Exercise Science Major (B.S.)

Exercise Science Major (B.S.)
Exercise Science students conduct research in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory


Exercise science is the study of how exercise training and physical activity affect health and human performance. A degree in exercise science will prepare you for a career in strength and conditioning, health and fitness promotion, education programs in hospitals, medical device and pharmaceutical sales, sports medicine and wellness centers, rehabilitation facilities and clinical research programs. The major will also prepare you for advanced degree programs in exercise science, biomechanics, nutrition, biological sciences, public health and medicine. Exercise science is a growing field, and emphasis on exercise as preventative care and part of long-term rehabilitation from chronic illnesses is likely to lead to new job opportunities for the exercise specialist of the future.


As a graduate of the exercise science program at UNH you will be well-prepared for a future in health-and fitness-related fields. You’ll participate in hands-on learning in the Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory, which boasts metabolic, cardiopulmonary, biochemistry, vascular and environmental facilities, and the Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory that includes a dynamometer, electromyography, and 3D motion capture systems. Students engage in service learning while working with clients in the university Employee Fitness Program, Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, and through a full-time, 400-hour internship in an off-campus setting such as a hospital, health and fitness club or research laboratory. In addition, the university’s pre-professional health advising program provides guidance to those intending to apply to professional health programs, including medical school and physician assistant, physical therapy, chiropractic or homeopathic medicine programs.

Potential Careers

  • Clinical exercise physiologist
  • Fitness instructor/personal trainer
  • Health coach
  • Medical equipment and pharmaceutical sales
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physician
  • Physician assistant
  • Physical therapist
  • Strength and conditioning coach

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Curriculum & Requirements

This curriculum prepares students for careers in health and fitness promotion and education programs in hospitals, sports medicine centers, wellness clinics, universities, and rehabilitation facilities. Students are also prepared for advanced degree programs in the health professions, basic biology fields, medicine, or other health-related fields.

Interested students should consult with the undergraduate major coordinator, Summer.Cook@unh.edu.

Suggested Course Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
BMS 507 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
EXSC 520 Contemporary Perspectives in Exercise Science 4
PSYC 401 Introduction to Psychology 4
BMS 508 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
Discovery Course (INQ/HP) 4
Discovery Course: Statistics (QR) 4
NUTR 400 Nutrition in Health and Well Being 4
Second Year
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
EXSC 620 Physiology of Exercise 4
Discovery Course ETS 4
Discovery Course (FPA) 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
EXSC 621 Exercise Laboratory Techniques 4
KIN 652 Clinical Kinesiology 4
Discovery Course (HUMA) 4
Third Year
EXSC 704 Electrocardiography 4
EXSC 720 Science and Practice of Strength Training 4
EXSC 724 Exercise Metabolism: Acute and Chronic Adaptations 4
Elective Course (e.g. BIOL 411) 4
EXSC 722 Applied Biomechanics 4
Discovery Course - WI (WC) 4
Elective Course (e.g. BIOL 412) 4
Elective Course 4
Fourth Year
EXSC 736 Fitness and Graded Exercise Testing 4
EXSC 794 Cardiopulmonary Pathologies 4
EXSC 795 Practicum in Cardiac Rehabilitation 2
Elective Course (e.g. PHYS 401) 4
EXSC 705 Topics in Applied Physiology 4
EXSC 737 Exercise Prescription and Leadership in Healthy and Special Populations 4
Elective Course 4
Elective Course (e.g. PHYS 402) 4
EXSC 650A Internship in Exercise Science 4-8
 Total Credits130-134

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in every required course. Successful completion of early and prerequisite courses is required before advancing to sequenced and higher-level coursework. All required courses must be completed before enrolling in EXSC 650A Internship in Exercise Science.

