Physical Activity & Nutrition Graduate Certificate

The emerging field of Physical Activity and Nutrition focuses on issues related to the effects of physical activity (and inactivity), nutrition, obesity and metabolic irregularities and their relationship to disease prevention, health promotion, and wellness enhancement. Many of the health problems we face today require a multifaceted approach, and this certificate program provides students with the necessary tools to formulate important solutions.

The Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Certificate program brings together faculty from both the School of Kinesiology (administrative unit) and the School of Public Health who share similar research and learning objectives and establishes a culture of interaction across boundaries. This integrated discourse in physical activity together with nutrition challenges students and faculty to look at research questions and societal issues from a broader, interdisciplinary lens to create well-rounded leaders with an expanded portfolio of experiences and expertise that will help them integrate knowledge and research in fields such as medicine, physical therapy/rehabilitation, and nutritional sciences/dietetics.

The PAN Certificate program provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary training to current University of Michigan graduate students from Kinesiology, Public Health (e.g., Nutrition, HBHE, Epidemiology), Nursing, as well as other campus schools and departments. Graduates from the health-related science fields are entering a research arena or work force where an understanding of complex interactions between nutrition, human physiology, and physical activity are required. An in-depth understanding of the integrated effects of changes in physical activity behavior and nutrition is perhaps most relevant in the study and treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases, which is clearly among the most important public health issues in this country. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a Division of “Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity” to specifically target the roles of physical activity/exercise and nutrition on important obesity-related health issues.

The CDC is just one of several government, foundation, non-profit, and for-profit entities that emphasize the important impact of an integrated understanding of physical activity and nutrition for many health outcomes, including those not directly related to obesity (e.g., American Heart Association, “Health People 2020,” American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, Livestrong Foundation). Formal instruction in Physical Activity and Nutrition provides students with outstanding training to become leaders in this growing academic and professional field. This certificate program was designed for both master’s and PhD students currently enrolled at the University of Michigan.

Degree Requirements

To earn the graduate certificate in Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN), students must complete 9 credits from required program courses and at least 3 elective credits from other existing courses in the School of Kinesiology and the School of Public Health.

The required courses for the PAN certificate include:

  • Exercise Physiology (MOVESCI 540 – 3 credits), focusing on fundamental issues related to the impact of exercise/physical activity.
  • Principles of Nutritional Science (NUTR 630 – 3 credits). This course is the foundation of nutrition science and metabolism. Macronutrients, their function, metabolism and relation to health and disease are reviewed in detail. In addition, the digestion, absorption, transport, utilization and storage of nutrients in human are taught. Lastly, this course aims to integrate biochemical and physiological aspects of energy and nutrient utilization, nutrient interactions and metabolic regulation in humans.
  • Physical Activity and Nutrition Assessment and Prescription (3 credits), integrating the foundational information learned in both MOVESCI 540 and NUTR 630 in a more clinical context, thereby providing the framework for students to put this information into practice.

The 3 credits of elective coursework can be taken at any point in the program. In accordance with the Rackham “double counting” policy, students can apply up to 3 double-counted credits when adding the PAN certificate to (30 credit) MS or MA programs, and up to 6 double-counted credits when adding the certificate to (60 credit) MPH degree programs.

See below for a list of elective courses.

Elective Courses

  • NUTR 631 Metabolism of Vitamins and Minerals
  • KINESLGY 542 Exercise and Nutrition
  • KINESLGY 443 Human Movement and Aging: Hormones and Nutrition
  • KINESLGY 446 The Role of Social Factors in Shaping Physical Activity Behavior
  • KINESLGY 471 Physical Activity, Health and Disease
  • KINESLGY 545 Metabolic Responses to Exercise
  • KINESLGY 684 Independent Research in Kinesiology
  • KINESLGY 686 Internship in Kinesiology
  • NUTR 639 Pathophysiology of Obesity
  • NUTR 636 Medical Nutrition Therapy I
  • NUTR 637 Medical Nutrition Therapy II
  • NUTR 646 Nutritional Counseling
  • NUTR 698 Research 
  • EHS 513 Pathologic Basis of Disease
  • EPID 552 Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases
  • EPID 604 Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology
  • EPID 623 Nutritional Epidemiology
  • EPID 650 Principles of Preventive Medicine
  • EPID 677 Epidemiology of Aging
  • EPID 788 Evolutionary Epidemiology (summer)
  • HBHE 627 Chronic Illness Interventions: Infancy to Young Adulthood
  • HBHE 628 Chronic Illness Interventions: Midlife to Older Adulthood
  • HBHE 630 Aging and Health Behavior

Example Career Opportunities for Graduates

  • MD / DO / PhD / DC / PT / RD
  • Clinical programs in rehab institutes & hospitals
  • Cardiac & pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Sports nutrition
  • Weight loss therapy
  • University & worksite wellness programs
  • Exercise & health promotion
  • Commercial fitness centers
  • Personal & sport-specific training
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Diabetes education
  • Foodservice industries
  • Nutrition-related business industries
  • Military performance manager/dietitian
  • Private practice

To Apply

A student in a U-M doctoral or master’s program must complete at least one term of coursework in good academic standing in a regular program before requesting admission to add a certificate. To apply:

The application deadline for Fall term is October 15.

The application deadline for Winter term is February 1.


Contact Charlene Ruloff ( for administrative questions. Contact Pete Bodary ( for program content or career questions.