Wake Forest University | Department of Health & Exercise Science
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The Department of Health and Exercise Science offers a 2 year program leading to a Master of Science degree. Our department has a research agenda focused on understanding the determinants and prevention of chronic disease and disability across the lifespan. The curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for careers as exercise specialists directing preventive and rehabilitative programs, positions in health and exercise science research programs, and further study in graduate programs or allied health programs.

We offer students (a) rigorous coursework from faculty who are teacher-scholars,(b) an internship in the chronic disease management program run by the department where students apply the principles learned in the classroom, and (c) a MS thesis requirement where students work one-on-one with a faculty advisor. Members of the HES faculty are engaged in collaborative research with the Departments of Cardiology, Pulmonology, Public Health Sciences, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, and Neurology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.


Although a personal interview is not required, candidates are strongly encouraged to make arrangements for an interview if at all possible. This interview should be scheduled for January or February.

To make arrangements for an interview, contact Dr. Peter Brubaker, the HES Graduate Program Director, at 336-758-4683 or brubaker@wfu.edu.


All first year MS students arrive on campus in the fall, one week prior to the start of the academic year, to participate in orientation. In the first year, candidates assist a faculty member in teaching one departmental course each semester: Exercise for Health. This is a one-credit course required of all freshmen at Wake Forest. This teaching experience fulfills the departmental language requirement for graduation. During the second year, graduate students assist a faculty member in teaching two classes each semester. These classes include the Exercise for Health class and/or activity classes, e.g., weight training.


The Fall semester starts in late August with the first year graduate students arriving one week prior to the official start of classes for a week of orientation. Classes and exams are generally over by the second or third week of December; however, graduate students continue to work in the Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle ProgramS (HELPS). Graduate students are also required to spend the summer between the first and second year in Winston-Salem. The major reasons for this are:

  1. The internship in HELPS is a year round appointment,
  2. Students will begin work on their thesis project,
  3. Students work on additional research projects conducted by faculty members.

Students are paid to work in HELPS during the summer months. This generally involves 8-10 hours per week. Following the completion of the second year, second year students are encouraged to assist with HELPS until the end of June.


First year students serve an internship with the Wake Forest University Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle ProgramS (HELPS) and participate in the Exercise Specialist workshop which is conducted on campus through the American College of Sports Medicine. For graduate students in the Health and Exercise Science program, the $600 workshop and certification fees are covered by a scholarship awarded by HELPS. Satisfactory completion of the ACSM certification requirements allows the candidate to assume an appointment with HELPS during the second year of the program.  HELPS is offered jointly through the Departments of Medicine and Health and Exercise Science at Wake Forest University.


All graduate students are required to complete a thesis under the direction of one of the graduate faculty members. During the spring semester of the graduate students' first year, students are asked to select a thesis advisor. Each graduate faculty member supervises one student. The thesis topic of the student parallels the research interest of the faculty advisor. Listed under the description of the graduate faculty are recent publications which exemplify the graduate faculty members' research interest. In addition to the thesis project, other opportunities for involvement in research exist within the department. Students contemplating further graduate study at the doctoral level are encouraged to become involved with these projects.



Wake Forest University, Health and Exercise Science Dept.
PO Box 7868, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
p: 336-758-5391 | f: 336-758-4680

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