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Health & Exercise Science

Discover how movement and nutrition impact health. Lead others toward their health and fitness goals by learning to assess health risks and prescribe appropriate diet and exercise regimens.

Lead others to healthier lifestyles.

Become proficient in body composition and functional movement analysis through hands-on experiences and skilled teaching. As a health and exercise science major, you’ll have access to our on-campus physical therapy clinic, where you’ll observe demonstrations and grow your knowledge and abilities alongside your classmates. By the end of your time at SAU, you’ll be ready to use your knowledge on the human body, nutrition and movement to help others live longer, healthier lives.

Program Stats

39 credit-hour major
100% of students who apply to graduate school are accepted
20 varsity sports on campus
A student walks by the Oak Tree at sunset

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Through the use of our on-campus physical therapy clinic, health and exercise science students receive a hands-on, cutting-edge education. As a health and exercise science student, you’ll likely take several of the following key courses:

  • HPR 178 Aerobic Activities (2)
  • HPR 179 Strength & Power Training (2)
  • HES 321 Scientific Principles of Strength & Conditioning (3) (Elective)
  • HES 345 Principles of Exercise Prescription (2)
  • HES 365 Introduction to Pharmacology (3)
  • HES 381 Nutrition & Energy Metabolism (3)
  • HES 382 Functional Anatomy & Application (3)
  • HES 462 Cardiovascular Function & Electrophysiology (3)
  • HES 473 Biomechanical & Anatomical Analysis of Human Movement (4)
  • HES 474 Physiology of Exercise (3)
  • HES 475 Physiology of Exercise Lab (2)
  • HES 480 Senior Seminar (1)

Find a complete list of health and exercise science courses in the undergraduate catalog.

Once you receive your degree in health and exercise science, you’ll be equipped to immediately enter into a variety of careers. You’ll also have the option of continuing your education through graduate school programs. After graduation, you may find yourself in one of the following fields:

  • Athletic Training
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic Medicine*
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology*
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Fitness Instruction
  • Fitness Management
  • Medicine (as a Physician Assistant)*
  • Nutrition*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Personal Training
  • Physical Therapy*

*These fields require professional certifications and/or graduate school. Since 2014, 100% of SAU health and exercise science students who have applied to occupational therapy, physical therapy, and all other graduate school programs have been accepted.

Health and exercise science students practice the following skills:

  • Body composition analysis
  • Dartfish software use
  • Electrocardiogram performance
  • Functional movement analysis
  • Goniometric measurement
  • Manual muscle testing
  • Health intake skills (height, weight, resting heart rate, and blood pressure)
  • Strength, cardiovascular, and nutrition program design
  • Metabolic cart use
  • Reflex testing
  • Submaximal/maximal VO2 measurement

Students also have the opportunity to work as assistants in the human performance lab and to collaborate with their professors on research and conference presentations.

At SAU, you’ll find professors who care about you personally. As a health and exercise science student, you’ll learn from the following experienced faculty members:

  • Beth Ulrich, DSc, ATC, CSCS – Associate Professor of Health, Human Performance & Recreation, Department Chair
  • Mitch Zigler, DPT, CSCS – Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Clinic Director
  • Anil Joseph – Assistant Professor of Health, Human Performance & Recreation
  • Deb Thompson – Assistant Professor of Health, Human Performance & Recreation