Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Are you interested in being a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physician Assistant, Medical Doctor, or Strength and Conditioning Coach?

Exercise science is the scientific study of human movement performed to maintain or improve health and wellness. This applied science field is focused on using exercise to prevent disease, facilitate rehabilitation, promote health, and enhance human performance.


What You’ll Learn

Your degree will prepare you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work as a professional in various 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. 

Internship Experience

As part of the Exercise Science major, you will be required to participate in a 300-hour supervised summer internship (EXSI 451) 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. Prerequisites include candidacy, EXSI 432: Seminar in Exercise Science, and valid Adult CPR/AED certifications.

Available Concentrations

For a more in-depth look at program requirements and concentrations, visit our Academic Catalog.

Health Fitness Concentration

The Health Fitness Concentration offers potential career pathways to cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, corporate wellness, exercise physiology, and strength and conditioning.

Health Sciences Concentration

The Health Sciences concentration will prepare students for a career as a physician

Pre-Professional Concentration

The Pre-Professional Concentration offers potential career pathways to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medicine.

Accelerated Master of Strength and Conditioning

The Accelerated Master of Strength and Conditioning (MSSC) allows undergraduate Gardner-Webb students to begin work in the MSSC program while completing their bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.  

Qualified students may apply for admission to the Accelerated MSSC during their junior year (or after 60 credit hours). If accepted, students can take up to twelve credit hours of graduate coursework to apply toward their MSSC degree and earn combination credit for these hours at the undergraduate level.  


What You’ll Do

Exercise Science majors receive exemplary career preparation along with a solid education in the liberal arts and sciences. They all participate in the campus-wide Professional Readiness Experience, while also focusing on resume writing, understanding LinkedIn, professional dress, dinner etiquette, and mock interviewing. This interdisciplinary approach ensures that students are learning job transferable skills. The program results in professionals of high integrity who are ready to take on the challenges of graduate school or full-time employment.

The significant time that students have been involved in real-life laboratory sessions enables them to demonstrate practical experience and fluency with equipment and technology for Exercise Science.

Completion of the Exercise Science degree prepares students to take certification exams offered by several professional organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Post-Graduate Options

The majority of Gardner-Webb University Exercise Science majors pursue advanced study after graduation. Graduate degree pursuits include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Corporate wellness

Just some of the graduate schools which have admitted our recent graduates include:

  • East Carolina University
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • Lenoir-Ryne University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Western Carolina University
  • Breanu University
  • Ohio State University
  • Medical University of South Carolina

Ready to take the next step?

Apply Now
Admission Requirements

The Exercise Science major is one of the more competitive majors at the University. The application is evaluated more favorably when there is a clear intent to pursue this major, evidenced by the completion of some courses included in the major in addition to the prerequisite courses with high grades, particularly the science courses.

I can recall countless times in graduate school where I felt at an advantage to other students in the program because of my studies at Gardner-Webb. My professors at GWU were so invested in truly helping students learn.
— Bonnie Baczewski ’13
Being at Gardner-Webb has helped shaped me into the person I am today through my experiences in the pool, the classroom and the strong Christian atmosphere.
— Kristina Nork '16
Even though I’m not exactly sure what obstacles lie ahead as I continue my education, I know that I can meet any requirement through persistence, passion and dedication. I am secure in this fact because of my experiences here at Gardner-Webb.
— Jordan Davis '17