As an exercise scientist, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to discover the positive benefits of exercise in restoring people to balanced lives of health and wellness. Dig in to the many applications of exercise for rehabilitation and disease prevention and build the knowledge and skills you need for a career that promotes physical activity.

You will gain expertise in a variety of areas of the discipline, including anatomic and mechanical kinesiology, exercise physiology, motor learning and nutrition, enabling you to pursue a vocation with a broad spectrum of clients through personal training, cardiac rehabilitation, health club leadership or corporate fitness programming. You will also be well-prepared for further graduate studies in exercise science, nutrition, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine and medicine.

An undergraduate liberal arts degree in physical education-exercise science is a science-based major pursued by students interested in exercise physiology, biomechanics, sports medicine, sport psychology, sport nutrition, pre-physical or occupational therapy, and pre-medicine. The Calvin College exercise science curriculum is closely aligned with the American College of Sports Medicine's health/fitness instructor certification requirements.

Course Requirements 2014-2015

(35-38 semester hours)

  • PER-107 Strength and Conditioning
  • HE-203 First Aid and Emergency Care
  • HE-254 Nutrition
  • One course from:
    • HE-265 Basic Health Concepts: Mental Health, Fitness, Sexuality, Aging, Addictive Behaviors, and Death
    • HE-266 Basic Health Concepts: Diseases, Substance Abuse, Community, and Environment
  • KIN-201 Introduction to Kinesiology
  • KIN-212 Anatomical Kinesiology
  • KIN-213 Biomechanics
  • KIN-240 Cardio-respiratory Fitness Assessment, Prescription, and Leadership
  • KIN-241 Muscular Fitness Assessment, Prescription, and Leadership
  • KIN-325 Physiology of Physical Activity
  • KIN-328 Advanced Practices in Exercise Science
  • KIN-332 Philosophy of Physical Education and Sport
  • KIN-346 Field Internship (0-3 cr)
  • RECR-305 Program Planning and Development

Cognates (24 semester hours)

Depending on program, these may also be required (see your advisor):

  • CAS-101 Oral Rhetoric
  • KIN-216 Medical Terminology
  • PSYC-151 Introductory Psychology: Perspectives on the Self
  • PSYC-201 Developmental Psychology: Lifespan
  • SOC-151 Sociological Principles and Perspectives

All kinesiology students in exercise science and pre-professional tracks must be certified in CPR prior to graduation.

Careers in health promotion, fitness leadership and sports coaching

Some specialties require further preparation at the graduate level and/or certification by the American College of Sports Medicine or National Strength and Conditioning Association. Calvin Exercise Science majors who pursue graduate degrees are highly competitive.

The most recent Calvin graduates have been accepted into graduate programs at:

  • University of Michigan
  • Wake Forest University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Indiana University
  • University of Texas-Austin
  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Learn more about Exercise Science Careers and Outcomes


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