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. Carroll offers graduate studies in the following related areas:

Emily Nault '22

Exercise Science / Pre-Occupational Therapy

“I decided to study exercise science because I am fascinated by the human body and how exercise alters many components of the body’s natural response. The exercise science curriculum offers many different learning experience both in and out the classroom.
“A fond memory of mine was my experience in my anatomy class where the instructor was thrilled to not just walk us through the different structures but also work with a cadaver. Once I was able to get those hands-on experiences, it seemed like all of my knowledge was clicking into place.  
“Prominent throughout my experience at Carroll has been the faculty support. They truly care and want to see all their students be successful. My professors have been some of my biggest advocates, both in and out of the classroom, from leading me to the right career path, building my professional experience and supporting me in other aspects of my life. 
“This campus is truly a gem. Carroll has so much to offer in addition to academics, which is a huge plus. I truly feel Carroll is my home away from home and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.” 

A photo of an exercise science student

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. These may include a senior internship, staffing campus fitness facilities, working with college and community wellness programs, and assisting 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.

Minors that complement the exercise science major include psychology, sociology, Spanish, business, and coaching.

Accelerated Graduate Program Option

Although not required, exercise science majors may choose to further their study through the following accelerated path to our graduate Exercise Physiology 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.

Career Insight

Latest Program News

Main Hall is a large building with many windows.

Endominance Interviews Professor Brown


Carroll professors Jessica M. Brown, Ph.D was interviewed by Endominance.

students learning from a coach in weight room

Carroll Announces New Sport Performance Institute


Carroll University is announcing its new Sport Performance Institute, a partnership between the College of Health Sciences faculty and students and the university’s athletic programs. The Carroll University Sport Performance Institute (CUSPI) will also extend its reach to serve the surrounding community.

More Resources

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

Read Tad's story

Meet the Faculty

Panoramic View of campus