• Exercise Science
    Camps benefit kids in the community as students learn
  • Exercise Science
    Don Morgan's research
    on child obesity is in the
    forefront
  • Exercise Science
    Learning what happens
    as people exercise
    is key
  • At MTSU, community partnerships give students hands-on experience
    At MTSU, community partnerships give students hands-on experience

Exercise Science

People who are curious about how physical activity, or lack thereof, affects the body can find answers through the field of exercise science — from helping an athlete achieve peak performance, to helping patients safely participate in physical activity. Exercise scientists conduct research to help prevent and treat disease through exercise and even help maximize the capacity of people who work in extreme heat or cold or at different altitudes.

Alumnus joins University of Georgia strength and conditioning staff

Alumnus joins University of Georgia strength and conditioning staff

Ryan Gearheart, a 2009 MTSU graduate in Exercise Science, became a University of Georgia assistant strength and conditioning director in 2013. He primarily works with the baseball program, along with softball and diving athletes, following two years with Kent State University athletics. Ryan started out as a nursing student before taking a strength and conditioning class. “I immediately fell in love with the field,” Gearhart says. “It really inspired me to hit college a little bit harder than I had been just because I was interested. Networking with kids in the field really helped me get my foot in the door as an intern at Ohio State University, and the classes definitely prepared me.” Gearhart was chosen from 120 candidates for one of three Ohio State University internships; he then earned a master’s in Sport Management as an Eastern Michigan graduate assistant. He worked at D1 Sports Training in Franklin previously.

Research coursework benefits grad in physical therapy school

Research coursework benefits grad in physical therapy school

Ashley Henley, working on her physical therapy doctorate, says research classes required for her 2013 Exercise Science B.S. at MTSU especially are paying off. She will spend all three years at Belmont's PT school working on a research project. Henley is currently looking at what Nashville Ballet Company dancers were specifically doing or performing when an injury occurred. "MTSU's two semesters of research is something that a lot of my current classmates had not experienced prior to entering the program, making it more difficult for them to figure out how to actually create a research design," she says. "I was surprised to learn I was one of the few students in my class to have submitted an actual research project to a publishing company." Another MTSU class taught her to create an exercise plan or intervention for a patient, and Exercise Physiology helped her answer patients' "Why?" questions.

A degree in Exercise Science helps prepare students for positions in corporations, hospitals, and public wellness and fitness centers, as well as laying the groundwork for graduate degrees in exercise science, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation. Examples of professions that graduates might seek include

  • Employee fitness director
  • Exercise physiologist/clinical exercise physiologist
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation specialist
  • Oncology rehabilitation specialist
  • Diabetes educator
  • Bariatric specialist
  • Group exercise instructor
  • Personal trainer
  • Physical therapy technician
  • Researcher
  • Strength and conditioning specialist
  • Teacher/professor
  • Wellness coach

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • 4UMD
  • Davita Dialysis Center
  • East Tennessee State University Athletics
  • Gateway Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Clinic
  • Healthways
  • Maury Regional Medical Center Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • NBA Brooklyn Nets
  • Progress in Motion
  • Sacred Heart Hospital
  • Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance Physical Therapy
  • University of Louisville Strength and Conditioning
  • Verizon Wellness Center
  • Volkswagen and Nissan Corporate Fitness — Medifit
  • YMCA


Click here for more helpful career links.

Undergraduate

For those students with an interest in the performance of the human body, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Exercise Science is available. The Health and Human Performance Department also offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Exercise Science as well as a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in Human Performance with a specialization in Exercise Science.

The degree prepares students for positions in corporate, hospital, and public wellness and fitness centers, as well as graduate degrees in exercise science, medical professions (e.g., physical or occupational therapy), and cardiac rehabilitation. The 120-hour degree requires completion of 17 credit hours of electives, 50 credit hours in the major, and a 12-credit hour internship.

Applications to the Undergraduate Exercise Science program may be submitted online or via this form.

Graduate

Graduate programs in the department leading to M.S. degrees are majors in Exercise Science; Health and Human Performance, which has two concentrations: Health and Physical Education; and Leisure and Sport Management, which also has two concentrations: Recreation and Leisure Services and Sport Industry.

The masters degree in Exercise Science offers both thesis and non-thesis options. The degree prepares candidates to gain certification through the American College of Sports Medicine and to enter a terminal degree program in Exercise Science. Candidates are prepared for career opportunities in clinical exercise physiology, and corporate, community, and private fitness sectors. The non-thesis option requires completion of 36 semester hours including a 6-credit internship. The thesis option includes 30 hours of coursework. The prerequisite to both options includes a course in human anatomy and physiology.

The doctoral degree in Human Performance with a specialization in Exercise Science prepares students to conduct research and teach courses in the field. In addition to the doctoral dissertation and preliminary exams, the degree consists of two courses in education, five courses in statistics and research methods, and eight courses in the exercise science specialization. Additional information can be obtained under the graduate program link off of the departmental web page.

