An athletic trainer stretches and massages the shoulder of a woman sitting on her exam table wearing athletic clothing.

Exercise Science

If you’re passionate about helping people live healthier lives, York’s Exercise Science major prepares you for careers in the rapidly growing exercise, health, and wellness industries.

York College of Pennsylvania’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science degree program gives you the practical tools and well-rounded education you need to make a difference in helping others improve their quality of life and enhance their physical capability.

Students in York’s flexible Exercise Science program select a focused degree concentration to enhance their education and experience in either professional practice or fitness management. As an Exercise Science major, you’ll be exposed to the world of sports medicine and learn how to become a leader in the fitness industry.

A trainer wearing scrubs assists a young man pulling pulley weights while he leans against a therapy ball in a gym.

About the BS in Exercise Science

  • Key Courses

    Exercise Science Course Requirements

    The curriculum of the BS in Exercise Science degree program blends necessary scientific knowledge with hands-on learning opportunities to launch careers such as exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning specialist, and beyond.

    Through engaging lab practice, internships and field experiences, and lectures by faculty who are experts in their field, you’ll tailor your degree to your ideal career path in professional medical settings or fitness and wellness management. Courses cover a range of industry-specific, concentration area, and general education topics, requiring a total of 122 credit hours.

    Some of your core courses may include: 

    • EPS 101: Foundations of Exercise and Human Performance
    • BIO 150: Introduction to Molecular Biology
    • EPS 201: Exercise Physiology
    • EPS 205: Kinesiology
    • BIO 220: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
    • BEH 260: Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
    • BIO 226: Food and Nutrition

    Professional Concentration

    Students select the Professional degree concentration as a pathway to graduate programs in pursuit of advanced practice careers such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and athletic training.

    If you’re intending on applying to medical school or graduate programs, the Professional degree concentration track ensures you are exposed to high-level science and math concepts to assist you in future studies and your career, through courses such as:

    • BIO 240: Genetics
    • BIO 241: Genetics Lab
    • CHM 136: General Chemistry II
    • CHM 137: General Chemistry II

    Management of Fitness and Wellness Concentration

    The Management of Fitness and Wellness degree concentration prepares students to assume leadership and operational roles in the fitness and wellness industry and to successfully own or run businesses.

    Gain specialized knowledge and skills in the development, management, and promotion of sports and exercise programs in courses such as:

    • SPM 325: Facility and Event Management
    • SPM 330: Sport Marketing
    • SPM 340: Financing Sport Operations

    Earn a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at York College of Pennsylvania

    York’s B.S in Exercise Science ensures students are on track to succeed in their individual career goals.

    Whether you want to own your own gym, assume leadership roles in wellness organizations, or pursue professional practice in athletic training or physical therapy, apply today to our experience-rich exercise science major.

    To learn more, explore undergraduate admissions and request more information.

  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Exercise Science Career Preparation

    The BS in Exercise Science’s course requirements and laboratory components are designed to provide students with the real-world experience necessary to complete certification examinations offered by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

    A bachelor’s in Exercise Science prepares students to immediately enter the workforce in the fitness, health, and wellness fields. This can mean working independently or for organizations in areas like personal training, corporate wellness, program development and management, sales and marketing, and more. You could qualify for roles such as:

    • Exercise physiologist
    • Exercise technologist
    • Health coach
    • Fitness instructor
    • Fitness program director
    • Personal trainer
    • Certified strength and conditioning specialist
    • Health promotion program director
    • Athletic coach or scout
    • Marketing or communications specialist

    Learning the science of anatomy and physiology and how exercise impacts health can also lead to careers in the sales or distribution of exercise and sports-related products, services, and supplies.

    Preparation for Advanced Professions

    Numerous career paths begin with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science or a related field but require further education.

    Enrolling in a graduate program is necessary to pursue advanced professions such as athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise kinesthesiology, and more. Advanced career paths dealing with exercise and human performance include:

    • Athletic trainer
    • Athletic director
    • Clinical nutritionist
    • Kinesiotherapist
    • Kinesiologist
    • Public health professional
    • Doctor of physical therapy
    • Doctor of occupational therapy
    • Physician's assistant

    Earning a master’s degree also benefits students seeking progression to director or executive-level positions in the health and fitness industry who may need to supplement or replace on-the-job experience. Master of Public Health (MPH) programs are another popular option for exercise science majors.

    If you’re interested in a career in kinesthesiology or physical therapy, the BS in Exercise Science’s Professional track sets you up to meet your goals in medical school and professional certification programs.

    Career Outlook for Exercise Science Majors

    Careers in health and fitness are rewarding, lucrative, and diverse. Whether you like designing fitness programs and training individuals directly or seek an entrepreneurial path that fulfills your passion for sports and exercise, the career possibilities for Exercise Science majors remain bright.

    Settings where Exercise Science majors typically find work include recreational, college-level, or professional sports programs; educational and training environments; and clinical or healthcare settings. 

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of exercise physiologists is projected to grow 9% over ten years by 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. Careers in fitness and training and instruction are projected to increase by 19%, a great deal faster than the average.

    For students using the bachelor’s in Exercise Science to pursue future graduate programs in fields like athletic training, the BLS similarly predicts a positive career outlook. Employment of athletic trainers is predicted to see a 17% increase by 2031.

    Exercise Science Degree Salary

    Salary expectations for exercise science majors vary due to the numerous career paths they can follow. Here are figures representing the average yearly salaries of roles possible to attain through earning an exercise science bachelor’s. Self-employed personal trainers can expect flexibility in what they charge clients, based on location, experience, and other factors.

