Exercise Science Major

Introduction and Overview
Exercise science is the study of physiological and functional adaptations to movement. The field is richly interdisciplinary, involving such disciplines as anatomy, chemistry, biology, physiology, biomechanics, exercise prescription, psychology, nutrition, and injury management. Rigorous and systematic study of these disciplines enables students to understand how and why people move and the factors which limit and enhance our capacity to move.

The exercise science major at St. Olaf is designed for students interested in the advanced and specialized study of the biophysical aspects of exercise. The major supports academic linkages across disciplines and provides excellent preparation in a wide variety of fields. It also prepares students for entry into graduate school in one of the disciplines related to exercise science (such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, biomechanics, nutrition, exercise physiology, sports medicine, chiropractics, cardiac rehabilitation). It is recommended that this major be complemented by other majors or concentrations of interest to the student; the Biomedical Studies Concentration or Neuroscience Concentration may be of particular interest.

The major introduces students to the principles and methods of exercise science. The following goals will be met within the framework of this major:

  • It provides students with a broad introductory exposure to the field of exercise science.
  • It presents students with an array of theories, findings, techniques, and equipment used in exercise science.
  • It requires students to integrate material from several disciplines.
  • It challenges students to think critically and to communicate effectively in the areas of physiology, mechanics, fitness, health, and training – thus enabling them to be more richly engaged citizens in a complex world.
  • It prepares students for graduate-level study and research in a wide range of sub-disciplines (biomechanics, exercise physiology, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition, etc.)

The senior capstone course provides an integration and synthesis of all material.