Health and Exercise Science (BS)
Make it your goal to help others achieve theirs.
- Available as
- Bachelor of Science
- 4 years
- Fort Wayne
- 3 Available Concentrations
- Health and Wellness, Kinesiology, or Strength and Conditioning
Why Study Health and Exercise Science?
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitation sciences are among the fastest-growing sectors of patient care. The healthcare industry’s renewed focus on preventative medicine is creating a surge of interest in wellness programs from families, individuals, communities, and organizations. With this, there’s a growing demand for personal coaches, health educators, corporate wellness program managers, and other related roles.
A degree in health and exercise science gives you the foundation for these rewarding and exciting fields that help others achieve their personal best.
Projected growth in employment opportunities for athletic trainers from 2022 to 2032 (much faster than the average for all occupations)
Number of fitness trainer and instructor positions in 2022
Median annual wage for exercise physiologists in 2022
Why Saint Francis for Health and Exercise Science?
Beyond the science and skills. Rooted in the liberal arts and built on Catholic values, our program develops you into a reflective, ethical professional ready to provide compassionate care and service to others.
With activity- and project-based courses, you’ll see today’s best practices in action… and then practice them yourself. You’ll learn how to apply science-based evidence in real-world situations and hone valuable communication, coaching, and organizational skills.
Saint Francis’ strong reputation in the regional healthcare community gives our students access to quality internships, opens doors for health and wellness jobs with top employers, and provides meaningful service-learning opportunities.
Personalize Your Path: Expand Your Opportunities
Our breadth of programs in health sciences and beyond allows our students to combine majors, minors, and concentrations. Your faculty advisors can help you personalize your academic path to meet your ultimate goal.
Health and Wellness Concentration
This concentration is an ideal choice if you want a career in fitness, coaching, training, rehab, or health-related marketing and management roles. This concentration also prepares you for these national certification exams:
- Personal trainer, exercise specialist and health/fitness instructor (American College of Sports Medicine)
- Personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
Kinesiology Degree Concentration
Concentrating in kinesiology — the study of movement — fulfills prerequisites for graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and athletic training, among others.
Strength and Conditioning Concentration
The Strength & Conditioning concentration prepares students to sit for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), setting students up for success as a strength coach for athletes of any age. A variety of internships and practicums are required and will provide opportunities for experience in the field of study.
Two Degrees, Four Years
Students in our two-year physical therapist assistant associate degree program may continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science or health services.
Add a second major in a related or complementary field to boost your opportunities. Popular choices include biology and psychology. Other majors may give you a chance to earn an associate’s degree along the way, such as surgical or radiologic technology.
Gain more marketable skills when you complement your health and exercise degree with a minor like nutrition or athletic coaching.
“Not all health and exercise science programs require practical experience, but I’m glad Saint Francis does. My internship not only gave me hands-on experience, but it got me in the door. I was considered to be very well rounded because of my education and the courses I took beyond my major.”Haylee Shirkey ’17 Business Support Analyst at Parkview Total Health
“The Health and Exercise Science program at Saint Francis has compassionate professors who genuinely want to help their students reach their goals. The program also has a good balance of teaching content while providing students with ample opportunities to hone their hands-on skills.”Colin Hahn ’22 ’24 Health & Exercise Science major
“My favorite part about Health and Exercise Science is the community that surrounds it. Throughout my time in the program, I have learned to engage with those in my community both on and outside of campus, explore new opportunities for growth, and elevate my commitment to this program and future career path in physical therapy. I will forever be grateful for these experiences at Saint Francis.”Katie Melcher ’23 ’24 Health & Exercise Science major
Hands-On Learning: Active From the Start
At Saint Francis, you’ll learn by doing from day one. In your first year, you’ll serve as a client for upper-level classmates in our mock lab — and things will come full circle by your final year when you build training plans for clients of your own.
Your final year culminates with a 200-hour internship; recent sites include:
- Fort Wayne TinCaps
- Indiana Physical Therapy
- Mad Apple CrossFit
- Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation
- Parkview Senior Club
- DeKalb Chiropractic
- Fort Wayne Orthopedics Hospital
Your internships might even serve as a pathway to your first position after graduation.
On-campus employment with Saint Francis athletics, health services and related offices also provide valuable practical experience.
Faculty and Facilities
All of this hands-on learning happens in places like our cadaver lab and an exercise physiology lab stocked with state-of-the-art fitness testing and body composition equipment. And you will learn from a faculty with a wealth of expertise and professional experience across the health and exercise science discipline.
Campus and Community
As you prepare to enter a helping profession, you’ll be glad to know Saint Francis offers many opportunities for you to serve others through campus ministries, service-learning projects, and student groups.
KAN — the Kinesiology and Nutrition Club — is all about career development and community activism: awareness projects, networking events, and even a monthly themed brunch where everyone contributes one ingredient. Depending on your career interest, you might also be interested in joining the Physical Therapy Assistants Club.
Plus, nine intramural teams give you options to stay active while enjoying a little friendly competition.
What You Can Do With a Health and Exercise Science or Kinesiology Degree
Health and wellness jobs abound in Indiana and beyond. You will join a network of Saint Francis graduates helping their communities stay healthy, get active and be well in roles such as:
- Personal trainers
- Athletic coaches
- Strength and conditioning coaches
- Community health educators
- Lifestyle coaches
- Health and fitness managers
Additionally, entrepreneurial health and exercise science graduates are known to start their own health, wellness, or fitness businesses.
Where You’ll Find Our Graduates
With plenty of real-world experience and a degree in health and exercise sciences in hand, our graduates start their careers at places like:
- Adams Physical Therapy Services Inc
- Anytime Fitness
- Athletes with Purpose
- ATI Physical Therapy
- Beacon Health System
- Catalyst Fitness
- DeKalb Health
- Fort Wayne Community Schools
- HealthSource Chiropractic
- Indiana Physical Therapy
- JAM Recreation Center
- Parkview Health
- Purdue University Fort Wayne
- YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne
Graduate and Professional School
Whether you’re looking to become a practitioner, professor or healthcare leader, Saint Francis will prepare you well for advanced studies, such as a graduate kinesiology degree. Our students have pursued master’s and doctoral programs in a variety of areas, including:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Athletic Training
- Sports Medicine
- Chiropractic Medicine
- Healthcare Administration