Exercise Science

Bachelor of Science

Program Details

Exercise science focuses on the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of human movement and the application to exercise, physical activity and therapeutic rehabilitation. As a student in the exercise science major, you'll create and execute science-based exercise programs while learning to promote wellness for individuals of different ages, sexes, fitness levels and abilities. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to work in health promotion, fitness facilities, colleges and universities, clinical rehabilitation and in sport and athletic conditioning programs and may be eligible for a variety of certifications.

Xavier University, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, is nationally recognized as a top university by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes. 99 percent of our students, including those in the exercise science major, are working, volunteering or in graduate school within six months of graduation (Class of 2022).

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science


The sample course sequence below illustrates class offerings for the Exercise Science major. Consult the official Xavier University course catalog for detailed registration and advising information.


  • EXSC 100: Intro to Exercise Science............ 3cr.
  • BIOL 140: Anatomy & Physiology I............ 3cr.
  • BIOL 141: Anatomy & Physiology Lab I............ 1cr.
  • ENGL 101: Comp or ENGL 115: Rhetoric............ 3cr.
  • second language I............ 3cr.
  • CORE 100: First Year Seminar............ 3cr.
  • CORE 101............ 0cr.


  • EXSC 200: Kinesiology............ 3cr.
  • BIOL 142: Anatomy & Physiology II............ 3cr.
  • BIOL 143: Anatomy & Physiology Lab II............ 1cr.
  • Historical Perspectives............ 3cr.
  • THEO 111: Theological Foundations............ 3cr.
  • second language II............ 3cr.
  • CORE 102............ 0cr.


  • EXSC 300: Exercise Physiology............ 3cr.
  • CHEM 150: Physiological Chemistry............ 3cr.
  • CHEM 151: Physiological Chemistry Lab............ 1cr.
  • MATH 116 or 156: Statistics............ 3cr.
  • PSYC 101: General Psychology ............ 3cr.
  • Theological Perspectives Elective............ 3cr.


  • EXSC 320: Fitness Training Principles............ 3cr.
  • EXSC 325: Resistance Training............ 1cr.
  • EXSC 360: Nutrition for Sport & Exercise............ 3cr.
  • PHIL 100: Introduction to Philosophy............ 3cr.
  • ENGL/CLAS/SPAN 205: Lit & Moral Imagination............ 3cr.
  • Core /General Electives............ 3cr.


  • EXSC 380: Fitness Assessment & Design............ 3cr.
  • EXSC 381: Fitness Assess & Design Lab............ 1cr.
  • PHYS 140: Technical Physics............ 2cr.
  • PHYS 142: Technical Physics Lab............ 1cr.
  • Ethics/Religion & Society Elective............ 3cr.
  • Humanities Elective............ 3cr.
  • Core/General Electives............ 3cr.


  • Exercise Science Elective............ 3cr.
  • Exercise Science Elective............ 3cr.
  • PHIL 200: Philosophical Perspectives............ 3cr.
  • Creative Perspectives............ 3cr.
  • Core/General Electives............ 3cr.


  • Exercise Science Elective............ 3cr.
  • Core & General Electives............ 9cr.


  • EXSC 460: Exercise Science Practicum............ 6cr.
  • Core & General Electives............ 6cr.

Sample Courses

Kinesiology (EXSC 200) – The study of human movement including analysis of muscular physiology, biomechanics, and principles of physics as applied to joint movement through muscular contractions.

Exercise Physiology (EXSC 300) – Human physiology as it relates to acute and chronic bouts of exercise and physical activities. 

Nutrition for Sport & Exercise (EXSC 360) – Nutrition and its role in human performance and wellness. Nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids will also be addressed.

Fitness Assessment & Design (EXSC 380) – Knowledge necessary to effectively assess, develop, and implement an appropriate exercise prescription for adults.

Exercise Science Practicum (EXSC 460) – A planned, supervised, and approved exercise science related learning experience. Students must complete a total of 400 clock hours (6 credit hours), which may be divided into 1-6 credit hour blocks. Student must become certified in both CPR and First Aid prior to internship approval.

Career Outcomes

99% of Xavier students are volunteering or in graduate school within six months of graduating (Classs of 2022).

Careers: Athletic Scout, Community Health and Fitness Director, Corporate Fitness Director, Corporate Wellness Director, Dietician, Ergonomist, Exercise Physiologists, Fitness Center Director and Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach, Health Educator, Healthcare Consultant, Personal Trainer, Pharmaceutical Sales, Physical Education Teacher, Recreation Director, Rehabilitation Specialist, Sports Nutritionist, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Wellness Coordinator 

Student Clubs

Exercise Science Club

This club aims to educate students of all majors about information and future career options in the field of exercise science. We strive to include all people, regardless of major or background, who are interested in learning more about exercise and how it relates to the professional world. Follow EXSC Exercise Science on Instagram @exscxu to see what the club is doing.


