Exercise Physiology


Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Science

Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Exercise Physiology, Executive Chairperson, Dept. of Human Performance & Applied Exercise Science, Senior Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies,  Director of Graduate Studies Master’s Program, salway@hsc.wvu.edu; http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ep/students/master-of-science/    

Randall W. Bryner, Ed.D, Associate Professor, Vice Chair, and Director of Undergraduate Education, rbryner@hsc.wvu.edu; http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ep/students/bachelor-of-science/

John M. Hollander, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral Graduate Studies, jhollander@hsc.wvu.edu; http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ep/students/phd-program/


The mission of the Division of Exercise Physiology is to prepare qualified professionals at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels to promote health and quality of life through the use of appropriate physical activity and lifestyle behaviors. In addition it is our mission to provide exercise physiology programs and expertise at the community, state, and national level, and to make meaningful scientific contributions to the discipline of exercise science through faculty research and by training graduate students in research skills.The WVU Exercise Physiology Program was established in the Health Sciences Center’s School of Medicine in July 1993. The program offers a four-year curriculum leading to a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology, a two-year program leading to a masters of science (clinical or thesis track), and a doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. The Bachelor of Science program meets the knowledge, skill, and aptitude (KSA) requirements for students to be eligible to take the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness National Examination and the National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Examination.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

Exercise physiology is the study of the biological and biochemical processes associated with exercise and overload that affects the underlying function of cells and organ systems in the human body. Exercise physiology is a rapidly evolving field that is becoming increasingly important in the delivery of healthcare. Exercise physiologists work to prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease in healthy participants or to provide therapeutic or functional benefits to patients with known disease. Services may be offered in a variety of medical settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and out-patient clinics; in community, corporate, commercial, and university fitness and wellness centers; in nursing homes and senior citizens centers; as well as in research and academic settings.

Research by scientists trained in exercise physiology have greatly expanded our understanding of the ways in which exercise affects cell function. Advances in research in exercise physiology have provided a foundation for many types of medical treatment in areas that include but are not limited to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, aging, obesity, and disuse atrophy. Employment opportunities are expanding and increase with experience and level of education.

Exercise physiologists are trained to evaluate people in the areas of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, neuromuscular integration, and body composition. They are also trained to provide exercise programs based on the results of these evaluations that are designed to increase the functional capacity of the participants.

Exercise physiologists work with athletes, patients, and healthy participants in the areas of disease prevention in wellness programs or rehabilitation in hospital settings. The bachelor of science program is a preparatory program for graduate school. Graduates of this program continue their studies in exercise physiology, physical therapy, medicine, or other health-related careers. Graduates of the master of science or doctoral program find employment in corporate wellness, hospital rehabilitation, higher education, or other research settings. Graduates of our Ph.D. program have obtained postdoctoral positions in prestigious universities and medical schools. Additionally, they may be employed in a wide variety of private, community, state, and national agencies. Exercise physiology is an evolving field that is becoming increasingly important with the integration of preventive medicine into the healthcare system. Employment opportunities are expanding and increasing with experience and level of education.


Students must meet the minimum requirements for WVU for admission to the program. For undergraduate students, all coursework completed prior to transfer to the exercise physiology program requires at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average and a grade of C or better in all required courses. All graduate students must have a minimal GPA of 3.0 and submit GRE scores. International students must also submit TOEFL scores for admission.

Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

A grade of C- or higher must be earned in all graded courses required for the major. (a maximum of three attempts will be given). In addition, students must maintain a minimal cumulative GPA of 2.5 to remain in the program. Students who fail to meet or maintain these minimal requirements will be eligible for dismissal.
ATTR 121Sport Injury Control and Management3
BIOL 101
BIOL 103
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 2) *
BIOL 102
BIOL 104
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 2 ) *
CHEM 115Fundamentals of Chemistry (GEF 8)4
CHEM 116Fundamentals of Chemistry4
Select one of the following sequences:4
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
EXPH 100Orientation: Exercise Physiology 11
EXPH 101Introduction to Exercise Physiology1
EXPH 240Medical Terminology1
EXPH 364Kinesiology3
EXPH 369Strength/Conditioning Methods4
EXPH 370Writing for Exercise Science3
EXPH 386Advanced Physiology of Exercise 13
EXPH 387Advanced Physiology of Exercise 23
EXPH 388Physiology of Exercise Laboratory 11
EXPH 389Advanced Physiology of Exercise Lab 21
EXPH 491Professional Field Experience4
EXPH 475Industry Organization in Exercise Physiology3
EXPH 493Special Topics3
EXPH 496Senior Thesis3
Math Requirement (Choose one of the following sequences; May fulfill GEF 3):6
HN&F 171Introduction to Human Nutrition3
College Algebra 5-Day
and Plane Trigonometry (OR)
College Algebra 4-Day
and Plane Trigonometry (OR) **
College Algebra 3-Day
and Plane Trigonometry
Or select one of the following courses:
Pre-Calculus Mathematics
Applied Calculus
Calculus 1
PHYS 101Introductory Physics4
PHYS 102Introductory Physics4
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology (GEF 4)3
PSYC 241Introduction to Human Development3
Select one of the following:4
Elementary Physiology
Mechanisms of Body Function
Select one of the following:3
Elementary Statistical Inference
Elementary Business and Economics Statistics
GEF Requirements 1, 5, 6, and 715
Electives (May vary depending on overlap with area of emphasis if selected)18
All students must complete 25 hours of community service per year.
Total Hours120

