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Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science

bachelors in exercise science.

Start a movement.

Revolutionary things are happening in the world of health and fitness. It’s a $78 billion global industry, and it’s growing. Now, more than ever, people want to move beyond quick fixes and into the realm of true health. Fitness-educated individuals are needed in every corner of the industry to cut through the hype and cloudy science.

Exercise science is the study of movement and functional responses or adaptations associated with exercise. It answers questions like: How does the body respond to change? What are the components necessary to achieve optimum fitness? How do we go longer, grow stronger, move faster, and get better?

The innovated exercise science degree at William Woods University includes coursework in exercise physiology, kinesiology, fitness testing and prescription, and program design. You will also learn skills such as entrepreneurship, sports psychology, sports law and nutrition — supplementary skills that will not only make you stand out above other applicants, but will also enhance your career no matter what you do.

Choose from one of five concentrations to prepare you for a career in the health and fitness industry, in research or graduate school in various health science fields, for a career as a coach, teacher or activities coordinator, or understanding the business side of sports management.

Exercise Science Infographic


  • Sports Medicine / Pre-Athletic Training**
    Prepare for a career as a certified athletic trainer by utilizing manual evaluation and treatment skills combined with industry-leading certifications to treat a variety of athletic and non-athletic injuries.
  • Sports Management
    Be ready for a career in virtually every segment of the sport business — including the junior to professional level, media and communications operations, athletic departments, health clubs and more.
  • Human Performance
    Through coursework in exercise physiology, kinesiology, fitness testing and prescription, nutrition and more, you will be able to assess fitness status and design programs to improve areas of fitness for various populations. Prepare for certifications as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and more.
  • Physical Education
    Learn how to create movement-based learning opportunities for students in the areas of motor development, individual and large group activities that are designed to promote a lifelong priority of staying active.
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
    Prepare to enroll into a Doctor of Physical Therapy program by participating in internships, observing DPTs in action and completing appropriate coursework–including an anatomy class with 3-D anatomical models. 
  • Sports, Coaching and Leisure
    Learn the fundamentals behind coaching a team or individual, learn to lead groups on outdoor activities, and learn the theory behind what makes people perform at their best — preparing you to become a coach or other leader of activities.
**This program does not qualify individuals to sit for the Board of Certification examination. It does prepare individuals for admittance to our graduate level athletic training program which would meet the qualifications necessary to sit for the Board of Certification exam.


Special opportunities

  • Take advantage of the $1.3 million Center for Human Performance, which includes state-of-the-art equipment in exercise testing and rehabilitation
  • Train and work in our on-campus fitness facility, the Weider Fitness Center, named for honorary trustee and fitness entrepreneur Joe Weider
  • Study in the only institution in the state of Missouri recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Education Recognition Program (ERP)
  • Prepare thoroughly for the NCSA Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification Exam
  • Complete an internship in which you will apply what you have learned in the classroom to real-life experience under the direct supervision of professionals in the fitness industry
  • Participate in many on-campus fitness opportunities and promotions such as Freshman Peer Mentoring or the Health Hunt Wellness Program Advisory Team
  • Enjoy small class sizes and the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty who are dedicated to helping you map out your career goals and make them happen
  • Join various service learning projects throughout the year, including the opportunity to mentor incoming William Woods University students in fitness and nutrition
  • Create an online portfolio which showcases your certifications, coursework and professional goals

Our Exercise Sciences degree at work 

Pursue an exciting career as a/an:

  • Fitness instructor/coordinator
  • Strength and conditioning coach or specialist
  • Personal trainer
  • Wellness program director
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Athletic director
  • Event manager/director
  • Marketing manager
  • Business operations
  • Sports agent
  • Ticket sales
  • Community officer
  • External relations
  • Facilities manager
  • General manager
  • League commissioner
  • Sports information
  • Researcher
  • Teacher
  • Sports writer or fitness writer


William Woods Exercise Science alumni are currently working for:

  • Health clubs locally and across the nation
  • Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and testing centers
  • Wellness centers and corporate fitness facilities
  • Professional sports teams (NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS)
  • Media and communications operations (ESPN, Fox Sports, Comcast)
  • College athletic departments
  • High school athletic departments
  • Sports marketing operations
  • Charitable and youth organizations (Little League, Shriners Challenge, YMCA)
  • Country clubs
  • Many graduates go onto graduate school to study a specialty area such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician’s Assistant, Chiropractic and Dietetics
  • And many others

Alumni Perspectives

The professors in my department were helpful in providing the resources and hands-on experience I needed to succeed. Without their assistance in the exercise science program, I would not have had the quantity and quality of job offers I was fortunate to have upon graduation. They truly cared about not only my education and experiences at William Woods, but what was best for me personally.