Application information regarding the Graduate programs can be found online at the College of Graduate Studies website.

Other programs offered by HHP

Other undergraduate majors offered by the Health and Human Performance Department that  lead to a B.S. include Athletic TrainingHealth Education with two concentrations: Community and Public Health and Health Education and Lifetime Wellness; Leisure, Sport, and Tourism Studies; and Physical Education. Both a B.S. and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree are available through the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology concentration under the Speech and Theatre major.

The department offers undergraduate minors in Athletic Coaching and Officiating, Driver and Traffic Safety Education, Communication Disorders, Health, Health and Physical Education, Health and Human Performance, Recreation, and Somatic Movement Education.

Exercise Science, B.S.

Department of Health and Human Performance 
615-898-5547
Jennifer Caputo, program coordinator
Jenn.Caputo@mtsu.edu

The major in Exercise Science offers preparation for positions in corporate, hospital, and public wellness and fitness centers. The program also offers preparation for students seeking graduate degrees in exercise science and allied health, cardiac rehabilitation, and physical/occupational therapy.

Curriculum: Exercise Science

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Freshman

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm)

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

Subtotal: 29 Hours

Sophomore

  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR

    ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

 

  • BIOL 2010 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I

    4 credit hours

    Completion of  BIOL 1030 and  BIOL 1031 or a grade of C or better in high school chemistry and biology within the last five years is strongly recommended. Corequisite:  BIOL 2011 . Meets requirements for many pre-health professional programs including nursing. Structure and function of the cell, integumentary, skeletal, muscle, and nervous systems. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.  

 

  • EXSC 3000 - Introduction to Exercise Science

    3 credit hours

    An overview of the exercise science profession including the history of exercise science, careers, and certifications in the field; understanding the role of the fitness professional in the health and fitness industry. Content based on guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine.

    NOTE: For Exercise Sciences major only.

Choose 6 hours from:

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 31 Hours

Junior

  • ATHT 3900 - Human Structure and Movement in Sport and Injury

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2010/BIOL 2011 and/or BIOL 2030/BIOL 2031. Corequisite: ATHT 3901. Exposure to the structural and functional components of human anatomy, including musculoskeletal origins, insertions, actions, and innervations; the ability to identify landmarks, surface markings, and palpations on a live model; to describe functional movements in various sport activities, then classify and identify which muscles work together to create the motions, identify normal and atypical patterns and characteristics. Emphasis placed on normal walking and running gait, posture, throwing, kicking, and jumping.

  • BIOL 2020 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: C or better in BIOL 2010/BIOL 2011. Corequisite: BIOL 2021. Meets requirements for many pre-health professional programs including nursing. Structure and function of endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and reproductive systems. Biology majors passing both BIOL 2010/BIOL 2111 and BIOL 2020/BIOL 2021 with a C or better may substitute both courses for BIOL 3020. However, the substitution is not recommended for pre-med students and does not count for upper-division hours. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

 

  • EXSC 3830 - Physiology of Exercise  4 credit hours  AND

    EXSC 3830 - Physiology of Exercise

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: C or better in BIOL 2010/BIOL 2011; EXSC 3831 must be taken concurrently. Examines acute response and chronic adaptations of the body to physical activity, exercise, and sports participation, and their impact on homeostasis. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 3831 - Physiology of Exercise Lab

    0 credit hours

     Corequisite: EXSC 3830. Laboratory to accompany EXSC 3830.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science or Athletic Training majors only.

  • ATHC 4060 - Sport Psychology  3 credit hours  

    ATHC 4060 - Sport Psychology

    3 credit hours

    (Same as PSY 4060.) The application of behavioral principles, motivational research, personality factors, social/psychological findings, cognitive processes, dysfunctional behavior knowledge, and psychometric assessment procedures to the arena of sports. Introduces students to this discipline and provides knowledge to help enhance their own performances and the performances of others.

  • EXSC 3500 - Exercise Techniques and Leadership

    3 credit hours

    Practical experience in adult exercise leadership in individual and group settings. Precautions for safe and effective exercise leadership, instruction, and adult fitness programming based on the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine included.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 4000 - Research Seminar in Exercise Science

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: EXSC 3830/EXSC 3831. Development of research ideas, application of computers in searching research databases, methods of research and data collection, data analysis, and preparation and presentation of a research proposal.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 4230 - Exercise Prescription and Program Planning

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites or corequisites: EXSC 3830/EXSC 3831. Focuses on the principles of exercise prescription and program planning in healthy populations. Content based on guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Guidelines from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association addressed.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 4240 - Principles of Exercise Assessment for Healthy Populations

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: EXSC 3830/EXSC 3831.Provides students with practical and theoretical experiences in health/fitness assessment techniques; primarily for healthy populations. Upon completion, pursuit of ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor Certification recommended.

    NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science or Athletic Training majors only.

