Exercise Science Degree

Learn to use exercise to improve health and human performance in this hands-on program that includes a six-hour academic internship experience. Guided by Christian faith and values, the bachelor’s in exercise science at HSU integrates biological, physical, psychological, and health sciences. The program curriculum is designed to align with certifications from the leading professional organizations in exercise science, such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning (NSCA), and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Graduate prepared for diverse career opportunities in health and human movement: 100% of our alumni are working in a field related to their program of study. The exercise science major is also a great jumping off point for entry into allied health professional programs, medicine, and graduate programs in exercise science, athletic training, or kinesiology.

The Human Performance Lab at HSU

Our Human Performance Lab is a state-of-the-art, 3,800 square foot facility that offers exercise science majors incredible opportunities for hands-on learning. Located on the second floor of Fletcher Fitness Center, the Lab is used to conduct research and provide services related to health, human performance, and fitness to the campus community. Learn more about the Human Performance Lab at HSU.

Program Contact

Chuck Ruot-Professor of Kinesiology, Health and Recreation

Dr. Chuck Ruot

Professor of Exercise Science & Human Performance, Director of the HSU Human Performance Lab

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Why Earn Your Exercise Science Degree at Hardin-Simmons?

Physical Education students training and lifting weights

Hands-on Learning Opportunities

Learn and experience exercise training techniques. Use exercise testing and assessment to determine health and fitness status. Design and implement exercise prescriptions and nutrition intakes for health, performance, and recovery. The bachelor’s in exercise science at HSU also includes a senior year internship with opportunities to network and gain real-world experience.

Athletic Training students in class

Faculty Who Care About You

At Hardin-Simmons University, we live our Christian values, and the exercise science major is no exception. Your professors know your name, and their doors are always open when you need help. Faculty also bring industry experience and professional certifications to the program, and often engage in research projects with students.

Joe McCormick-Professor of Physical Therapy Holland School of Sciences & Mathematics

What Can You Do With an Exercise Science Degree?

Help tackle some of today’s biggest health challenges as an exercise science major. If you have a passion for health and wellness, a degree in exercise science will open doors to a wide range of interesting and rewarding professional opportunities.

Many students go on to physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and athletic training professional programs as well as chiropractic schools. Some pursue entry-level positions within the fitness and wellness industries, strength and conditioning, and sport coaching.

The exercise science field offers excellent growth potential and job security. Fitness trainer and instructor jobs, for example, are projected to grow 39% over the next decade — almost five times the average for all occupations. Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow 21%, and athletic trainers 23%.*

If you plan to work in Texas, the news is even better. Texas employs more athletic trainers and exercise physiologists than any other state in the nation. It’s also one of the top employers of occupational therapists and fitness instructors.*

*Based on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jobs With an Exercise Science Major

  • Corporate or community wellness instructor
  • Personal trainer
  • Physical education teacher
  • Fitness coach
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Athletic trainer
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Sport coach
  • Sports and medical equipment sales representative
  • Wellness program manager

Exercise Science Degree Salary

How much can you earn with a major in exercise science? Here are average salaries in Texas for several popular careers:*

  • Exercise trainers and group fitness instructors: $43,200
  • Exercise physiologists: $50,610
  • Athletics trainers: $57,950
  • Physical therapists: $90,870

*Based on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Program Details

Ashley Brown, HSU Graduate Student
The Exercise Science Program at Hardin-Simmons University is directed by the most genuine, intelligent, and ambitious professors that cared about my success not only in the classroom but in life. Throughout my time in this program, I was equipped with knowledge and opportunities needed to pursue my dream of becoming a physical therapist. I was pushed and challenged in each class over my 4 years, which prepared me to be successful in life after college.

Leo Simonetti, HSU Undergraduate Student
Coming to Hardin-Simmons University as a veteran was a challenge for me. I had been out of the school system for so long and had a hard time getting reintegrated. The professors and faculty within the Exercise Science Program did an amazing job in guiding and assisting me through course selection, and discovering what I truly wanted to get from my degree. The support and motivation that I received from the professors here are unparalleled by any other educational experience I have ever been a part of.

Hillary Blare PT, DPT, Cert. DN, CSCS
It was a blessing to be a part of the Exercise Science department at Hardin-Simmons University. The professors are invested in you personally and in developing your career. The foundation they laid continues to shape me as a physical therapist today.

Bryan Blare PT, DPT, Cert. DN, CSCS
Being a part of the Exercise Science Department at Hardin-Simmons introduced me to many different career options. I eventually decided to pursue physical therapy and the professors prepared me for the rigor of that program. I know that without their guidance and instruction I would not be where I am today.

Jarret OShields, Human Performance Lab Assistant
The HSU Exercise Science department helped further my knowledge, application, and skill-based abilities. The department’s aim sought to develop the exercise science and spiritual foundation for students. I continually implement knowledge and skills learned in the Human Performance Lab.

Kelsey Walker PT, DPT
My years spent in the Exercise Science department at HSU laid the foundation for my career as a physical therapist. Not only was I equipped academically, but also developed professionally and grew spiritually with the encouragement and guidance of professors who invested in my education and cared about my success and growth beyond just the classroom.

The Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) Exercise Science (EXSC)  program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and is reviewed by the Committee on the Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES) annually to confirm students are being appropriately educated to become exercise professionals. HSU is the first in Texas and one of only 100 undergraduate Exercise Science programs in the United States to have attained this credential. This respected distinction shows prospective employers and graduate professional programs that HSU Exercise Science graduates have completed a nationally recognized rigorous program of study.

Accreditation by CAAHEP requires the reporting of data on specific program outcomes to verify that EXSC students are being properly prepared to enter the competitive job market or advance onto graduate programs of study. See below outcomes from the 2022-2023 Academic Year:

  • 100% of EXSC majors successfully completed the Culminating Experience Research Project requirements set  by the EXSC Program, CoAES, and CAAHEP.
  • 100% of EXSC majors who attempted a National Credentialing Exam passed achieving certification as an exercise professional.
  • 100% of EXSC graduates expressed satisfaction with the EXSC program
  • The EXSC program had an 83% retention rate from the Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 semester.

Retention, Culminating Experience, Graduation Rate, Graduate Exit Survey

Retention Data for AY 2022-2023

  • Enrolled: 145
  • Returned: 121
  • Retention Rate (83.45%)

Culminating Experience National Credentialing Exam Reporting for AY 2022-2023

  • 2022-2023 Certification (name) ACE GF Instructor
  •  Total number of students who took exam: 4
  •  # Students who Passed: 4
  •  Pass Rate: 100 %

Culminating Experience Research Project for AY 2022-2023

  • Culminating Experience Data for AY 2022-2023
  • Total # Students: 26
  • Total # of students who passed: 26
  • Pass Rate (100 %)

Graduate Satisfaction Rate for AY 2022-2023

  • # Satisfactory Surveys: 26
  • # Surveys Returned: 26
  • Satisfaction Rate: 100 %

National Strength and Conditioning Association Education Recognition Program logoThe knowledge, skills, and abilities are consistent with certifications from the leading professional organizations in exercise science are included in the program curriculum. These organizations include but are not exclusive to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning (NSCA), and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

If you’re thinking about an exercise science major, here are other programs available at Hardin-Simmons University you might be interested in learning more about: