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The MS in Exercise & Sport Studies

Smith College coaches discuss strategy on the field

The Smith College graduate program in exercise and sport studies is devoted exclusively to the practice of intercollegiate coaching of women's teams. Our goal is to produce quality intercollegiate coaches for female athletes. Students with diverse and high-quality undergraduate backgrounds who have had intercollegiate athletic experience as players and coaches are prime candidates for the ESS master of science degree.

The program is interdisciplinary by design, combining a background in social science and scientific information about exercise and sports with practical experiences encompassing all aspects of coaching. Graduates of the program are ideally suited to take on the role of head coaches of intercollegiate teams.

ESS at Smith

The ESS program is designed to develop outstanding coaches—individuals who succeed not only because they love sports, but also because they aspire to be mentors who understand the dreams, wishes, challenges and experiences of college athletes. More than 90 percent of graduates acquire jobs in their desired field.

Philosophy of the Graduate Program

Since the passage of Title IX, the number of participants, sport opportunities and programs for girls and women has grown dramatically. Over more than three decades, programs at the intercollegiate athletic level for women have generally thrived as well. However, the percentage of women who serve as head coaches and administrators for these programs has precipitously declined. In 1972 more than 90 percent of women's collegiate athletic programs were headed and coached by women. By 2005, these positions were filled predominantly by men, while women headed only two percent of the men's teams. The situation is worse at the administrative level: one in 10 athletic programs have no women administrators at all. Recent longitudinal data on women's coaching in the workplace produced by Vivian Acosta and Linda Carpenter over the past 30 years corroborates this social fact.

To address such inequities, Smith College, one of the largest undergraduate women's colleges in the country, decided in 1985 to focus its master's program in exercise and sport studies on training intercollegiate coaches of women's teams. This was in keeping with the college's mission to provide women with educational opportunities that lay the foundation for them to excel and take leadership roles in any occupation, particularly those in which they have been underrepresented.

The college already had many resources in place to address this need: an extensive library, a dedicated faculty, a highly qualified and diverse student population, and extensive computer and technological resources, all on a beautiful 143-acre campus. The current program offers a marvelous physical plant for sports and athletics that includes excellent outdoor and indoor facilities, a committed faculty in the Department of Exercise and Sport Studies and coaches in the Department of Athletics and Recreation. The Department of Exercise and Sport Studies over the years has developed a rich curriculum that addresses the pedagogical and motor learning techniques critical for quality instruction, the sociocultural issues encountered in coaching, the biophysical knowledge base to properly train athletes, and the practical experience relevant to engage coaches broadly in the field of exercise, sport studies and athletics.

Since Smith has 12 intercollegiate teams, the program's primary goal is to place candidates as assistant coaches at the college. With Smith's membership in the Five College Consortium and its location in the Pioneer Valley, some graduate candidates may be placed at nearby institutions to gain professional experience and be exposed to a diverse group of coaches who use a variety of approaches toward their sports.

By combining multiple theoretical approaches and scientific information about exercise and sports with practical experiences encompassing all aspects of coaching, the program produces graduates who are ideally suited to work as head coaches of women's intercollegiate teams. For the most part, candidates who have been willing to relocate, without restriction to a particular geographical area, have been successful in finding head coaching positions. Already more than 90 percent of graduates are now serving, or have served, as head coaches at numerous institutions across the country, from Division I to Division III. Follow-up evaluations with alumni and their athletic directors affirm the relevance of the theoretical and practical preparation gained through the program.

Human Performance Lab

Located on the fourth floor of the Scott Building, the Human Performance Lab (HPL) is a space for teaching and research, and home to graduate offices, faculty research and labs.

Teaching Lab

The teaching lab houses many resources to give students hands-on experiences in exercise science, including metabolic testing, functional performance and health monitoring. The equipment includes a VacuMed metabolic cart, treadmill, Monark cycle ergometers, body composition assessment tools, blood pressure and heartrate monitoring tools, a Polar Team2 system, iWorx Data Acquisition and Analysis systems, anatomical models and an exam bed.

Sample Processing Lab

Adjacent to the HPL is a sample processing lab, which is approved to accommodate and process human samples (i.e. blood, saliva, urine). The space includes instrumentation for lactate and glucose analysis and is supplied with a sink and emergency eyewash station.

Vascular Function Research Lab

The vascular function laboratory is a quiet, temperature-controlled space with exam bed, sink and eyewash station. In this space, noninvasive tests are performed for endothelial function via ultrasound and Doppler, and arterial stiffness via pulse wave velocity. The space has a Terason uSmart 3300 ultrasound imaging system with 15L4A Linear Array Transducer. It also houses a Hokanson E20 Rapid Cuff Inflator, a 27-inch iMac computer with FMD Studio software, patient monitor for blood pressure, and EKG necessary for vascular function testing. The laboratory has the SphygmoCor XCEL Pulse wave analysis (PWA) and Pulse wave velocity (PWV) system to measure and analyze arterial stiffness outcomes with the SphygmoCor XCEL Software suite.

