Exercise Science

The field of exercise science studies the structure and function of the human body under acute exercise, which contributes to human fitness, holistic wellness and longevity.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in exercise science at Earlham College is designed to prepare you for a variety of career paths as well as future graduate work in numerous fields, which may include:

  • Exercise physiology
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Athletic training
  • Allied health
  • Health, fitness & wellness
  • Education
  • Coaching
  • Registered dietitian
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Exercise science majors are prepared to enter a number of graduate programs in occupational therapy, dietetics and more.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, employment of exercise physiologists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The exercise science major prepares students for careers in athletic training, physical therapy and other wellness careers.

Preparing for a career in wellness

Through the exercise science program at Earlham, you’ll have the opportunity to work closely alongside faculty in both a nurturing and challenging environment while gaining advanced knowledge of the human body’s structure and function. As a first-year student, you’ll take a gateway course covering the fundamentals of exercise science in addition to practical content courses to serve as a foundation for more advanced study.

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Hands-on experiences

As an exercise science major, you’ll complete hands-on experiences beginning early in your coursework and continue through your internship experience.  Opportunities for internships exist in a variety of settings including at our partnership sites Reid Health, Cutting Edge Physical Therapy and athletics at Earlham.

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Discover your interests

Through research opportunities, community connections, and faculty mentorship you’ll explore the breadth of exercise science as a profession. Each year students have the opportunity to pursue service, research, or self-directed projects that expand their knowledge and skills.

Program details

Through the exercise science program, you’ll take a variety of courses from across the curriculum, offering you the opportunity to expand your knowledge in several applied areas within the field of exercise science

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science, you must take the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

  • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry (4 credits)
  • PSYC 116 Behavior, Health Care and Society (4 credits)
  • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance (4 credits)
  • EXSC 199 Fundamentals of Exercise Science (3 credits)
  • BIOL 341 Cell Physiology (4 credits)
  • BIO/CHEM 251 Introduction to Nutrition Science (3 credits)
  • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics or PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics (3 credits)
  • BIOL 345 Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits)
  • AWPE 325 Sports Medicine (3 credits)
  • AWPE 329 Lifetime Wellness (2 credits)
  • AWPE 342 Kinesiology (3 credits)
  • EXER 488 Senior Capstone (1 credit)
  • One of the following courses:
    • BIOL 347 Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits)
    • PSYC 371 Motivation and Emotion (3 credits)
    • PSYC 372 Sports Psychology (3 credits)
    • AWPE 143 Fundamentals of Strength and Conditioning (2 credits)
  • You must complete one internship/externship in order to graduate. This may be accomplished through an established Earlham program such as one of the Center for Global Health externships at Reid Health or Cutting Edge Physical Therapy, an internship in the Athletics and Wellness Center or an equivalent internship as approved by the exercise science faculty.

* course awaiting approval

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

The Center for Global Health has partnerships with many community organizations, including Reid Health and Cutting Edge Physical Therapy. These partners offer excellent internship and externship opportunities..

You can also consider internships in the Athletics and Wellness Center on campus, or work with your academic adviser or career coach to identify other opportunities that will meet the requirements of the program.

If you’re interested in health, wellness and the human body and would like to pursue a career in one of these areas, the exercise science major could be for you. Graduates will be well-prepared to enter graduate programs or careers in exercise physiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, allied health, education, coaching, dietetics and more.

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Our faculty

Coming from our biology, psychology, wellness and athletics programs, the exercise science faculty brings a wide variety of insights to the systems of the human body.

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