    As to be expected, the salary ranges for professional care providers in highly technical occupations are higher. If you study at the graduate level or start your own business in the health and wellness space, your earning potential is vast.

    Pathway to Graduate Study

    As we know, following career pathways in the medical field like physical therapy and athletic training requires students to earn further credentials through a master’s or doctoral program.

    Through developing a science-based academic background, selecting professional-track courses, and finding internship and mentorship opportunities, students in York’s BS in Exercise Science are prepared to immerse themselves in graduate studies.

    Earn a Master’s in Athletic Training

    Exercise Science majors at York College who complete the necessary prerequisites may benefit from an opportunity to move into Messiah University’s accredited Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) program.

    Built from a unique partnership between YCP and Messiah, this continuation program supports students who want to pursue graduate education and broaden their career prospects in the field of athletic training. With an MSAT degree, students become eligible to take the exam regulated by the Board of Certification (BOC) of the Athletic Trainer and become certified athletic trainers.

  • Internships & Work Experience

    Exercise Science Internship Opportunities

    The BS in Exercise Science degree program culminates in an applied internship experience. In their senior year, students can pursue internships with local wellness and fitness centers, athletic teams, corporations, and healthcare agencies.

    York’s network of community partners provides students with meaningful opportunities to get real-world practice and build connections with future employers, enhancing their education and résumé. Then, York’s Career Development Center helps students locate and attain work experience.

    Explore the Career Development Center’s internship information.

    Hands-On Training

    Students will put exercise science and human performance concepts into practice in dedicated chemistry and anatomy and physiology laboratories, part of York’s state-of-the-art facilities.

    Program faculty will also collaborate with York College Athletics coaching staff to provide hands-on experiences in athletic training and strength and conditioning. Students can get a peek into how athletic trainers and strength and conditioning specialists assist, support, and treat players by interacting with student athletes and practicing the skills they learn in labs and lectures.

  • Mentorship & Community

    Faculty and Alumni Mentorship

    As Exercise Science majors progress through the degree, close mentorship by School of Nursing and Health Professions faculty and unique alumni networking programs extend guidance and support in everything from course choices and project topics to career advice. A dedicated advisor and committed professors ensure students take advantage of the academic and experiential opportunities that move them closer to their career goals and make the most of the York College experience. 

    Paired with the ability to specialize in either the Management or Professional concentrations, faculty and community mentorship builds confidence and post-graduation employment opportunities for York College students.

    Learn how alumni mentorship propels current York College students.

    Campus Clubs and Organizations

    York College of Pennsylvania is home to more than 100 clubs and organizations, each a new opportunity to connect with other students sharing your goals and interests.

    Exercise Science majors might enjoy groups such as the Sport Business Association, the Recreation and Leisure Student Association, the Ski and Outdoor Club, or club sports programs. Students intending to pursue graduate school in clinical therapies or other areas might benefit from the Pre-Medical and Allied Health Society’s peer support during application season.

    Explore campus life at York College of Pennsylvania.

  • High-Demand Skills

    Learn Skills for Careers in Fitness and Wellness

    The background and training of YCP’s BS in Exercise Science degree positions students to graduate prepared to help various populations of varying fitness needs reach their goals.

    Whether you enter the workforce immediately or enroll in graduate programs, the career-driven curriculum of this bachelor’s degree program imparts discipline-specific skills to help you succeed, including:

    • A science-based understanding of exercise and human performance and how to prescribe strategies for enhancing health, ability, or wellbeing
    • Preparation to complete national certification exams (ACSM, NSCA).
    • Applied experience in conditioning, flexibility, and strength and resistance training
    • Effective communication and critical thinking
    • An understanding of how to listen to and empathize with patients
    • Working knowledge of the administration and management practices of sports and fitness organizations

    Add a Minor to Your Exercise Science Degree

    Further expand your education and tailor it to your interests by declaring a minor in addition to your BS in Exercise Science. Students in this major may be interested in complementary minors such as:

    Explore our extensive major and minor program offerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is exercise and human performance science?

    Exercise and human performance science is a discipline that explores the science-based connection between exercise, nutrition, and wellness. Students learn about how the human body functions and how movement and exercise regimens affect the body’s function and performance. It corresponds to the growing industries of fitness, wellness, and health. If you are passionate about helping others achieve their physical goals, the BS in Exercise and Human Performance Science degree program may be a good fit for you.

  • What can you do with an exercise science degree?

    The scientific knowledge, hands-on practice, and professional “soft skills'' you develop as an exercise science major open the door to a variety of careers across diverse settings. Some graduates work in fitness centers and health clubs, while others seek out corporate settings where they develop or manage wellness programming. These career paths are in-demand and projected to grow over the next decade. 

    Furthermore, YCP’s bachelor of science in Exercise and Human Performance Science is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the fitness and wellness industry, or apply to professional graduate programs leading to credentials as a physical therapist or athletic trainer.

  • Can you become a physical therapist with an exercise science degree?

    It’s common for an exercise science or human performance degree to be the first step on the educational path followed by physical therapists. Because the BS in Exercise and Human Performance integrates kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, and more advanced chemistry and biology topics, it serves as superb preparation for the graduate and doctoral degrees in clinical physical therapy required to become a certified practitioner in the field.

Contact Us
Ed Westen, Director of Exercise Science
Diehl, Room 209
Phone: 717.815.1740