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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 

Rachel Sharpe

UofSC alumna Rachel Sharpe joins new football league as head athletic trainer for Atlanta Legends

One of the only things that could draw her away from the state and university she loves? A chance to serve as the head athletic trainer for a brand new football team in a brand new league (Alliance of American Football).

ASPH logo

Fifteen Arnold School graduate students earn 2018-2019 SPARC Graduate Research Grants

Graduate students from across the Arnold School have earned 2018-2019 SPARC Graduate Research Grants from the UofSC Office of the Vice President for Research to fund individual scholarship initiatives. 

Steven Blair

Five Arnold School researchers named in Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers List

Compiled annually, the Highly Cited Researchers list recognizes leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences. The 2018 list includes approximately 6,000 highly cited researchers in 21 fields from more than 60 nations around the world. 

Robyn Culbertson

DPT graduate finds passion for advocacy and working with older adults

Originally from Conway, South Carolina, Robyn Culbertson had been living in Columbia since her USC master’s graduation and was happy to have a highly ranked doctor of physical therapy program at a university she trusted right in town.

Sheri Silfies

Sheri Silfies wins grant to investigate connection between the brain and back injury

Sheri Silfies, who joined the doctor of physical therapy program this fall, and psychology associate professor Jennifer Vendemia are co-principal investigators on a nearly $1.6 million R01 NIH grant.


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