Exercise Science

Your degree in Exercise Science will prepare you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work as a professional in the exercise science and health professions. You will be skilled in evaluating health behaviors and risk factors, conducting fitness assessments, developing and implementing safe and effective exercise prescriptions, and motivating individuals to modify negative health habits and maintain positive lifestyle behaviors. Exercise science professionals perform these activities in medical, commercial, university, corporate, or community settings where their clients participate in health promotion, fitness, sports performance, and rehabilitation activities.



The mission of the Exercise Science major at Gardner-Webb University is to develop competent and contributing entry-level professionals in the field of exercise science in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (abilities) learning domains, with a Christian foundation grounded in the Liberal Arts tradition. This is accomplished by providing quality academic preparation that incorporates both classroom and supervised practical experiences.


Student Learning Outcomes

Professional Interaction and Communication

To interact and communicate effectively by presenting information in oral, written, and technology formats; collaborating with professionals and peers; expressing ideas clearly; and giving and receiving feedback.


Professional Competence

To utilize knowledge, skills, and abilities to evaluate health behavior and risk factors; develop, implement, and evaluate exercise and wellness programs, and employ behavioral strategies to motivate individuals to adopt and maintain positive lifestyle behaviors.


Professional Ethics and Conduct

To demonstrate behavior, grounded in Christian faith and the Liberal Arts tradition, that preserves the integrity of a profession, prevents misrepresentation, and protects the consumer.


Professional and Personal Development

To continuously improve knowledge, skills, and abilities and to uphold a professional image through actions and appearance.


Professional Decision-Making (Problem Solving)

To demonstrate critical thinking by making decisions based on multiple perspectives and evidence-based practice.


Admissions Requirements

University acceptance to pursue the Exercise Science major does NOT guarantee admission into the Exercise Science major. Formal application to the Exercise Science Major must be completed by the student according to the following procedures:

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to submit an Application to the Major form to the School of Preventive and Rehabilitative Health Sciences Administrative Assistant in the semester in which s/he is enrolled in 48 credit hours.
  2. The application must be submitted by October 1st in the Fall and March 1st in the Spring.
  3. Entering transfers from other universities or GWU students changing their major to Exercise Science with earned credits beyond 48 have a one-semester extension.
  4. By the beginning of the semester following application, students will receive notification of acceptance or denial to the major according to the following:
    1. Acceptance – The student has fulfilled all major requirements in the section Prerequisites to the BS Major Core in the Exercise Science Major (see MyWebb Audit), and has an overall and major GPA of 2.5. Once the student has been accepted into the Exercise Science Major, it will take the student at least four semesters to complete the curriculum, plus a six-credit internship.
    2. First Denial – Not fulfilling the requirements as stated above will result in a first denial. Failure to submit an application will also result in a first denial. Students who are denied for the first time are not permitted to take required upper level courses. Students must reapply for a second time the following semester.
    3. Second Denial – If students do not meet the requirements again, they are denied the second time. Failure to submit an application will also result in a second denial. In the case of a second denial, students are not retained in the major and their major is changed to Undecided. Students are not permitted to reapply to the Exercise Science Major for one year following a second denial. If after one year the student has an overall and major GPA of 2.5, s/he may reapply and repeat the application process as stated previously.


Additional Costs

Students are required to maintain current Adult CPR/AED certifications while enrolled in EXSI 451: Internship in Exercise Science and complete a national credentialing examination through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-HFS) OR National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS) at their own cost. Students may also be asked to complete a drug test and/or criminal background check while enrolled in EXSI 451: Internship in Exercise Science at their own cost.


Major Requirements

Prerequisites to the BS Program Core (18 hours)

BIOL 111: General Biology (4 hrs.)

BIOL 203: Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4 hrs.)

BIOL 204: Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 hrs.)

CHEM 111: General Chemistry (4 hrs.)

EXSI 200: Introduction to Exercise Science (2 hrs.)


Required Core Courses (23-24 hours)

BIOL 222: Medical Terminology (1 hr.)

EXSI 306: Exercise Physiology I (3 hrs.)

EXSI 307: Exercise Physiology I Lab (1 hr.)

EXSI 335: Kinesiology (3 hrs.)

EXSI 432: Seminar in Exercise Science (3 hrs.)

