Ashland University Receives Approval for New Master of Science Degree

Ashland University Receives Approval for New Master of Science Degree

2/25/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission for the offering of a new master of science degree program in applied exercise science.

“The MS degree in applied exercise science was reconfigured from the Master of Education degree in applied exercise science that was first offered in 2003,” said Dr. Doug Fiore, interim provost at Ashland University. “This is a program in which we already have faculty leadership and alumni, and we are very excited about offering this program through our College of Nursing and Health Sciences.”

Fiore credited Dr. Faye Grund, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr. Randall Gearhart, chair and professor of health sciences; and the faculty for their work in restructuring the program.

Grund said the fully online program has residency requirements associated with some coursework that will be held on AU’s main campus in Ashland.

“This 33-hour, M.S. in Applied Exercise Science can be completed in as little as 15 months,” Grund said. “We know that adult students have busy lives and many prefer online academic programs. That’s why we designed a program that can be completed online with minimal residency requirements to demonstrate strength and conditioning techniques.”

Gearhart, who serves as director for the MS program, said he is excited about the new program, which emphasizes the strength and conditioning aspects of exercise science. “The MS degree prepares students to sit for a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification available through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA),” he said.

The program is the only graduate program recognized as an Education Recognition Program (ERP) by the NSCA in Ohio. “Every graduate is prepared to attain certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification or American College of Sports Medicine Health/Fitness Instructor,” he said.

Gearhart said graduates of the program will be prepared to work in a variety of venues serving as company health and wellness directors, college coaches and fitness instructors, or they will be prepared to pursue graduate education in occupational or physical therapy.

Gearhart said the coursework in the first specialization, Applied Exercise Science, will be started in the summer of 2015. He said those interested in more information can call 419.207.6198 or visit the program website at:

According to Grund, Ashland University students who are currently enrolled in the Master of Education Applied Exercise Science program will be transitioned into the new program or allowed to complete the M.Ed program.

Both Fiore and Grund said AU leadership is considering additional opportunities for master’s programs at Ashland. “This is a natural place to start and we believe it will be the beginning of what will be other programs that are in various stages of development,” Fiore said.

Grund said the new degree will provide opportunities for the College to broaden program delivery within nursing and health sciences. “Interdisciplinary collaborative practice will be the foundation for program development moving forward. Other specializations within exercise science will be developed over the next year, including cardiac rehabilitation,” she said.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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