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Exercise Science

Train for a Career in Health and Fitness

Fitness isn’t just for athletes. Physical activity is a key component of mental and physical wellness for everybody. 

An exercise science degree gives broad exposure to courses in fitness, health, nutrition, motor control and movement science, exercise physiology and the psychology of sports and exercise. 

Leverage our Fitness Community to Find Internships and Field Experiences

At Urbana, you’ll have access to exercise science faculty members who are eager to share the breadth of their experience with you. Urbana is great at applied exercise science and regularly receives referrals from other schools. It’s a rigorous program and you’ll be challenged.

Our Exercise Science students learn fundamentals and then apply them in real world experiences by training faculty, staff and students at our health and wellness centers. Moreover, our internship program is the conduit for students to gain valuable experiential learning leading to industry exposure and employment. 

Curriculum & Course Descriptions

120 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education Core (24 hours)
English Composition (3 hours)

Choose a minimum of 3 semester hours from:

ENG 120 - College Writing (4)
In this course, students acquire the writing competence necessary for conducting and presenting research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all of their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of good writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of a documented research paper.
Mathematics (3 hours)


MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)
This course introduces the student to statistics with business applications. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; graphical displays of data; linear regression; basic probability concepts; binomial and normal probability distributions; confidence intervals; and hypothesis testing. These topics will be covered using a basic knowledge of algebra and Microsoft Excel.

*Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 215. Course can count as a University Elective.

Sciences (6 hours)
SCIE 244 - Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology (4)
This course is designed for students interested in the allied healthcare professions and focuses on gross anatomy and the function of human organ systems and how they relate to one another. Students in this course will expand their medical terminology and scientific understanding of the physiology of the human body. In addition, students will gain an understanding of general pathology as it relates to the disruption of homeostasis. This course will include a one-hour lab component.

Plus choose one additional course from the Science discipline.

Plus choose one additional course from the Science discipline.

Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)
PSYC 110 - General Psychology (4)
A survey of the various fields of study comprising modern scientific psychology. The course examines the theories, research findings, and applications in each of the major areas of psychology, with the goal of providing students with practice information they can apply to their personal and professional lives. The topic areas covered in the course include learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development, theories of personality, psychopathology, and social behavior.

Choose an additional course from Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science and Sociology disciplines.  Must select at least two different disciplines to meet requirements.

Arts and Humanities (6 hours)

A minimum of 6 hours of Arts and Humanities coursework is required.  Choose from the Art, English Literature, Fine Arts, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion or Theater disciplines.

Additional General Education Requirements (12 hours)
UNI 199 - University Seminar (2)
A mandatory course for entering full-time, degree-candidate students at Urbana. This course is designed to help freshmen adjust to the Urbana University and develop strategies for success by providing a "support group" during this critical period of adjustment and examining problems common to the freshman experience. Students must pass the course or be required to repeat it.
COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)
By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and public speaking.
OR SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)
This public-speaking course emphasizes the fundamentals of extemporaneous speaking. Skill-building activities and assignments focus on research, organization, reasoning, style and delivery of presentations as well as listening and audience engagement.
ENG 220 - Research Writing: Exploring Professional (4)
This is an intermediate course focusing on the composition of research papers. Students in this course prepare to be active participants in professional discourse communities by examining and practicing the writing conventions associated with their own fields of study and work. By calling attention to the conventions of disciplinary writing, the course also prepares students for upper-division college writing and the special conventions of advanced academic discourse. Course activities include three extended research papers, semi-formal writing addressing interdisciplinary communication, and readings fostering critical engagement with disciplinary conversations.
PF 116 - Computer Applications (3)
A course designed to acquaint students with the computer and its capabilities as they relate to business situations. Students will learn computer basics and how to use the computer for various applications including word processing, spreadsheets, internet usage, and presentation software.
Major Area (49 hours)
EXS 125 - Designing Exercise Programs (3)
This course is an introduction to exercise program design. It will review general principles for designing exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals and individuals with physical disabilities. Strategies to improve exercise compliance and adherence will be included. Legal issues in the designing of exercise programs will be addressed.
EXS 140 - Foundations/Principles/History Sport (3)
Students become familiar with the nature, scope, history and philosophy of physical education; changing concepts of physical education; and scientific foundation of physical education.
EXS 203 - Sport and Society (3)
Designed to look at sport and its role in society and the influence of society on sport in the areas of preparation for life, deviance in sports, coach's role, gender, race and ethnicity, class relations and social mobility, sports and the economy, sports and the media, sports and politics, sports and religion.
EXS 204 - Intro to Sports and Exercise Psychology (3)
This course introduces students to sports and exercise psychology theories, research, and selected applications of those theories and research. Topics include, but are not limited to, motivation, team dynamics, improving performance, and challenges/transitions in sport. Students will also learn how to apply sports psychology concepts to professional, personal, and social contexts.
EXS 252 - Exercise Physiology (3)
Presents organ systems of the human body and the role and adaptation of the organ systems to exercise. The immediate, chronic, and residual effects of exercise and methods of prescribing exercise programs are presented.
EXS 335 - Principles of Strength Train/Condition (3)
This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design strength training and conditioning programs for apparently healthy individuals. Proper exercise techniques and safety will be discussed for stretching, warm-up, resistance training, plyometrics, speed, agility, and endurance programs. The course will also address facility design, scheduling, policies and procedures, maintenance, and risk management concerns.
EXS 351 - Kinesiology/Biomechanics (3)
Provides the student with an understanding of the human musculoskeletal system's anatomy and functions. Laws of mechanics are discussed as well as the application of physics to the movement of the human body.
EXS 400 - Exercise Special Populations (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for exercise prescription in special populations. Topics will include exercise prescription for cardiac patients, pulmonary patients, children, elderly, and pregnant women. The influence of medications and medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes will also be addressed.
EXS 423 - Organization/Admin of Sports Programs (3)
Covers the changing nature of administration of health, physical education, and recreation programs; administrative relationships, administrative setting; physical plant; purchase and care of supplies and equipment; legal liability; insurance management; and professional and public relations.
EXS 460 - Exercise Testing and Prescription (3)
This course is designed to introduce students the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Topics will include health screening, exercise risk assessment, methods of exercise testing, and exercise prescription. The course will have both lecture and laboratory sessions.
HEA 152 - Wellness (3)
This course is designed to assist students when making intelligent decisions throughout life in order to achieve an optimal level of wellness. Emphasis will be placed on the wellness concept and its relationship to fitness, nutrition, self-esteem, and stress management. The areas of catastrophic diseases, aging process, and medical consumerism will be covered.
HEA 254 - Nutrition and Fitness (3)
Basic principles of nutrition as they apply to the general population in the maintenance of optimum health and to the competitive athlete with the objective of attaining optimum performance levels.
SOCL 335 - Applied Research Methods (4)
Applied Research Methods introduces students to foundational issues of social scientific research - that is, research entailing the application of the scientific method to the study of human behavior. Students will examine the strengths and weaknesses of major quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques as well as the processes involved in planning and executing such projects and the standards of evaluating the quality of data.
SPM 351 - Sports Law (3)
This course provides information into the legal issues related to the sports field. Topics will cover the time frame from amateur through professional sports. Basic legal principles affecting the management of recreation and sports programs, liability and risk assessment of those programs will be covered.
EXS 491 - Field Exp Exercise Science Wlns & Fit (1-6)
The student supplements theoretical classroom knowledge with practical, on-the-job experience in Wellness & Fitness, receiving close supervision and comprehensive evaluation for credit purposes by employers and college personnel. It is possible to receive a salary while doing field experience, depending upon placement Opportunities.
University Electives (35 hours)

