We blend academic preparation, practical application and personal attention.
All of our students receive a strong foundation in the biological sciences including human anatomy, human physiology, exercise physiology and kinesiology. On the practical side, you'll have a variety of internship opportunities at recognized clinics, corporations and fitness centers throughout the Midwest. In your senior year, you'll collect and analyze data as part of a senior research project that you'll present and potentially even publish.
Exercise Science is a springboard into all the allied health fields. We've had students go into physical and occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, athletic training, nursing, and medical school.
Professor Kevin Darr
The Exercise Science / Physical Education department has graduates in all of the following careers:
- occupational/physical therapist
- exercise physiologist
- cardiac rehabilitation
- corporate fitness
- chiropractic physician
- personal training
- sports nutritionist
- sports information director
- sports psychologist
- sport facility director
- health/fitness program directors
- physician assistant
The Department of Exercise Science/Physical Education (ESPE) offers undergraduate majors in exercise science and physical education, as well as a graduate degree track in athletic training through the exercise science major. Within the exercise science major there are three tracks: health management, pre-professional (intended for graduate school preparation), and the graduate degree in athletic training. Within the health management track there are four areas of concentration: business, psychology, sociology, or social work. Essentially, students majoring in exercise science with a track in health management will have a minor in business, psychology, sociology, or social work as well.
While any track may be utilized by the student to attain their individual career goals, these tracks have been established to better prepare the student for a more detailed pursuit of their future career. To better understand which track is best for you, please consider:
The Health Management track is designed for students that might be more interested in utilizing their degree immediately upon graduation. While it should be understood that recipients of this degree track may need further educational preparation for graduate school, the minor in Business, Psychology, Sociology, or Social Work will make the student more immediately marketable as a Bachelor degree holder. Additionally, students should consider outside certification (ACE, ACSM, CSCS, etc.), which will bolster their applications upon graduation.
The Pre-Professional track is designed for students pursuing future careers in the Clinical fields, such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistants, and Physicians. This Clinical Preparation track is designed to ensure that the student has most, if not all, of the required courses to enter a graduate program upon completion of the BS degree. As each program, and consequently, each school may require slightly different entry requirements, students are strongly encouraged to work with their advisor to ensure that all requirements are worked into their 4-year program. Students should identify potential schools by the end of their sophomore year to ensure adequate time during their junior and senior years to complete required courses. The Research Preparation track is designed for students that wish to pursue an advanced degree (Master or Doctorate). This track is more research intensive, preparing students for the high research demand of graduate school. Typically, graduates go on to receive and MS or PhD in Exercise Physiology, Sports Psychology, Pedagogy, or Biomechanics. This track would provide the student with the Exercise Science undergraduate experience while specifically training the student in the rigors of graduate research. Once students complete their MS and/or PhD they typically pursue teaching and/or research positions in their particular field. Additionally, students wishing to become respiratory and/or cardiac therapists should be aware that this career path typically requires a Master’s Degree in order to become a licensed therapist.
The Combined B.S./M.S. in Exercise Science & Athletic Training degree program combines requirements from the Exercise Science major and Athletic Training major for the completion of both a B.S in Exercise Science and an M.S. in Athletic Training in five years. “Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. To become certified athletic trainers, students must pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification (www.nata.org).” For students interested in becoming an Athletic Trainer, years one and two comprise the Candidacy Phase, and then students apply to be retained in the Professional Phase of the degree. By the end of the fifth year of study, students will have earned a B.S. in Exercise Science, an M.S. in Athletic Training, and be eligible to sit for the Board of Certification (BOC) exam. Athletic training graduates have also successfully achieved graduate school acceptance in physical therapy, physician’s assistant, and traditional graduate programs.
Students graduating from the ESPE department have pursued:
- (a) careers in teaching (K-12), coaching, personal training, health promotion, and sports administration
- (b) graduate study in areas such as athletic training, adapted physical education, biomechanics, coaching, exercise physiology, growth and motor development, sport psychology, sport sociology, and sport administration
- (c) professional study in medically-related fields such as medicine (allopathic or osteopathic), physician assistant, physical therapy, athletic training, and occupational therapy.
The departmental mission for all of our undergraduate students is to develop creativity and critical thinking skills required of responsible professionals in order to develop and improve the health and wellness of those in the local and global communities. By incorporating academic disciplines from across campus and hands-on experience in and out of the classroom, the department prepares students with a blend of academic diversity and practical application.
The Master’s Degree Program in Athletic Training is committed to the personal and professional growth of individual students. In a supportive, student-centered learning environment, students will be challenged intellectually through advanced coursework, and professional and scholarly experiences. Graduates will achieve success in the allied health profession of athletic training, as well as related fields in health and wellness.