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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 

Sarah Burkart

Lullaby and good night

USC features the work of exercise science assistant professor Sarah Burkart, whose pilot project helps parents develop better sleep routines for school-age children.

Barbara Reager

Staff Spotlight: Barbara Reager

As the administrative coordinator tor the Department of Exercise Science, Barbara Reager serves as office manager - supporting the chair, faculty, staff and graduate students, and she coordinates the two exercise science master's programs.

Alicia Flach

Faculty principals play crucial role in student development

USC takes a closer look at new faculty principals like exercise science clinical associate professor Alicia Flach (Galen Health Fellows Living and Learning Community) as they begin their terms.

Katie Hirsch

Katie Hirsch wins Young Investigator Grant from National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation

An assistant professor of exercise science, Hirsch was selected by the NSCA Foundation Grant Committee and Grant Panel after a thorough evaluation process of all applicants. 


Secondary school-aged students overseen by athletic trainers more likely to receive emergency medical services, according to new research

The authors interpret these findings as a sign of improved identification and triage of sport-related emergencies and evidence of the need for dedicated athletic trainers at all middle and high school sporting events.

John Gilliam

Exercise science student wins scholarship to support dissertation research on low back pain

John Gilliam, a third-year doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. in Exercise Science program, has been awarded a Promotion of Doctoral Studies II Scholarship from the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research.

Jason Yang

New study will examine impact of lifestyle physical activity on cognition for older adults

Jason Yang has been awarded nearly $400,000 from the NIH to explore the role of lifestyle physical activity in cognition among sufficiently active older adults with higher risks for Alzheimer's or related dementias.

Russ Pate

Objects in motion

USC features the work of exercise science professor Russell Pate, whose half-century career has focused on children’s physical activity research and fighting the childhood obesity epidemic. 


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