Exercise Science Graduate Program

Guidelines for File Papers

The masters degree program in exercise science requires students to complete a 4-credit Research Thesis (ES 599) or complete and submit two formal file papers to the School of Health and Human Performance. Submission of the File Papers constitutes a non-thesis option and requires the student to complete at least four additional elective credits to attain the minimum of 32 credits required for the degree.

File papers may be part of the assigned work of a course, such as the review paper required in ES 531 Advanced Seminar or a paper associated with a directed study or another course. The paper must represent scholarly work and demonstrate that the student has put original thought into the product.

The work must be prepared as a formal paper prior to final submission as a file paper. Simply turning in a paper as part of a class does not constitute final submission as a file paper for the degree. If a file paper has been used as part of a course requirement, the student should submit a fresh copy (without instructor evaluation marks and comments). The student should also attend to any corrections and suggestions made by the original course instructor prior to preparing the work as a file paper.

Final submission of a file paper is made to the head of the School of Health and Human Performance. A Verification of Completion of Graduate Projects form must accompany submitted papers (forms are available from the Graduate Studies web site: http://www.nmu.edu/graduate_studies/GSfaculty.html). If both papers are submitted at the same time, both may be listed on one verification form and numbered as 1 and 2. The verification form must be signed by the department head and received in the Graduate Studies Office at least 20 days prior to the student’s date of graduation. The student should contact the Graduate Studies Office to determine the exact “due date” for each semester and plan accordingly.

Format and Resources

File papers often involve a review of a specific topic. In such cases the written review should be prepared as if it were being submitted to a scientific journal as a “Brief Review.” Good examples may be found in the ACSM publication – Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews (available in the NMU library). See:

Coyle, E.F. and J. Gonzalez-Alonso. Cardiovascular drift during prolonged exercise: new perspectives. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 26(2):88-92, 2001.

Wagner. P. New ideas on limitations to VO2max. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 28(1):10-14, 2000.

(Copies of the Coyle and Gonzalez-Alonso and the Wagner reviews are tacked on the bulletin board by my office. If you take these, please replace ASAP.)

Another good reference for examples is the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (available in the NMU library). MSSE® publishes reviews under the category of Brief Review.

Brief review papers will usually involve 8-24 pages of double-spaced text (4-5 journal pages), plus tables and figures, and between 15-20 references. The style format of Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews or MSSE® should be used for preparation of file papers. Guidelines for authors are available at the MSSE® web site: http://www.acsm.org/publications/MSSE.htm. Go to the site then click on the “Click Here” link (just above the journal cover logo at the center of the page). Then click on the “Author and Reviewer Info” link in the left column on the Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins page for MSSE®.

The organizational format of the paper may vary according to the specific topic, however, the general structure for a scientific review article should be followed. A brief introduction should be provided to establish why the review is important and to describe any boundaries or limitations of the review. Next would be an organized and systematic exploration of the topic with appropriate subheadings. The body of the review should follow a logical progression from sub-heading to sub-heading. A conclusions or summary section should close the review.

The following web site may be helpful; particularly the article on “Guidelines for Scientific Writing.” Go to: http://www.sportsci.org/index.html

  • In the left column, click on “Research Resources.”
  • Check the list and click on “Writing.”
  • Click on “Guidelines for Scientific Writing.”