Pre-professional Track: Exercise Physiology

What is a pre-professional exercise physiology track?

Hamline’s exercise physiology pre-health advising program is not a major. Rather, it is a pathway to make you a competitive applicant for graduate school. We provide you with hands-on experiences in the skills you need for a career in exercise physiology, and we support your continued education plans through mentorship and advising.

About exercise physiology 

From athletic performance and dance to physical therapy and rehabilitation, the field of exercise physiology is as flexible as the human body. Whether you aspire to become a physical therapist, athletic trainer, researcher, rehabilitation specialist, or beyond, as an exercise physiologist, you'll help your patients improve their health, boost their athletic performance, prevent injuries, recover from surgery, and more.

Prerequisite coursework

We encourage students to major in a subject they are interested in and work with program advisors to identify and complete coursework that will prepare them to apply to graduate school. 

Most graduate programs in exercise physiology, physical therapy, or athletic training require a year of biology with labs, a year of chemistry with labs, physics with labs, and statistics. Many professional programs also require basic research experience and a minimum number of internship or shadowing hours. Specific prerequisite course listings vary between institutions and depend on your area of interest. Please check the admission requirements for the schools of your choice.

Relevant tests

Most programs require the GRE. Check with each program you are considering to find out their specific requirements.

Degree programs

The level of degree required for a career in exercise physiology depends on the area of specific interest. For some jobs, such as a wellness coach in a corporate fitness setting, a bachelor's degree with additional certification may be all that is required. Other career options, such as physical therapy, athletic training, or cardiac rehabilitation, will require a master's degree or doctoral level degree.


The following are certifications available to exercise physiologists:

ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist 

This program certifies exercise physiologists to conduct and interpret fitness assessments, prescribe medications, develop exercise prescriptions, and assist in clinical level training.

ACSM (registered) Clinical Exercise Physiologist

This program certifies exercise physiologists who specialize in exercise-related consulting, conduction assessments, and training for patients with cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases and disorders.

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist 

This program certifies exercise physiologists to design and implement strength programs for athletes and/or conditioning for tactical populations (military, law enforcement, fire and rescue, and paramedical occupations).

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