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Exercise Science Education

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Education and Human Ecology

Exercise science education involves the study of structural, functional and behavioral phenomena related to participation in physical activity and exercise in sport, clinical and community settings. In addition, it addresses the promotion of exercise and other health behaviors in community, work-site and health care settings, or in other programs that include health program implementation and evaluation initiatives.

Participation in sports is not a prerequisite; however, participation in sports and other activities requiring varied levels of physical activity would help develop an appropriate perspective for applicants to this major.

Upon admission to the university, students enroll as a pre-major. After completion of the major admission requirements, students are eligible to apply to the program. Students typically apply for admission into the program during their second year. Admission to the exercise science program is competitive, with the average GPA being about a 3.6. 

In addition to regular classes, students take practicum courses that offer concentrated study in areas such as underwater weighing to determine body fat percentage; assessment of muscular strength and flexibility; and fitness evaluation, prescription and supervision. The practicum experiences are intended to develop a high level of theoretical knowledge and practical experiences for those areas. Students also complete a 300-hour internship during their senior year.

Students who intend to pursue graduate study with a research emphasis are encouraged to complete a senior Honors thesis. The student must have a 3.2 or better cumulative grade point average and must obtain a faculty sponsor with expertise in the student’s topic of interest. One must also complete research course work. The research project must be written and presented as an oral report to the faculty for evaluation.

The Exercise Science Club (ESC) is very active on campus and in the Columbus community, providing opportunities for cocurricular, extracurricular and professional enhancement for students. ESC partners with Run Wild Racing of Columbus to organize and produce an end-of-the-year 5K with profits benefiting the American Diabetes Association.

The exercise science program prepares individuals for work in hospitals, clinical fitness centers, rehabilitation programs or other programs that require exercise prescription, evaluation, body composition, general fitness testing, and physical activity, exercise or health program delivery. 

Graduates may also be prepared for work as certified health education specialists in community agency health programming, corporate health, public health agencies and university wellness centers.

With some additional course work, many exercise science education students find themselves uniquely qualified candidates for graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, athletic training, dentistry and medicine, and optometry, pharmacy or veterinary medicine school.

Note: The exercise science program does not lead to Ohio teacher licensure. Find information regarding teaching licensure programs offered by Ohio State at

Office of Undergraduate Student Recruitment
College of Education and Human Ecology
150 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210

Interested in a career in health care?

Check out the Health Care Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a health care career.