Take the Next Step


Exercise Science FAQ

Exercise science is an academic field of study that focuses on the application of exercise, physical activity and therapeutic rehabilitation and its effects on the body. Students learn to create and execute science-based exercise programs that are safe and effective for a variety of individuals.

It is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, biochemistry and biophysics alongside courses in fitness training, resistance training and nutrition.

Graduates are prepared to work in many fields and industries, including fitness facilities, colleges and universities, clinical rehabilitation facilities and sport and athletic conditioning programs.

An undergraduate degree in exercise science also prepares students for graduate studies in athletic training, clinical exercise science, medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other fitness and healthcare-related specialties.

Find more information about our career placement rates on our Student Outcomes Page.

Exercise science and athletic training do overlap, but they have some important differences. The main difference is career certifications. Exercise science will prepare students for certifications as exercise physiologists, personal trainers and strength and conditioning specialists while athletic training prepares students for BOC certification as athletic trainers.

Exercise Science

  • Focuses on working with athletes, clinical patients and clients to help improve a variety of different health and performance needs
  • Prepares students for certification as exercise physiologists, personal trainers and strength and conditioning specialists
  • Prepares students for post-graduate work in medicine, sports medicine, occupational therapy and physical therapy

Athletic Training

  • Focuses on prevention, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries for phyiscally-active individuals
  • Prepares students for BOC certification as athletic trainers

There are many different job possibilities with an exercise science degree. While some students pursue post-graduate and doctoral studies, others enter the work force after earning their undergraduate degree. Here are a few popular job possibilities and industries for people with exercise science degrees:

Job possibilities:

  • Personal Trainer
  • Fitness Center Manager
  • Health Coach
  • Coach
  • Chiropractor
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Wellness Program Manager
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Recreation Director
  • Corporate Wellness Director
  • Athletic Scout
  • Research Assistant
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Dietician
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Ergonomist
  • Fitness Tech Engineer


  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Fitness and Athletics
  • Clinical Research
  • Product Development
  • Technology

Dependent upon the exercise science electives selected, students may be eligible for the following certifications after graduation:

At Xavier, students majoring in exercise science complete courses in sports medicine, sport management, nutrition, fitness, statistics, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. They also complete core curriculum requirements, which include ethics, religion, English and a second language. Learn more about Xavier’s undergraduate core curriculum on our website.

Find a complete tuition breakdown on our Undergraduate Tuition and Aid website.

Yes. Nearly all incoming Xavier students receive financial assistance each year through grants, loans, work study opportunities and scholarships or a combination of these. Find out more about financial aid opportunities, scholarships and grants on our Undergraduate Tuition and Aid website.

Yes. Students in high school who are interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in exercise science should look into taking as many science and math classes as possible, including chemistry, physics, biology, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Courses in English and communications and can also be useful.

Fast Track 3+2 Graduate Program

Exercise science majors helping a athlete before a game

Students also interested in a graduate degree in Athletic Training can utilize Xavier’s 3+2 option and earn both their bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a master's in Athletic Training in just five years.

M.S. in Athletic Training Details

Practicum Experience

Exercise science major explaining how the a exercise machine that measures your breathing works.

All exercise science majors have the opportunity to work in the field. Coursework includes a 6-credit hour practicum, where students complete 400 hours of Exercise Science-related learning experiences on or off campus with an exercise science professional.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Exercise science majors on a study abroad trip in Peru

Xavier offers a variety of international, for-credit study abroad programs in many countries including Australia, France, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Ireland, Greece, England, Germany and Costa Rica.

Education Abroad at Xavier

Musketeers pitch ideas to solve college health care issues in Xavier-TriHealth Pitch Competition

Three Musketeers won cash prizes for their potential solutions to health care issues commonly faced by college students. Exercise Science major Reid Peterson took first place in the Xavier/TriHealth Pitch Competition, held earlier this month.

Read the Story

Graduate With Honors

Are you looking for an academic challenge? The University Scholars Honors Program offers incoming students a more challenging curriculum and close support from professors while completing their undergraduate degree. Acceptance into the program is highly selective and includes a $2000 travel grant.

University Scholars Honors Program Details

Exercise Science Major at Xavier University

The Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science is a scientific program that focuses on the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of human movement and the application to exercise, physical activity and therapeutic rehabilitation. The Exercise Science program is one of many programs within the Sports Studies Department. Students create and execute science-based exercise programs while learning to promote wellness for individuals of different ages, sexes, fitness levels and abilities. Students are prepared to work in a variety of health-related specialties including health promotion, fitness facilities, clinical rehabilitation, and sport and athletic conditioning programs.

Xavier University's College of Professional Sciences prepares undergraduate and graduate students intellectually, morally and spiritually for careers and professions of service. CPS challenges students to strive for academic excellence and life-long learning through promoting collaboration and community partnerships, and incorporating research, scholarship and innovation.

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. It has been ranked among the top 10 master's-level universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for the past two decades. The Princeton Review names it one of the "Best 385 Colleges in America."