Master of Science in Health and Human Performance Program Overview

Welcome Statement

Two of the most notable issues in society today are the provisions of health care and the rising concern with the epidemic of obesity.  Many more Americans are becoming aware of their health and its relationship to the quality of life with health and aging. Although they may understand the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining good health, they often are uneducated or untrained as to proper exercise techniques and how to ensure proper nutrition. Hence, there is an increasing demand for trained health care professionals who can serve the general public by raising awareness and providing quality instruction, both of which may help reduce health care costs and assist individuals in improving and maintaining their health.

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Health and Human Performance will develop trained professionals. The coursework has been designed to allow students to develop and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of clinical evaluation, fitness assessment, nutrition, and exercise prescription. As student’s progress through the program they will have opportunities to work with normal, healthy individuals, active ager’s, cardiac patients, and centenarians and will gain experience working with populations with chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiac conditions, to enable them to understand and assist in their treatment.

Careers for HHP Graduates: College Professor, Exercise Physiologist, Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist, Biomechanist, Sport Psychologist, City Sports Recreation Director, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Fitness Trainer, Sports Official, Athletic Trainer, Recreation Leader, Physical Education Teacher, Health Education Teacher, Athletic Coach, Athletic Director, Physical Education Administrator, Public Health Education, Sports Facilities Manager, Aquatics Specialist, Choreographer, Camp Director, Sports Information Director, Recreation and Intramural Director, Therapeutic Recreation , Specialist, or continue towards their doctorate in their related field.


Program Description

The Master of Science in Health and Human Performance (HHP) program at Sul Ross State University is an all-online , thirty three (33) hour fast-track graduate program to accommodate interested individuals with a desire to work in a health or sports setting. The HHP program runs on 8-week terms, meaning courses begin and end every 8 weeks instead of the more traditional 16-week full-semester format. The one-year fast track allows highly motivated students to complete the program in one-year; however students are also permitted to enroll at less than full-time and therefore can complete the program at any desired pace, up to 6 years. Notably, we provide a quality learning environment through lecture, discussion, practical experience, and internships to prepare our students for a career as a health or sports professional.  Our program allows the flexibility for interested students to enter during the fall and spring semesters. Thank you for your interest in the HHP program.

In developing this program, the department has carefully studied the needs of current health professionals, teachers, coaches, athletic directors, corporate wellness employees, and assistants in athletic programs. Graduates of the program will be able to pursue advanced career opportunities such as: Exercise Physiology, Sport History, Motor Development, Sport Pedagogy, Motor Learning, Sports Medicine (Athletic Training, Pre-PT), Biomechanics, Sport Philosophy, Sport Psychology, Sport Sociology, Sport Management, Adapted Physical Education, Health Education, Physical Education, Leisure, and Recreation.


Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. An applicant with a GPA slightly below 3.00 may, with permission of the program coordinator or chair, enter the program on probation; however he or she must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the graduate curriculum to continue. Other applicants with an undergraduate GPA slightly below 3.00 but who have earned at least a 3.00 GPA in six or more credit hours of graduate work may be admitted unconditionally.

Applicants who are international students must have a minimum score of 550 or the equivalent on the TOEFL [a minimum TOEFL of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer based), or 79 (Internet based)], or the equivalent on another appropriate examination, such as the IELTS.

Admission Procedure

The application for admission to the Master of Science in Health and Human Performance may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions.  Please apply through and have official transcripts mailed to the Admissions Office. 

Graduation Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum 3.00 GPA throughout program. All degree requirements must be completed within six years of matriculation. Every student must pass a comprehensive exam prior to enrolling in the advanced practicum or internship.

Program Length

Courses in the Master of Science in Health and Human Performance are offered in 8-week-long online sessions (or 5-weeks in the summer terms). Assume satisfactory progress, the entire program can be completed in one academic year (two regular semesters plus summer). Full time graduate students normally take two courses each session, and complete 12 credit hours each semester, thus completing 24 credit hours within two semesters. Immediately following completion of the first 24 credit hours, all students must take and pass a comprehensive exam, thereby qualifying them to enroll in the advanced practicum or internship (KES 5909) during that following summer, thereby completing the remaining nine credit hours of coursework required for the degree. A suggested sequence of course completion is available on request from the department. Graduate students who elect to enroll in less than a full time course load will, of course, take longer to complete the program.

Credentials for Faculty

Each faculty member will hold an earned doctorate from an accredited university and who is currently teaching as a full-time or adjunct status.  The following faculty have agreed to teach in the newly designed degree program.