Any undergraduate courses offered by the University except developmental education courses.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), and University Seminar (UNI 199) prior to enrolling in any course at the 200 level or above. Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) or Speech Communication (SPCH 100) must be taken prior to enrolling in any course at the 300 level or above. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.


Study Exercise Science for a Rewarding Health and Fitness Career 

With the aging population and concerns over health, nutrition and disease pervading society, exercise science professionals inspire, motivate and equip people to work toward wellness.

An Exercise Science degree prepares students for work as instructors, directors and trainers in hospitals, corporate fitness centers, rehabilitation programs, community recreation centers, health clubs, gyms, fitness centers and even geriatric facilities. Other pathways point to sales or management positions with corporations focused on sports nutrition, weight control, fitness equipment, fitness apparel and footwear. 

Program Outcomes

  1. Evaluate physiological status of client using tests of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and body composition. The graduate will be able to explain to clients’ processes and behaviors for changing physiological status.

  2. The graduate will be able to analyze clients’ ability to move, design programs for modifying movement profiles.

  3. The graduates will be able to identify different behavioral change techniques, choose appropriate behavioral change strategies.

  4. The graduates will be able to describe and locate different types of technology that can be used for assessment and communication of important physiological and physical literacy characteristics.

  5. The graduate will be able to define the scientific process, describe its application to the science of exercise.

Undergraduate Studies Admission Requirements

Each applicant seeking admission to Urbana University is individually evaluated. Factors considered are past academic achievement, aptitude, extracurricular activities, and any additional evidence supporting the prospect of academic success.

To qualify for admission, applicants seeking an associate or bachelor's degree must present evidence of high school completion in the form of a high school diploma or GED. Careful consideration is given to the applicants academic record to include the curriculum, courses, and/or state mandated graduation tests. Results from standardized testing (either ACT or SAT) are required for first-time freshmen. Students who wish to apply for admission, but do not meet the minimum standardized test scores used for placement in University courses may be required to undergo placement testing.

Undergraduate admission requirements and materials:

A student who meets at least one of the following criteria is eligible for admission as a degree-seeking student:

  • Has provided official documentation of graduation from an accredited high school or its equivalent (see documentation required below), or
  • Has an associate, bachelor or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, an institution recognized as a candidate for accreditation, or an institution recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation

Documentation required:

1. Documentation of high school graduation or equivalence is required for applicants who are transferring fewer than 24 semester hours that apply towards a degree.

2. If the student has transferable hours of 24 credit hours or more from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, then they will not have to provide a high school diploma or equivalence. Acceptable forms of documentation of high school graduation or high school equivalence for undergraduate admission must include one of the following:

  • Official high school transcript listing the date of graduation
  • Official GED certificate
  • Official documentation of having passed a State High School Equivalency examination
  • Official documentation of a home school completion certificate/transcript
  • Official transcripts from all educational institutions (college, universities, professional schools, etc.) attended

3. Any applicant seeking to be a first-time freshman undergraduate degree-seeking students at Urbana University must supply standardized test scores (ACT SAT) to be used for placement in courses., to determine athletic eligibility, and/or determine institutional scholarship qualification.

At any time the University may require an applicant to meet with the Admissions Committee to address questions that arise in the application review process. If an applicant requests transfer credit, official transcripts from any other regionally accredited institution are required.

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