— Abbey Stock, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science


The Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree at William Woods University consists of 122 distinct credit hours for graduation — including 36 core major credits, and a 21-36 credit concentration in sports management, physical education, sports, coaching and leisure, human performance, or sports medicine/pre-athletic training.

EXS 100 - Personal Health - 3.00

This course will provide essential principles of personal health and provide students the opportunity to investigate current theoretical and evidence based practices that can be applied to a number of health and wellness issues. Students will identify action steps available for individuals, families and communities to improve quality of life, reduce risk of health problems and empower people.

EXS 103 - Nutrition - 3.00

This course will introduce nutrient functions and the effects of various supply/demand states on physical well-being. Discussion will include the role of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and hydration on performance.

EXS 104 - First Aid and CPR - 2.00

This course is designed around the American Red Cross Responding to Emergencies: Comprehensive First Aid/CPR/AED. In this course the student will be educated on proper Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for the adult, child and infant. Also, the student will be taught how to identify and care for several sudden illnesses, as well as, proper First Aid techniques and procedures for bodily injuries ranging from minor bleeding to severe musculoskeletal conditions. Upon completion of this course, proper demonstration of skills, and meeting American Red Cross guidelines the student will receive American Red Cross certification in CPR/AED for Adult, Child, and Infant, as well as certification in First Aid. This certification will last for two (2) years. Physical Requirements: The student will also have to perform several skills that will require them to be in a crouched, kneeling, or squatted position for a minimum of five (5) minutes.

EXS 180 - Introduction to Exercise Science - 1.00

This course will introduce students interested in the Sport Studies to the possible degree plans/ concentrations (Human Performance, Physical Education, Sport Management and Athletic Training) and potential employment opportunities each of the concentrations will afford. This course will get students headed in the right direction for appropriate coursework, training and preparation to achieve their future goals.

EXS 205 - Introduction to Anatomy -N - 3.00

An overview of the gross anatomy of the human body. The course covers the anatomy of the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, digestive, and reproductive systems. Emphasis in the course will be placed on musculoskeletal anatomy.

EXS 220 - Social Science in Sport - 3.00

An analysis of the significance of physical activity in society and culture. Motivation and self-concept as applied to play, game, sport, and athletics are examined.

EXS 302 - Introduction to Exercise Physiology - 3.00

An introduction to the field of the exercise physiology. The course covers how exercise will influence the physiological systems of the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and endocrine. Emphasis in the course will be placed on cardiopulmonary training and resistance training concepts. Prerequisite - EXS205 or BIO313

EXS 303 - Prevention/Care Athletic Injuries - 3.00

Emphasizes the prevention and care of injuries and the use of training room equipment. Prerequisite: EXS205 or BIO313

EXS 304 - Prevention and Care Lab - 1.00

Lab class taken in conjunction with EXS 303 – Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries. Hands-on learning in basic athletic training techniques. Prerequisite: EXS205 or BIO313

EXS 314 - Motor Learning and Development - 3.00

This course will provide students with the knowledge of the sequential and developmental stages of movement acquisition, how children learn and control new movements, and how this relationship leads to motor development over a lifespan. Students will be engaged in both direct instruction and hands on learning in which students will be able to blend theory with practice in real life situations.

EXS 321 - Kinesiology - 3.00

An application of mechanical principles to human movement. Prerequisite: PED 205 or BIO313

EXS 350 - Adapted Physical Education - 3.00

Adapted Physical Education explores topics that relate to understanding exceptional students and athletes of all ages in order to promote differentiated instruction in all areas of activities. Students will immerse themselves in discussion of how Adapted Physical Education started, analyze laws that have been created, identify and demonstrate fitness skill modifications and physical fitness testing modifications. These skills will allow for students in all disciplines to better understand the exceptional athlete and how to design programs that will help them reach their goals.

EXS 401 - Sports Psychology - 3.00

An introduction to the theoretical concepts and current research in the psychology of sport and exercise.

EXS 422 - Measurement and Assessment - 3.00

Students will be immersed in multiple, hands on opportunities to learn the value of performance data, how to collect and analyze the data, and how to make recommendations to improve programs based on its findings. Students will demonstrate knowledge of basic and a few advanced statistical analyses, as well as gaining an in depth knowledge of the FitnessGram assessment and how to administer its protocols. Students will also analyze and present quantitative and qualitative projects that they create related to performance data of their choosing.


Admissions Information

Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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