The nutrition concentration in the Exercise and Sport Science program is for anyone interested in the application of both basic nutrition principles and exercise in the promotion of health for individuals.

The nutrition concentration includes a strong exercise-oriented core plus additional courses that introduce students to the fundamentals of diet and nutrition and their role in overall health and well-being.

nutrition concentration


biology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, introduction to nutrition

Learning Outcomes

The University of Western States exercise and sport science program, nutrition concentration, prepares its graduates with the following competencies:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and basic skills in the prevention, recognition and evaluation of chronic disease and the roles of nutrition and exercise in preventing chronic illnesses.
  2. Understand the role of diet and dietary intake as factors for overall health, well-being and performance.
  3. Understand the role of psychology in eating choices and behaviors and how these choices influence overall health.


You can buy your textbooks online. Find the ESS textbook list here.


Online exercise and sport science students complete core courses consisting of 39 quarter credit hours. After which, they complete an additional 14-16 quarter credits comprised of courses within their chosen degree concentration to fulfill the required total number of credits.

Curriculum Sequence

View the curriculum sequence by quarter.

Course Descriptions

Click to open the course descriptions for each curriculum section below.

Core Courses

MSE6210 Foundations of Health (2 credits)

This course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the current known factors that influence human health. The course will entail a thorough review of the literature on the following topics: stress, sleep, exercise, nutrition, environment, epigenetics, etc. and the role these factors play in the health of the human animal. (2+0)

MSE6215 Psychology of Human Movement (4 credits)

This course covers the importance of the role the mind plays in all human movement including social and psychological factors related to participation and performance in physical activity, exercise and recreation. Topics include: motivation, behavior change models, societal pressures and expectations, as well as mental skills training. (4+0) 

MSE6220 Biomechanics (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of biomechanics from a qualitative perspective. This course will focus on human movement from a biomechanical perspective including identifying specific muscles and muscle groups and describing exercises for strengthening and developing those muscles. Common injuries experienced by the general population and exercises to help prevent and/or strengthen those areas will also be explored. (4+0)

MSE6225 Exercise and Special Populations (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide a strong knowledge base of best practices and current guidelines on exercise prescription for those working with any special population in an exercise of fitness setting. Various disease states such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc., will be discussed. (4+0)

MSE6500 Exercise Physiology (4 credits)

This course focuses on the physiological responses and adaptations to exercise experienced by the cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, and neuromuscular systems of the body. The laboratory component of this course will include methods of data collection and measurement relating to energy expenditure, maximal oxygen consumption, onset of blood lactate, electrocardiography, and other selected measures. (4+0) *Prerequisite: prior physiology coursework (or instructor approval). (4+0)

MSE6565 Research Methods (4 credits)

This course will explore research topics in the disciplines of sport science, understand how research methods can be utilized to form theories, learn how to critically review the published literature, and write a comprehensive literature review that can be incorporated into the Capstone Project requirement. (4+0)

MSE7145 Positive Coaching (4 credits)

This course will apply the principles of positive coaching to increase effectiveness and improve performance in the areas of sport, exercise and wellness. Students will recognize and learn to communicate evidence-based positive coaching principles to: strive for excellence; achieve optimal performance; teach and model the process of success; lead a group to becoming a highly effective team; communicate with followers as we would wish to be communicated with by our leaders; respecting and protecting self-worth of everyone; practice how to be demanding without being demeaning; and how to shape an individual’s will without breaking their spirit. (4+0) 

MSE7200 Advances in Health and Wellness (4 credits)

This course should familiarize the student with the history of the field of wellness, health education, and health promotion. The Healthy People initiative and its goals are discussed as well as priority areas. Current risk factors in preventable causes of death along with guidelines for risk reduction in the areas of diet, exercise and lifestyle are also taught. In addition, concepts needed to identify community needs, frame health promotion interventions, and how to implement and evaluate health intervention programs will be presented in order to provide the student with the necessary background for future courses in the MS program. (4+0)

MSE7345 Current Topics in Exercise and Sport Science (4 credits)

This course will review a wide breadth of current topics related to the field of exercise and sport science.  Topics will include but will not be limited to: sport and exercise psychology, obesity, fitness trends, biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology, strength training, etc. This course is a summary and review course and will include a comprehensive final exam.  

