M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP) 3+2


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For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.


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.


Research design and methodology in environmental exercise physiology.


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


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


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.


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: ESS 640.

 ESS 650 - Thesis Proposal Development (3 cred.)

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 Human Research Committee.


Role of exercise/physical activity in the prevention, pathophysiology and treatment of chronic diseases. Hands on clinical exercising programming experiences.


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 695 - THESIS (6 cred.)

Independent research project, supervised by academic advisor. Prerequisites: second year graduate standing, ESS 650.

 ESS 698 - Practicum/Internship (1-6 cred.)

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


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


Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

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.

HAEP 3+2 students earn their bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sport Science or Biology and Master of Science in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology in just five years. Early exposure to cutting-edge 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 Exercise & Sport Science: 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.


Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Photo of Terri Stinson
Administrative Assistant
Office Location: 
Paul Wright Gym 209

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