BMS 507
BMS 508
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II
CHEM 403
CHEM 404
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
EXSC 520Contemporary Perspectives in Exercise Science4
EXSC 620Physiology of Exercise4
KIN 652Clinical Kinesiology4
EXSC 621Exercise Laboratory Techniques4
EXSC 650AInternship in Exercise Science4-8
EXSC 704Electrocardiography4
EXSC 705Topics in Applied Physiology4
EXSC 720Science and Practice of Strength Training4
EXSC 722Applied Biomechanics4
EXSC 724Exercise Metabolism: Acute and Chronic Adaptations4
EXSC 736Fitness and Graded Exercise Testing4
EXSC 737Exercise Prescription and Leadership in Healthy and Special Populations4
EXSC 794Cardiopulmonary Pathologies4
EXSC 795Practicum in Cardiac Rehabilitation2
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being4
PSYC 401Introduction to Psychology4
Select one of the following:4
PSYC 402
Statistics in Psychology
SOC 402
Total Credits82-86
Students in exercise science complete the series of Capstone courses 1
EXSC 736Fitness and Graded Exercise Testing4
EXSC 737Exercise Prescription and Leadership in Healthy and Special Populations4
EXSC 650AInternship in Exercise Science4-8
Total Credits12-16

These courses give students practical experience in evaluating health and fitness and prescribing exercise to a wide range of clients. Specifically, students assess a number of disease risk factors, including blood pressure, blood chemistry, and body composition measures, and perform maximal graded exercise tests complete with electrocardiogram monitoring, as well as measure strength and flexibility. Students ultimately develop individualized exercise prescriptions for their clients and work with them one-on-one to improve their health and fitness. The internship experience is an off-campus, 10-week, 40-hours per week, full-time experience and can only be taken after all University and departmental courses are completed. Typically, this is taken during the summer after the student's senior spring academic term. 

  • Apply fundamental principles of anatomy & physiology, chemistry, nutrition, exercise physiology, psychology, math and physics to anticipate and understand physiologic responses to acute and chronic exercise.  
  • Evaluate empirical literature in terms of accuracy, authority, bias and relevance, and synthesize information from a variety of sources for presentation in written and oral forms.
  • Demonstrate competency in health and fitness assessments and use them to prescribe evidence-based exercise interventions to improve health, athletic performance, physical function and quality of life in diverse populations.   
  • Display professionally appropriate behaviors, ethical standards, sensitivity, compassion, and tolerance of individual differences, and demonstrate the ability to work in an interprofessional healthcare team. 

Explore Program Details

In the Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory, students study neuromuscular responses during exercise, cognitive processing during motor tasks, biomechanics of daily activities and gait kinematics and kinetics. 

Learn More

The Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory provides training to both undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in careers in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, clinical exercise physiology, medicine, sports physiology and health promotion.  

Learn More

Students Interested in Post-Graduate Professional Health Programs

In many cases, Exercise Science is an appropriate major for students who desire to attend a health-related professional school following completion of their bachelor’s degree (i.e., physician assistant, physical therapy, chiropractic, homeopathic, or medical school programs).  Students should work with their advisor and the Pre-Professional Health Program Advising Center to plot out a program of study that includes the taking of prerequisite courses for the post-graduate school(s) of interest to the student.  Despite this planning, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to meet all of the prerequisite courses prior to graduation and you may therefore need to take some courses over the summer or following graduation.

Students should also be aware that the internship is the culminating experience for all Exercise Science majors and can only be taken after all required degree course work has been successfully completed.   The internship provides students practical experience in their field of choice and allows them to obtain the clinical hours required for application to many professional programs.  This full-time, 400-hour internship will be completed during the summer or fall following the senior year and cannot be completed while enrolled in a degree program.  Therefore, students should plan to enter professional school in the fall or next summer after successful completion of the internship.

Pre-Professional Health Policy

Internal Transfer Students

Exercise science student testing exercise bike

UNH students are eligible to apply to the Exercise Science major if they have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and have taken BMS 507 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and one additional major required course and earned a grade of C or better in each.  Complete criteria and instructions are available in the Application for Internal Transfer Document below.  Applications are evaluated twice annually with June 7 and January 7 submission deadlines for admittance the following semester.  Available space in the Exercise Science major for internal transfer students varies each year and is dependent on the number of admitted freshmen, number of transfers into and out of the program, and the number of qualified students at the time of application.  

To learn more about the Exercise Science major or application process please contact Dr. Summer Cook at Summer.Cook@unh.edu or (603) 862-0895.

Application for Internal Transfer

Standards for Continuing in the Major

External Transfer Students

Students wishing to transfer to the UNH exercise science program from another university should visit the undergraduate admissions website.

Other inquiries can be directed to Summer Cook at (603) 862-0895 or Summer.Cook@unh.edu

Take the Next Step

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Thompson Hall
student at Career Event