New graduate programs added

Gannon University announced the creation of two new graduate degree programs – the Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Science and Master of Athletic Training – on Monday. These two master’s programs are offered through the sport and exercise science department.

The creation of the programs was a natural progression toward the continued development of an already prosperous academic department, Jason Willow, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of sport and exercise science, said.

“Our graduates have excelled at the graduate level – which is a testament to both the abilities of the student as well as to the expertise and passion of our faculty – and with the growth of the undergraduate successes that our students have achieved after leaving Gannon, we felt that it was only natural that we build upon our strengths and offer graduate-level education right here at home.”

David Thompson, a junior sport and exercise science major, said he thinks the master’s degree is a great idea to expand education at the university. Thompson is doing the 4+1 master’s program at Gannon.

“It gives more options to focus and direct what you want to do in the program,” Thompson said. “Exercise science is a growing field.”

Students must meet minimum GPA requirements – both overall and in specific prerequisite coursework – for entry into the graduate programs.

The Master of Science degree began in the summer and features 36 credits of advanced coursework and applied experiences in the areas of sport physiology, sport biomechanics, sport nutrition and sport psychology, Willow said.

The Master of Athletic Training – which is currently accepting students – is slated to begin in fall 2014. The program features 52 credits of coursework completed over 21 months of continuous enrollment, Willow said.

Christina Zappa, a junior sport and exercise science major, said she thinks this addition will continue to increase admissions at Gannon.

“Once the new Rec is complete, it is supposed to include lab spaces that the sport classes can utilize – from what I heard,” Zappa said.

Zappa said she is planning on applying to Gannon’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Both of the new master’s programs offer a traditional admission option where students begin coursework after completing their undergraduate degree at Gannon.

The sport and exercise science undergraduate program started in 2001 and the faculty in the department have been discussing the need for graduate programs since the 2004-2005 academic year.

“We did not want to rush into offering a subpar product, but rather we wanted to build our infrastructure so that we could offer master’s-level educational opportunities both in the classroom and in applied settings,” Willow said.

The sport and exercise science program has begun a faculty search to fill the position of program director in athletic training and will hire an additional faculty member to start in July 2015, Willow said.


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