BIOL 115 and any other 4 credit BIOL with lab may be substituted for BIOL 101–104. BIOL 115,BIOL 117, CHEM 233, CHEM 234, CHEM 235, and CHEM 236 are required for Health Professions AOE.


MATH 129, MATH 150, or MATH 155 may be substituted for MATH 126A or MATH 126B and MATH 128.

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3
EXPH 1001EXPH 1011
MATH 126B (GEF 3)3MATH 128 (GEF 8)3
PSYC 101 (GEF 4)3BIOL 102
BIOL 104 (GEF 8)
HN&F 1713GEF 5, 6, or 73
 15 15
Second Year
PHYS 1014PHYS 1024
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3CHEM 1164
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)4PSIO 2414
EXPH 2401EXPH 3643
GEF 5, 6, or 73 
 15 15
Third Year
ATTR 1213CHEM 2314
PSYC 2413EXPH 3694
EXPH 3703EXPH 3873
EXPH 3863EXPH 3891
EXPH 3881EXPH 4933
 15 15
Fourth Year
EXPH 4963EXPH 4914
STAT 2113EXPH 4753
GEF 5, 6 or 73 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Areas of Emphasis

Aquatic Therapy Area of Emphasis Requirements

Minimum GPA of 2.5 required.
EXPH 450Theory of Aquatic Therapy4
EXPH 451Application of Aquatic Therapy3
EXPH 452Aquatic Therapy Facility Management3
EXPH 491Professional Field Experience6
Total Hours16


Health Professions Area of Emphasis Requirements

All courses must be completed but 12 hours replace courses from the general course list
BIOC 339Introduction to Biochemistry4
or BIOC 531 General Biochemistry
or AGBI 410 Introductory Biochemistry
BIOL 115Principles of Biology4
BIOL 117Introductory Physiology4
BIOL 219The Living Cell4
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 234
CHEM 236
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
EXPH 460Pathophysiology3
Select 1 of the following:3
General Microbiology
Advanced Cellular/Molecular Biology
Molecular Basis of Cellular Growth
Developmental Biology
Molecular Genetics
Neuroscience 1
Cell and Molecular Biology Methods
Molecular Endocrinology
Molecular Endocrinology-Laboratory
Comparative Anatomy
Vertebrate Microanatomy
Principles of Genetics
Total Hours30

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
EXPH 1001EXPH 1011
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)4ENGL 1013
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4MATH 128 (GEF 8)3
MATH 126B (GEF 3)3BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
PSYC 1013CHEM 1164
 ATTR 2193
 15 18
Second Year
BIOL 2194PHYS 1024
EXPH 3643CHEM 234
CHEM 236
HN&F 1713ENGL 1023
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4EXPH 2401
PHYS 1014PSIO 2414
 18 16
Third Year
BIOC 3394STAT 2113
EXPH 3863EXPH 3694
EXPH 3881EXPH 3703
GEF 5, 6, or 73EXPH 3873
 EXPH 3891
 PSYC 2413
 11 17
Fourth Year
EXPH 4603ATTR 1213
EXPH 4963EXPH 4753
BIOL 310 (or other Elective Science)3EXPH 4914
GEF 5, 6, or 73GEF 5, 6, or 73
 12 13
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Goals

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Physiology

The Bachelor of Science program in exercise physiology is a preparatory program for graduate or professional school in areas such as exercise physiology, physical therapy, or medicine. The undergraduate program includes courses in science, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, first aid emergency care, and business, and hands-on laboratories in exercise physiology, and exercise instruction. Students will also complete a 134 hr. clinical internship or research in their senior year. Select senior students can also take a hands on cadaver dissection gross anatomy laboratory to further enhance their ability to compete for admission to Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Medicine or other Rehabilitative Science graduate programs.

