Motor Learning MA

Master of Arts in Motor Learning


The Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Motor Learning & Control (Major Code: MTLG) is designed to provide students with a broad background in movement sciences and related areas. This program is designed for students seeking broad study of motor learning and control.  Students with any undergraduate major will be considered. The program provides content relevant to students from a range of applied areas, including dance, Pilates, yoga, movement practitioners (e.g. Feldenkrais Method, Alexander technique), physical and occupational therapists, coaches, and trainers.  Students can use this degree to further advice their knowledge in these related fields; as a stepping stone for subsequent application to medical, physical therapy or occupational therapy schools; for research training to work in clinical research programs; or as a precursor to doctoral study in kinesiology or rehabilitation sciences.  

 

Study focuses on the behavioral, biomechanical and neural bases of development, acquisition and performance of functional movement skills. Acquisition of skill is examined over the life span in typically developing children and adults and individuals with movement disorders. Movement analysis is used to elucidate the neuromotor control processes underlying skilled performance in everyday functional behaviors. The teacher or therapist’s role in facilitating skill learning and performance is emphasized.

 

The M.A. program emphasizes bridging between the movement sciences and clinical or educational practice. The objective is to develop a comprehensive and coherent view of theory and research that can be applied to practice within the student’s professional field. 

 

The program requires 32 points of graduate study and includes: 

 

  1. Substantive study of theory and research as embodied in lecture and laboratory courses.
  2. Development of clinical or educational skills in laboratory and fieldwork courses.
  3. Research training to enable students to read and interpret original research and to carry out educational, clinical or laboratory research.
  4. Seminars to discuss theory and research, identification of research problems, and clinical/educational applications.
  5. Elective courses to meet specific student needs which may be taken throughout Teachers College in such areas as anatomy, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, health education, higher and adult education, neurosciences, nutrition, physiology, psychology and science education.

 

Final Project

A final project is required for the M.A. and may involve one of three options:

  1. A scholarly review of research and theory within a topical area drawing application to educational or clinical practice.
  2. An educational project including the development of an assessment instrument/method for clinical or educational practice or a presentation for a continuing education program.
  3. A basic or applied research study under the advisement of a faculty member or advanced doctoral student (note this option is required if considering doctoral study).

 

Individualized degree option

For the M.A. degree, students may also, in consultation with their faculty advisor, create a flexibly-designed program of study cutting across specialization areas (Motor learning & control, Applied exercise physiology, Physical education) which will meet their professional needs and academic interests. The M.A. program can be completed in 12-18 months of full-time study or two to three years of part-time study (depending on the student’s other responsibilities). 

A student is engaged in conversation with one her peers at a study group at Teachers College.

Admissions Information

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 32
  • Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • None

Requirements from the TC Catalog

The Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Motor Learning & Control (Major Code: MTLG) is designed to provide students with a broad background in movement sciences and related

The Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Motor Learning & Control (Major Code: MTLG) is designed to provide students with a broad background in movement sciences and related areas. This program is designed for students seeking broad study of motor learning and control. Students with any undergraduate major will be considered, The program provides content relevant to students from a range of applied areas, including dance, Pilates, yoga, movement practitioners (e.g. Feldenkrais Method, Alexander technique), physical and occupational therapists, coaches, and trainers. Students can use this degree as a stepping stone for subsequent application to medical, physical therapy or occupational therapy schools, or doctoral study in kinesiology or rehabilitation sciences.

Study focuses on the behavioral, biomechanical and neural bases of development, acquisition and performance of functional movement skills. Acquisition of skill is examined over the life span in typically developing children and adults and individuals with movement disorders. Movement analysis is used to elucidate the neuromotor control processes underlying skilled performance in everyday functional behaviors. The teacher or therapist’s role in facilitating skill learning and performance is emphasized.

The M.A. program emphasizes bridging between the movement sciences and clinical or educational practice. The objective is to develop a comprehensive and coherent view of theory and research that can be applied to practice within the student’s professional field.

The program requires 32 points of graduate study and includes:

  1. Substantive study of theory and research as embodied in lecture and laboratory courses.

  2. Development of clinical or educational skills in laboratory and fieldwork courses.

  3. Research training to enable students to read and interpret original research and to carry out educational, clinical or laboratory research.

  4. Seminars to discuss theory and research, identification of research problems, and clinical/educational applications.

  5. Elective courses to meet specific student needs which may be taken throughout Teachers College in such areas as anatomy, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, health education, higher and adult education, neurosciences, nutrition, physiology, psychology and science education.