EXSI 451: Internship in Exercise Science (6 hrs.)

MATH 105 Statistics (3 hrs.) or MATH 151 Calculus I (4 hrs.)

PHED 145: Weight Training (1 hr.)

RELI 341: Christian Ethics (3 hrs.)


Health Fitness Concentration (33 hours)

EXSI 224: Nutrition for Wellness and Performance (3 hrs.)

EXSI 308: Introduction to Clinical Exercise Physiology (2 hrs.)

EXSI 310: Principles of Exercise Testing and Prescription (3 hrs.)

EXSI 406: Exercise Physiology II (3 hrs.)

EXSI 410: Exercise Programming for Special Populations (3 hrs.)

EXSI 420: Strength and Conditioning Theory and Practice (3 hrs.)

MATH 105: Statistics (3 hrs.)


Pre-Professional Concentration Courses (36-37 hours)

BIO XXX: Specialized Biology (4 hrs.)

CHEM 112: General Chemistry II (4 hrs.)

EXSI 315: Motor Behavior (3 hrs.)

MATH 151: Calculus I (4 hrs.)

PHYS 203: General Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (4 hrs.)

PHYS 204: General Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (4 hrs.)

PSYC 201: General Psychology (3 hrs.)

PSYC 206: Developmental Psychology (3 hrs.)

SOCI 201: Introduction to Sociology (3 hrs.)


Approved Concentration Electives*

BIOL XXX: Specialized Biology (4 hrs.)

CHEM 201: Organic Chemistry I (4 hrs.)

CHEM 202: Organic Chemistry II (4 hrs.)

CHEM 422: Biochemistry (4 hrs.)

EXSI 351: Special Topics in Exercise Science (3 hrs.)

EXSI 421: Practicum in Exercise Science (1-3 hrs.)

EXSI 496: Independent Study in Exercise Science (1-6 hrs.)

HLED 323: First Aid/CPR with Instruction Certification (3 hrs.)

MGMT 410: Entrepreneurship (3 hrs.)

MRKT 304: Advertising and Promotion (3 hrs.)

MRKT 420/MGMT 422: Marketing Management (3 hrs.)

PHED 401: Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (3 hrs.)

PHYS 203: General Physics I (4 hrs.)

PSYS 304: General Physics II (4 hrs.)

PSYC 201: General Psychology (3 hrs.)

PYSC 206: Developmental Psychology (3 hrs.)

SOCI 201: Introduction to Sociology (3 hrs.)

SPMG 305: Sport Facility Design and Event Management (3 hrs.)

SPMG 345: Legal Issues in Sports (3 hrs.)

SPMG 355: Finance and Economics of Sport (3 hrs.)

*Other courses as approved by the Exercise Science Program Director.


Additional Requirements

Exercise Science majors are required to obtain a minimum of 50 service learning hours at a variety of exercise and/or wellness settings (e.g., University wellness center, University strength and conditioning center, Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation center, private fitness center, Allied health clinic, etc.) and maintain an Exercise Science portfolio upon acceptance into the major, to be submitted for graduation. A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, based on the University grading system, required in all Exercise Science program courses. A minimum GPA of 2.0 (grade of “C”) on a 4.0 scale, based on the University grading system, on all work attempted outside the Exercise Science program. Adult CPR/AED certifications must be current at time of internship and graduation. Completion of one of the following national credentialing examinations: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Health Fitness Specialist (ACSM-HFS) OR National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Results designated to be submitted to the Exercise Science Program Director. 



As part of the major, you will participate in a 300-hour supervised summer internship providing integral hands-on experience and exposing you to the job market in Exercise Science-related businesses and agencies. This internship will give you opportunities to apply your knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained through traditional coursework and experiential activities from the classroom. Senior standing and valid Adult CPR/AED certifications are required.


Download the EXSI Internship Handbook


Career Opportunities

With a degree in exercise science, your career opportunities will include working as a biomechanist, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist, corporate wellness director, dietitian/sport nutritionist, employee fitness director, exercise physiologist, medical doctor, occupational physiologist, personal trainer, physical/occupational therapist, public or community health educator, researcher, strength and conditioning specialist, wellness coach, and more.


Dr. Jeffrey M. Hartman


Phone: (704) 406-3202