Students will:

  • Identify physiological, molecular, cellular, and integrative systems concepts in exercise physiology to athletic and diseased populations
  • Critically interpret the current scientific literature in areas of health and disease that are impacted by exercise
  • Develop critical hands-on-experience for identifying health problems through proper evaluations
  • Describe and demonstrate proper exercise techniques for healthy, and unhealthy populations
  • Design and interpret stress test experiments for evaluation of health risk
  • Demonstrate technical skills in conducting clinical assessments for cardiovascular or skeletal muscle function
  • Articulate, verbally and in writing, their understanding of physiology and anatomical concepts in health and disease that are impacted by exercise intervention
  • Discuss relevant scientific ethical issues pertinent to working as a team of health care providers  
  • Engage with fellow students and faculty and demonstrate teamwork in research and laboratory assessments of persons with or without health risks

EXPH 100. Orientation: Exercise Physiology 1. 1 Hour.

Orientation to degree requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, and student responsibilities in Exercise Physiology. Promoting academic success strategies and exposing students to future career opportunities in Exercise Physiology.

EXPH 101. Introduction to Exercise Physiology. 1 Hour.

A broad and foundational look at the function and adaptation of the systems of the human body in response to exercise.

EXPH 230. Exercise in American Culture. 3 Hours.

Covers issues of exercise in America, specifically themes integral to American culture such as age, class, race, gender, and beauty.

EXPH 235. Introduction to Global Issues in Exercise Physiology. 3 Hours.

History, concepts, theories, and ethics of development, colonialism, and charity as they impact health and wellness locally, in the United States, and across the world. Topics such as poverty, food insecurity, women’s rights, disease outbreaks, and NGOs are discussed to provide a broader perspective on how the past has impacted our present.

EXPH 240. Medical Terminology. 1 Hour.

PR: Sophomore standing. The study of medical language with special emphasis given to terms used in the field of exercise physiology.

EXPH 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

EXPH 350. Anatomy for Exercise Physiology. 3 Hours.

PR: (BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 and BIOL 103 and BIOL 104) or BIOL 115, with a minimum grade of C- in each. Provides students an in-depth integrative understanding of human anatomy. A regional approach will be used to learn typical and atypical anatomical structures of the human body. Clinical correlations will made throughout each topical area.

EXPH 351. Gross Anatomy Laboratory for Exercise Physiology. 1 Hour.

PR: ((BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 and BIOL 103 and BIOL 104) or BIOL 115) and PR or CONC: EXPH 350 with a minimum grade of C- in all and Junior level status. Provides an in-depth integrative understanding of human anatomy. Lab activities associated with co-requisite lectures will be used to learn typical and atypical anatomical structures of the human body.

EXPH 364. Kinesiology. 3 Hours.

PR: MATH 126A or MATH 126B or MATH 126C or MATH 129 or (ACT math score of 26 or SAT math score of 580 and (QRA Part 1 score of 15 and QRA Part 2 score of 9)) and sophomore standing or consent. Anatomical, mechanical, and musculoskeletal study of the human body as the instrument for efficient performance of motor activities. (Laboratory work included.).

EXPH 365. Exercise Physiology 1. 3 Hours.

PR: Junior standing or consent. The study of the functioning of body systems during exercise and the acute and chronic adaptations that occur from exercise stress.

EXPH 368. Lab Techniques and Methods. 3 Hours.

PR: Junior standing and EXPH 364 and EXPH 365 or consent. Techniques and methods for designing and conducting exercise programs for asymptomatic, healthy individuals.

EXPH 369. Strength/Conditioning Methods. 4 Hours.

PR: EXPH 364 and EXPH 386. Scientific foundations of strength and conditioning with skills and methods to apply that knowledge in clinical exercise training.

EXPH 370. Writing for Exercise Science. 3 Hours.

PR: (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) or ENGL 103 and PR or CONC: EXPH 386. Writing for medical scientific fields. Students will develop a book review, analyze discipline-specific texts, and write scientific literature reviews. Includes a review of style and language use.

EXPH 386. Advanced Physiology of Exercise 1. 3 Hours.

PR: ((BIOL 101 through BIOL 104) or (BIOL 115 and BIOL 117)) and CHEM 115 and PHYS 101. The study of the major systems of the body and how they function during acute and chronic adaptations that occur from exercise stress. Special focus is given to metabolism and the neuromuscular, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.

EXPH 387. Advanced Physiology of Exercise 2. 3 Hours.

PR: EXPH 386 and EXPH 388. A study of the functioning of body systems during exercise and the acute and chronic adaptations that occur from exercise stress. Special focus is given to the endocrine system, obesity and body composition, exercise throughout the lifespan, environmental exercise stress, and clinical exercise physiology.

EXPH 388. Physiology of Exercise Laboratory 1. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC: EXPH 386 with a minimum grade of C-. A study of the laboratory techniques and methods used in clinical and athletic settings by exercise professionals specifically as they relate to those topics covered in EXPH 386.

EXPH 389. Advanced Physiology of Exercise Lab 2. 1 Hour.

PR: EXPH 386 and EXPH 388. A study of the laboratory techniques and methods used in clinical and athletic settings by exercise professionals specifically as they relate to those topics covered in EXPH 387.

