• Exercise Science Major

    Exercise Science (also known as Exercise Physiology) is a popular field within the natural sciences with broad and diverse research questions, academic paths, and career options. For example, understanding the effects of inactivity on the health and wellness in people of all ages is becoming increasingly important, given the impact of inactivity, poor nutrition, and overweight/obesity on chronic disease risk and mortality. In addition, ways to improve athletic performance, optimize training adaptations and recovery from exercise, and reduce injury risk are important areas of human performance research. Exercise Scientists study these questions and apply what they learn to improve health, wellness, athletic performance, and injury recovery. They do so by becoming physical therapists, athletic trainers, professors, researchers, rehabilitation specialists, wellness specialists, and other specialties within the field.

    The Exercise Science major is designed to prepare students for pursuing professional studies in Physical Therapy, graduate studies in Exercise Science/Exercise Physiology, entry into Athletic Training, Cardiac Rehabilitation or related specialized Masters-level programs, or for successful careers in the health and wellness area. The program is in the Biology Department and is solidly based in the natural sciences, thus meeting the prerequisites for most graduate or professional programs. Students interested in pursuing professional programs or graduate school should see the notes section after the course requirements below.

    Contact: Lisa Ferguson-Stegall, PhD

    Major Requirements

    Biology - Two 4-credit courses:

    Anatomy and Physiology - Two 4-credit courses:

    Exercise Physiology - One 4 credit course:

    Chemistry - One to two 4-credit courses:

    • or

    Physics - Two 4-credit courses:

    • or

    Statistics - One 4-credit course:

    Internship/Research - One 4-credit course:

    • EXSC 3990: Internship or
    • EXSC 4010: Collaborative Research or
    • EXSC 5010: Departmental Honors

    Senior Seminar - One 4-credit course:

    • (taken during senior year)

    Electives - Four 4-credit courses:

    Choose four courses from the following:

    • Nutrition (BIOL 1980)
    • EXSS 3610: Motor Learning (St. Kates) or PHED 300: Motor Development (St. Thomas)
    • EXSS 3350: Kinesiology and Biomechanics (St. Kates) or PHED 326: Kinesiology (St. Thomas)
    • INDI 2220: Scientific/Medical Terminology (St. Kates)


    For students interested in Pre-Physical Therapy & other professional programs such as Cardiac Rehab, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, etc.:

    The course requirements for the major are designed to meet the basic requirements for admission to PT and other professional programs. However, it is crucial that you consult specific programs of interest to verify their specific requirements. Additional requirements can be fulfilled through non-major elective courses. Pre-PT students are strongly encouraged to take Calculus I and Medical Terminology, as these are required for many programs. Pre- PT majors are strongly encouraged to take General Psychology (PSY 1330), Abnormal Psychology (PSY 1480), and Lifespan Development (PSY 1440). Most programs require some combination of these courses. Check your specific program for details.

    Pre-PT Internship requirements: Most programs require a minimum of 100 hrs of observation and experience in a variety of physical therapy settings. Therefore, an internship experience is essential.

    For students interested in pursuing graduate school (Masters or PhD):

    It is a good idea to check your programs of interest to be sure that you are satisfying all their requirements for admission. The course requirements for the major are designed to meet the basic requirements for admission, but each program often has a prerequisite that may be different from the others. Also, research experience is usually a requirement.