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Arnold School of Public Health

Exercise Science

Exercise scientists study the relationship between exercise participation and human health, and research focuses on understanding why regular physical activity prevents disease and promotes health.

The mission of the Department of Exercise Science (EXSC) is to expand and disseminate the body of knowledge concerning the relationship between physical activity and human health.

Career opportunities exist in academic institutions, hospitals, medical clinics, research laboratories, physical therapy facilities, rehabilitation facilities, perceptual-motor development clinics, health and fitness centers, and public health agencies. Jobs in the field include clinical exercise physiologist, motor rehabilitation specialist, health fitness instructor, professor of exercise science, research scientist, physical therapist and cardiac rehabilitation program director.

The department’s Ph.D. program, which is ranked #1 in the United States by the National Academy of Kinesiology, prepares graduates for entry into positions in universities, colleges, research institutes and research oriented clinical settings. Areas of specialization are applied physiology, health aspects of physical activity, and motor behavior/rehabilitation. Specific research emphases correspond to those listed for the departmental faculty. The M.S. program allows students to emphasize expansion of research competence (for those who plan on pursuing a Ph.D. degree or further graduate study) or to focus on professional and clinical aspects of the field with concentrations in cardiac rehabilitation corporate wellness, and motor control/development.

The goal of the department’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to produce graduates who possess the skills necessary to be reflective practitioners and who can conduct clinical research and scholarly activity necessary for the advancement of physical therapy as an evidence-based profession.

Degrees Offered

In addition to the bachelor degree in exercise science, we offer four advanced degrees. Each graduate degree has specific application deadlines and requirements

Exercise Science News 

Mariah Bernanke

Alumna finds her needle in the haystack—athletic training position in performing arts

Mariah Bernanke knew that UofSC had a well-established athletic training program, and its Division 1 status would provide opportunities to work with high-level athletes and resources. What she didn’t expect was that she would learn a way to reintegrate sports and the arts.

Chuck Thigpen

Chuck Thigpen and team win grant to evaluate physical therapy first program

The $100,000 grant from the Foundation for Physical Therapy will be used to advance an existing Greenville Health System program that has already shown promise in lowering costs and improving outcomes for patients with musculoskeletal issues. 

Madison Kuiper

EXSC grad turns practicum into full-time position

For her six-week practicum experience, Madison Kuiper merged exercise science with marketing at KORT, a physical therapy corporation. KORT was so impressed by Kuiper that when her practicum ended in August 2017, they hired her as a full-time employee.

Abbi Lane-Cordova

Cardiovascular fitness may serve as predictor for adverse pregnancy outcomes

Research conducted by exercise science assistant professor Abbi Lane-Cordova provides preliminary evidence for the connection between cardiovascular responses to exercise and adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

Sam Christmus

Mother/son pursue same degree, 35 years apart

Gaye Christmus, grant writer and editor in the exercise science department, earned a master of public health from the Arnold School. Thirty-five years later, her son, Sam, is pursuing the same degree. 


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