Ripon College to offer first master’s degree, in exercise science

Ripon College will launch its first master’s degree program, in exercise science, in the summer of 2024.

“We will begin offering courses for the 15-month graduate program in the summer of 2024,” says John Sisko, vice president and dean of faculty. “The interest in a master’s degree in exercise science has been growing at Ripon. Majors in our Department of Exercise Science are among the most popular on campus.”

Sisko adds that employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest potential careers connected with a master’s degree in exercise science growing by 10.8% by 2029 compared to the national average for all other fields of 3.7% for the same period.

Ripon’s program will offer three specializations: exercise physiology, for those interested in working with athletes and clinical populations; sport psychology, focusing on the psychological needs of athletes; and sport management, for those interested in sports marketing and sales or becoming athletic directors.

Sisko says regional academic competitors overlap only portions of Ripon’s proposed programs but most lack the facilities, real-world experiential opportunities, or faculty expertise to sustainably support graduate students in the field of exercise science.

A 4+1 program will allow Ripon College students to begin taking the graduate-level courses in their senior year as an undergraduate and complete the master’s degree in just one additional year after receiving their bachelor’s degree.

High school seniors also can enroll in the master’s program when they apply for their undergraduate degree. Through Ripon’s direct-entry program, they also will be accepted directly into the master’s program. Students outside of Ripon and those who did not participate in the 4+1 program will be able to enroll in a traditional master’s program spanning 15 months.

Students in the program will be able to live on campus, but this will not be a requirement.

“With Ripon’s strengths — Willmore Center, strong undergraduate interest in exercise majors and growing interest among exercise students in pursuing graduate work after the undergraduate degree — graduate programming in exercise science stands out as a clear area for growth,” Sisko says.

To be responsive to the growing need in the department, Ripon will be adding new faculty members who have an expertise in each of the three specialty areas. Students will be able to learn directly from instructors with real-world experience in each area. There also will be new offices and new lab spaces in Willmore Center to promote student research, hands-on lab spaces and new equipment to support the program.

Brittany Followay is chair of the Department of Exercise Science and holds a Master of Science and a doctorate in exercise physiology. “Ripon’s new program addresses the changing needs in the field of exercise science as many employers now require a master’s degree,” she says. “Ripon’s various community partnerships will offer opportunities for students to gain experience with internships, opportunities to serve as graduate assistants, research and presentations at regional and national conferences.”

Learn more about Ripon’s first master’s degree program at

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