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Exercise Physiology

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administrative contact

Stephen Alway
phone: 304-293-7767

program contact

Stephen Alway
phone: 304-293-7767

Program Details

Program Description

Exercise Physiology is the study of the biological and biochemical processes associated with exercise and overload that affects the underlying function of cells and organ systems in the human body. Exercise physiology is a rapidly evolving field that is becoming increasingly important in the delivery of health care. Exercise physiologists work to prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease in healthy participants or to provide therapeutic or functional benefits to patients with known disease. Services may be offered in a variety of medical settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and out-patient clinics, in community, corporate, commercial and university fitness and wellness centers, in nursing homes and senior citizens centers, as well as in research and academic settings.

The Division of Exercise of Physiology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine has 16 full time faculty and other affiliated faculty who are engaged in interdisciplinary studies that span molecular, cellular, systems and behavioral sciences, with strong emphases in muscle biology, cardiovascular biology, diabetes and aging. We are proud of the fact that in 2007, the faculty in our Ph.D. program in Exercise Physiology have been ranked 7th Nationally by the Chronicles of Higher Education (click to view the article) and Academic Analytics (click to view the article). This national ranking is based upon research publications, research citations and federal funding for our graduate faculty.

The master of science program in exercise physiology provides coursework that prepares students for careers in adult fitness, hospital or corporate-based wellness programs, or cardiac rehabilitation. Students specialize by completing a 200-hour clinical internship. Students considering further advanced training (PhD program) may choose to complete a research thesis.

Career Profile

Graduates of our PhD program have obtained postdoctoral positions in prestigious universities and medical schools, including Harvard School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Florida, Children’s Medical Center and others. Several graduates have now completed their postdoctoral training and have obtained teaching and research careers in medical schools and research intensive universities. While every one of our graduates receives rigorous training in research, an ideal career for some will place greater emphasis on teaching than research. For these students we offer additional training and experience in teaching including training in syllabus and lecture construction. Whichever career path a student may choose, the faculty in Exercise Physiology we will provide them options in course work and experience that will develop and refine their interests and significantly enhance their career prospects.

Graduate Program Application Requirements

Applicants must arrange for official copies of transcripts and test scores to be sent directly to the WVU Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at PO Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26506-6510. If being sent by delivery service (Federal Express, UPS, etc) requiring a street address, please use WVU Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, 1500 One Waterfront Place, Morgantown, WV 26501. The program requirements listed below (if any) are in addition to the main WVU Graduate Application.

English Language Proficiency

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Please see Office of Admissions - English Language Proficiency for more information.

Apply Now

Prospective students should apply online at:

Application Priority Dates and Deadlines


WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Division of Exercise Physiology within the Department of Human Performance and Applied Exercise Sciences is currently seeking accreditation for the master of science (MS) degree in Exercise Physiology from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. This is a newly formed, outcomes-based, programmatic accreditation that is certified by the national governing body of the American College of Sports Medicine. Programs in Exercise Physiology have not traditionally had the opportunity to pursue national accreditation. This will be the first time that the MS degree in Exercise Physiology at WVU will have the advantage of full accreditation by a nationally recognized organization. Application for accreditation for the undergraduate program in Exercise Physiology is also under way.