Exercise Science Major (B.S.)

Exercise Science Major (B.S.)

Exercise Science students conduct research in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory

Course codes have changed for many Kinesiology courses. Download the new course codes here.

What is exercise science?

Exercise science is the study of how exercise training and physical activity can acutely and chronically affect our overall health. A degree in exercise science will prepare you for a career in health and fitness promotion and education programs in hospitals, sports medicine centers, wellness clinics, universities and rehabilitation facilities. This degree will also prepare you for advanced degree programs in the health professions, biology fields, medicine and other health-related fields. This area is expected to grow as health-care facilities place continued emphasis on exercise and preventative care as part of treatment programs and long-term rehabilitation from chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. 

Why study exercise science at UNH?

As a student in the exercise science program at UNH you will graduate well-prepared for a future in health- and fitness-related fields. Our facilities include the 3,500-square-foot Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory, which boasts metabolic, cardiopulmonary, biochemistry, vascular and environmental facilities. Students gain valuable hands-on experience while working with 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 Advising Center’s Pre-Professional Health Program helps those intending to apply to health-related professional schools including medical school, physician assistant programs, chiropractic or homeopathic medicine, or physical therapy.

Potential careers 

  • Chiropractor 
  • Clinical exercise physiologist 
  • Exercise science researcher 
  • Fitness instructor/personal trainer 
  • Health coach 
  • Nurse  
  • Occupational therapist 
  • Physician 
  • Physician assistant 
  • Physical therapist 
  • Respiratory therapist 
  • Strength and conditioning coach


Department of Kinesiology
New Hampshire Hall, 124 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2071

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. 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. Interested students should consult with the undergraduate major coordinator, Dain LaRoche, Dain.LaRoche@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
EXSC 527 Scientific Foundations of Health and Fitness 4
KIN 585 Emergency Medical Responder 4
Discovery Course (INQ/HP) 4
Second Year
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
EXSC 620 Physiology of Exercise 4
NUTR 400 Nutrition in Health and Well Being 4
Discovery Course: Statistics (QR) 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
EXSC 621 Exercise Laboratory Techniques 4
Discovery Course (ETS) 4
Discovery Course (FPA) 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 (HUMA) 4
Discovery Course - WI (WC) 4
Elective Course (e.g. BIOL 412) 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

Major Requirements

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 527Scientific Foundations of Health and Fitness4
EXSC 620Physiology of Exercise4
EXSC 621 Exercise Laboratory Techniques4
EXSC 650AInternship in Exercise Science4 or 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
KIN 585Emergency Medical Responder4
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 Credits86-90

Students in exercise science complete the series of Capstone courses

EXSC 736Fitness and Graded Exercise Testing4
EXSC 737Exercise Prescription and Leadership in Healthy and Special Populations4
EXSC 650AInternship in Exercise Science4 or 8
Total Credits12-16

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

Employee fitness program equipment

Exercise Science Fundamentals

  1. Explain and understand principles of anatomy & physiology, chemistry, nutrition, and exercise physiology.  

  2. Demonstrate the use of these principles during acute and chronic exercise.

Clinical & Laboratory Skills

  1. Perform basic laboratory and clinical assessments important to the exercise physiologist.

  2.  Read and understand research and apply to laboratory concepts.

Physical Health, Wellness, & Sport Performance

  1. Understand the role diet, environment, and lifestyle factors play in disease risk and exercise performance.

  2. Develop strategies for improving a person’s fitness and quality of life through evidence-based physical activity approaches in both healthy and diseased populations.                      

Professional Development

  1. Knowledge of available professions with development of individual career path.

  2. Professionally communicate the principles of exercise science to the community, clinical, medical, and research-oriented groups.


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 2.75 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. Dain LaRoche at Dain.Laroche@unh.edu or (603)-862-4859.

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 Dain LaRoche at (603) 862-4859 or dain.laroche@unh.edu.

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Thompson Hall


student at Career Event