High Altitude Exercise Physiology 3+2

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Wellness Elevated: Work with clinical populations and their exercise programming for a semester or more.
  • Assistantships: Gunnison Valley Health collaborates with the HAEP program to set up five full tuition research assistantship positions with the rehabilitation department.
  • Shadowing: Opportunities to shadow practicing clinicians exist both locally and throughout the United States.
  • Research Funding: Apply for research stipends from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that range in the thousands of dollars. All projects are published in ACE’s ProSource magazine and submitted to various journals.
  • Paid Positions: At the end of their fourth year, students can apply to be a paid trainer in our Wellness Elevated program, where they perform fitness assessments, write exercise prescriptions and train clients.

Faculty & Staff


Christina Buchanan, Ph.D. headshot
Professor, High Altitude Exercise Physiology Director
Phone: 970.943.2027
Office Location: Paul Wright Gym 224
Lance Dalleck, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
Phone: 970.943.3095
Office Location: High Altitude Performance Lab 171
Shan Hays, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. headshot
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Phone: 970.943.2311
Office Location: Hurst Hall 225


HAEP 3+2 students earn their bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sport Science or Biology and master’s degree in High Altitude Exercise Physiology in just five years. Early exposure to novel research through the High Altitude Performance Laboratory (HAP Lab)—7,717 feet above sea level—enables students to gain career-ready skills normally found only in graduate school. By the graduate portion of the program, students pursue the research topics of their choice, publish in scientific journals and work closely with real patients.

Degree Details

  • B.S. in Exercise & Sport Science with an emphasis in Clinical Exercise Physiology: A comprehensive major grounded in the natural sciences with a heightened focus on exercise science and working with clinical populations and athletes.
  • B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Health Sciences: Designed for students interested in becoming occupational therapists, physician assistants and cardiac rehab therapists.
  • M.S. in High Altitude Exercise Physiology: A graduate degree that prepares students for careers in performance, academia, research or clinical practice, as well as further study in the discipline of exercise science.

How It Works

For the first three years, students take courses to fulfill their bachelor’s degree while completing the requirements to become provisionally admitted to the HAEP program. During their fourth year, students take a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses. At the end of that year, they earn their B.S. and are considered fully admitted to the HAEP master’s program. During their fifth and final year, students complete their graduate-level coursework and a thesis project. The thesis consists of an original research project—designed, implemented and presented by the student and their thesis advisors.

Tuition & Aid

For the first three years, students in the HAEP 3+2 program pay undergraduate tuition and are eligible for undergraduate financial aid. The fourth year, students take a combination of graduate credits and undergraduate credits, maintaining their access to undergraduate financial aid as they complete their bachelor’s degree. In the final year, students pay graduate tuition. Altogether, this reduces the cost of a normal master’s degree by about one year of what a traditional program would cost. Furthermore, HAEP tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

Learn More

Reach out to Christina Buchanan, Ph.D. for more information.