Dr. Christopher P. Herrera, Ph.D., University of Sydney, Australia - Program Coordinator

Dr. Stefanie Latham, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma - Adjuct Professor

Dr. Jim Hector, Ed.D., East Texas State University - Chair, Associate Professor of Kinesiology & Human Performance

Degree Requirements
Credit Hours: 33

Course Listing                                                

KES 5313 Physiological Basis of Human Performance                                

KES 5305 Research Methods                                                                        

KES 5312 Advanced Human Nutrition                                                        

KES 5307 Issues in Sports Law                                                                    

KES 5314 Diagnostic Tests & Measurements in Exercise Science               

KES 5316 Neurological Basis for Motor Learning and Control                   

KES 5315 Group Dynamics                                                                          

KES 5373 Health and Human Behavior                                                                  




KES 5909 Advanced Practicum or Internship/Project in Exercise Science  

*For an updated plan of study please contact the HHP program coordinator at 432.837.8375



Sul Ross State University provides graduate programs which will enable the student to enrich his or her study in a specialized field. The aim of the graduate program is to build greater breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of study. Advisors will provide direct counseling to students in their major field of study. Students desiring to pursue work in a teacher certification program at the graduate level are also advised by the Director of Teacher Education. Each graduate student will be assigned a committee of faculty members prior to taking the comprehensive examination. The student shall complete all assigned work and receive recommendations of the committee and the Dean of the College before a degree will be awarded.


The Graduate Record Examinations are a group of standardized tests with national norms. Sul Ross State University requires all graduate students who expect to be candidates for degrees to take the aptitude portion of the examination before admission to graduate study. The student should take this test before enrollment, or, at the latest, during the first term of graduate study. It may be taken at any of the testing centers in the United States or abroad. The student may contact the Coordinator of Career Services and Testing for an information bulletin and application for the examination. Regardless of where the test is taken, the student should be certain to indicate that scores are to be sent to the Center for Enrollment Services, Box C-2, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832. If a student's performance on the examinations is unsatisfactory, the advisor may require remedial or leveling work, the advanced test of the Graduate Record Examinations in the major field, a comprehensive written examination, or such other steps as the advisor recommends. The advisor's recommendations are subject to approval by the Dean of the College.


Admission to Graduate Studies is required of all post-baccalaureate students when enrolling in graduate-level courses at Sul Ross State University. Applications for admission should be addressed to the Center for Enrollment Services, Box C-2, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832. Each applicant will be notified in writing of acceptance or rejection for admission. Students may seek admission to Graduate Studies by applying for admission to a master's degree program or by applying for admission as a non-degree student.


A student seeking admission for the purpose of pursuing a master's degree must hold a baccalaureate degree from an institution approved by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Official transcripts reflecting all college work attempted and degree(s) conferred should be on file in the Center for Enrollment Services at least ten days prior to initial registration as a graduate student.

Also, the student must demonstrate by prior academic records or scores on the verbal, analytical and quantitative portions of the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or for students in Business Administration, the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), a competence to pursue advanced study and research. The Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Admissions Test should be taken early enough to ensure that scores are on file in the Center for Enrollment Services at the time of initial registration. If required, the test must be taken prior to the end of the second long semester (fall or spring) after initial enrollment and arrangements made for the scores to be sent to the Center for Enrollment Services. Otherwise, the student may be denied further registration in the graduate program. Information concerning registration and testing dates for the GRE and GMAT may be obtained from the Coordinator of Career Services and Testing, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832.

There are two levels of admission to a master's program, full and probationary. Approval of the major department is required for admission at either level. The following criteria will be used in determining the eligibility for admission to the appropriate level.


Applicants must have official transcripts and test scores sent to the Center for Enrollment Services, Sul Ross State University. The Center for Enrollment Services will compile and tabulate the documentation submitted and submit a file on each applicant to the major academic department. Following the departmental review of the file, the Center for Enrollment Center will communicate to the applicant the admission status to be granted. One of the following criteria must be met for full admission status.

1. A 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale calculated on the last 60 hours prior to the issuance of the bachelor's degree and a GRE score of 850 (verbal and quantitative) or a GMAT score of 400.

2. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on all previous undergraduate work.

Full admission may also be granted to applicants who hold a master's degree from accredited colleges or universities and who have the approval of the department in which they propose to do work.

Full admission status does not imply an absence of additional departmental requirements (leveling work, higher GRE scores, etc.). Reference should be made to the various departmental graduate programs in the Catalog for more information.


1. Probationary admission may be granted with the approval of the major academic department if a student has submitted transcripts of baccalaureate work and having satisfied at least one of the requirements specified in criteria number one for full admission. The probationary student must satisfy all conditions which are required by the major department and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average on all courses attempted for graduate credit. Upon the completion of 12 semester credit hours with a 3.0 grade point average or higher, the student may be upgraded to full admission status upon the recommendation of the chair of the major department and with the approval of the Dean of the College. Failure to maintain a 3.0 grade point average during the probationary period will result in dismissal from the graduate program.