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Senior

  • EXSC 4260 - Exercise Assessment and Prescription for Special Populations

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: EXSC 4240. Practical and theoretical experiences in exercise prescription and health/fitness assessment techniques for special populations. Precautions for safe and effective participation in exercise programs identified.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 4010 - Applied Research in Exercise Science

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: EXSC 4000. Completion of a research study in exercise science including preparation of Institutional Review Board documents, collection and analysis of research data, preparation of research report, and presentation of research findings.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • EXSC 4250 - Internship  12 credit hours  (final course)

    EXSC 4250 - Internship

    12 credit hours

    Prerequisite: EXSC 3000, EXSC 3500, EXSC 4230, EXSC 4240, and approval by area faculty required. On-site practical experience in an exercise science/health promotion program.

    NOTE: For Exercise Science majors only.

  • NFS 3000 - Nutrition Principles for Physical Activity and Health

    3 credit hours

    The fundamentals of normal nutrition and its relationships to physical activity, weight management, and health. Restricted to Exercise Science and Athletic Training students.

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Total hours in program: 120

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Exercise Science, B.S., Academic Map  

Dr. Vaughn W. Barry
Assistant Professor
vaughn.barry@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jennifer L. Caputo
Co-Director of Exercise Science | Professor
jenn.caputo@mtsu.edu

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Mr. Ryan T. Conners
Lecturer
ryan.conners@mtsu.edu

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Dr. John M. Coons
Assistant Professor
john.coons@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Richard S. Farley
Co-Director of Exercise Science | Professor
richard.farley@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Don W. Morgan
Professor
don.morgan@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Sandra L. Stevens
Assistant Professor
sandra.stevens@mtsu.edu

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Exercise Science

EXSC 3000 - Introduction to Exercise Science
3 credit hours

An overview of the exercise science profession including the history of exercise science, careers, and certifications in the field; understanding the role of the fitness professional in the health and fitness industry. Content based on guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Sciences major only.

EXSC 3500 - Exercise Techniques and Leadership
3 credit hours

Practical experience in adult exercise leadership in individual and group settings. Precautions for safe and effective exercise leadership, instruction, and adult fitness programming based on the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine included.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 3830 - Physiology of Exercise
4 credit hours

Prerequisites: C or better in BIOL 2010/BIOL 2011; EXSC 3831 must be taken concurrently. Examines acute response and chronic adaptations of the body to physical activity, exercise, and sports participation, and their impact on homeostasis. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 3831 - Physiology of Exercise Lab
0 credit hours

 Corequisite: EXSC 3830. Laboratory to accompany EXSC 3830.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science or Athletic Training majors only.

EXSC 4000 - Research Seminar in Exercise Science
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: EXSC 3830/EXSC 3831. Development of research ideas, application of computers in searching research databases, methods of research and data collection, data analysis, and preparation and presentation of a research proposal.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 4010 - Applied Research in Exercise Science
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: EXSC 4000. Completion of a research study in exercise science including preparation of Institutional Review Board documents, collection and analysis of research data, preparation of research report, and presentation of research findings.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 4230 - Exercise Prescription and Program Planning
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: EXSC 3830/EXSC 3831. Focuses on the principles of exercise prescription and program planning in healthy populations. Content based on guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Guidelines from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association addressed.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 4240 - Principles of Exercise Assessment for Healthy Populatio
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: EXSC 3830. Provides students with practical and theoretical experiences in health/fitness assessment techniques; primarily for healthy populations. Upon completion, pursuit of ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor Certification recommended.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science or Athletic Training majors only.

EXSC 4250 - Internship
12 credit hours

Prerequisite: Approval by area faculty required. On-site practical experience in an exercise science/health promotion program.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 4260 - Exercise Assessment and Prescription for Special Popula
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: EXSC 4240. Practical and theoretical experiences in exercise prescription and health/fitness assessment techniques for special populations. Precautions for safe and effective participation in exercise programs identified.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2015 course available for Exercise Science majors only.

EXSC 4810 - Measurement and Evaluation
3 credit hours

Concepts and procedures used for applied measurement and evaluation in health and human performance settings. Basic statistics, reliability and validity, measurement instruments in field and laboratory settings, and the administration of a variety of tests within discipline.

EXSC 4920 - Independent Study
1 to 3 credit hours

(Same as ATHT 4920/HLTH 4920/PHED 4920/LSTS 4920.) Independent study topics based on a study plan prepared in cooperation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a formal paper and/or comprehensive examination. Application forms must be completed and approved prior to enrollment. A maximum of three credit hours may be applied toward degree.

EXSC 4965 - Aquatic Exercise and Therapeutic Rehabilitation
3 credit hours

(Same as ATHT 4965/LSTS 4965.) Examines the various uses of the aquatic environment to develop, maintain, and improve physical performance with practical development of skills and techniques and aquatic exercise programming. Combines both didactic and laboratory activities in an experiential learning environment.

The goals of the Exercise Science program faculty are to

  • Provide quality teaching by integrating practical applications of sport and exercise science in the classroom
  • Conduct basic and applied research at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels
  • Forge partnerships in university and community settings through internships, research projects, and educational service activities

Additional Information