EXPH 393. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

EXPH 450. Theory of Aquatic Therapy. 4 Hours.

PR: Junior standing or consent. An introduction to aquatic therapy. It covers the historical perspective, biophysiologic response to water immersion, and application of aquatic therapy to specific physical diagnoses.

EXPH 451. Application of Aquatic Therapy. 3 Hours.

PR: Junior standing and EXPH 450 and consent. Design and implementation of aquatic exercise prescriptions to meet rehabilitation goals. Aquatic therapy techniques will be demonstrated and practiced.

EXPH 452. Aquatic Therapy Facility Management. 3 Hours.

PR or CONC: EXPH 450 and Junior standing and consent. Facility design, water chemistry, water safety, and aquatic programming for special populations including rehabilitation, community re-entry, and wellness programs in a comprehensive continuum of care.

EXPH 460. Pathophysiology. 3 Hours.

PR: EXPH 365 and junior standing. CoReq: PHYS 241. The study of disease etiology and the physiological changes that occur from disease, with special emphasis given to the use of exercise in disease prevention and therapy.

EXPH 470. Research Methods. 3 Hours.

PR: Senior standing. CoReq: EXPH 496. The study of the scientific method and research design as it relates to the field of exercise physiology and preventive medicine.

EXPH 475. Industry Organization in Exercise Physiology. 3 Hours.

Prepares exercise physiology students to work in health care fitness related fields and promotes knowledge on how to build a business plan for entrepreneurship.

EXPH 480. Tissue Biomechanics. 3 Hours.

PR: EXPH 350 with a minimum grade of C-. An introduction to the biomechanical properties and behavior of human tissues and joints. Human tissue behavior under various loading conditions, including, sitting, standing, gait, and fundamental movement skills will be discussed. In addition, the development and etiology of fractures, strains, sprains, and arthroplasty will be presented and discussed.

EXPH 481. Applied Neuromechanics. 3 Hours.

PR: EXPH 350 with a minimum grade of C-. An introduction to the study of the nervous system control of muscle activation and movement outcomes. Relationships among neural and muscle tissues, neural elements and force production, acute and chronic adaptations to stress, neural plasticity, neural elements of movement disorders, prevention of and recovery from injury will be discussed.

EXPH 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

EXPH 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experimental learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

EXPH 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

EXPH 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

EXPH 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

EXPH 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

EXPH 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

Independent research projects.

EXPH 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.



  • Stephen E. Alway - Ph.D. (McMaster University)
    Professor, Sarcopenia, Muscle Waisting, Diabetes and Muscle Injury

Associate Professors

  • Daniel Bonner - MS (West Virginia University)
    Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Randall W Bryner - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
    Vice Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Diabetes, Exercise, Cancer
  • David Donley - MS (West Virginia University)
    Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome
  • Diana Gilleland - MS (West Virginia University)
    Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • John M. Hollander - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Director Graduate Education, Cardiovascular Research in Diabetes
  • Guyton W Hornsby, Jr. - Ph.D. (Louisiana State University)
    Diabetes and Depression
  • I. Mark Olfert - Ph.D. (Loma Linda University)
    Angiogenesis, Respiratory Physiology
  • Lori Sherlock - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
    Aquatic Therapy in Diabetes

Assistant Professors

  • Paul D. Chantler - Ph.D. (Liverpool John Moores University)
    Metabolic Syndrom, Vascular Biology, Effects of Aging and CV Diseases on Arterial and Ventricular Structure and Function
  • Junaith S. Mohamed - Tamil Nadu, India
    Muscle regeneration, injury repair, muscle fatigue, genomics
  • Beth Nardella - M.A. (West Virginia University)
    Writing Instructor
  • Emidio E. Pistilli - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Muscular Dystrophy, Muscle Injury, Cytokines
  • James Thomas - M.S. (West Virginia University)
    Exercise, Children, Strength Training
  • Sergiy Yakovenko - Ph.D. (University of Alberta)
    Neuromuscular Integration of Movement

Adjunct Associate Professor

  • Ming Pei - Ph.D. (Beijing University, China)
    Stem Cells, Cartilage Repair


  • Emily Ryan - Ph.D. (Kent State University)
    Obesity, Exercise

Adjunct assistant professor

  • Brent Baker - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Muscle injury, regeneration, rehabilitation



  • Stephen E Alway - Ph.D. (McMaster University)
    Chair of Exercise Physiology; Executive Chairperson, Dept. Human Performance & Applied Exercise Science;Senior Assistant Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, and Director of Masters Graduate Programs

Vice Chair and Director of Undergraduate Education

  • Randall Bryner - Ed.D.
    Director of Undergraduate Education.

Director of Ph.D. Graduate Program

  • John Hollander - Ph.D.
    Director of Graduate Studies