Research Testing Lab

The research testing lab is a space to perform physical testing on research participants. The space has the capacity for submaximal and maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing on a treadmill or cycle ergometer, muscle strength and endurance assessments via the Biodex Isokinetic Dynamometer and Lafayette Jackson Strength Evaluation System. We can analyze muscle function and its relationship to electroencephalography (EEG) via Emotiv Epoc Systems.

If you are a student who would like to get involved in research in ESS, please contact Rachel Cook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can men apply to this program?

Yes! Anyone with a bachelor's degree or its equivalent may apply to the ESS Graduate Program.

Is the stipend payment for being an assistant coach?

No. As part of being in the program every student is assigned to be an assistant coach or athletic trainer in his or her sport. The assignment is treated as any class (ESS 505/506). The student registers, is graded by the head coach or athletic trainer and receives credit toward his or her degree.

What is the graduate award for?

The graduate award varies, but can be a full tuition waiver, a stipend in exchange for service to the college above and beyond your classroom and coaching responsibilities, or reduced tuition. This service can be in the form of teaching performance classes, assisting in the Olin Fitness Center or doing administrative work for the Exercise and Sport Studies or athletic departments.

What is "Preview Day"

At Preview Day you can visit the campus and get a better sense of the program by attending panel discussions and talking to faculty and coaches. During the day visitors can interview with department members and coaches as part of the application process. Preview Day registration is required. Register now 

Is it necessary to come to campus to interview?

It is not necessary to visit campus for an interview, but it is strongly recommended.

Is the GRE test score required for admission?

No. The GRE is optional for U.S. applicants. International applicants must submit TOEFL results.

Whom should my three letters of recommendation be from? Can I submit them with my application, and should the envelopes be sealed?

Your three letters of recommendation should include one that is sports related, from a coach or employer.

When is the deadline for applying?

All required materials must be received by the Graduate and Special Programs Office at Smith College BEFORE January 15 (if you are applying for any financial aid). If no financial aid is needed, the application deadline is April 1.

Can I enter the program in the spring?

No. Our courses are on a set program schedule. We only accept new students entering for the fall semester.

My undergraduate degree is not in a science field. Can I still apply?

Yes. We accept applications even if you don't have a science background. You are not required to take prerequisite courses.

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Alumni Spotlight

 

“Not only were ESS instructors great professionals who were passionate and committed to their work, they were also exceptional people. The hands-on experience was invaluable, supporting our practice with a strong theoretical foundation.”
Nancy Feldman M.S. '88
Head Coach, Women's Soccer, Boston University

 

“The ESS program allowed me to be an assistant teacher, work directly with athletic administrators and learn from incredible coaches. I experienced all sides of a high-achieving athletics department.”
Courtney Jaworski M.S. '13
Head Coach, Women's Cross Country; Assistant Coach, Women's Track and Field, Dartmouth College

 

“The program is well respected, enabling students to pursue their dream jobs. ESS faculty and alumni offer a wide range of networking opportunities to help connect you with the right people when you need them, which leads to success in your job.”
Kanae Haneishi M.S. '07
Head Soccer Coach and Lecturer, Department of Athletics and Physical Education, Mount Holyoke College

Name/Email Focus
Molly Carl Cross Country
Emma Carlisle-Reske Project Coach
Erin Labasan Volleyball
Nicole Matos Field Hockey
Devon Quatrocchi Basketball
Moorea Spolijaric Lacrosse
Erin Taylor Lacrosse
Jane Turner Crew
Victoria VanAlstine-Tauer Athletic Trainer
Hayli Yetter Strength & Conditioning
Name/Email Focus
Danielle Britt Soccer
Sean Cabaniss Track & Field
Jennifer Dimos Soccer
Jack Ferriter Diving
Adam Flyte Cross Country/Track & Field
Jordan Helms Strength & Conditioning
Adriane Krul Softball
Brooke Marshall Field Hockey
Erin Miller Softball
Mackenzi Sherman Crew
Jaime Snyder Volleyball
John Taft Tennis
Benay Weintraub Tennis
Paige Phillips Project Coach

Requirements

Each grad student in our program completes a competency-based matrix that was developed for coach education programs. Smith's ESS program is certified at the highest level—level 5—because we work so closely with these objectives.

Adviser: Lynn Oberbillig



The master’s degree in exercise and sport studies is a 52-credit program tracked over the course of two years. A candidate receives theoretical and applied practice in coaching through 14 credits of a practicum experience by serving as either an assistant coach or a trainer to an intercollegiate team.



With the exception of 500, 502, 505, 506, 509, and special studies and theses credits, courses are offered on an alternate-year schedule.

Theory Courses

Full theory courses of 3-4 credits each include:

  • 510 Biomechanics of Sport
  • 515 Physiology of Exercise and Sport
  • 550 Gender in Sport
  • 565 Skill Acquisition and Performance
  • 570 Sport Psychology

These courses typically meet for a minimum of three hours a week, and several require an additional two hours of laboratory work.

