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Factors to Consider When Selecting a Program in Exercise Science

Higher Education Articles March 28, 2015

Exercise science is a combination of public health, sports, biology, and human anatomy in order to help students become experts on the human body. Students can prepare for various careers by combining internships with exercise science programs.

Selecting a Program in Exercise Science

Students interested in the field can pursue both bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs in applied exercise science and exercise science. Universities and colleges offer many of these programs through their sports science, health professions, and behavioral and applied science departments.


Most exercise science programs require chemistry and biology classes. Molecular biology, kinesiology, and anatomy are examined by students as they learn the functions of the body. Most curricula also include public health courses, such as risk management and sports medicine. In many instances, passage of a physical fitness test and maintenance of CPR certification are mandatory requirements.

Internship Opportunities

Students enrolled in exercise science programs usually complete internships. Various organizations dedicated to fitness, including rehabilitation centers, country or health clubs, hospitals, and corporate fitness centers, can help students complete such internships. An internship may not be included in an associate’s degree program, which only spans two years. Students complete an internship during years three and four of a bachelor’s degree program.


Students that show interest in a specific aspect of health and fitness can enroll in a school that offers a choice of specialties within exercise science, including options such as personal training, spa management, physical education, or conditioning and strength.

There is no compulsion for exercise science students to decide on any specific career before they join the program; however, those who have prior career goals can seek a school with internships and classes in their field of choice.

Associate’s Programs in Exercise Science

Associate’s degree programs may not provide sub-specialties or extended internships. Students can use these as a preparation for the certification exams they would need to pass in order to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:


Bachelor’s Programs in Applied Exercise Science

These highly-focused four-year programs offer coursework oriented towards practical issues in the world of fitness and health. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Risk management
•Motor learning skills
•Health care administration

Bachelor’s Programs in Exercise Science

Students enrolled in this comprehensive four-year degree program gain a broad grasp of the scientific concepts behind fitness and health. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Medical terminology
•Cardiovascular endurance

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