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Exercise Science program attracting more students to OU

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Exercise Science program attracting more students to OU
By Dan Bodene, contributing writer

Many people are interested in improving their health with physical activity, and Oakland University’s Exercise Science program is training students how to help them.

And OU’s program, particularly for graduate students, is booming.

For example, the School of Health Sciences (SHS) reports a 225 percent increase in enrollment in the Master of Science in Exercise Science over the past five years. The reasons for the increase are varied, but they all have something in common.

“There’s a growing awareness that more physical activity is a smart thing to do, but people don’t know the best ways to go about it,” said Brian Goslin, Ph.D., director of the Exercise Science program.

Oakland’s master’s program in Exercise Science has been particularly attractive to students because it prepares them to not only understand the role of exercise, but also its clinical aspects.

“With clinical experience, graduates can work in cardiac rehab, sports science, stress testing and other fields, in a corporate, community or commercial setting,” said Dr. Goslin.

Only two other universities in Michigan offer a clinical component in their MS in Exercise Science programs, Dr. Goslin said, so Oakland has little competition in that respect. But OU's program offers additional and distinct advantages.

One is the attention that students receive. “We make it a point to be responsive, both to those who are applying for our program, and to the students already in the program,” Dr. Goslin said. “We give advice and counsel, and provide a level of personal involvement they might not get at another school.”

Another advantage is the program’s research opportunities. For example, Exercise Science is working with Beaumont Hospitals on a study of childhood obesity, within SHS’s Prevention Research Center.

Also starting to play a role is the new Human Health Building, scheduled to open in 2012. “We’re going to have substantially more space, more labs and more opportunities,” said Dr. Goslin.

Oakland’s master’s program in Exercise Science has been noticed by students across the United States and abroad who want to go into a field with a solid future, Dr. Goslin said.

“About a third of our U.S. students are already working in the fitness industry,” Dr. Goslin said. “Personal training ‘certifications’ are mostly superficial, and these students recognize they need to know more. There is also a growing number of students who are interested in high-performance athletics.”

Another growing group is students from India. “An exercise science degree of this type is not available in India,” said Dr. Goslin. “These students are looking for a strong degree program in the U.S.”

In recognition of the program’s growth, a new member of the faculty, Dr. Tamara Hew-Butler, was hired as an assistant professor.

“There are lots of aspects to exercise science, and our staff has complementary roles,” said Dr. Goslin. “That’s also a nice way to attract students.”

For more info on the Exercise Science program, visit the website.