Exercise Science is an inherently interdisciplinary field that ties together such
traditional disciplines as biology, physiology, psychology, chemistry, physics, neuroscience,
genetics, nutrition, and sociology in order to facilitate an understanding of the
links between physical activity, exercise, fitness, diet, health, and performance.
Exercise Science has become an increasingly valued discipline within public health,
the medical community, and even high-performance environments. Given the trends in
heart disease, hypertension, obesity (both adolescent and adult), type II diabetes,
cancer, and other chronic diseases, the role of physical activity in the prevention
and treatment of these conditions has received considerable attention and support.
Exercise has even been acknowledged for its role in the treatment of depression, anxiety,
and other stress related disorders. The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control
estimate that $76 billion in annual direct medical costs can be attributed to physical
inactivity. The research developed within exercise science has shaped the guidelines
for physical activity promoted by the US Surgeon General, NIH, the Institutes of Medicine,
and the Centers for Disease Control. Exercise and sport science has also continued
to garner attention and be recognized for its contributions to the health and performance
of athletes, emergency personnel (i.e., police, firefighters), military personnel,
and special populations of all ages.
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 will be 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.
Career opportunities exist in health and wellness fields: corporate wellness, cardiac
rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation, neuro-rehabilitation, clinical exercise physiology,
research, academia, athletic training, sport science, strength and conditioning, and
performance nutrition. The program also provides preparation for additional graduate
training (i.e., MS, PhD, DPT, MD, and PA, among others).
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, research oriented
clinical settings, and industry. 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 professional and clinical aspects
of the field related to human performance, sport science, cardiac rehabilitation,
corporate wellness, athletic training, physical rehabilitation, and disease prevention/treatment
among others, or to expand their research competence if they might plan on pursuing
a Ph.D. or further graduate study.
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.