Graduate Program

Graduate Program

The Department of Health and Exercise Science (HES) offers five graduate degrees:

1. Master of Science (MS) in Exercise Physiology [≥ 30 credit hours]
2. Master of Science (MS) in Health Promotion [≥ 30 credit hours]
3. Master of Science (MS) in Health and Exercise Science [≥ 32 credit hours]
4. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Exercise Physiology [≥ 90 post-baccalaureate credit hours]
5. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Promotion [≥ 90 post-baccalaureate credit hours]

Admission to the MS and PhD programs will be based on the willingness and ability of a graduate faculty member to accept a new student. Therefore, potential graduate student applicants must schedule an “interview” (or several interviews) with a faculty member they wish to work with. This is required to establish contact with a potential faculty mentor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science that will serve as the student’s advocate and advisor. A faculty mentor must be willing to accept a new graduate student in order for a student to be considered for acceptance into the MS or PhD programs. If a faculty member is willing to accept a new student and several students apply for a limited number of positions, the application process is competitive and is based on the compatibility of the student applicant and their chosen mentor, research interests, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, undergraduate and graduate grade point average, cover letter statements, and professional goals. 


An undergraduate degree in Health and Exercise Science or an equivalent allied field such as biological sciences, health education, kinesiology, human performance, or health psychology is generally required. Applicants holding equivalent degrees and other baccalaureate degrees will be evaluated by the department for course deficiencies. If course deficiencies exist, a student may be admitted conditionally, but all deficiencies and conditions must be removed before a student can be fully admitted. Removal of deficiencies is required prior to taking the comprehensive/general examination or enrolling in thesis/dissertation hours.

A grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and/or graduate work as defined by the Graduate College Bulletin is required for full admission. Applicants with less than a 3.0 may be admitted conditionally. Students must complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prior to admission. There is no minimum GRE score requirement for admittance into the MS and/or PhD programs in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. However, the GRE scores are evaluated by the faculty during the application process.  

Since the average GPA and GRE scores for graduate applicants fluctuate from year to year, these values are not intended to be “cutoffs” or “minimum scores” for admittance. Instead, we report these scores to give students benchmarks by which to evaluate their own GRE scores prior to their application.

Since we must receive official GRE scores, applicants must know the institutional and departmental codes for sending the official scores:

University of Oklahoma Institutional Code: 6879

OU Health and Exercise Science Departmental Code: 0699

International students must also satisfy the English Proficiency Requirements outlined in the Graduate College Bulletin (

In addition to graduate program admission requirements, applicants for graduate assistantships must also indicate their desire to seek a graduate assistantship (check box on application form) and complete the “Personal Appraisal of Activity & Instructional Skills” form.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are annually available for MS and PhD students in the Department of Health and Exercise Science contingent upon available faculty and departmental funding. Students who have been admitted to the graduate program in the HES Department are eligible for consideration.

Graduate assistants receive a stipend of approximately $12,000 - $16,000 for the academic year (9-month appointment). Graduate assistants also receive a full tuition waiver.

PhD graduate assistants are given the opportunity to teach lecture-, lab-, and/or activity-based classes identified on the form entitled “Personal Appraisal of Activity & Instructional Skills.” MS graduate assistants may teach activity-based classes listed on this form.


The Department of Health and Exercise Science is located in the west wing of the S.J. Sarkeys Complex, which opened in 1981. The department houses and maintains classrooms and research laboratories, as well as faculty, staff, and graduate student offices. The east wing of the building houses the student recreation and intramural activity areas. The department recently acquired approximately 3,500 square feet in the south end of the Collums Commissary building for additional teaching and research laboratories.

The department encourages interdisciplinary study and research. Faculty and students frequently interact with members of other University academic units in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Public Health, and Allied Health.

