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Exercise Science, Wellness & Sports

Bachelor of
Science in
Exercise Science,
Wellness & Sports

Portrait of African American therapist assisting senior patient at gym in rehabilitation clinic
A young female athlete is holding a ball

Exercise Science is the study of body movement and the adaptation to the movements. Practitioners assess fitness, evaluate health behaviors and risk factors, design exercise programs, and educate and motivate others to develop a healthier lifestyle.

Exercise science and related fields are fast growing due to increased awareness of physical exercise and wellness. As just one example, jobs for fitness trainers and instructors are projected to grow by 19% from 2021 through 2031. Over that decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be 65,000 openings in fitness training and instruction per year on average.

The B.S. in Exercise Science, Wellness, and Sports from GCU offers concentrations in exercise science, coaching, and optional tracks for pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, and pre-physician assistant. It provides broad foundational knowledge including nutrition, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, strength and conditioning, human performance and more.

"Classes are important, but so are the experiences students have along the way. All our students get experience in the health and fitness field through their internships. We also provide opportunities for students to get involved in research with a faculty member almost every semester and we take students to regional conferences to present research or represent GCU in a quiz bowl. These things can make all the difference when they apply to a graduate program or for a job!"
Michael Wortley
Michael Wortley
Associate Professor Ph.D.,
Exercise Science, Sports, and Leisure Studies

Why Study Exercise Science, Wellness & Sports at GCU?

Woman doctor examining male patient in physical therapy clinic

What Students Might Be Interested in Exercise Science, Wellness & Sports?

Students who are passionate about health and wellness, enjoy helping others achieve their goals, and have a scientific curiosity about sports, exercise, nutrition, and the human body are a great fit for the exercise science major. Emotional intelligence, patience, positivity, and the ability to motivate others are also important.

Young couple resting on the stairs after exercise

What Can I do with an Exercise Science, Wellness & Sports Degree?

GCU’s Exercise Science degree provides a broad spectrum of practical and foundational knowledge leading to numerous career fields. With optional tracks in pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, and pre-physician assistant, GCU’s exercise science program can prepare you for graduate school in a variety of health-related fields. A sampling of careers and median annual salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are shown below. Note: Exercise science jobs that require a double major, minor, and/or an advanced degree and additional certifications and licensures are marked with an asterisk:

  • Fitness Trainers/Instructors - $40,700
  • Athletic Trainers - $48,420
  • Health Education Specialists - $50,990
  • Exercise Physiologists - $51,350
  • High School Health & Phys-Ed Teacher* - $61,820
  • Chiropractor* - $75,000
  • Occupational Therapists* - $85,570
  • Medical Scientist* - $95,310
  • Physical Therapists* - $95,620
  • Physician Assistant* - $121,530

B.S. in Exercise Science, Wellness & Sports Program Information

You’ll need to successfully complete at least 120 credits, including General Education requirements and 36 credits in exercise science plus 58 – 62 credits in related areas such as human anatomy and physiology, human biology, and chemistry for health sciences.

To earn this degree, students must successfully complete at least 120 credits, including General Education requirements and the major requirements below.

Major Sequence

Students choose one of two concentrations: Exercise Science or Health and Physical Education.

Exercise Science Concentration

Students must complete 36 exercise science credits, plus courses in related areas, including:

Required Courses
ES100Exploration of Exercise Science1.0
ES111Found Ex Science & Wellness3.0
ES220Introduction to Nutrition3.0
ES251Biomechanics 13.0
ES252Kinesiology & Applied Anatomy3.0
ES330Exercise Physiology4.0
ES350Exercise Testing & Prescription4.0
ES390Internship I3.0
ES391Internship II 23.0
ES470Research Methods in Exercise & Sport3.0
Exercise Science electives6.0
Related Courses
BI111Life: Human Biology4.0
or BI121 Cellular Organiz., Energetics & Function
BI203Experimental Design & Statistics3.0
BI213Human Anatomy & Physiology I4.0
BI214Human Anatomy & Physiology II4.0
Select one of the following:4.0-8.0
Chemistry for the Health Sciences
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
MA109College Algebra 33.0
Total Credits58.0-62.0

ES251 Biomechanics can be substituted with PH111 Physics in Everyday Life I and PH112 Physics in Everyday Life II, or PH115 College Physics I and PH116 College Physics II, or PH121 University Physics I and PH122 University Physics II.


ES391 Internship II can be substituted with ES392 Coaching Internship or ES471 Research Project in Exercise Science.


Evidence of algebra proficiency may replace MA109 College Algebra.

Transfer students are required to take a minimum of 14 ES credits at GCU, and a minimum of 23 credits including the interdisciplinary courses required for the major. Students may choose to complete the requirements for one or more tracks.

Health & Physical Education Concentration

Students must complete 33 exercise science credits, plus courses in related areas, including:

Required Courses
ES111Found Ex Science & Wellness3.0
ES160First Aid & CPR1.0
ES220Introduction to Nutrition3.0
ES252Kinesiology & Applied Anatomy3.0
ES330Exercise Physiology4.0
ES340Health & Weight Management3.0
ES350Exercise Testing & Prescription4.0
HPE/ES260Motor Development, Learning & Teaching3.0
HPE/ES355Methods of Secondary Health & Phys.Ed.3.0
PE (1 credit) courses that include at least one single, dual, and team activity6.0
Related Courses
BI213Human Anatomy & Physiology I4.0
BI214Human Anatomy & Physiology II4.0
CH151Chemistry for the Health Sciences4.0
PS221Child & Adolescent Development3.0
PS225Educational Psychology3.0
PS245Psychology of the Exceptional Child3.0
Total Credits54.0

Transfer students are required to take a minimum of 14 ES credits at GCU and a minimum of 23 credits, including the interdisciplinary courses required for the major. Students seeking teacher certification also complete the teacher certification courses as shown in the School of Education section of the catalog.

For more information on program requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

If you’re interested in our exercise science, wellness & sports program, here are other programs at GCU you might be interested in exploring:

"The quality of GCU’s exercise science program is special and unlike any other. Each professor’s passion for not only their field, but life, is contagious. GCU set me up with tools and values to help me excel in both my physical therapy program and out in the clinic. I’m forever grateful for my decision in choosing GCU."
Dominick Petronico
Dominick Petronico ’19, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

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