Students who study exercise science at Central study various forms of physical activity and the impact it has on health, society and quality of life. Classes examine physical activity in educational, wellness/fitness-oriented, therapeutic and performance-based settings. Students majoring in exercise science can then tailor their education by selecting one of four tracks. In addition to their diploma, graduates receive entry-level certification from either the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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With a dream of competing in the Olympics, LJ Lipscomb has devoted himself to running track—and to his exercise science classes that promote his second dream of becoming a coach or personal trainer.
The exercise science major is thoughtfully designed to give students a choice of tracks, all built upon a solid academic core. By design, majors learn all of the content necessary for successful careers and then have the opportunity to practice in an applied setting.
Depending upon their chosen track, students engage the field by doing internships, practical experiences, undergraduate research and laboratory work. Students have the choice of four tracks: health promotions, health and exercise science, physical education or strength and conditioning.
Learn more about exercise science in the course catalog.
The ability to conduct research in an applied setting is an important component of the exercise science major. While not a requirement, many students choose to conduct collaborative research with Central faculty members. Many majors go on to present their work to larger audiences at conferences across the country. Students who are part of the emerging scholars program complete an honors thesis during their senior year.
Many exercise science majors continue their education in a graduate program in the health field. Faculty members expertly advise and mentor students to ensure they have a well-rounded and solid background in the sciences and are prepared to take entrance exams. The exercise science acceptance rate is very high, and Central has a great reputation with graduate schools that know Central students are prepared and will be successful.
All exercise science majors are encouraged to engage in real-life experiences. Working with the career center, there are robust job-shadowing opportunities for those interested in health professions. In addition, many students engage in either a focused internship or practicum experience.
Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
Central’s state-of-the-art exercise science building includes a dedicated classroom for the athletic training program that features taping stations instead of desks. The human performance lab features a hydrostatic underwater weighing tank, one of only three in the Midwest.
The building uses LCD screens and classroom capture, which enables all classes to be videotaped for review by students. The adjacent Ron Schipper Fitness Center features a 2,000-square-foot athletic training area.
Katelin Gannon, lecturer of exercise science, received Iowa Campus Compact’s scholar award, and graduate Emily Grant was named member of the year for Iowa College AmeriCorps Programs (ICAP).
With internship opportunities in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Central students can venture off campus for real-life job opportunities—and they gain more than work experience in the process.
Hailing all the way from Colorado, sophomore Megan Davis found her niche with the Central women's tennis team—and when she's not on the tennis court, she stays connected with the athletic world as an exercise science major.