General Graduate Program Information


The University of Oklahoma’s Graduate College ( is in charge of all matters pertaining to general admission to the University. Enrollment in the Graduate College is governed by the Dean of the College (Dr. Lee Williams). In applying for admission, the candidate must submit a completed application form and official transcripts of all college work completed to the time of application to the Graduate College. The Graduate College application can be completed online at

To be eligible for enrollment, the student must have been admitted to the Graduate College prior to the beginning of the registration period for any given semester.


The Department of Health and Exercise Science reviews applications for admission beginning in October and continues until the early summer for students who will enter the graduate program for the Fall semester. It is recommended to apply as early as possible to maximize the possibility of being accepted with funding. Funding will normally be available for two (2) years for MS students and four (4) years for PhD students, the normal length of both graduate programs. Graduate assistants receive a stipend of approximately $12,000 to $16,000 for the academic year (nine-month appointment). Graduate assistants will also receive exemption from tuition (but not fees). Applicants should have all required materials on file (i.e., completed Graduate College application, completed HES application form, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, etc.) as early as possible so that the review process can be completed and a formal offer made to the student.

Types of Admission:

Undergraduates in their final semester at accredited colleges and universities may apply for admission to the Graduate College. Such admission is contingent upon the recommendation of the Graduate Dean and the major department of the University of Oklahoma, the presentation of an undergraduate degree or the equivalent, an overall grade average of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher, and a supplementary transcript of all courses not previously reported. Holders of advanced degrees will be judged for admission primarily upon the record of their previous graduate work.

Applicants are admitted to the Graduate College in one of the following categories:

A. Full Standing: 3.0 over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work or 3.0 in 12 or more hours of graduate work. Both require acceptance by department or program unit. International students must also satisfy the English Proficiency Requirements outlined in the Graduate College Bulletin (

 B. Conditional: Any student who has earned a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent but whose grade point average in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work is below 3.0 and/or who has course work deficiencies in the relevant field of study may be conditionally admitted to a degree program or to unclassified status. Conditional admission to a degree program is contingent on the recommendations of the department or program unit and approval of the Graduate Dean. Conditional status is generally approved only if the GPA ranges between 2.75 and 3.0.

C. Unclassified Status: A student admitted not as a candidate for a degree. A student in this classification is academically eligible but does not intend to work toward any graduate degree. Credits earned under the unclassified status are acceptable toward a degree if approved by the major department. All graduate courses taken while in unclassified status will be used in calculating the grade point average for purposes of satisfying degree or retention requirements.

D. Certification Status: A student admitted to fulfill requirements for a professional certificate. Credits earned under this status may be accepted as degree credits if approved by the major department.

An applicant not eligible under one of the above four categories will be denied admission to the Graduate College. Students who hold baccalaureate degrees from accredited colleges and universities who fail to meet requirements for admission to the Graduate College and are denied admission may seek admission as a “special” student. Credits earned under the “special” student status will not count towards a graduate degree.


Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. Those who fall below 3.0 will be on probationary status until 9 further graduate hours are completed, at which time a 3.0 cumulative grade point average is required. A student who goes on probation a third time, including the probationary admission period, will be denied further enrollment.

Transfer Credit:

As many as twenty-five percent of the credit hours accepted toward a master’s degree may be transferred from other institutions.

Transferability of courses for credit toward graduate degrees at the University of Oklahoma is determined by the graduate faculty in the Department of Health and Exercise Science based on the following criteria: (1) the course was graduate level and taken for graduate credit; (2) the institution offering the course was accredited to offer work at the graduate level for which the transfer is to apply; (3) the credit must not be more than six years old at the time of admission to the degree program; (4) the credit must carry a grade of A, B, or S (satisfactory); and (5) the credit must be related to the MS and/or PhD program of study that has been approved by the faculty advisor/mentor.

The applicability of transfer credit toward the degree being pursued is determined by the student’s department and/or advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate College. Transfer credit is considered neutral in the computation of the University of Oklahoma grade point average for the purpose of determining continued admissibility and graduation.