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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 

Brooks Herring

Physical therapy student wins scholarship from National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation

Brooks Herring, a 2018 graduate of the B.S. in Exercise Science program and a current student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, has been awarded the 2019 Challenge Scholarship from the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation. 

Elizabeth Regan

Elizabeth Regan named 2020 Breakthrough Graduate Scholar

Yoojin Cho (HPEB), Lynsey Keator (COMD), Elizabeth Regan (EXSC) and Sutapa Sarkar (ENHS) were among the 14 Breakthrough Scholars selected for superior performance in their programs and an impressive list of achievements. 

Jason Yang

Chih-Hsiang “Jason” Yang uses within-person approach to improve health across the lifespan

With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, Jason Yang taught elementary school-aged children for six years in his native Taiwan. It was during a stint as a physical education teacher that the obesity epidemic really began to concern him. 

Michael Smith

December graduate earns second Arnold School degree to pursue career in exercise science

Michael Smith’s career path has always been straight forward. The Columbia, South Carolina native has always been passionate about sports and physical activity. His interest in science made studying exercise science a natural fit.

Josh Jeffrey

December graduate earns second Arnold School degree, establishes physical therapy and coaching practice

UofSC rankings, combined with the volume of publications produced by the exercise science department, the reputation of the faculty and the opportunity to work with SEC-caliber athletes, made the Arnold School his number one choice. 


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