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The Military College of South Carolina
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M.S. Degree in Health, Exercise, and Sport Science: Concentration in Tactical Performance and Resiliency


The public and private sectors are experiencing a rapidly growing demand for exercise science professionals who exhibit high standards of knowledge, skills, integrity, and leadership in improving the performance and resiliency tactical athletes.  Tactical athletes include military personnel, first responders, and veterans. 

Our residential program empowers high potential individuals to overcome the increasingly complex challenges of preparing tactical athletes for optimum performance and resiliency on and off the job.  By completing our program of study, you will expand your skills and knowledge well beyond that offered by professional certifications alone.  You will graduate from this program effectively prepared to train and coach units or groups of tactical athletes in areas including, but not limited to: firefighting, law enforcement, active-duty, guard, and reserve Military Forces, and elite Special Forces.

Key Benefits

  • Learning from the best: As The # 1 Top Public College in the South, and a Senior Military College, you will learn from world-leading subject matter experts at The Citadel.
  • Knowing the Why: You will graduate with advanced theoretical understanding of not only the physical, but also the behavioral and psychological principles of performance and resiliency for tactical athletes.
  • Knowing the How: You will graduate having had multiple opportunities to put theory into practice with our hands-on labs, practical experiences, and semester-long capstone internship.
  • Learning by doing: By attending our residential program you will have the opportunity to serve as a strength and conditioning coach for one of The Citadel’s tactical teams as you complete your course of study.
  • Gaining employment: Our one-of-a-kind M.S. Degree with its Concentration in Tactical Performance & Resiliency will set you apart from all others wanting a career in training tactical athletes.
  • Building your network: Through our vast network of alumni and our unique connections within and outside the military, you will develop a network of professionals who can help you advance your career.  


Expand your understanding of the unique physical needs of tactical athletes at the individual and group levels.

  • Develop individual and unit-level exercise testing procedures that consider the diverse, unique physical demands required of tactical athletes
  • Apply advanced understanding of functional anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, bioenergetics, and strength and conditioning to develop effective physical performance and resiliency programs for improving individual and unit-level physical fitness
  • Apply understanding of nutrition, sleep, and other recovery techniques to developing programs for helping tactical athletes effectively recover from their uniquely rigorous training and job demands
  • Receive feedback on your ability to effectively teach and coach tactical athletes

Recognize the importance of moving beyond the physical needs of tactical athletes

  • Understand theories of the interaction between body and mind for improving performance and resiliency
  • Apply psychological principles of behavior change, motivation, and the interaction between physical and mental health to develop programs for improving cognitive and mental performance and resiliency among tactical athletes

Recognize scope of practice

  • Recognize signs and symptoms of poor mental health and understand when and how to refer tactical athletes to properly qualified mental health professionals
  • Recognize signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries and understand when and how to refer tactical athletes to properly trained medical professionals
  • Understand how to work within a team of qualified and/or licensed professionals, each of whom brings different professional knowledge and skills related to performance and resiliency of tactical athletes

Expand your personal and professional network

  • Expand your personal and professional network by learning from and working with world-leading subject matter experts each of whom has an extensive network of contacts
  • Expand your professional network through internship experiences within tactical units
  • Develop your personal network by learning and working alongside a peer group of motivated, future leaders in the field of tactical performance and resiliency

Acquire Professional Certifications

  • The knowledge and skills acquired during our program are greater than that which you would receive through any one professional certification. However, our program will help you acquire multiple, elite-level professional certifications from organizations such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the American Council on Exercise. 
  • Holding an M.S. Degree from The Citadel along with professional certifications will help you further differentiate yourself from the competition.

Who Should Apply

  • This program is for high-performing individuals who demonstrate a passion for and interest in serving the first responders, military personnel, and veterans who devote their lives to protecting and serving others.
  • An undergraduate degree is required, although an undergraduate degree in exercise science or a related field is not mandatory.
  • Individuals with prior or current military or first-responder experience.
  • Individuals holding current professional certifications in fitness and/or strength and conditioning.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of the online graduate application along with the non-refundable application fee.
  2. Submission of an official transcript reflecting the highest degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university.
  3. Submission of official Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, taken within the last five years.
  4. Submission of three signed letters of recommendation. These may be from faculty members of the applicant’s undergraduate institution and/or from associates in business, government, education, or military service.
  5. Submission of a resume detailing previous work experiences.
  6. A one-page letter describing why you are interested in the Concentration in Tactical Performance & Resiliency.

All admission materials should be submitted to The Citadel Graduate College

Program Requirements

The M.S. in Health Exercise and Sport Science with the Concentration in Tactical Performance & Resiliency consists of thirty-six (36) semester credit hours. Eighteen (18) of those credit hours come from core courses from health, exercise, and sport science. Additionally, fifteen (15) credit hours are derived from courses specific to the Concentration in Tactical Performance & Resiliency, while three (3) credit hours come from one of approved elective course based on the direction you wish to take with your degree.

Core Requirements (18 Credit Hours)

HESS 501: Nutrition
HESS 505: Motor Learning and Motor Development
HESS 506: Applied Exercise Physiology
HESS 510: Biomechanics of Sports Techniques
HESS 540: Research Techniques and Methods
HESS 544: Exercise Testing and Assessment

Concentration Requirements (15 Credit Hours)

TAPR 601: Introduction to Human Performance
TAPR 610: Applied Exercise Physiology and Nutrition
PSYC 516: Psychological Resiliency for Tactical Athletes
TAPR 640: Tactical Strength and Conditioning
TAPR 699: Capstone Internship in Tactical Performance & Resiliency

Approved Electives (3 Credit Hours, Choose 1)

PSYC 604: Applied Principles of Behavior Change for Tactical Athletes
HESS 534: Accommodating Persons with Disabilities in Sport & Physical Activity
HESS 546: Environmental Physiology
HESS 560: Research Techniques & Methods II
HESS 550: Instructional Aspects of Teaching Physical Education

Graduation Requirements (non-credit bearing)

  1. Students in this program must demonstrate successful completion of the Tactical Strength and Conditioning-Facilitator certification (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  2. One (1) or more professional certifications from the list below:
    • Certified Personal Trainer (National Strength and Conditioning Association, American College of Sports Medicine, National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise).
    • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
    • Corrective Exercise Specialist (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
    • Performance Enhancement Specialist (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
    • Exercise Physiologist (American College of Sports Medicine)
  3. Proof of current Certification in First Aid and CPR
  4. Proof of current Certification in Mental Health First Aid
  5. Darkness to Light Training
  6. The Citadel’s Principled Leadership Seminar

US News and World Report Best Public College in the SouthFor eight consecutive years (2012-2019) The Citadel has been named the #1 Public College in the South offering up to a master's degree (U.S. News & World Report). The Citadel was also named the #1 College for Veterans in the South.

Core Courses from Health, Exercise, and Sport Science (18 credit hours)
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