2. Probationary status also may be granted to any student who has not submitted GRE or GMAT scores to the Office of Recruiting and Admissions. If required, the GRE or GMAT must be taken prior to the end of the second long semester (fall or spring) after initial enrollment.

The responsibility for monitoring the probationary student's compliance with all conditions of admission rests with the Center for Enrollment Services. The Center for Enrollment Services will track all probation admitted students each semester, secure information as necessary from the department chairs and communicate to the major department chairs changes of status which are made. During the entire probationary period, the student is responsible for maintaining close communications with the major department and, as called upon, with the dean/director of the College or division.

II. ADMISSION AS A NON-DEGREE STUDENT (citizens of the United States)

Students who are not pursuing a degree, but who are interested in graduate work for professional or personal reasons may be admitted as non-degree student provided they present the following:

1. Application for admission.

2. An official transcript with a baccalaureate degree posted from an accredited institution.

3. Approval of the department chair in the department where course work will be undertaken.


Students who decide to apply for a change of status to pursue master's degree work must meet the requirements for admission to a degree program as stated in Section I of this policy. The change of status must be approved by the chair of the major department and the dean/director of the College or division. Students should be aware that, in transferring from non-degree to degree seeking status, no more than 12 semester hours earned prior to admission to degree seeking status can be used to meet the degree requirements of the program.

The Graduate Record Examination is not required of non-degree students if they have maintained a 3.0 in the first 12 semester hours when they decide to apply for a change of status to that of a master's degree student.


International students must meet the requirements for admission as stated in Section I of this policy. In addition, they must file the following items in the Center for Enrollment Services:

A. Evidence of Financial Responsibility. This may be satisfied by an Affidavit of Support (Immigration Service Form 1-134) or a signed statement from a U.S. citizen or foreign national committing the necessary resources in U.S. dollars for student's expenses.

B. Evidence of English language proficiency as demonstrated by any one of the following:

1. A TOEFL score of 520; or

2. Twenty-four hours of undergraduate work with a 2.0 average at an accredited U.S. college or university, or 12 graduate hours with a 3.0 average at an accredited U.S. college or university; or

3. A bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university; or

4. Prospective students may petition the Director of Records and Registration in writing requesting an individual oral assessment of English proficiency. Applicants granted an interview will be notified of the date, time, and location of the interview. The interview panel must deem the applicant's oral English proficiency adequate to successfully complete the program. The interview panel will file the results of the assessment in the Center for Enrollment Services. The Director of Records and Registration will notify the student of the decision in writing.

In addition to the above requirements, students must submit the following:

1. An application fee of $50.00 in U.S. Currency (non-refundable).

2. A housing deposit of $100.00 in U.S. Currency.

3. Proof of Health Insurance and Immunization.



THERE IS NO AUTOMATIC TRANSFER FROM OTHER INSTITUTIONS OF CREDITS APPLICABLE TO A GRADUATE DEGREE. A request for transfer of hours must be made to the major advisor at the time a degree plan is prepared. No requests for transfer of hours will be accepted after the degree plan is prepared without written approval of the major advisor and the Dean of the College prior to enrollment in the course at another institution. Graduate students will not be permitted to apply toward the master's degree more than twelve semester credit hours of transferred credits, military service credits, non-collegiate educational experiences, undergraduate courses taken for graduate credit, graduate-level independent study courses, or any combination of these. Such courses must be pertinent to the candidate's program of study.

A student may request transfer of a maximum of twelve semester credit hours in a 36-hour non-thesis program or six semester hours in a 30-hour thesis program from an accredited college or university provided the course work has been approved by the student's major advisor and the Dean of the College. Before courses will be approved for transfer, they must meet the following standards:

1. The grade for each course must be at least a "B"

2. The course must be unmistakably designated as graduate credit on the official transcript, which must be on file in the Center for Enrollment Services

3. The time limit of six years must not have expired at the projected time of graduation,

4. The total number of hours taken at Sul Ross State University must be 24.

Course Descriptions

KES 5313 Physiological Basis of Human Performance- The purpose of this course is to prepare the student in the areas of exercise physiology. The goals of this course are to provide the student with an active learning experience that will increase their knowledge of (a) energy metabolism and nutrition, (b) aerobic and anaerobic principles of work and exercise, (c) body composition measurement themes in exercise science, (d) cardiorespiratory / renal responses to exercise, and (e) muscular / neural responses to exercise, and (f) thermoregulation during exercise in differing environments. Historical and contemporary concepts of exercise physiology will be discussed to improve the students understanding of the genesis and progression of exercise physiology throughout the twentieth century. This course will prepare the student for practical applications of exercise physiology in school and professional settings.                                  

