Both new programs offer a traditional admission option where students begin coursework after completing their undergraduate degree at Gannon or elsewhere, as well as an advanced-entry option whereby students are accepted as high school seniors and transition seamlessly from the bachelor’s to master’s program and complete degree requirements in just five years.
The Master of Science degree, which was first offered in the summer of 2013, features 36 credits of advanced coursework and applied experiences in the areas of sport physiology, sport biomechanics, sport nutrition and sport psychology. Full-time students can complete the degree in 11 months and may choose either the thesis track where they will engage in novel, hands-on research experiences, or a non-thesis track, where they will gain valuable experience as a strength and conditioning specialist with one of 20 varsity sports at Gannon or other sports teams in the surrounding area. All coursework is offered in the evening, allowing for students to maintain full-time employment while pursuing the degree.
The Master of Athletic Training program, which is currently accepting students, is slated to begin in the fall of this year. The program features 52 credits of coursework, including four intensive clinical experiences both within the Gannon athletic department or abroad. Students will have the option of finishing second- year coursework online while completing their final two clinical experiences. Similar to the Master of Science program, the entry-level program has both a two-year post-baccalaureate option for those who have completed an undergraduate degree, as well as a five-year option for qualified students who enter as freshmen. Students in the Master of Athletic Training program will gain valuable knowledge of the mechanics of sports injury, the rehabilitation process and will work hands-on with competition athletes.
For sport and exercise science department chair and assistant professor, Jay Willow, Ph.D., the creation of the programs was a natural progression toward the continued development of a successful department. “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. With the growth of the undergraduate program and the 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,” Willow said.
The new degree options come at an exciting time at Gannon, as renovation continues at the on-campus Recreation Center. Renovations include the addition of state-of-the-art human performance testing facilities. Said Willow, “Couple the new graduate programs with the modernization of the Recreation Center, and you have a very bright future for current and future students who are passionate about sport, fitness and physical activity.”