Exercise Science

Prepare for a career in health, fitness, wellness, sports performance or grad school with our Exercise Science major.

Exercise Science, also known as "Kinesiology," is the scientific study of how the body responds and adapts to physical activity. Through Exercise Science, we learn how to improve athletic performance, maintain health and wellness, and prevent and treat chronic disease. Primary sub-disciplines within this field include:

  • Athletic Training
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Exercise and Sport Nutrition
  • Exercise and Sport Psychology
  • Motor Behavior
  • Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

Why earn your exercise science degree at Bellarmine?

At Bellarmine, we provide our exercise science students with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding physical activity behaviors, outcomes, and issues from a micro- to macro-level perspective. Additionally, this highly customizable degree allows students to meet their personal interests, needs, and ultimate career goals via the selection of focused program tracks. The Exercise Science curriculum includes two tracks: Health and Wellness and Sport Performance.

Program Highlights

The Sport Performance track highlights the role of exercise physiology on the training and performance of athletes. Specialized courses include: Motor Learning, Principles of Athletic Conditioning and Metabolism of Exercise. The Health and Wellness track emphasizes the role of physical activity on health promotion. Specialized courses include: Health Behavior Theory, Community Wellness, and Exercise and Chronic Disease.

Many of our students are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in physical therapy. Within the two tracks, the Exercise Science department can include all the pre-requisite requirements for the Bellarmine DPT program. Additionally, Exercise Science students may apply for early entry into the Bellarmine DPT program, if they have completed all pre-requisite courses at the end of the junior year. Students may begin on either track for the early-entry program and should work with their advisor to complete all pre-requisite requirements.

Additionally, students have the opportunity to complete a dual BA/MHS or BA/MSAT 5-year early-entry program, which awards the student a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science after 4 years, and allows for the completion of either the Master of Health Science or the Master of Science in Athletic Training in one additional year. Students will apply with the office of Graduate Admission for these early-entry programs in the fall of their junior year.

Student Story

Mariana Flores Gutierrez

“I love everybody from the exercise science department, and the opportunities they’ve given me. I’m working on an in-depth project for exercise science. I’m going to be able to make an exercise program for patients depending on their needs. That hands-on learning is very beneficial for me especially as a physical therapist. I’m going to be able to design exercise programs for those individuals who need it.”

Mariana Flores Gutierrez

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with this degree?
While many of our students go on to pursue graduate education (such as Doctor of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, Masters of Public Health or PhD in Exercise Science), there are ample job opportunities for students at the baccalaureate level as well. Our students work in cardiac rehab as exercise physiologists, in corporate wellness settings as health and wellness directors, or in sport performance settings as coaches or strength and conditioning specialists.

Exercise Science facilitiesWhat are your facilities like?
We are located at the Flynn Building (1961 Bishop Ln), which houses Exercise Science and Respiratory Therapy. We have several large classrooms and a dedicated lab in which the students have access to a metabolic cart, hydrostatic weighing tank, BodPod, treadmills, cycle ergometers and resistance training equipment.

How hands on is the major?
All students take at least 3 lab courses within the Exercise Science major that include Exercise Physiology, Basic Injury Prevention and Care, and Exercise Testing and Prescription. When you graduate, you will know how to perform a myriad of exercise tests and health measures, be able to prescribe exercise, and to care for basic injuries and emergencies. Each student spends dedicated hands-on time in our lab multiple semesters in a row to ensure proficiency in these areas.

What opportunities are there for students to get more involved?
Students can join the Exercise Science Association, Pre-Physical Therapy Association and/or the Pre- Athletic Training Association to learn more about their field and potential job opportunities. We also emphasize undergraduate involvement in research; our students have presented data at regional and national conferences and some have even been published during their undergraduate degree. The department also sponsors a Service Learning Clinic, in which students work directly with community members to perform exercise testing, cardiovascular risk assessments, and create individualized exercise prescriptions.

Career Prospects

The career opportunities associated with an Exercise Science degree are numerous and varied. Generally speaking, however, most careers fall under one of the following broad categories:

  • Coaching and Fitness Leadership
  • Health Promotion and Policy
  • Sports Management and Administration
  • Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Teaching and Research

Students completing the Exercise Science curriculum will be prepared to take a number of external certification examinations in the fitness and wellness fields, including personal training, strength and conditioning and as an exercise specialist. The major is also an option for pre-professional preparation for careers in physical therapy, nursing, respiratory therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy and medicine. Graduates work as an exercise specialist clinical settings, with athletes, students, in clients’ homes, in fitness facilities or in workplace settings.

On Campus Experiences

Exercise Science students enjoy a variety of extracurricular activities, including our Exercise Science Association, Pre-Athletic Training Association and Pre-Physical Therapy Association. Students also have an opportunity to study abroad in the Dominican Republic and Australia.

Faculty Profiles

Here is a quick snapshot of a few of our faculty members. Read profiles of all of our distinguished faculty.

Kent Brown, PhD, CSCS

Kent Brown, PhD, CSCS
Associate Professor

Andrew Carnes, PhD

Andrew Carnes, PhD
Assistant Professor

Sara Mahoney, PhD, HFS

Sara Mahoney, PhD, HFS
Department Chair

Laura K. Miller, PT, EdD, NCS, MSCS, ATP

Laura K. Miller, PT, EdD, NCS, MSCS, ATP
Assistant Professor

Thomas Wójcicki, PhD

Thomas Wójcicki, PhD
Assistant Professor

Internships

Internships provide students with real-world experiences in health and fitness, rehabilitation medicine, corporate fitness and personal training supplemental to the experiences obtained in the Exercise Science curriculum and laboratory experiences. The internships are designed to give the Exercise Science students a hands-on and practical experience in working with many diverse and special populations in Louisville. The student will use principles learned in exercise physiology, nutrition, exercise testing and prescription, injury prevention, community wellness and kinesiology to design and implement an intervention program as a service-learning experience. Internship opportunities include (but not limited to):

  • Active Steps – a physical activity program for community members with diabetes
  • Designing injury prevention programs for athletes in the Dominican Republic (Spring break trip)
  • Physical Therapy clinics
  • Louisville Athletic Club
  • Research opportunity with Exercise Science faculty

Accreditation

Bellarmine University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.

Contact Information

Sara Mahoney, Ph.D.
Department Chair
502.272.7607 or smahoney@bellarmine.edu

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