Masters of Arts (MA) | Movement Science and Education | Biobehavioral Sciences

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Motor Learning & Control

Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

Masters of Arts (M.A.)

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. 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).


Course Work Requirements

BBS 5068 Brain and Behavior I: Communication in the nervous system (2 points).
BBSR 5582 Research design in the movement sciences (3 points).
BBSR 4060 Motor learning (3)*
BBSR 4161 Motor learning laboratory (2, co requisite BBSR 4060)*
BBSR 5028 Motor development across the lifespan (3 points)
BBSR 4050 Biomechanical analysis of human movement (3 points)

Individual program: minimally 6-9 points in movement sciences (additional BBSR courses in substantive, laboratory, fieldwork or seminar study, tutorial or conferences) and/or related areas outside of the program (including graduate courses at Columbia University) in Movement Sciences and Education (non-BBSR courses, including graduate courses at Columbia University).


minimally 3 and up to 6 points of non-BBSR courses outside of the program in Movement Sciences and Education (course at Teachers College) besides BBS 5060 and BBS 5068.

BBSR5504 (sect 002) Research training in motor learning (2). 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.
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