Exercise Science and Wellness

Bachelor of Science (BS)

As the U.S. population ages, the need for healthy living and better fitness demand more individuals to facilitate quality of life decisions and overall wellness. The Exercise Science and Wellness major uniquely positions graduates to enter this new reality with the knowledge and experience to merge exercise with health and wellness. Upon completion of the major, graduates will be well positioned for a career in the physical fitness industry, hospitals, or schools.

Key Features

Key Features

  • The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science and Wellness combines the study of exercise physiology within the holistic context of health and wellness. This major integrates hands-on, experiential learning, with laboratory work with various demographic populations (e.g., athletes, new moms, senior citizens, etc.).
  • Through a dynamic collaboration between the U of M Crookston and local hospital rehabilitation services, students are exposed to scenarios to apply theory to patient rehabilitation. Students learn techniques in coaching, counseling, and effective motivational techniques during both internal and external internship experiences.
  • The curriculum provides the knowledge to develop tailored exercise prescriptions to patients that will promote improved health and wellness for the future and/or after an illness or injury.
  • This major will prepare students to meet the qualifications for certification of the American College of Sports Medicine for the following: personal trainer, group exercise instructor, health fitness specialist, and clinical exercise specialist.
  • UMC’s Exercise Science and Wellness major is unique among regional universities that have exercise science programs in that those other programs do not combine exercise science curriculum within a context of wellness and community health. An advantage of UMC’s program is the blending of nutrition with exercise. Proper nutrition supports the demands of exercise. Nutrition and healthy life style changes are all a part of wellness. UMC’s major seeks to blend the two sciences to support the needs of the athlete as well as the needs of the general population.
  • Students may also earn a minor in Coaching at UMC.

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Program Requirements & Curriculum

To view the current Exercise Science & Wellness, BS curriculum, visit our catalog site:
View Exercise Science & Wellness, BS curriculum



Employment opportunities regionally, statewide, and nationally for baccalaureate degrees for exercise science are currently good and will remain good to excellent through 2022 according to the U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics). The Bureau’s report states that the demand is being driven by the aging population. At the national level, there is a projected increase of nineteen percent for entry-level positions for athletic trainers and exercise physiologist in the coming decade.

At the state level, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Resources projects job growth in exercise sciences at a rate “as fast as the average of growth in all occupations”. However, this report states that the growth at the entry-level positions for baccalaureate degreed workers will “drive the demand” for positions in the biological sciences (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Resources).

Below are some examples of entry-level positions graduates of this major can pursue. 

Fitness Instruction, Personal Training, and pre-professional

  • Personal Trainer
  • Group Exercise Instructor
  • Health Fitness Specialist
  • Fitness leader in Gerontology Settings
  • Nursing (pre-professional)*
  • Physical Therapy (pre-professional)*

Physical Education, Sport Instruction, Coaching, Sports Officiating and Sport Psychology

  • Sport Instructor
  • Coach
  • Sport Official
  • Sport Psychologist*
  • Physical Education Teacher*

Potential employers may include but are not limited to the following: city parks & recreation departments, colleges and universities, community organizations, corporate health centers, country clubs, health clubs and fitness centers, high schools and middle schools, hospitals, Olympic training centers, professional fitness centers, professional sport teams, public and private schools, sport medicine centers, sports injury clinics, recreational organizations or leagues, and rehabilitation clinics.

This major also can prepare students for a Master’s in Nursing. According to the aforementioned source, the nursing profession will see a nineteen percent increase through 2022. A unique partnership between the University of Minnesota Crookston and the U of M School of Nursing provides an opportunity for students to pursue this career path if they are interested.

* Career opportunities that require further training/education are specified by an asterisk. University of Minnesota Crookston offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science & Wellness. These other fields mentioned may require transfer to another institution and/or graduate work.

Student Stories

Student Stories

Aimee SilvaAimee Silva
Yakima, WA

Aimee will be pursuing her Master's degree at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. She has been accepted into the Athletic Training program at Whitworth. Aimee was also a student athlete on the women's soccer team.



Louie GerzinLouie Gerzin
Ely, MN

Louie has been accepted into the athletic training program at NDSU in Fargo, ND, where he will pursue his Master's degree in Athletic Training. Louie is also a member of the Golden Eagle baseball team.



Kary Sheppard working with a client in the UMC Wellness CenterKary Sheppard 2017
Cardiac rehab is a team effort designed around a patient’s medical needs. At RiverView Health in Crookston, cardiac rehab takes place in three phases: inpatient, monitored outpatient, and maintenance. Often when a patient moves from monitored outpatient to maintenance, they continue to follow the individual exercise program and RiverView staff help them manage it.
Read more "Research with a Heart" PDF File Icon from the Summer 2007 Torch magazine.



