This is a named option in the Kinesiology, M.S.

For more information, please see our program website.

Exercise Psychology is the study of psychological responses and adaptations to acute and chronic physical activity. The graduate program at UW-Madison focuses on the psychobiological aspects of physical activity in both healthy and diseased populations. Research in the Exercise Psychology Laboratory has been generally concerned with quantifying the psychophysiological responses to exercise. Numerous behavioral methods have been used to determine affective and perceptual responses to exercise including the use of biofeedback, hypnosis, imagery, meditation, and traditional relaxation interventions such as autogenic training. More recently, the laboratory’s focus has been on the psychophysiological aspects of pain, fatigue, and perceived exertion during and following exercise. These studies are being conducted in both healthy participants and patients with chronic pain and fatigue and are aimed at understanding the psychophysiological mechanisms that underlie the perceptual experience. Neuroimaging experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are also being conducted to determine neural responses related to pain, fatigue, and exercise.

Applicants for graduate study with specialization in exercise psychology are ordinarily only accepted where there is an interest in pursuing the Ph.D. Students in this area are trained in the theory and methods required for understanding the psychological and biological bases of behavior. Emphasis is placed upon the demonstration of competence in general psychology, exercise psychology, exercise science, statistics and research design rather than completion of specific courses. Each candidate’s program of formal course work and independent study is tailored in a personalized manner to accommodate the individual’s research and career goals.

This program is committed to providing graduate students with the best available training to prepare them for a variety of careers in academic, clinical, research, government, and other settings. Emphasis is on both extensive academic training in quantitative methods, kinesiology, and general psychology along with extensive research training in the area of exercise psychology. Students are expected to become creative scientists and to exhibit early and continuing commitment to research and scholarship. Most students have several publications in refereed journals to their credit before receiving their Ph.D.’s. While most of the graduates of this program are currently teaching and conducting research at the university level, some have elected to pursue clinical, administrative, and research careers in government, university, and commercial settings.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline February 15
Spring Deadline December 1
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency)
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Applications may be considered after February 15.

For admission, the Graduate School requires, as does the Kinesiology department, a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0=A scale) on the last 60 semester hours (or equivalent) of undergraduate coursework. An applicant must submit academic transcripts from each institution attended and a statement of reasons for graduate study. If a professor in the area of interest agrees to serve as the prospective student's advisor, then the department's graduate office recommends the applicant for admission to the Graduate School. Please consult the kinesiology website for further details of these requirements and procedures. 

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements

mode of instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions 

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

 curricular requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. This program follows the Graduate School's policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Not required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

required courses 

KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 14
KINES 990 Research or Thesis4+
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
Suggested Electives19
There are no specific courses required of candidates for the M.S. in the Exercise Psychology named option. Electives courses to meet the degree requirements are chosen in consultation with the advisor. Each candidate’s program of formal course work and independent study is tailored in a personalized manner to accommodate the individual’s research and career goals.
Total Credits30
1

All Kinesiology M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to register for KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology for 1 credit each semester they are enrolled in the program, for a minimum of 4 credits.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

named option-specific policies

PRIOR COURSEWORK

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. 

UW-Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW-Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree. 

UW-Madison University Special

This program follows the Graduate School's policy for Transfer from UW-Madison University Special Student Career at UW-Madison.

PROBATION

This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.

ADVISOR/COMMITTEE

This program follows the Graduate School's Advisor policy and the Graduate School's Committees policy

Primary faculty mentor will be the main advisor. The Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Program Manager will provide additional support and advising as needed.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

TIME LIMITS

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Within the Department, completion of required courses within two years of matriculation is considered satisfactory progress. See the Graduate Program Handbook link in Contact Information for more information.

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Any student who feels that they have been treated unfairly by a faculty or staff member has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing of the grievance, following these grievance procedures. The complaint may concern course grades, classroom treatment, program admission, or other issues. To insure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect both the rights of the student and the person at whom the complaint is addressed, the procedures below are used in the School of Education.

The person whom the complaint is directed against must be an employee of the School of Education. Any student or potential student may use these procedures unless the complaint is covered by other campus rules or contracts. The following steps are available within the School of Education when a student has a grievance:

  1. The student should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant, and the student is not satisfied, the next step would be to talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may continue to step 2.
  2. If the complaint does not involve an academic department, the procedure outlined in Step 4 below should be followed. If the complaint involves an academic department, the student should contact the chair of the department. The chair will attempt to resolve the problem informally. If this cannot be done to the student's satisfaction, the student may submit the grievance to the chair in writing. This must be done within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  3. On receipt of a written complaint, the chair will refer the matter to a departmental committee, which will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The chair will provide a timely written decision to the student on the action taken by the committee.
  4. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the department, they have five working days from receipt of the decision to contact the dean's office (at the number below), indicating the intention to appeal. If the complaint does not involve an academic department in the school, the student must contact the dean's office within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. In either case, there will be an attempt to resolve the issue informally by the associate dean. If this cannot be done, the complaint can be filed in writing with the dean's office. This must be done within 10 working days of the time the appealing party was notified that informal resolution was unsuccessful.
  6. On receipt of such a written complaint, the associate dean will convene a subcommittee of the school's Equity & Diversity Committee. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing at which both parties will be asked to speak separately. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Education who will render a decision. Unless a longer time is negotiated, this written decision shall be made within 20 working days from the date when the grievance was filed with the dean's office.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, 361 Bascom Hall, 608-265-6018, uwcomplianceoffice@wisc.edu.

OTHER

n/a

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Faculty mentors in Exercise Psychology include:

Dane Cook
Kelli Koltyn

Contact information for faculty and lab information can be found on the Kinesiology website.