Exercise Science

About the Exercise Science Program

Exercise science is a field of study that encompasses a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, psychology, motor control, and human movement. Exercise science applies these foundational concepts under a physical activity lens. This program will provide you with insight into how an individual responds to the different demands physical activity (and inactivity) place on the human body. Students will also learn how exercise can be applied for the treatment and prevention of disease and disability.

Reasons to Major in Exercise Science

#1 To help others become healthier by making lifestyle choices

#2 You are passionate about movement sciences

#3 You are seeking an interactive degree

#4 You are seeking a versatile degree

Learn more.

ExSci Students Perform and Observe Hurdle Step

Students perform and evaluate the hurdle step within the Functional Movement Screen™ during a hands-on lab activity.

Experiential Learning

Through a carefully crafted curriculum, exercise science majors have access to many diverse experiential and individualized learning opportunities. Core courses are integrated with hands-on lab activities, helping students link theoretical concepts to clinical practice. Students will learn how to use equipment within multiple departmental lab spaces including the Applied Neuromuscular Function Lab, Muscular Fitness Lab, Motor Skill Behavior Lab, Biospecimen Wet Lab, and Human Performance Lab. Each lab space is designed to provide students with practical skills, apply course material, and serve as spaces for conducting research alongside faculty.

Health and Human Performance LabApplied Neuromuscular Function Lab Health and Human Performance LabBiospecimen Wet Lab Health and Human Performance LabHuman Performance Lab

Faculty mentored research is one example of individualized student learning. Interested students are encouraged to reach out to faculty to express an interest in assisting with research. Students can earn repeatable course credit towards their Exercise Science degree for serving as a research assistant.

ExSci Students Present Research Posters

Ana Miletich ‘19 (L) and Elizabeth King ‘19 (R) present research posters alongside their faculty mentor, Kate Pfile (C) at the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Research Retreat VIII.

Internships are another option for individualized student learning. Students have the opportunity to earn repeatable course credit for workplace training within the greater Charleston area. Internship options include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic clinics, personal training and sports performance gyms, youth and triathlete coaching, collegiate level wellness, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition departments, cardiac rehabilitation, community wellness centers, as well as pediatric therapy and health aging facilities. Interested exercise science majors should contact Louise Ackerman, the Internship Coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Performance, for more details about this experiential learning possibility.

Workplace Environments

Exercise science majors have the ability and opportunity to work in a variety of workplace settings. These can include clinical settings like hospitals, doctors’ offices, rehabilitation facilities, as well as assisted living facilities. Your knowledge and skills will also enable you to work in a corporate, military, or law enforcement setting managing and implementing wellness programs, performing ergonomic and health screenings, and facilitating treatment. Many exercise science graduates gravitate towards a fitness and performance-focused environment that may lead to a job training groups and/or individuals in an exercise gym or studio, community center, school, university or professional sports setting. Graduates may also look to work at a college, university, or within a corporation teaching and/or conducting research.

Career Options

Potential careers without a graduate or professional degree

  • Certified Exercise Physiologist (certification required)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (certification required)
  • Group exercise instructor (certification optional)
  • Personal trainer (certification optional)
  • Workplace wellness program coordinator

Potential careers that require a graduate or professional degree

  • Physical therapist (DPT)
  • Occupational therapist (DOT)
  • Athletic trainer (ATC)
  • Physician assistant (PA-C)
  • Clinical exercise physiologist (CEP)
  • Cardiac rehabilitation professional (CCRP)
  • Registered dietician (RD)
  • Doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathic medicine (DO)
  • Academia (MS, MEd, MPH or PhD)

EXSC faculty

Exercise Science faculty members front row left to right: Izzy Kelley, Susan Rozzi, Kate Pfile, Sarah Porto; back row left to right: John Sieverdes, Tom Parry, J.D. Adams, Wes Dudgeon