Exercise Science at Ship

Shippensburg University’s exercise science program prepares students for futures in a variety of related areas. Our students prepare for what’s next for them by spending time in our well-equipped laboratories, compiling and presenting research, and receiving personalized attention from faculty.

The foundation of exercise science stems from chemistry, physics, math, biology, human anatomy and physiology. A strong background and exposure to all the areas in exercise science prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to maintain or enhance performance. More specifically, exercise scientists examine how the body responds and adapts to physical activity and exercise from physiological, biomechanical, and psychological points of view.

Our students are positioned to better understand and apply course content in real-world situations. They complete practical, hands-on learning experiences, engage in classroom discussions, and connect their experiences and interests in the learning process.

Our balanced curriculum exposes students to studies in exercise physiology, nutrition, motor behavior, biomechanics, exercise psychology, and fitness testing and programming.

What’s Special About Exercise Science at Ship?

Small classes of about 20 students mean lots of one-on-one interactions with faculty. This allows you to build close relationships that blossom into strong networks as you move forward as a professional. All major courses are taught by passionate, experienced and engaged faculty members.

Faculty in the Exercise Science Department have published over 25 peer-reviewed articles, and given over 60 presentations in the last five years.

Ship’s facilities are also top notch and you’ll be very active for a great deal of your class time because of them. The Metabolic Analysis Lab and Movement Science Lab are stocked with equipment and instruments for testing many parameters, including power, strength, gait, glucose and cardiorespiratory endurance. We also have the only on-site elementary school in the state, the Grace B. Luhrs Elementary School, which provides opportunities for exercise science students to conduct pediatric exercise testing and programming.

Our program is well respected in the region. That’s because our graduates are making a difference in a variety of fields, but also in part because they present research at regional conferences. We have received over $14,000 to fund student research and conference travel over the last five years.

Here at Ship, we also offer a Power, Agility, & Group Exercise (PAGE) Certificate. You may pursue this to enhance your practical knowledge and hands-on skills in these areas. The PAGE Certificate is also ideal for students who plan to pursue more in these areas after graduation.

Students also become CPR/AED and First Aid certified through the National Safety Council.

Minors in exercise science and coaching are also available.

Where Can Exercise Science Get Me?

Following graduation, students in the Human Performance and Fitness Concentration can work in many areas in the health and fitness industries such as:

  • Personal Training
  • Community and Corporate Fitness
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Group Exercise Instruction
  • Recreational Therapy

Students completing the Allied Health Pre-Professional Concentration are prepared to further their studies and training by applying to graduate school to become a health science or allied health professional in areas such as:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Athletic Training
  • Nursing
  • Physician Assistant
  • Chiropractic Medicine

No matter where they end up working, our graduates can attest that research, lab-based coursework and required internships played a large role in helping them network and achieve their goals.

How Do Exercise Science Majors Spend Their Time?

If you’re looking for a major that involves sitting in a classroom until you receive your degree, exercise science is not for you. Our students are highly active, constantly using equipment and instruments in our laboratories as they pursue their passions and conduct research. We have high admission standards, so those interested should already have a strong background in the sciences, including biology, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

A first year experience course helps students transition into college and sets them up for success in the program.

All students in the major must complete a total of 120 credit hours through the following courses:

  • General Education Courses - All undergraduate students are required to complete the university's general education program, which provides a balanced liberal arts foundation.
  • Biology Courses - In addition to the general education curriculum, which give students a well-rounded experience, exercise science students are required to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II (Biology 237 and Biology 238).
  • Exercise Science Core Courses - Courses required for the major put students on track to either graduate or enter the workforce. Many of these courses satisfy graduate program prerequisites. A variety of elective courses are also available to support students’ career goals.

Exercise Science students are prepared to sit for industry leading certification exams, such as the Certified Personal Trainer exam from the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the ACSM-certified Exercise Physiologist exam or the NSCA-certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam.

Students must complete one supervised internship in order to graduate. This real-world experience makes our students more attractive to graduate schools and more marketable in the workforce.

Students also have the opportunity to complete a minor in other programs, which can complement the exercise science major in specific ways based on individual interests.

Outside of courses, research and internships, students can participate in professional organizations and clubs.

The American College of Sports Medicine, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, National Athletic Trainers Association, and National Strength and Conditioning Association are all great choices.

The student-run Exercise Science Club and the Exercise Science Honors Society both give students opportunities for community service, social networking and professional development.

Contact the Exercise Science Department

Exercise Science Department
Henderson Gym 109, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1721