Exercise/Nutrition Science

The Master of Science in Exercise/Nutrition Science option  prepares the graduate for advanced positions with an emphasis in the areas of physical activity, exercise science, strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports nutrition, and health promotion. Potential careers can vary by student background but generally include: exercise physiologists, strength and conditioning specialist, health coach, exercise scientist, wellness coordinator, sports scientists, fitness center manager, registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, nutrition educator, public health nutritionist, or community nutritionist. The department is devoted to researching and understanding the long-term effects of exercise programming, physical activity, and nutrition, and translating this research into effective exercise/nutrition science and wellness programs for children, adolescents, and men and women of all ages, as well as athletes. This option is appropriate for dietetics, nutrition, kinesiology, and exercise science graduates or related fields and contains three degree paths (Plan A- Thesis, Plan B- Paper, Plan C- Internship/Capstone). Each path contains a combination of in-person and online courses and is flexible based on the needs of the student applicant. More information on each path is described below. Upon acceptance students should try to declare their path of interests to their academic mentor before the first semester of enrollment (if possible) so the proper classes can be recommended. If students are not sure which path to select upon admission, all path differences and procedures will be further discussed in detail within the in HNES 790- seminar: Introduction to HNES (required for all paths).

Graduate Faculty eligible to mentor students: Dr. Bryan Christensen, Dr. Shannon David, Dr. Nathan Dicks,  Dr. Marty Douglas, Dr. Matt DrescherDr. Julie Garden-Robinson, Dr. Kyle Hackney, Dr. Elizabeth Hilliard, Dr. Ryan McGrath, Dr. Yeong RheeDr. Sherri Stastny ,  Dr. Brad Strand and Dr. Joshua Wooldridge.

Minimum criteria and application information to be considered for admission for all paths:
Note-meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee acceptance in the program. Workload limitations and capacity limits for the program or faculty mentor apply.

  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Undergraduate major of Dietetics, Exercise Science, or closely related field.
  • The GRE is NOT required for this degree option. 
  • Application to the NDSU Graduate School which includes: precise statement of purpose, official transcripts, and two professional letters of recommendation. A link to the graduate school application system is below.
  • In the application, please indicate what degree path (Plan A- Thesis, Plan B- Paper, Plan C- Internship/Capstone) you are primarily considering at this time. This path can change once admitted but provides the HNES department with preliminary information on your plan of study. A description of all the paths are described below.
  • Please also note in your application if you are interested in a graduate assistantship position and indicate any previous experience with teaching, research, or other specific skills, abilities, or certifications you possess that would be relevant.

Note-Graduate assistantship awarded through the department will be considered for the top applicants, but are limited based in research grant funding and departmental resources.

To Apply- Please visit https://www.ndsu.edu/gradschool/apply and follow the domestic and international application procedures.

Review of applications- Applications will be reviewed immediately once all requirements are completed through the graduate school application system and the application is released to the HNES department.

For Fall admission- Applications will be reviewed through August 1st  for consideration.

For Spring admission- Applications will be reviewed through December 1st  for consideration.

Summer admission is currently not an option for this degree path. 

    Plan A- thesis

    The traditional thesis typically includes a problem statement, a review of existing literature relevant to that problem, and the creation and presentation of new knowledge in providing a solution to the problem. Each student assembles a supervisory committee as described in the HNES and Graduate school handbooks. Each candidate is required to pass a final oral examination in which the supervisory committee serves as the examining committee. Following a successful defense, the candidate will submit an electronic copy of their thesis to the Graduate School for review and often there is an attempt to publish the work in a prestigious academic journal. This path is open to all students but is specifically recommended for students interested in academic or science careers or those who wish to explore further graduate work in the future (PhD, DPT, MD). Pairing a student with faculty mentor that has experience in the area of interest is fundamentally important in this path. A list of faculty that mentor in this path is above.

