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Arnold School of Public Health

  • Climbing a wall, tug of war, and barbell squats

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 

Steven Blair

Clarivate Analytics’ names Jamie Lead and Steven Blair to Highly Cited Researchers List once again

 SmartState Endowed Chair Jamie Lead (ENHS; CENR) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Steven Blair (Epidemiology and Biostatistics; EXSC) have once again been included in the Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers List. 

Shanghai Rankings Logo

UofSC No. 1 in U.S. in sport science for fourth time

The University of South Carolina continues to lead the way in sport science in the United States, with its programs ranked No. 1 in the nation for the fourth consecutive time in the Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments.

Abbi Lane-Cordova

American Heart Association elects Abbi Lane-Cordova as Fellow

Conferred by the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, the Fellowship recognizes outstanding professional members for excellence, innovative and sustained contributions in the areas of scholarship, practice/education and volunteer service. 

Russell Pate

Fit students more likely to achieve academic success, despite poverty status

Research led by exercise science professor Russell Pate has found that the odds of achieving academic standards are significantly higher among students who have higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, regardless of poverty status. 

Abbi Lane-Cordova

Research links adverse pregnancy outcomes, menopausal symptoms to increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Exercise science assistant professor Abbi Lane-Cordova has published research linking certain adverse pregnancy outcomes, menopause symptoms, and estimated risk for heart disease or stroke in the next 10 years. 


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