Exercise Science

The Exercise Science major is designed to prepare professionals for the popular for-profit health and fitness industry and for careers in research, academia and medical professions. People desire to keep fit, eat properly, lose weight, and enjoy an active healthy life-style. Exercise Science Professionals may be employed as fitness, nutrition or wellness professionals (fitness instructors, strength and conditioning coaches, nutrition educators, corporate wellness coordinators), as well as rehabilitation professionals (athletic trainer, chiropractor, cardiac rehab, exercise physiologist, physical or occupational therapist) or medical professionals (nurse, medical assistant, physician assistant). Employment opportunities are also available in rehabilitative and preventative fitness programming at hospitals and sports medicine clinics. Some students in exercise science choose to continue their education after completing our program by attending recognized masters and doctoral programs in exercise science and medical professional schools such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic or dietetics.

The program features core courses which emphasize knowledge of the human body and how it works. Specific coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, exercise physiology, nutrition, fitness programming, emergency care and basic personal health are needed.

The program is divided into a major and a comprehensive major.

  • The Major in Exercise Science is designed for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the medical profession, research or are interested in pursuing a masters or doctoral degree. Students who choose the Major in Exercise Science are required to declare a second major or a minor. Student advisors are able to help select a minor to complement the major for the students’ individual goals. Popular minors include Athletic Training, Health Sciences, Public Health, Psychology or Biology. (Link to UNK Catalog)
  • The Comprehensive Major in Exercise Science – is designed for those desiring careers in the fitness industry, sports performance, strength and conditioning, business, health promotion, nutrition education, corporate wellness or pre-professional areas (physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, chiropractic, nursing, dietetics) (Link to UNK Catalog)

Click here for entrance requirements

Each exercise science major culminates in an internship experience individualized as much as possible to the interests and needs of the student. We are capable of placing interns at various locations in Nebraska and across the United States. Completion of an internship is possibly a student’s most important academic endeavor as national data indicate internship work leads to employment for 80 percent of the interns. We have placed exercise science interns at corporate fitness programs for Boeing Corporation in Seattle, Washington; General Telephone and Electric (GTE) headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut; Union Pacific in Omaha; Coors Corporation, Golden, Colorado and IBM headquarters in Louisville, Colorado. Interns have also been placed at Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics Center in Dallas; fitness clubs in Georgia, Nebraska, Florida; Physical Therapy clinics in Nebraska; and Academic Research Laboratories in Nebraska, Kansas and Florida.

If you are interested in doing your internship, you must first request an internship application and read the Exercise Science Internship Instructions.

For more information concerning this program contact Kate Heelan at (308) 865-8180 or heelanka@unk.edu.