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School of Education & Health Sciences

Exercise Science

Why pursue an Exercise Science degree at North Central College?

An exercise science degree prepares you for a career as an exercise professional in the rapidly growing world of health, fitness and human performance. This multidimensional program explains the structural and functional changes that occur on a physiological, biochemical and biomechanical level during human movement. Students in this major are prepared for careers in strength and conditioning, medical fitness, corporate fitness and wellness, personal training and human performance. Many students choose to use exercise science as a stepping stone into a graduate degree program in physical therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy, nursing, exercise physiology, chiropractic or others.

At North Central College, your curriculum balances the applied art of fitness programming with the scientific fundamentals of anatomy and physiology. In our stand-out program recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, you’ll work hands-on with faculty to prepare for whichever post-grad plans you pursue.


  • Studying the effects of physical activity on the human body
  • Preparing to take the ACSM-EP and NSCA-CSCS exams
  • Working in a range of health and fitness careers or to pursue post-graduate study 

then a degree in EXERCISE SCIENCE might be for you.


In the Classroom

Coursework topics:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Exercise Program Design
  • First Aid and Personal Safety
  • Fitness Evaluation
  • Foundations of Exercise Science
  • Functional Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Nutrition
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Research Design and Experimentation
  • Statistics
  • Training Techniques

Beyond the Classroom

As an exercise science major, you can:

  • Apply for internships and jobs through robust faculty and alumni networks or the Center for Career and Professional Development.
  • Use virtual cadaver dissection and anatomy models to study anatomy and kinesiology.
  • Benefit from networking with area exercise professionals.
  • Take advantage of support from our pre-health advisor if you wish to pursue graduate studies.
  • Benefit from a curriculum recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Educational Recognition Program (ERP).
  • Engage in practical hands-on learning in a new state-of-the-art Human Performance Laboratory and through our nationally-recognized Cardinal Fit program


More Department information

Dual admission bachelor's/master of occupational therapy degree

3+2 Master of Athletic Training pathway

Exercise Science, B.S.

Exercise Science is broad discipline that studies the effects of physical activity on the human body. Exercise Science includes topics such as kinesiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, fitness assessment, exercise training techniques and exercise programming for healthy and special populations. Exercise Science is a degree that prepares graduates to work in wide range of careers related to health, fitness and human performance.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Kinesiology.

Optional Courses:

Exercise Science, B.S./M.A.T.

Students who complete the 3+2 program in exercise science and athletic training will complete the requirements for both degrees in 5 years. Admission to the MAT program is competitive and minimal requirements must be met by all applicants. For additional admission requirements, see the Master of Athletic Training Admission Requirements.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Kinesiology.

  • MATR 500 - Clinical Experiences in Athletic Training I*
  • MATR 505 - Clinical Experiences in Athletic Training II*
  • MATR 515 - Foundations of Athletic Training*
  • MATR 525 - Therapeutic Interventions in Athletic Training I
  • MATR 530 - Principles of Musculoskeletal and Medical Assessment
  • MATR 535 - Therapeutic Interventions in Athletic Training II
  • MATR 540 - Diagnosis and Management for Athletic Trainers II: Lower Extremity and Spine
  • MATR 541 - Diagnosis and Management for Athletic Trainers I: Upper Extremity, Head & Neck
  • MATR 550 - Medical Aspects of Athletic Training
  • MATR 551 - Administration and Management in Athletic Training*
  • MATR 600 - Clinical Experiences in Athletic Training III
  • MATR 605 - Clinical Experiences in Athletic Training IV
  • MATR 610 - Clinical Experiences in Athletic Training V: Immersive Experience
  • MATR 620 - Principles of Nutrition and Strength and Conditioning for Athletic Training
  • MATR 625 - Psychological Aspects of Athletic Training Practice
  • MATR 640 - Special Topics in Athletic Training
  • MATR 650 - Decision Making in Athletic Training
  • MATR 655 - Applied Research Project in Athletic Training

*These courses apply towards both the undergraduate and graduate programs.


Strength and Conditioning, Minor

The minor in Strength and Conditioning provides an in-depth exploration of exercise testing and prescription for athletes. Graduates of the minor program are prepared for employment in the field of strength and conditioning. Students must follow the application process and must also major in Exercise Science to be admitted to the minor, which will admit a limited number of students each year.

A minimum of 20 credit hours, including:

The Human Performance Lab is located in Wentz Science Center and includes the following:

Major Equipment-

  • Cosmed Bod Pod
  • InBody 770
  • Portable Force Plate
  • iWorx System with Lab Scribe Software
  • Cosmed K5
  • Woodway Treadmill
  • Monark Cycle Ergometer
  • Portable Blood Lactate Meter
  • Portable Blood Glucose Meter

Minor Equipment-

  • Posture Zone Chart
  • Blood Pressure Cuffs and Stethoscopes
  • Lange Skinfold Calipers
  • Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitors
  • Video Camera and Tripod
  • Hand Dynamometers
  • Plyo Boxes
  • BOSU Balls
  • Stability Balls
  • ViPR's
  • Foam Rollers 
  • TRX
  • Vertec Vertical Jump Tester
  • Bands and Tubing
  • Jump Ropes
  • Medicine Balls
  • Kettlebells
  • Dumbbells
  • Goniometers
  • Metronomes
  • Examination Table

The lab is accessible to all students who have declared Exercise Science as their major or are taking classes in Exercise Science.

Human Performance Lab Equipment

Human Performance Lab Equipment

See the Human Performance Lab featured in our Virtual College Tour!

Cardinal Fit

Cardinal Fit, our nationally recognized experiential learning program, provides students with valuable experience working with real clients in the North Central community. Under professional supervision, student coaches lead Cardinal Fit activities, providing exercise orientations, fitness evaluations, and individualized programs to on-campus participants. The program is dedicated to bolstering the health of our campus community while also giving students real-world skills that are applicable to internships, graduate studies, and employment in fields related to exercise science.

Exercise Science Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.


Recent graduates in exercise science interned in:

  • Athletic Development
  • Medical Fitness
  • Youth Fitness
  • Corporate and Community Fitness
  • Rehabilitation

Graduate Schools

Graduates in exercise science have been accepted at:

  • North Central College
  • Benedictine University
  • Midwestern University
  • Palmer Chiropractic
  • Pacific University
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Rush University
  • Soma Institute
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Northwestern University


Careers in exercise science include:

  • Strength and conditioning specialist
  • Personal fitness trainer
  • Corporate fitness administrator
  • Medical fitness administrator
  • Youth fitness specialist
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Athletic trainer
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Chiropractor

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Merit scholarships, grants, loans, campus employment - these are just some of the resources available to you. Over 95 percent of students and 100 percent of all eligible students receive aid. Let our team partner with you in finding the best value for your education.

Learn more about financial aid and costs for North Central College

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