Kary SheppardKary Sheppard has always been interested in the medical field. For the exercise science and wellness major, the concept of being physically and emotionally well is something worth learning. This summer Sheppard was able to learn far outside the classroom, 3,710 miles away to be exact. She spent eight weeks in Dublin, Ireland, interning with a physical therapy outpatient clinic. Learn more.



brent reedBrent Reed, a junior from Arlington, Texas, shows his love for people on and off the football field. Majoring in exercise science and wellness at the University of Minnesota Crookston, Reed works hard to positively influence the lives he comes into contact with on campus and in the community. With his love for science and health, it only seems natural that Reed’s goal is to work in the medical field as a nurse specializing in administering amnesia. Learn more.

The UMC Advantage

The UMC Advantage

Small Campus. Big Degree.

Did you know a degree from the University of Minnesota is recognized all over the world? True story. As a system campus of the University of Minnesota system, the U of M Crookston offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources—all in a smaller, more personal campus setting that’s very much like a private school. The University of Minnesota is internationally recognized and respected by not only intellectuals and academic movers and shakers, but major employers who want to hire the best and brightest—namely, you.

Learning and Doing

At the U of M Crookston, you won’t spend all your time behind a desk. Our curriculum is designed around experiential learning, which means we want you to have as much hands-on learning as possible. Depending on your major, you’ll find opportunities to be in the field, the lab, the classroom, or engaging in simulated scenarios that give you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce or head to grad school. You’ll learn the concepts and then actively apply them through projects, field trips, site visits, internships, and interactions with professionals in the field.

Caring Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff members are respected not only for their knowledge and skills, but also because they care about you as an individual. They serve as true mentors, offering personalized attention through small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, and by working closely with you as advisors. They take the time to welcome you to the UMC community, watch you grow as a leader and scholar, and help you connect with alumni and other experts.

A Technology-Rich Environment

At the U of M Crookston, we offer every student a laptop computer from day one. Everyone is tech-savvy, wi-fi is everywhere and learning happens in many ways, including simulations, applications and video presentations. It’s a virtual tech-topia! So, when you graduate, you’ll have all the latest technology skills, giving you a competitive edge. Employers consistently report the UMC graduates they hire are their “go to” people for technology and are well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

Internships, Job Placement and Grad School

More than 87% of U of M Crookston graduates gain full-time employment in their field or enroll in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. That’s a fact. We’ll sure miss you when you graduate, but we know as a proud Golden Eagle alum, you’ll want to come back to cheer us on at homecoming or catch up with your favorite professors.

Internships. They’re a great way to earn college credit, add to your resume and help answer the question, “is this really what I want to do?” You can find internship opportunities with everyone from the business down the street to Fortune 500 companies. Or maybe grad school is in your future. U of M Crookston students get the educational requirements and resources they need to apply to an array of graduate programs from veterinary science to med school to an MBA program. Many go on for more education in a variety of other fields.

Opportunities for undergraduate research also add real value to your educational experience by allowing you to design and conduct research while working alongside faculty mentors. Research experience is especially helpful if you plan to attend graduate school.

One-Rate Tuition and Scholarship Options

Whether you live in Minnesota, just across the border, across the country, or on the other side of the ocean, you pay the same tuition rate, and the U of M Crookston’s tuition rate is a real value because it’s the lowest of the five campuses that make up the U of M system. Additionally, with merit-based scholarships guaranteed based on GPA and ACT scores and more than 300 specialty scholarships, we really do help make college affordable.

Leadership, Clubs and Athletics

Sure, college is about classes, studying, and research, but another important part of the experience involves professional development, creativity, leadership, and service. And let’s not forget about fun! With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for every interest. Best of all, if you can’t find something from the existing list, grab a few friends and start a new club. It’s really just that easy…

In athletics, Golden Eagles shake things up on the court, the field, and on the sidelines. The U of M Crookston competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and offers a full range of men’s and women’s athletic programs.

A Diverse, Global Experience

The world really is a small place, and at U of M Crookston we value diversity. Our students bring rich experiences spanning six continents, and more than 20 countries and 40 states! We value diversity because it not only helps you better understand the world, it helps you understand yourself and how your piece fits into the puzzle of global society. Get involved in the many multicultural and international programs on campus, and you’ll see how easy it is to make friends from across the world.

Or choose one of our international programs. Study, intern, volunteer, play, explore – here or anywhere. Take your pick from more than 300 options in 67 countries. Don’t just learn it, live it.

On-Campus Faculty

On-Campus Faculty

Associate Professor, Sustainability Coordinator
(218) 281-8262
Associate Professor
(218) 281-8249
Associate Professor
(218) 281-8261
Assistant Professor
(218) 281-8258
Associate Professor, Research Labs Director
(218) 281-8097
Assistant Professor
(218) 281-8252
Associate Professor
(218) 281-8202
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Related Majors, Minors & Programs...

Interested in a double major or minor to complement your Degree? Check out these other programs at UMC: