SUU Offers New Sports Conditioning & Performance Graduate Degree

Published: July 23, 2007 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Starting this fall, SUU will offer a Master of Science Degree in Sports Conditioning and Performance that will target current athletic and fitness professionals looking to continue their education and increase professional advancement opportunities. The new degree is SUU’s eighth graduate program to date. As the only such graduate program in the nation (with consideration to the total number of courses and curriculum configuration), SUU’s Sports Conditioning and Performance degree is one of the first to respond to an ever-increasing need for more qualified and informed coaches and trainers in public schools.

The professional program, which will provide theory-and application-based courses in sports conditioning and fitness evaluation; sports medicine, nutrition and psychology; and applicable finance and law courses for athletic training professionals, was approved Friday by the board of regents at its summer meeting.

According to SUU’s Physical Education Department Chair Rick Lambson, “This program was inspired by the need of coaches and athletic professionals to make more consistent and informed decisions about safe and effective exercise programs for students and athletes.” The program was voted in unanimously, and Lambson is confident that as SUU succeeds, more and more schools across the nation will look to this program as a guide in creating similar programs.

In the meantime, a majority of this new master’s program is facilitated through online coursework, which will make pursuing the degree much easier for the program’s target audience—current professionals. In addition, with a largely web-based curriculum, this will be the first of SUU’s master’s programs to draw a large base of out-of-state professional students. According to Lambson, the physical education department has already received several inquiries from prospective students all over the country.

The program is an answer to many recent physical education graduates looking to expand their professional opportunities. At SUU alone, 30 of the 59 graduating physical education undergrads last May indicated an interest in graduate programs in similar fields. Of those 30 students, at least 20 of them were particularly interested in what was then a potential graduate program, and is now a definite opportunity at Southern Utah University.

The interested student base is in place to start offering classes in the fall, and Lambson is confident the department is well-prepared with both staff and a balanced curriculum, mentioning “SUU has had a lot of individuals involved in course development over the past 1 ½ years in anticipation for the board’s approval. Offering classes is just the next step—we’ve been waiting for this all to come about.”

SUU President Michael Benson asserts, “The fact we got this approved immediately after the last grad program we proposed was approved in the spring is indicative of the high quality faculty and coursework available at Southern Utah University. Every institution in the state was supportive of this new advanced degree at SUU. We hope for—and expect—success.”

The course involves 33 credit hours, including two intensive on-campus training seminars during the summer semester (the only required on-campus courses). The graduate school at SUU is currently accepting applications for the new Sports Conditioning and Performance program, and with the debut of two graduate programs in the same semester, all on campus look forward to an exciting fall semester.

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