    HNES 790   Seminar Introduction to HNES (1 credit)
    HNES 710   Introduction to Research Design and Methods in HNES (3 credits)
    STAT  725   Applied Statistics (3 credits)
    HNES 713   Graduate Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
    HNES 726   Nutrition and Wellness (3 credits, online)                                                   
    HNES 727   Physical Activity Epidemiology (3 credits)
    HNES  ---    Electives (9 credit hours)
    HNES 798   Thesis (6 credit hours)

    Curriculum: Total 31 credits

    Plan B- paper

    The Plan B path will proceed thorough understanding of existing knowledge and the ability to apply/understand that existing knowledge to a problem of interest. Note that under this degree, the new knowledge being created is focused more on a singular review or manuscript type deliverable (rather than a novel research investigation), and this is the primary difference between the Plan A and Plan B paths. The precise nature of the individual creative component is defined by the faculty mentor, committee, and student. Examples of possible creative components include a comprehensive paper that is prepared for an academic or practitioner based journal or an in depth exploration of applicable technology in the area. Each candidate would assemble a supervisory committee and defend the product at a formal defense. This final submission to the Graduate College is to be approved by the student's supervisory committee. This path is open to all students but is specifically recommended for students who may have a focused interest in the field and may still be interested in further graduate work (PhD, DPT, MD) in the future, however, the scope of the next step is not yet defined.

    HNES 790   Seminar Introduction to HNES (1 credit)
    HNES 710   Introduction to Research Design and Methods in HNES (3 credits)
    STAT  725   Applied Statistics (3 credits)
    HNES 713   Graduate Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
    HNES 726   Nutrition and Wellness (3 credits, online)                                                   
    HNES 727   Physical Activity Epidemiology (3 credits)
    HNES ---     Electives (12 credits)
    HNES 796   Paper (3 credits)

    Curriculum: Total 31 credits

    Plan C-Internship/Capstone

    Plan C is designed for programs in which a well-defined culminating experience is more important than is an individual creative component. Each program will define a culminating experience such as a capstone experience or some other approach to measure the candidate's understanding of the relevant material in the area (certification, certificate, internship experience/project). The student's supervisory committee would generally consist of faculty solely from within that discipline. The supervisory committee may specify that a certain level of performance (i.e., a minimum GPA) be obtained in specified courses or in the program itself. Upon completion of the appropriate course work and culminating experience, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School examination documentation (in collaboration with their mentor) and an Application for Graduate Degree. This path is open to all students but is specifically recommended for students who are currently employed part-time or full-time or and further graduate work beyond the MS program is not going to be pursued. Additional course work is included in this path to given a formal document and defense is not required to be submitted to the Graduate College.

    HNES 790     Seminar Introduction to HNES (1 credit)
    HNES 713     Graduate Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
    HNES 726     Nutrition and Wellness (3 credits, online)
    HNES  ---       Electives (18 or more credit hours)
    HNES 793/4/5 Independent study/ Internship / Field Experience (6 credits*)
    *All experiences are subject to approval by mentor/supervisory committee.

    HNES Electives for all Plan A, B, and C paths (if not required by the path):
    HNES 642     Community Health and Nutrition Education
    HNES 668     Leadership and Communication in Dietetics
    HNES 703     Graduate Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise
    HNES 704     Psychological Foundations of Sport and Physical Activity (online)
    HNES 710     Introduction to Research Design and Methods in HNES
    HNES 713     Graduate Exercise Physiology
    HNES 724     Nutrition Education 
    HNES 727     Physical Activity Epidemiology
    HNES 735     Nutrition for Human Performance (hybrid)
    HNES 743     Obesity Across the Lifespan 
    HNES 754     Assessment in Physical Activity and Nutrition
    HNES 760     Skeletal Muscle Physiology (online)
    HNES 761     Physiological and Fitness Assessment in Exercise Science
    HNES 762     Exercise Endocrinology (online)
    HNES 770     Evidence Based Research and Practice (2)
    HNES 777     Scholarly Writing and Presenting in HNES 
    HNES 791     Temporary/Trial Topics

    Other HNES course electives or other graduate courses offered by the University may be substituted with approval from the faculty teaching the course as well as the supervisory committee.

    Curriculum: Total 34 credits

    For information about Exercise /Nutrition Science program requirements, path curriculums, HNES course rotations, and further details on thesis/paper proposals, thesis/paper defenses, and internship/capstone requirements please explore the Exercise/Nutrition Science Handbook below:

    MS Exercise/Nutrition Science Handbook 

    Need more information?  Please fill out our graduate interest form link below.

    NDSU Graduate school Information Request

    Top of page