Exercise Science

If you enjoy health and exercise and want to help others achieve personal goals and improve quality of life, a degree in exercise science may be the right choice for you. Exercise science is a multidisciplinary area of study that combines biological, physical and health sciences to understand the human body and how it responds to movement through exercise and sport. In this field you’ll work with people of all ages and abilities to improve their physical health and wellbeing.

Our program prepares you to work in a variety of health and fitness professions including personal training, health club management, coaching, strength and conditioning, clinical health education and rehabilitation. And, if you’re looking to continue your education, you’ll be prepared for certification exams and graduate levels of study in exercise science or other health-related disciplines such as athletic training, exercise physiology, medicine, physical therapy and physician assistant studies.

“Professors are your best resources for success in challenging courses.”
— Collin Christensen '18

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About the Exercise Science Major

Combine your interests in health and science to help others remain healthy, active and achieve personal goals.

Carroll University’s Exercise Science major is truly interdisciplinary and combines science, nutrition and fitness courses to prepare you for any career in exercise science. You’ll take basic science classes such as chemistry and anatomy to teach you how the body works and then move onto applied science courses like exercise physiology to learn about the body in motion and application courses which will teach you the skills needed to become an exercise scientist.

The majority of your classes involve hands-on experiences—for example, you’ll work with your peers to test heart rate, blood pressure and skin fold and also be able to apply these practices to some of our NCAA Division III student athletes. You’ll also look at the relationship between chemistry and nutrition, to understand how the foods we eat affect and improve health and performance. And if you’re most interested in how the body moves, you’ll learn what happens inside each of us when we run, jump or contract a muscle.

In addition to learning about the typically active and healthy body, you’ll gain a basic understanding of populations who have different medical conditions. Any career you choose in exercise science may encounter clients or patients dealing with issues such as stroke recovery, diabetes or cardiopulmonary disease. The courses you take will help prepare you to handle these situations successfully.

Put What You’ve Learned into Practice

Our program offers plenty of opportunities for practical experience. In addition to a senior internship, our students staff campus fitness facilities, work with college and community wellness programs and assist with strength and conditioning for our NCAA Division III athletic teams. Under program faculty supervision in our capstone course, our students have opportunities to serve as personal trainers to Carroll faculty and staff, creating individual training programs they administer throughout the semester. The Capstone course will also assist students in developing their resume and interview skills to hit the ground running after graduation.

After you complete our program you’ll be ready to take certification exams for personal training, strength and conditioning, fitness specialist and fitness instructor. Our students have gone onto graduate school and also started professional careers as personal trainers, fitness instructors as well as strength and conditioning coaches working in health clubs, sports performance facilities and corporate fitness programs.

Most students in the program who are planning to move on to graduate studies do not take on a minor because of the intensive coursework required. Students working to complete just the undergraduate major may decide to add a minor in areas such as psychology, sociology, Spanish or business.

Accelerated Graduate Program Option

While not required, exercise science majors may choose to further their study through the following accelerated path to our graduate program:

Exercise Science to Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (MEXP)

Complete your undergraduate degree and earn a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (MEXP) from Carroll in five years. You’ll spend three years in undergraduate studies to learn the basic knowledge needed for two years of graduate level courses.

At Carroll you’ll receive the support you need from multiple areas on campus as you prepare to apply to graduate school. Advisors will help ensure you complete the requirements to be a qualified applicant for any of the graduate programs in which you’re interested. And if you decide to apply for Carroll’s Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (MEXP) you’ll have a competitive advantage over other applicants.


We help you build real world experience, explore careers and network with professionals through internship opportunities. Recent placements include the following companies:

  • Wisconsin Athletic Club
  • Quad/Graphics Inc.
  • YMCA
  • Westwood Fitness Center
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • The Cooper Institute (Dallas, Texas)
  • University of Minnesota
  • San Jose State University


College is a big investment in a bright future. Learn more about the industries and careers our majors pursue, and the workplaces and experiences of the alumni from our program. See where yours may take you.

Latest Program News

Daniel Shakelford

Carroll MEXP professor presents to Biola University honors program


Daniel Shackelford, associate professor of exercise science, was recently asked to serve as a guest speaker for students in the prestigious Stewart Science Honors Program at Biola University.

MEXP student working with patient

CURE program offers unique experiential learning opportunities


Students graduating from Carroll University’s Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (MEXP) program are coming out a step ahead thanks to an innovative program.

More Resources

“Every course I've taken has given me useful tools to carry with me.”
— Tad Taggart '18

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Meet the Faculty

Dr. Jessica Brown

Dr. Jessica Brown

Assistant Professor of Exercise Science - Applied Clinical Practice
Brian Edlbeck

Brian Edlbeck

Clinical Assistant Professor of Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology
David MacIntyre

David MacIntyre

Clinical Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Chair of the Department of Human Movement Sciences
Jason Roe

Jason Roe

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Science
Dr. Daniel Shackelford

Dr. Daniel Shackelford

Program Director for the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology - Clinical / Assistant Professor
Dr. Timothy Suchomel

Dr. Timothy Suchomel

Program Director for Master of Science in Sport Physiology and Performance Coaching / Assistant Professor
Panoramic View of campus