Exercise Science Programs

Exercise Science Programs Degree: Master of Science (M.S.) in Exercise Science and Health Promotion - Online

About Exercise Science Programs at Cal U

Invest in your career with an affordable 100% online master's degree.

Ask the fitness, health and wellness industry in Pennsylvania and beyond: Cal U is the leader in the study of exercise science. We were the first to launch this nationally ranked, 100% online master's degree program to give premier training to working professionals.

Cal U's M.S. in Exercise Science and health promotion program is recognized as a leader in offering high-quality education at a historic state university. 

Cal U partners with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) for the latest industry-focused program in fitness, health and exercise science.

Train well. Go far.

  • Choose our accredited online graduate degree program for access to top faculty experts and master trainers in Pennsylvania and across the country.
  • Earn your master's degree, plus professional certification, in 12 to 18 months.
  • Go on to top jobs in professional sports, the fitness industry, university athletics, corporate settings, healthcare facilities, and other health and fitness settings. Cal U graduates are employer-preferred.


Personalize Your Program: Customize your MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion by choosing areas of focus that advance your career or give you a competitive edge. Select one concentration for a 36-credit degree program, or add a second area of focus to create a 48-credit dual concentration. Certificate programs also are available in these areas:

Most degree concentrations embed course content to prepare you for nationally recognized certifications. Online degree classes are small (30 students), so you'll interact fully with your peers and professors.


academic partner of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
placement for in-demand jobs in a dynamic industry
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Degree Benefits

Our 100% online exercise science and health promotion master's degree lets you:

  • Be a student while working full time.
  • Study at a historic state university.
  • Earn a graduate degree - and certification - in less time and at a lower cost.
  • Learn from expert faculty and your peers in your cohort.
  • Build a lifelong national network.
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Graduate Outcomes

Cal U graduates are leaders in fitness, athletics, health and wellness throughout the nation:

  • Professional sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL).
  • More than 50 major sports teams (Boston Celtics to L.A. Rams).
  • Top fitness companies such as LA Fitness.
  • Leading hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Military leaders in health and fitness

Exercise Science and Health Promotion (M.S.)

Course Examples
  • Industrial, Clinical and Corporate Wellness
  • Leadership and Professional Development
  • Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Psychological Perspectives in Sport Performance Enhancement and Intervention
  • Research in Sport Psychology 
  • Health and Wellness Coaching Facilitating Change
  • Nutrition for Peak Performance
  • Exercise Physiology: Assessment and Exercise Prescription


Admission Requirements


Regular Admission Requirements

  • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:

    • Regionally accredited Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of a 2.99-2.50 will be conditionally admitted with the stipulation of earning a 3.0 GPA in the first term
      Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.49 and below will be reviewed for a decision once the following documentation has been received:
      • Resume
      • Two professional letters of recommendation

An interview may be required by the Program Coordinator to determine potential success in the program.


Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit official transcripts by mail or email to:

    • School of Graduate Studies and Research
      California University of Pennsylvania
      Box 91
      250 University Ave. 
      California, PA 15419
    • EmailGRADadmissions@calu.edu
      Phone: 724-938-4187

For additional information:
Email: calugo@calu.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348



How To Choose An Exercise Science Concentration

Select a single concentration as the focus of your degree or add a second approved area of focus to create a dual concentration. Post-bachelor’s certificates are available in these areas as well.


  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Performance Enhancement Specialist
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • Certified Specialist in Speed and Explosion
  • Certified Wellcoach
  • Fusionetics®
  • Les MillsTM 


Worldwide Appeal

Students enroll from all 50 states, and from more than 20 countries (Bahamas to Switzerland). Many students enroll full time or part time while on active duty in military service.

View student stories
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National Partners

Cal U works closely with top expert organizations:

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine.
  • Club, Spa, and Fitness Association.
  • National Association of Speed and Explosion.
  • Fusionetics®
  • Les MillsTM
Ms in exercise science

Faculty Fame

Exercise science faculty members Dr. Barry McGlumphy, Dr. Linda Meyer and Professor Julie Ramsey-Emrhein comprised the entire 2013 class inducted into the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society Hall of Fame.

Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions for exercise science degrees.

What can I do with an exercise science degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers related to the field of exercise science are growing. Careers include fitness trainers and instructors, coaches and scouts, recreational therapists, exercise physiologists, athletic directors, and fitness technology engineers. Learn more about what you can do with a career in sport science.

Is an exercise science degree worth it?

Exercise science professionals know they have a great responsibility to ensure the safety and health of patients and clients at all ages and skills levels in whatever fields they specialize in. If you have passion for helping people, then this degree is definitely worth it. If you are looking for a highly lucrative career, a master’s degree is a most-have for this profession. Learn more about the Top 10 reasons to get an exercise science master’s degree.

How long does it take to get an exercise science degree?

Most students are able to finish their bachelor’s degree in four years. A master’s degree in exercise science with industry certification can be completed in 12-18 months.  

How much can you make with an exercise science degree?

Exercise science majors who work in the fitness industry with a bachelor’s degree earn a median annual salary of $39,210, or $18.85 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, there are many options available in the industry. Fitness tech engineers can make up to $125,000 annually, and gym owners could earn millions in annual salary.

Is exercise science the same as kinesiology?

Kinesiology focuses on the mechanics of movement in particular, while exercise science is more based on a person’s response and adjustment to exercise. Kinesiology is the specific study of human movement, function and performance and their effects on a person’s overall health, and exercise science takes a closer look at what causes changes in the human body through exercise.

Is the NASM exam difficult?

Nationally, the pass rate is about 65% for first time test takers. NASM (www.nasm.org) and California University of Pennsylvania partnered in 2003 to deliver some of the nation's top online exercise science degrees in the health and fitness industry. The NASM and Cal U partnership provides individuals with an opportunity to take classes in preparation of national certifications through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Cal U exercise science courses have been developed in consideration of NASM certification and curriculum. Student leave the program ready to pursue a number of industry-specific certifications through NASM. Learn more about our partnership with NASM.

Can you be an athletic trainer with an exercise science degree?

Not really.  Athletic training consists of athletic trainers who are certified health care professionals who specialize in athletes, athletic teams or hospitals. Today, a specialized athletic training degree is typically offered, like Cal U’s athletic training master’s degree program. Although it may be a more difficult path, you could start out in exercise science and then work your way towards an advanced athletic training degree.

Exercise Science and Health Promotion Faculty

Justin Barroner, PGA, MS, MBA
Chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies / PGM Program Director


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Wendy Batts
Adjunct Professor


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Dr. Carol Biddington


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Julie Ramsey Emrhein
Part-Time Assistant Professor


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Dr. Marc S. Federico


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Dr. Jeffrey R. Hatton


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Melissa Hatton
Adjunct Professor


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Dr. Rebecca A. Hess


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Christina Lombardo


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Dr. Barry E. McGlumphy


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Dr. Brian Oddi
Assistant Professor


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James "J.R." Pond, PGA
Internship Coordinator: Professional Golf Management


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Dr. Benjamin Reuter
Associate Professor


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Dr. Christine Romani-Ruby


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James Thornton, MA, ATC, PES, CES
Adjunct Professor
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Dr. Ronald Wagner
Associate Professor


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Dr. Ellen J. West


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Dr. Tom West


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