Exercise Science Degree

Exercise Science is the largest major in the School of Kinesiology, Health & Recreation, with just over 100 students. The wide range of subject matter within Exercise Science prepares you for many career pathways both entry-level positions in the exercise science/human performance field and entrance into allied health professional programs (Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapy, Chiropractic), medicine, and graduate programs in Exercise Science or Kinesiology. You will learn how to best utilize exercise to improve health and human performance for different populations across the lifespan.

The HSU Exercise Science Program, guided by Christian faith and values, prepares students for a variety of career opportunities in health and human movement. Foundational to the Program is the multidisciplinary study of human movement involving components of biological, physical, psychological, and health sciences to explain structural and functional changes that occur on the physiological, biochemical and biomechanical levels.

Students within this program will gain hands on experience in the Human Performance Lab. The lab is located on the second floor of Fletcher Fitness Center.

The 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).


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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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  • Exercise Science (B.S.H.S.)


  • Exercise Science (B.A., B.B.S.)

Why Study Exercise Science at HSU?

Physical Education students training and lifting weights

Hands-on Learning

The Exercise Science Program integrates hands-on learning experiences in several courses. These include analyzing the acute effects of exercise; using exercise testing and assessment to determine health and fitness status; learning and experiencing exercise training techniques; and designing and implementing exercise prescriptions and nutrition intakes for health, performance, and recovery in different populations.

Athletic Training students in class

New Lab

The program moved into a new Human Performance Laboratory in Fall 2018. This lab, in the historic Marston Gym, has been renovated as a part of the HSU Fitness Center construction and is 5 times larger than the previous lab.

Student practicing archery at HSU event

Outdoor Experience

The Outdoor Education Workshop course includes a variety of fun outdoor skills such as archery, canoeing, rappelling, riflery, and stand-up paddle boarding.

Program Details

All courses and course descriptions for each degree type can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog:

  • Exercise Science, B.S.H.S. (EXSC)
  • Exercise Science Minor (EXSC)
  • Senior year internship requirement provides opportunities for “real-world” experience & networking.
  • HSU’s Exercise Science Program is recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as an Educational Recognition Program (ERP) in strength and conditioning, preparing graduates for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam.
  • Students have opportunities to do research with the faculty and to present at local, state, and national conferences.

All HSU students are eligible for the program.

The Exercise Science Program prepares students fora variety of career opportunities, including:

  • Professional programs for allied health professions such as:
    • Physical Therapy
    • Athletic Training
    • Physician’s Assistant
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Chiropractic
  • Corporate/community wellness
  • Exercise Testing/monitoring
  • Personal training
  • Group Exercise
  • Wellness/Fitness Coach
  • Fitness Management
  • Strength and conditioning for athletes
  • Strength and conditioning for tactical fitness professions
  • Performance enhancement
  • Sports equipment monitoring and sales
  • Youth Sports and recreation
  • Sport Coach
  • Research, development, and sales of exercise equipment
  • Medical Equipment sales
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation

Career and other information can also be found from these professional organizations:

Hardin-Simmons University transitioned its athletic training program to a Master of Athletic Training in 2019. The last remaining undergraduate students will graduate in May 2022 & the program will be officially closed.

The Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has been notified of HSU’s intent to voluntarily withdraw from CAATE accreditation. HSU intends to restart an updated MAT program in Summer 2022. We expect to begin accepting applications in January 2022. The new MAT program will have to complete the full CAATE accreditation process for new programs.

The new MAT program will utilize robust technology to deliver course content online, combined with several intensive on-campus sessions to learn the hands-on skills required to be a successful athletic trainer. The program will also include a 3-2 option, providing you the opportunity to earn both your bachelor’s and MAT degrees in 5 years. A specific undergraduate major is not required for admission into the MAT program; however, students must make certain they have successfully completed all required prerequisite courses. Exercise Science is the major most congruent with MAT prerequisite courses.

For more information, see the Master of Athletic Training web page.

The Exercise Science minor is for students who believe this minor can enhance their major program and/or future career opportunities. Current students minoring in Exercise Science are majoring in Business Administration, Honors, Biology, and Psychology.

Required Courses for Exercise Science minor:

  • FSSC 1100 – Fitness Management
  • FSSC 2301 – Foundations
  • FSSC 2303 – Sport First Aid & CPR
  • FSSC 3314 – Physiology of Exercise (Human Anatomy —
  • FSSC 4305 – Techniques of Physiologic Fitness Assessment
  • 3 credits – Activity courses (aqua/racquet/strength)
  • 6 credits – Upper-level (3000-4000) FSSC electives

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.

Joe McCormick, HSU DPT
My time spent in the Exercise Science Department at HSU instilled in me a passion for learning and reinforced the calling I had felt to pursue a career in physical therapy. The professor’s enthusiasm and love for the Lord are contagious. Their passion for the subject matter and emphasis on celebrating God’s design of the human body instilled in me a love for studying that continues to this day. I am extremely grateful for the life-changing influence they had on my spiritual life as well as my career as a physical therapist.

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.