Master of Science in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology

The High Altitude Exercise Physiology Master of Science program is a two-year, residential program that takes advantage of the unique physical and academic environment of Colorado’s Gunnison Valley.

ESS
What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

This program prepares students for careers in academia, research or clinical practice, as well as for further study in the discipline. The High Altitude Exercise Physiology program aims to examine how the human body functions physiologically, both acutely and chronically, in extreme environments. These include – but are not limited to – high altitude, heat, cold and low humidity. Students in this program will complete at least 36 total credits, including six thesis credits. The thesis will be a culminating research project, to be completed during the last semester of the two-year program.

Program Goals:
  • To enhance student understanding of human physiology – at rest and during exercise, in healthy and diseased populations – in extreme environments, including hyper- and hypobarometric conditions, heat, cold, pollution and zero gravity.
  • To prepare students for original research under supervision of the ESS-HAEP faculty.
  • To prepare students to share their research as presentations, publications or both.
  • To prepare students for careers in academia, research or clinical practice, as well as for further study in the discipline.

Student Outcomes

Research — HAEP Graduates will understand Exercise Science research methods and demonstrate the ability to recognize and employ various study designs. They will:

  • Be adept at retrieving and analyzing information relevant to Exercise Science.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the background and principle research in their specialization.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate scientific literature and apply the scientific method to exercise sciences, by actively engaging in the research process with critical analysis and research.
  • Demonstrate the ability to situate their own research within the broader context of the Exercise Science field.

Communication and Writing — HAEP graduates will master oral and written skills to present and publish their research in peer-reviewed venues.

Application/Outreach — HAEP graduates will be able to translate research into practice, developing evidence-based exercise prescriptions for individuals with performance goals – particularly those at risk, including special populations – who seek to perform in extreme environments, such as altitude, cold and stressful heat.

Critical Thinking — HAEP Graduates will effectively use information obtained through traditional and non-traditional sources to solve problems related to academic or professional practice.

Technology — HAEP Graduates will use technology to complete tasks within the Exercise Science profession. This includes proficiency with exercise testing equipment and relevant computer skills.

 

Next Steps

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*Pending approval from CCHE and HLC

Courses

 ESS 600 - ESS 600 Advanced Statistics (3 credits)

Statistical tools for scientific research, including parametric and non-parametric methods for ANOVA and group comparisons, simple linear and multiple linear regression. Emphasis placed on the use of dedicated statistical software. 

 ESS 601 - ESS 601 Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)

Research design and methodology in environmental exercise physiology. 

 ESS 605 - ESS 605 Exercise and Sport Science Testing and Instrumentation – Lab (3 credits)

Techniques of in-lab exercise testing and result interpretation in healthy and/or diseased populations.

 ESS 606 - ESS 606 Exercise and Sport Science Testing and Instrumentation – Field (3 credits)

Techniques of field-based exercise testing and result interpretation in healthy and/or diseased populations.

 ESS 630 - ESS 630 Clinical Exercise Physiology (3 credits)

Physiological study of acute and chronic responses to exercise in diseased populations.

 ESS 640 - ESS 640 Environmental Exercise Physiology I (3 credits)

Principles of exercise physiology in extreme environmental conditions including extreme temperatures, hyper- and hypobarometric pressure, air pollution, sleep deprivation, and zero gravity. Healthy and diseased populations are studied.

 ESS 641 - ESS 641 Environmental Physiology II (3 credits)

Advanced research and principles of exercise physiology in extreme environmental conditions including extreme temperatures, hyper- and hypobarometric pressure, air pollution, sleep deprivation, and zero gravity. Healthy and diseased populations are studied. Prerequisite: Environmental Physiology I.

 ESS 650 - ESS 650 HAEP Seminar – Thesis Proposal Development (3 credits)

Current topics and issues in exercise and sport science and environmental exercise physiology. Seminar topics change each semester. Emphasis may be placed on thesis proposal development and submission of the proposal to Western’s Human Research Committee. 

 ESS 660 - ESS 660 Health Promotion (3 credits)

Development of skills in health promotion program design, implementation and evaluation. Specific emphasis may be placed on healthy and diseased populations in extreme environments. 

 ESS 675 - ESS 675 Clinical Exercise Programming (3 credits)

Role of exercise/physical activity in the prevention, pathophysiology and treatment of chronic diseases.

 ESS 685 - ESS 685 Cardiopulmonary Physiology (3 credits)

A foundation course that covers 1) the structure and function of the cardiopulmonary systems; 2) exercise-related physiological changes of the cardiopulmonary system and their applications to exercise training; and 3) pathophysiological changes secondary to cardiopulmonary dysfunction and their effects on function.

 ESS 692 - ESS 692 Independent Study (1-3 credits)

Advanced study for students with specialized interest in a particular area of environmental exercise physiology. Prerequisite: advisor permission.

 ESS 695 - ESS 695 Thesis (6 credits)

Independent research project, supervised by academic advisor.

 ESS 698 - ESS 698 Practicum/Internship (1-6 credits)

An opportunity for in-depth work at a site in the area of academic concentration. The experiences must meet standards of the department and the University. Prerequisite: advisor permission.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

High Altitude Exercise Physiology Director
BA, Mt. Holyoke College, MS, PhD, Colorado State University
Phone: (970) 943-2027
Office Location: Wright Gym 224
Assistant Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
BA, Western State Colorado University; MS, Colorado State University; PhD, University of New Mexico
Phone: (970) 943-7132
Office Location: Wright Gym 227
Chair, Department of Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
BA, Grand Valley State University; MS, PhD, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
Phone: (970) 943-7133
Office Location: Wright Gym 229