Exercise Science Major

Exercise Science is the scientific study of human movement and the changes caused by physical activity in the body with the goal of understanding how to maintain or improve health and fitness. A Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science prepares students for further study or employment by integrating applied, hands-on learning experiences with a firm understanding of basic facts, theory, and research about health and physical activity. Students are also required to complete an internship in an area of their choosing to expand their experiences and advance their career interests.


Traditionally, Exercise Science focused on enhancing athletic performance. Today however, the focus of Exercise Science is on improving the health, fitness, and quality of life of the general population in clinical, commercial, and workplace settings. Clinically, our students go on to work in a variety of rehabilitation or medical settings, usually after completing graduate school. Commercially, exercise scientists work in a number of settings to enhance fitness and performance, such as in gyms, community centers, schools, or sports teams. Exercise scientists can also be found in the workplace, where they coordinate employee wellness programs.

Following graduation, our students are prepared to 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 Instructor
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Biomechanist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Medical Device Technician

Our students are also prepared to further their studies and training through entering 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
  • Dietician


Courses required for Exercise Science Majors put students on track to be ready for either graduate school or the workforce. Many of these courses satisfy graduate program prerequisites, meaning that students can major in Exercise Science confident that their work will have them ready for whatever their future plans may be.

Exercise Science Majors take courses in the following areas:

  • ESC 250: Introduction to Kinesiology
  • ESC 244: Mechanical Analysis of Sports Skills
  • ESC 321: Exercise Physiology I
  • ESC 350: Nutrition for Sport & Fitness
  • ESC 333: Biomechanics
  • ESC 336: Motor Behavior
  • ESC 340: Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries
  • ESC 352: Psychology of Physical Activity
  • ESC 353: Research Design and Statistics for Exercise Science
  • ESC 420: Cardiac Rehabilitation & Special Populations
  • ESC 421: Exercise Physiology II
  • ESC 422: Exercise Testing & Prescription
  • ESC 424: Internship

Because Exercise Science relies heavily on the basic sciences, students must also complete a Core Science requirement, which includes courses from Biology, Chemistry, and Physics:

  • BIO 237 and 238: Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II (8 credits total) or BIO 161 and 162: Cell Structure & Function and Organismal Diversity and BIO 350: Human Physiology and BIO 371: Human Anatomy (16 credits total)
  • CHM 105: Chemistry: An Observational Approach (3 credits) or CHM 121/125: Chemical Bonding with Stoichiometry and Reactions Lab (4 credits)
  • PHY 121/123: Introductory Physics with Physics I Lab (4 credits)

Optional Coursework

We recommend a variety of elective courses that support students’ career goals, including:

  • ESC 207: Stress Management
  • ESC 213: Organization & Administration in Health, Fitness, and Sports Facilities
  • ESC 325: Sport Psychology
  • ESC 348: Group Exercise Techniques & Leadership
  • ESC 387: Theory & Practice of Power & Agility Training
  • ESC 393: Medical Terminology
  • GRN 100: Introduction to Gerontology
  • DS 100: Introduction to Disability Studies
  • SOC 275: Sociology of Sport & Leisure
  • Any Exercise Science Seminar or Selected Topics courses

Students also have the opportunity to minor in other programs. Complementary minors include:

Internship Requirement

Students must complete one supervised internship in order to graduate. Internships are completed at the end of the program as a capstone experience, once all Exercise Science courses have been taken successfully. This real-world experience makes our students more attractive to graduate schools and more marketable in the workforce.

Internships may be completed at any location as long as it advances students’ career interests. This means that students have the freedom to choose where to do their internship. For example, those interested in personal training can intern at a fitness center, those interested in occupational therapy can intern at a rehabilitation clinic or hospital, and future athletic trainers can intern at a school, university, or professional sports team. This ensures that the internship is relevant and helps students achieve their goals.

Please view the Student Internships page for general information and highlights. Current students, please view the Internship Requirements page.

Certification Exams

Passing a certification exam demonstrates that students have obtained the theoretical and practical competencies to work in Exercise Science areas. As such, certification increases the likelihood that clients will want to work with you and make you a top choice for hire. Our program prepares students and has resources available for them to take exams from industry-leading fitness organizations. Currently, the Exercise Science Department recommends taking one of the following exams:

  • Certified Personal Trainer (American College of Sports Medicine)
  • Certified Exercise Physiologist (American College of Sports Medicine)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • Certified Personal Trainer (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

Please view the Certification Exams page for more information.

Admission Requirements

High school students interested in the Exercise Science program must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Top 20% of graduating class and SAT above 950 (minimum Math score 500)
  • Top 40% of graduating class and SAT above 1050 (minimum Math score 500)

Students transferring from another major or another university must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of at least 15 credits with a GPA of 2.50 or above
  • Completion of BIO 161, BIO 162, or BIO 237 (or their equivalents) with a grade of C or higher

Please note that while any student may enroll in and complete any course in the Exercise Science Department, all prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment. Students may complete no more than 3 Exercise Science major courses within the Exercise Science Department without admission into the Exercise Science major.