MSE8215 Sports and Exercise Performance Enhancement (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with the ability to assess and prescribe anaerobic and aerobic exercise programs for sports performance enhancement. Students will obtain hands-on experience designing programs to meet the needs of athletes from a variety of sports. (4+0) *Prerequisite: Exercise Physiology

MSE8350 Capstone Project (1 credit)

This course requires the student to produce a professional and academic portfolio that encompasses their academic experiences and professional aspirations. This will include courses taken, selected research papers and academic work as well as any professional experience pertinent to their current degree program. (1+0)

Nutrition Courses

MSN6200 Nutritional Biochemistry (2 credits)

This course provides an overview of essential concepts in human biochemistry and links those concepts to specific applications in clinical nutrition. The course examines the biological roles of macro- and micronutrients and their metabolism using basic knowledge in physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Topics include carbohydrates and energy metabolism, protein and amino acids, bioactive peptides, enzymes, fiber, lipids, the arachidonic acid cascade, minerals, water-soluble and fat-soluble micronutrients, along with an introduction to energy production, reduction-oxidization balance, and biochemical individuality. Students will explore the relationships of nutrients to major health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. (22 hours)

MSE6531 Sports and Exercise Nutrition (4 credits)

This course will cover the relationship between macronutrient and micronutrient intakes and athletic performance. Detailed knowledge of how exercise influences dietary intake, digestion, absorption, energy metabolism, and storage of nutrients will be discussed. In addition, dietary planning for weight gain and weight loss, sport specific concerns and conditions that present to athletes of all age groups regarding nutrition, and the use of dietary supplements as ergogenic aids will be explored. (4+0)

MSN8101 Nutrition in Special Populations (2 credits)

This course looks at nutritional needs and interventions in special populations, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, post-surgical patients, patients with terminal illnesses, and disabled persons who may have mental or physical conditions that affect their basic nutritional needs and their ability to utilize food normally. (22 hours)

MSN8135 Psychology of Eating and Wellness (2 credits)

This course explores our complex relationship with food: why we eat what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat too much or too little. Based on positive psychology, mind-body medicine, cognitive-behavior therapy, and a functional medicine model of psychological intervention as paths to wellness, the course also focuses on expectations, beliefs, and resistance to change. Students will examine their own eating and wellness practices, as well as their readiness for counseling others. Therapeutic interventions for developing healthy behaviors and recognizing eating disorders will be discussed and the role of family, peer, societal, corporate, and governmental influences on personal choices will be emphasized. (22 hours)


MSE8450 Research Project (4-6 credits)

During their degree program, a student completing a research project must enroll in six research project credits. Students are not eligible to receive credit for any more than six research project credits. No research project credit shall be given until the completed research project has been approved by the research project committee and accepted by the college of graduate studies. Research projects will be graded on a P/F system. No letter grade will be issued.

MSE7210 Applied Health Behavioral Theory: (4 credits)

This course will consist of a careful review of the theories of health behavior. Emphasis is placed on how health behavior theory can explain health behavior and assist in program design. Case-study examples of how health behavioral theory has been successfully used in school, community, athletic, medical and worksite wellness settings for health promotion interventions will be investigated. (4+0)

MSE7230 Health Across the Lifespan (4 credits)

This course covers the basic principles guiding growth, development and the health of individuals across the lifespan, from the prenatal period through senescence. Presents methodological, conceptual and substantive issues necessary for understanding and evaluating empirically based information about growth, development and health at different stages of life and from different academic perspectives. Course covers several themes, including contributions of biological and environmental factors to health and human development, measuring the health of individuals in communities, understanding determinants and consequences of health and development across the lifespan, measuring population health and assessing the implications of health disparities. (4+0)

MSE7250 Epidemiology in Health and Wellness (4 credits)

Epidemiology is the study of health within or among populations. This course will explore the basic concepts of epidemiology as they pertain to us and understanding for those developing and planning wellness or health promotion programs. Types of health research methods will be covered as well the basic indicators of population health and the influences that behavior and lifestyle can have on those indicators. (4+0) 

MSE8360 Professional Field Experiences (4 credits)

Practical learning opportunities will take place outside the classroom. The program director will contact organizations of interest with individual students to successfully undertake, implement, and complete a timely industry-specific internship under the supervision of an internship advisor. These organizations encompass the professional, amateur, corporate/agency, municipal, and non-profit sectors of the sports industry. (0+4)