A final project is required for the M.A. and may involve one of three options:

  1. A scholarly review of research and theory within a topical area drawing application to educational or clinical practice.

  2. An educational project including the development of an assessment instrument/method for clinical or educational practice or a presentation for a continuing education program.

  3. A basic or applied research study under the advisement of a faculty member or advanced doctoral student (note this option is required if considering doctoral study).

For the M.A. degree, students may also, in consultation with their faculty advisor, create a flexibly-designed program of study cutting across specialization areas (Motor learning & control, Applied exercise physiology, Physical education) which will meet their professional needs and academic interests. The M.A. program can be completed in 12-18 months of full-time study or two to three years of part-time study (depending on the student’s other responsibilities).

Special Admission Requirements/Academic Prerequisites

While students have come from a variety of fields, the following backgrounds are most appropriate: movement sciences, exercise science, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical education, dance, athletic training, biology, nutrition, nursing, and psychology. Students with strong academic records, who have deficiencies in their science backgrounds, may be admitted with the understanding that these deficiencies will be remedied with appropriate courses.

Students are required to complete all of the following courses with a grade of B or better. Students who earn grades B- or below will need to retake those courses and will be charged tuition again. It is recommended that prospective students communicate with an academic advisor to discuss program plans prior to admission. Students are encouraged to make an appointment to visit the college for at least half a day to meet with faculty and current students, to audit a course or seminar, and to become acquainted with research areas and resources. Applicants are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year. Prior to formal admission, enrollment in up to 8 points of study as a non-matriculated student is permitted.

Course Work Requirements 

Core Coursework (23 Credits)

BBS

5060

Neuromuscular response and adaptation to exercise (2 points)

BBSR

5068

Brain and Behavior I: Communication in the nervous system (2 points)

BBSR

5055

Bases of motor control systems (3)

BBSR

5582

Research design in the movement sciences (3 points).

BBSR

4060

Motor learning (3) *

BBSR

4161

Motor learning laboratory (2 with co-requisite BBSR 4060)

Note: BBSR 4161 is a co-requisite of BBSR 4060 if taken for 2 point

BBSR

5028

Motor development across the lifespan (3 points)

BSR

4050

Biomechanical analysis of human movement (3 points)

BBSR

5504

Research Training Seminar (Section 02) (2 points)

Note:  Students will enroll in this competency-based course during their last year of study to immerse themselves in current research in motor learning and control, as well as receive advisement on their final project. Note that if all coursework is complete but the student has not completed the final project, students must continue to enroll for 1 point (above and beyond the 32 points) each semester until the project is complete.



Substantive Study (minimum 3 credits)

BBS

4005

Applied anatomy and biomechanics (3)

BBSR

4055

Neuromotor processes (3)

BBSR 

4090

Physical fitness, weight control and relaxation (3)

BBSR 

4095

Applied physiology I (3)

BBSR

5050

Neurophysiology of motor control and electromyography (3)

BBSR

5057

Movement disorders (3)

BSRR

5095

Exercise and health (3)

BBSR

4070

Psychosocial aspects of sports and exercise (3)

BBSR

5199

Conference seminar (3)

Laboratory Courses (minimum 3 credits)

BBSR

4151

Laboratory methods in biomechanics (3)

BBSR

4195

Applied physiology laboratory I (3)

BBSR

5151

Introduction to the analysis of biomechanical signals (3)

BBSR

5194

Applied physiology laboratory II (3)

BBSR

5195

Advanced applied physiology laboratory (3)

Elective Courses (3 credits)

Students should take 2-3 credits outside the Movement Sciences area (along with required courses BBS 5060 and BBS 5068) to meet the Teachers College breath requirement. Please see the academic schedule and academic catalog for a full list of available courses. Popular breadth elective courses for students in Movement Sciences have included courses in Health and Behavioral Studies (HBSE), Human Development (HUDM), Neuroscience and Education (BBSN), Dance (A&HD), and Measurement and Statistics (HUDM). Please note that courses taken at Columbia Schools outside of Teachers College cannot count toward the breadth elective requirement. It is recommended that you discuss your electives with your advisor or program faculty for assistance in selecting courses that may contribute toward your educational and career goals. Courses outside of Movement Sciences (BBSR) that you use to fulfill core degree requirements and/or research methods requirements can also count toward the breadth requirement.

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