Seminars and Applied Skills

Applied coaching courses are largely 2 credits and are organized as seminars and colloquiums. They include:

  • 500 Foundations of College Coaching
  • 501 Seminar in Administration of Athletic Teams
  • 502 Seminar in Philosophy and Ethics
  • 503 Legal Issues in Sport
  • 504 Collegiate Recruiting
  • 509 Musculoskeletal Anatomy
  • 520 Sport Leadership for Coaches
  • 555 Sports Nutrition
  • 575 Sports Medicine
  • 576 Fundamentals of Conditioning

Coaching Practicum

  • 505 Practical Foundations in Coaching (1st year)
  • 506 Advanced Practicum in Coaching (2nd year)

Students in the coaching practicum serve as assistant coaches. Candidates in the coaching practicum in ESS 505 observe and assist the head coach in as many areas as possible. After having spent a season with a head coach and team, candidates in ESS 506 are given increased responsibilities. Here assistant coaches may be responsible for certain areas within their sport's program, such as developing and implementing a recruiting plan, developing a budget, organizing a tournament, or planning and running practices.

Accreditation

The exercise and sport studies graduate program at Smith College received Level V NCACE (now known as USCCE) accreditation in 2014 and is recognized through the National Strength and Conditioning Association for our standardized curriculum in the strength and conditioning discipline.


Emeriti

Jackie Blei, Lecturer Emerita in Exercise & Sport Studies

Chris Shelton, Professor Emerita of Exercise & Sport Studies

Don Siegel, Professor Emeritus of Exercise & Sport Studies

Coaches

Carla Coffey, Track & Field

Christine Davis, Tennis

Clare Doyle, Crew

Jaime Ginsberg, Field Hockey

Lynn Hersey, Basketball

Zack Kundel, Swimming and Diving

Erin Labasan, Volleyball (Co-Interim)

Emily Lopez, Softball

Katie Moore, Lacrosse

Jen MacAulay, Assistant Basketball Coach

Ellen O'Neill, Cross-Country

Alex Temkin, Volleyball (Co-Interim)

Ian (Jake) Turner, Strength & Conditioning

Staff

Administration

Kristin Hughes, Athletic Director

Bonnie May, Associate Director of Athletics, Practicum Co-coordinator

Theresa Collins, Facilities Manager

Ciara Lawrence, Sports Information Director

Donna Gringas, Athletics' Business Coordinator

Athletic Training

Deb Coutu, Head Athletic Trainer

Kelli Steele, Head Athletic Trainer, Sports Medicine Instructor

Outdoor Adventure Program

Scott Johnson, Outdoor Programs Manager

Stefanie Frazee, Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator


Admission & Aid

Forms & Deadlines

  With Financial Aid Without Financial Aid

January 15 March 1
Application fee ($60) January 15 March 1
Official transcripts of the undergraduate record January 15 March 1
Letters of recommendation, including one that is sports-related (coach or employer) January 15 March 1
Writing sample (greater than five pages in length), such as a paper written for an advanced undergraduate course January 15 March 1
Résumé and personal statement January 15 March 1
January 15 March 1

Where to Send Forms

You may send your documents by mail, e-mail or fax.

Please note: if you have transcripts submitted electronically, you must specifically ask that they be sent to the e-mail address below.

Graduate and Special Programs
College Hall 103
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Email: gradstdy@smith.edu
Fax: 413-585-3054

January 15
Application fee ($60) January 15
Official transcripts of the undergraduate record January 15
TOEFL or IELTS scores (GRE if from English-speaking country) January 15
Letters of recommendation, including one that is sports-related (coach or employer) January 15
Writing sample (greater than five pages in length), such as a paper written for an advanced undergraduate course January 15
Résumé and personal statement January 15
January 15
January 15

Where to Send Forms

You may send your documents by mail, e-mail or fax.

Please note: if you have transcripts submitted electronically, you must specifically ask that they be sent to the e-mail address below.

Graduate and Special Programs
College Hall 103
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Email: gradstdy@smith.edu
Fax: 413-585-3054

 

M.S./E.S.S. Tuition & Fees 2017-18

Application fee $60
Full academic-year tuition (before scholarship)
(12 to 15 credits per semester)
$37,440
Part-time tuition (fee per credit) $1,560
Health insurance* (coverage beginning August 15) $2,290

*This fee may be waived if you are a U.S. citizen with comparable health insurance that will cover you while in Massachusetts.

 

Financial Assistance

The college offers a number of tuition scholarships for graduate study. Amounts vary according to circumstances and funds available. Applicants for scholarships must meet the January 15 deadline for submitting all materials for the admission application.

Stipends are awarded for work in Athletics and in ESS as funds become available; these stipends vary in accordance with the nature and type of appointment. Recipients of stipends generally carry full-time course loads and agree to remain for the duration of the appointment.

Visit the Tuition & Financial Aid website for financial aid deadlines and information and instructions on how to apply.

 

Request More Information

For more information on the master of science in exercise and sport studies for 2018-19, please fill out the form below. An information letter will be emailed to you within one to two weeks of receipt of this form.

 

 

Contact

Department of Exercise & Sport Studies

Scott/Ainsworth Gym
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3970
Fax: 413-585-2394

Administrative Assistant: Rachel Cook

The Office of Graduate & Special Studies
Program Coordinator: Ruth Morgan