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Human Performance & Fitness Concentration

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 exercise, fitness, and health.

The Human Performance & Fitness Concentration is perfect for students who want to help others live a healthier lifestyle, reach their performance potential, and enhance their fitness. But if you are more interested in helping people recover from injuries and work with clinical populations, check out the Allied Health Pre-Professional Concentration. If you know you want to help prevent and manage athletic injuries, check out the accelerated Pre-Athletic Training Concentration. Ready to declare? View our admission requirements.

Career Opportunities

Careers in the fitness, athletic, and health industries are in demand, and will be for the foreseeable future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 13% to 39% increase in demand in these occupations through 2030. What that means is simple: when you finish your education, jobs will be there. Much of this growth is driven by advances in medicine that allow people to live longer plus an increased emphasis on quality-of-life throughout the lifespan.

The Human Performance & Fitness Concentration largely prepares students for a career in the fitness, athletic, or health industry following graduating, although some careers may require one or two years of additional professional training. We also prepare students for certification exams to increase their marketability. Common careers that students in this concentration go into are:

  • Personal Training
  • Group Exercise Instruction
  • Strength & Conditioning Coaching
  • Sport Coaching
  • Corporate Fitness/Wellness
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Biochemist
  • Health Education
  • Other Fitness Training Professions

Our students have success finding jobs, with recent alumni data showing that just under 80% of our students are currently working in a fitness, sport, or health setting. Faculty provide one-on-one advising to our students to ensure that they are on the path that is right for them, so it is not surprising that our students are able to get the jobs they want.

Human Performance & Fitness Coursework

Exercise Science Core Coursework

All Exercise Science Majors must take the following courses:

  • ESC 150: Introduction to Exercise Science
  • ESC 244: Movement Science & Skill Analysis
  • ESC 260: Principles of Nutrition
  • ESC 336: Motor Behavior
  • ESC 340: Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries
  • ESC 352: Psychology of Physical Activity
  • ESC 375: Exercise Testing & Programming
  • ESC 453: Research Design & Statistics

Because Exercise Science is built upon the basic sciences, students must also complete a Core Science requirement, which includes two courses from Biology, one from Chemistry, and one from Physics:

  • BIO 237: Human Anatomy & Physiology I
  • BIO 238: Human Anatomy & Physiology II
  • CHM 103: A Cultural Approach to Chemistry or CHM 105: An Observational Approach to Chemistry or CHM 121+125: Chemical Bonding with Stoichiometry and Reactions Lab
  • PHY 110: Physics for Society or PHY 121+123: Introductory Physics with Physics I Lab

Human Performance & Fitness Coursework

Because this concentration prepares students for careers in the fitness and sport fields, coursework emphasizes advanced training for general, athletic, and clinical populations. All students completing this concentration take the following courses:

  • ESC 343: Foundations of Exercise Physiology
  • ESC 348: Group Exercise Techniques & Leadership
  • ESC 350: Nutrition for Sport & Fitness
  • ESC 387: Theory & Practice of Power & Agility Training
  • ESC 475: Exercise Prescription for Special & Athletic Populations
  • ESC 495: Internship

Students must also complete at least two elective courses. Elective options include:

  • ESC 207: Stress Management
  • ESC 213: Organization & Administration of Sport & Fitness Facilities
  • ESC 278: Medical Terminology
  • ESC 325: Sport Psychology
  • ESC 333: Biomechanics
  • ESC 360: Sports Medicine
  • ESC 425: Exercise Metabolism & Weight Control
  • ESC 452: Psychology of Injury & Rehabilitation
  • Courses from the Allied Health Pre-Professional Concentration or additional internship credits

Admission Requirements

High school students interested in entering the HPF Concentration upon acceptance into Shippensburg University must meet the following criteria:

  • University Admission Standards

Current Shippensburg University students interested in transferring from another major (including Exploratory Studies) must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Completion of at least 15 credits with a GPA of 2.00 or above
  • Completion of ESC 150: Introduction to Exercise Science, with a grade of C or higher
  • Completion of one of the following courses with a grade of C or higher: BIO 237 (recommended), BIO 150, BIO 161, BIO 162, CHM 103, CHM 105, CHM 121, PHY 110, or PHY 121
  • Meeting with Department Chair

Current non-Ship college students interested in transferring from another university must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Completion of at least 15 credits with a GPA of 2.00 or above
  • Completion of one of the following courses with a grade of C or higher: Human Anatomy & Physiology I w/Lab (recommended), Biology I or II, Chemistry I or II, or Physics I or II
  • Meeting with Department Chair (completed after acceptance, before course registration)

Note for Transfer Students

It is strongly recommended that transfer students complete (or are scheduled to complete) BIO 237: Human Anatomy & Physiology I w/Lab and BIO 238: Human Anatomy & Physiology II w/Lab (or their equivalents at other institutions) with a grade of C or higher before transferring to Exercise Science. Both courses are necessary to progress through the major, and not having these courses already completed may delay your progress and/or your graduation semester. Please contact the Exercise Science Department with questions or to schedule a meeting with the Department Chair to discuss your options.


Our program requires that all students complete a supervised internship. Because we want students to have an exciting and informative experience, students are free to choose where they complete their internship (e.g., fitness center, school, sport training facility, community health center). For students in the Human Performance & Fitness Concentration, internships are completed as a capstone experience once all major coursework is completed. This ensures students have obtained enough knowledge and skill work in applied, real-world settings and can manage clients successfully.

Please view the Internships page for more detailed information and highlights.

Certification Exams

Passing a certification exam demonstrates that students have obtained the theoretical and practical competencies to work in the Exercise Science field. 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 two industry-leading organizations, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Please view the Certification Exams page for more information.

Minor Programs

Students have the opportunity to minor in other programs. While there are many minors available, we recommend the following complementary programs:

Contact the Exercise Science Department Henderson Gym 109 1871 Old Main Drive Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1721 Fax: (717) 477-4083