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Arnold School of Public Health

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

Exercise Science

Exercise Science is an interdisciplinary field tying together traditional disciplines as biology, physiology, psychology, chemistry, physics, neuroscience, genetics, nutrition, and sociology to facilitate an understanding of the links between physical activity, exercise, fitness, performance, diet, and health.

Exercise Science has become an increasingly valued discipline within public health, the medical community, and even high-performance environments. Exercise has even been acknowledged for its role in the treatment of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type II diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, and other chronic diseases & stress related disorders.

The mission of the Department of Exercise Science (EXSC) is to promote an environment of excellence and achievement in human health and performance. As part of our forward-thinking vision, EXSC is used as a resource to train the next generation of scientists and practitioners in the latest techniques and technologies in the field. In addition to advancing the science, we emphasize translation of this research for greater integration into practice and application.

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 oriented settings, and industry. Specific areas of research specialties correspond to those listed for the departmental faculty.

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 

Sara Wilcox

Behavioral intervention helps women reduce weight retention when offered during pregnancy and postpartum

Researchers have shown that their theory-based lifestyle intervention is effective in helping women with elevated weight reduce the amount of gestational weight gain they retain after birth. This research was a part of the Health in Pregnancy Postpartum (HIPP) Study and was published in Obesity.

Jacob Turner

From patient to practitioner: physical therapy graduate completes degree to serve others

Jacob Turner’s path to becoming a physical therapist has been a personal one. Diagnosed at an early age with mild spastic diplegia, the Starr, South Carolina spent more than a decade of his life in the care of physical therapists.

Ciaran Fairman

Two Arnold School faculty members awarded Two Thumbs Up Awards from Student Disability Resource Center

Jim Mensch and Ciaran Fairman, both faculty members in the Department of Exercise Science, have been recognized by the Student Disability Resource Center for going above and beyond to support students with disabilities.

DPT whitecoat ceremony

Doctor of Physical Therapy program hosts first white coat ceremony

Students pursuing their DPT degrees participated in the program's first white coat ceremony this summer. Members of the 2023 and 2024 cohorts listened to speakers, received their white coats and swore an oath to do their best as members of the physical therapy profession.

Christine Pellegrini

Exercise physiologist researches new ways to create healthy habits

UofSC features exercise science assistant professor and Breakthrough Star Christine Pellegrini, who uses technology to inform behavioral interventions that target diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior and weight loss in target populations, including people with mobility limitations.

Sara Wilcox

Exercise science researcher helps improve health of SC residents

UofSC features exercise science professor and 2022 Breakthrough Leadership in Research Award winner Sara Wilcox and her work with faith-based and community groups to create and implement healthy lifestyle interventions for their members.

Mark Sarzynski

FLEX Lab publishes lessons learned from 30-year study on effects of exercise on cardiometabolic health

Mark Sarzynski, associate professor of exercise science and director of the FLEX Laboratory, has led the publication of a review of the lessons learned from the HERITAGE Family Study over the past three decades.


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