscle Physiology
  • Metabolism
  • Advanced Laboratory Techniques

Beyond the Classroom

As an exercise physiology graduate at student at UNC, you’ll have the opportunity to get one-of-a-kind clinical experience at the UNC Cancer Rehabilitation Institute. The only U.S. facility of its type, the UNCCRI is a national leader in the field of cancer rehabilitation specifically and clinical exercise more generally. The UNCCRI has helped thousands of patients mitigate the effects of cancer and cope more effectively with cancer treatment.

Where can your degree take you?

  • Ph.D. program in Exercise Physiology or a related field
  • Career as a clinical exercise therapist
  • Strength and conditioning coaching for high-performance athletes
  • Biomedical research

Current Research in Exercise Physiology

Found in Translation

Groundbreaking UNC research melds scientific lab work with real-world clinic to reveal benefits of exercise for cancer patients

Sitting in a small, instrument-packed lab in Ross Hall is a squat, benign-looking gray tank that contains liquid nitrogen. It also contains a spectrum of cancer cells from various lines. But this is one instance where cancer cells are helping make cancer patients’ lives better. These cells are used in animal research that helps doctors understand exercise’s effect on cancer patients during and after chemotherapy treatment.

Read full article

UNC Cancer Rehabilitation Institute Director Reid Hayward

UNCCRI Director Reid Hayward, Ph.D.

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