KES 5305 Research Methods- This course provides students with integrated background in exercise science and prepares them for research testing in procedures commonly found in exercise science research. Students are introduced to current trends and research topics coupled with laboratory techniques in areas of motor behavior, biomechanics and exercise physiology.  will access research information, read, critique, and discuss applications of research in Kinesiology and exercise science.  Students will delineate a research problem, develop appropriate methodology and data analysis technique as part of a written proposal for a research study.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of APA style in preparing a research paper, in citing sources and in developing a reference list.                                                                

KES 5312 Advanced Human Nutrition- The content of this course will be focused on the metabolism of food by various tissues of the body and its relation to exercise.  The role of diet in the development and treatment of some chronic diseases will be discussed along with the application of nutritional principles to enhance overall lifestyles.  This course provides an integrated overview of the physiological requirements and functions of energy and the major nutrients that are determinants of health and diseases in human populations.                                              

KES 5307 Issues in Sports Law- This Sport Law course is designed to enable graduate students to expand their knowledge of some of the laws, rules and regulations that apply to the sport and the exercise science industry and that impact the work setting of sport organizations. Students will learn about and analyze substantive legal concepts in the following core areas of law: constitutional, employment, antitrust, labor, intellectual property, agency, and contract and business law. The purpose of the course is to provide graduate students with an understanding of the legal issues involved in the operation and management of organizations in the sport business industry, and to equip students with the skills and strategies needed to effectively work with business executives and lawyers to resolve these issues. The course will focus on the practical application of laws, rules and regulations to situations current students will likely face (and decisions current students will likely need to make) if they are employed in the field of sport and exercise science. In-class discussions on current legal issues and emerging legal topics in sport and exercise science will constitute a significant portion of this class.                                                      

KES 5314 Diagnostic Tests & Measurements in Exercise Science- This course will provide students with the background on the appropriate design structures, both qualitative and quantitative, for research projects. Within the different framework of experimental designs and emphases will be on how to collect and organize data, data cleaning, statistical analysis and the interpretation of data. At the conclusion of the course the student should have identified and be comfortable applying the appropriate experimental design for their thesis/project. The student will be able to appropriately apply, computer analyze and interpret various statistical techniques found in exercise science research, such as the t-test (dependent and independent), ANOVA (repeated measures and between-subjects designs), regression analysis and others.

KES 5316 Neurological Basis for Motor Learning and Control- This course is designed to provide an understanding of psychological/physiological principles involved in motor learning, control, and performance in skill acquisition for school age children and adult populations.  This course will focus on how people learn skills and perform them, how they develop skills, and how skills are used in various situations.  The study of motor learning is a relatively permanent change in performance resulting from experience or practice which leads to ways of determining  success is related to the quality of movement that the performer produces.

KES 5315 Group Dynamics- This course is designed to have two interrelated goals: 1) acquaint you with theory and research on small groups 2) improve your skills as participant in & observer of small groups To accomplish these goals, readings, lecture, and discussion are paired with group exercises and hands-on practice in observing and interpreting group dynamics. Students will complete a case analysis, post regularly on the graduate blog, and comment on the blogs of other grad students. They will observe and give feedback to the groups & collaborate in pairs on a literature review paper.                                                                              

KES 5373 Health and Human Behavior- This course will review behavioral and biomedical theory and research with regard to the contributions of psychological factors to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and illness. Students will consider the effect of activity and exercise as they relate to illness and disease. The course also defines and explores adherence and psychoneuroimmunology, which examines behavior related to the diseases of cancer and hypertension, explores treatment recommendations, and reviews coping strategies for the patient and family. Prevention and wellness are presented in the context(s) of intentional and unintentional injuries. A discussion of health, life expectancy, and quality of life will conclude the course.

KES 5909 Advanced Practicum or Internship/Project in Exercise Science- This internship is designed to follow-up with your educational background and work history.  Upon completion of the internship, the graduate student will present a professional presentation to the faculty of where they performed their internship, the organization, and the duties performed while working for the organization.  The graduate student will reflect on their experience - what they learned about the job, and discuss what they learned about themselves.  In conclusion, how well their classes at Sul Ross prepared them for their careers.  Criteria will include- samples of work, relationships with colleagues, organization skills, verbal and written communication, and technical competence.


                      Call us anytime to start planning your enrollment in this exciting program! Contact Dr. Chris Herrera, PhD - Program Coordinator by phone or email.

Dr. Chris Herrera, PhD