May 29, 2024  
2020-21 Graduate Catalog 
2020-21 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sport Physiology & Performance Coaching

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Sport Physiology & Performance Coaching Program

Brian P. Edlbeck Clinical Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Timothy J. Suchomel Program Director, and Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

Program Overview

Upon successful completion of program requirements, students will earn a Master of Science degree. Sport Physiology & Performance Coaching (SPPC) Program incorporates extensive hands-on experiences through multiple practicums and an internship. Coursework includes both lecture and laboratory formats, incorporating innovative approaches to performance and exercise prescription. The mission of the SPPC Program is to prepare qualified professionals at the master’s level to work in fitness, professional sports, tactical training, and college/university settings. Upon graduation, students would possess the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in the field to sit for a variety specialty certifications, and/or doctoral level work in exercise physiology or other allied health disciplines.

Learning Outcomes

The following learning outcomes were developed based on the established scope of practice and services for sport and exercise physiology. Students completing the SPPC will possess general skills and abilities with a strong focus on strength and conditioning training, performance assessment, and programming to optimize training adaptations for athletes in a variety of sports and at all levels of competition.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Identify, perform, and interpret appropriate screenings to assess the health status of persons from diverse populations and health conditions.
  2. Appropriately apply the principles, recommendations, and skills for exercise testing and prescription, and evidence-based decision making in planning safe and effective exercise programs for persons from diverse populations and health conditions.
  3. Understand common chronic diseases and disabilities, disease progression, interventions, and the adaptations resulting from exercise, and apply this information in developing, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive programs that address client needs and goals.
  4. Understand and apply problem-solving skills and current practices in risk factor reduction and lifestyle management to include goal setting, behavior change theory, motivational strategies, and health/wellness coaching.
  5. Evaluate and use an array of testing and exercise equipment, and technologies to support clinical/sports medicine practice.
  6. Demonstrate competence in communication and interpersonal skills in the provision, instruction, and supervision of programs and services in clinical/sports medicine practice.
  7. Examine and critique the scientific literature in the discipline, synthesize relevant information, and appropriately convey that information in scientific writing and oral communication.
  8. Evaluate and understand the importance and value of ethical and professional standards of practice to include being accountable for individual non-medical judgments and professional decisions about health and fitness, preventive, rehabilitative, and/or educational services and programs, and applied research.

General Degree Requirement

The SPPC is a 15-month program, requiring a total of 40 credit hours. Students will fulfill the research requirements of the program by taking 6 credit hours of the thesis course and will present research finding at an institutional, local, regional, or national conference.


The SPPC Program admits qualified students regardless of race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or disability that does not interfere with the performance of professional practice as provided by law. Students can enter the SPPC Program in one way:

Prior Degree - An individual who has completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at another institution or at Carroll can apply for the SPPC Program.

Applications and credentials for admission to the SPPC must be submitted for processing to the Carroll University Office of Admission. Applications are reviewed case-by-case on a monthly basis, continuously throughout the year and prior to the start of the summer term (June). As decisions are made on applications, applicants are notified through the Office of Admission. Applicants must be eligible to return in good standing (be free of academic or disciplinary probation) to all institutions previously attended

Requirements for admission into the SPPC Program include:

  1. Evidence of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or an equivalent institution will be awarded prior to the start of the SPPC Program.
  2. Cumulative and pre-professional GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.0 scale) is recommended to be considered for admission.
    1. Pre-professional courses should typically be completed within the past seven years from the time of application with grades of ‘C’ or better. Candidate’s with course work older than seven years should have relevant experience within the field to be considered. Pre-professional courses are indicated below with an asterisk.
  3. Proof of current First Aid and CPR/AED certification for the professional rescuer is required prior to commencing the graduate program.
  4. National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential or equivalent (e.g., USAW, NASM-PES. If not certified, individuals will be required to become certified during the first term of the program.
  5. Successful completion of all college-level prerequisite course work (see required prerequisite course work below)

Applicants must comply with all admission requirements listed above. Selection decisions will be based on evaluation of:

  1. Graduate Studies On-line Application
  2. Supplemental application packet, which includes the following:
    1. List of three references
    2. Essay (must be typed)
    3. Experiences document or a professional resume
    4. Safety and technical standards
  3. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, including both graduate and undergraduate course work - must be mailed directly to Carroll University Admission Office.
  4. Successful completion of prerequisite course work. Pre-professional courses are indicated below with an asterisk.

International candidates may have additional admission requirements. Please contact the Office of Admission for details.

