Exercise Science

Exercise Science

Mission Statement

The mission of the Exercise Science program is to prepare students through Christ-centered values to assess, design, and implement fitness programs for clients based on scientific evidence to achieve optimal health and performance across a variety of settings. Through a dynamic academic and applied background, students are expertly prepared for professional certifications, and to enter post professional degree programs in exercise science and other allied health professions.   


The Exercise Science major at Northwest University is designed to produce exercise science professionals who will impact the world of sports, fitness, and health and wellness.  The program will provide the student with the knowledge, skills and abilities to assess, prescribe exercise for, and monitor clients in a variety of sport, health, wellness and fitness settings. This program of study provides the student with a thorough immersion into the field of exercise science, by using a combination of classroom, laboratory, practicum and internship experiences.

The Exercise Science major is for students seeking a bachelor’s degree (BS, BA) and advanced certifications, having an interest in health, wellness, fitness, cardiorespiratory training, strength training and conditioning, nutrition, disease prevention, and health promotion.

The major is intended to meet the ever-growing need for highly qualified professionals dealing with growing public needs in health, wellness, and fitness.

Academic Partnerships

Northwest University will join with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to offer the first bachelor’s degree program for health fitness and human performance professionals here at NU.  The ACSM and the NSCA are the two premier organizations in the field that will be recognized in both the clinical and non-clinical environments.  These are the two organizations recommended for certifications in both tracts which are rigorous and valued with a high practical educational component for certification.  We are also intending to add the distinction for clinical professionals, Exercise is Medicine, a global initiative managed by the ACSM http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/ which will be incorporated into the program. 


Students seeking certification in the exercise science profession are subject to each association’s guidelines and standards to be eligible for each certification. In the final year of their degree program, students are encouraged to sit for the NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) examination, the Certified Special Populations Coach (CSPC), or the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Students will also be prepared to sit for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP) upon completion of their major.

Degree Tracks

Pre-Professional (BS)

This BS track prepares students for graduate school:

Recommended minimum GPA for acceptance into the following graduate degree programs

  • Physician Assistant (PA): 3.5 GPA
  • Physical Therapist (DPT): 3.5 GPA
  • Occupational Therapist (OTR): 3.3 GPA
  • Chiropractor (DC): 3.3 GPA
  • Registered Dietician (RD): 3.3 GPA
  • Prosthetist (design/fit artificial limbs for amputees) (CP): 3.3 GPA

Some Other Degrees to Consider after Graduation with a Bachelors in EXSC:

  • Masters in Exercise Science specializing in human performance, nutrition, community physical activity, clinical exercise physiology, research, and teaching.
  • Masters in Biomechanics
  • Masters in Sport Psychology
  • Masters in Athletic Training
  • Masters in Public Health – Global Health, Nutrition, Community Health (beneficial for educating general and special population groups through private or government agencies, epidemiology research, excellent for Missions, and preparation for other medical degrees)
  • Masters in Sport Management
  • Masters in Health and P.E. with teacher licensure
  • Bachelors/Masters in Recreational Therapy/Recreational Therapist (RT)

Attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in EXSC will help to set these students apart from other applicants for acceptance into the following competitive associate degree programs:

  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA)

Other Healthcare Careers:

  • Office Medical Assistant
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Radiology Technician (x-ray, MRI)
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Paramedic (emergency medical care)
  • Massage Therapist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist/Therapist (SLP)
  • Audiologist (Au. D)

Exercise Specialist (BA)

This BA track prepares students for careers in the following:

  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Fitness Specialist
  • Corporate/Employee Fitness Director
  • Owner of a Fitness Facility or Wellness Center (recommended study in business management)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach (NSCA Exercise Specialist Certification CSCS) to work with high school or collegiate athletes in assessment, program design, implementation and evaluation, or to work with athletes in facilities such as CrossFit, training clubs, etc.
  • Exercise Physiologist in a privately owned fitness facility
  • Exercise Physiologist in fitness facilities located in PT or medical clinics
  • Exercise Physiologist employed by a wellness center
  • Exercise Physiologist working in human performance laboratories (VO2 testing of triathletes, cyclists, elite runners, etc.)
  • Personal Trainer/Coach
  • Ministry/Missions opportunities may also exist nationally and internationally with various sport organizations such as Athletes in Action http://www.athletesinaction.org/

(ACSM Exercise Physiologist Certification CEP is part of our program as well as the NSCA Certified Exercise Specialist CSCS) http://www.ACSM.orghttp://www.nsca-lift.org/Certification/CSCS/