Required Courses

The following courses must be completed prior to commencing SPPC:

  • One semester of anatomy with lab, or combined anatomy and physiology I with lab*
  • One semester of physiology with lab, or combined anatomy and physiology II with lab*
  • One undergraduate level exercise physiology course*

*Indicates course work included in pre-professional GPA calculation.

Admission and progression standards are subject to change based on regulatory, licensing and/or certification needs.

Technical Standards for Admission to and Progression in the Sport Physiology & Performance Coaching Program

Successful participation in the SPPC Program requires that a student possess the ability to meet the requirements of the program. Though the program can modify certain course requirements in order to provide a handicapped person (as defined by the federal government pursuant to SS 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) with an equivalent opportunity to achieve the same results as those students without a handicap, there are no substitutions for the following essential skills. The applicant must initially meet these requirements to gain admission to the program, and must continue to meet them throughout participation in the program.

  1. Physical ability: The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to provide safe and effective assessments and interventions for clients across the lifespan. The student is expected to possess the psychomotor skills and physical abilities necessary to safely and correctly perform a wide variety of health/fitness screenings, assessments, exercise tests, and exercise demonstrations. Examples of assessments include, but are not limited to, resting vitals and other biometrics, cardiopulmonary tests, functional capacity, anaerobic testing, musculoskeletal fitness, range of motion (ROM), body composition, balance, and functional abilities. Interventions include, but are not limited to, patient education, cardiovascular fitness training, endurance training, resistance training, performance training, flexibility and ROM, neuromuscular training, and functional training.
  2. Communication ability: The student must communicate effectively verbally and non-verbally to obtain important information and to clearly explain information to others as well as to facilitate communication among the client, sport medicine professionals, and sport coaches. Each student must have the ability to speak and comprehend the English language as well as be able to read and write in a manner that meets the standards for literacy in higher education. Students must be able to actively listen and possess basic interviewing skills. The student must be able to document and maintain accurate records, and present information in a professional and appropriate manner to the target audience.
  3. Intellectual/cognitive ability: The student must demonstrate the ability to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential to the field of exercise physiology. Problem solving skills include the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and judge objective and subjective data, and to make decisions in a timely manner that reflect thoughtful deliberation and sound judgment. The student must also possess the ability to comprehend, retain, retrieve and incorporate prior knowledge with new information from multiple sources including, but not limited to self, peers, instructors and related literature to formulate sound decisions for competent client/patient management, practice management, and scholarship.
  4. Interpersonal attributes: The student is expected to demonstrate sufficient stable emotional behavior to effectively work with others, perform assessments, and perform intervention activities. Empathy, integrity, motivation, honesty, and caring are personal attributes required of those in the SPPC Program. The student must have the ability to establish rapport and maintain respectful interpersonal relationships with athletes, coaches, teams, and professionals from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds, and to collaborate effectively. Each student must be able to adapt to changing environments, displaying flexibility and a positive demeanor as well as to accept and integrate constructive criticism given in the classroom and professional settings. In addition, the student must demonstrate personal responsibility and accountability for their actions and reactions to athletes, teams, and situations to include the prompt completion of all responsibilities and tasks in the classroom and professional settings. Students must demonstrate continuous self-assessment to improve as a professional.
  5. Ability to manage stressful situations: The student must be able to adapt to, and function effectively in relation to, stressful situations encountered in both the classroom and professional settings, including emergency situations. Students will encounter multiple stressors while in the SPPC Program, and must effectively manage these stressors on an ongoing basis. These stressors might be related to (but are not limited to) personal issues, family, peers, supervisors/faculty, and clients.
  6. Health screening and background check: The student is required to complete a health screening/physical, updated immunizations and tuberculosis screening according to current Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for health professionals, criminal background investigation and drug screening as required by internship placement sites. Exceptions to the immunization requirements will be considered on a case-by-case
    basis where, for example, a student has an allergy to a vaccine or one of its components. If an exception to the immunization requirements is approved, the University cannot guarantee that its affiliated location will allow the student to participate in patient care, which is a fundamental requirement of the experiential education component of the program.


Professional Liability: Students are required to purchase professional liability insurance on an annual basis through a university endorsed provider.

Academic Progression

Progression Standards   for progression policy.


Graduate tuition and semester Program Fees are assessed to cover student liability insurance, professional memberships, personal and program related equipment and supplies for the SPPC Program are published in the Tuition and Fee Information   section of the Graduate Catalog.

Programs of Study  

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