My Plan: Exercise Science Majors

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

  • Provide students with a broad introductory exposure to the field of exercise science.
  • Present students with an array of theories, findings, techniques, and equipment used in exercise science.
  • Require students to integrate material from several disciplines.
  • Challenge 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.
  • Prepare students for graduate-level study and research in a wide range of sub-disciplines, including biomechanics, exercise physiology, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition, etc.

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

The exercise science major supports academic linkages across disciplines and provides excellent preparation in a wide variety of fields. It also prepares students for advanced studies in one of many related disciplines. Exercise science majors are strongly encouraged to engage in experiential opportunities outside of the classroom that support career exploration and vocational discernment.

Use this guide and resources available through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career as you create your academic and experiential plan.

Although class years are listed, many of these activities may occur at any point. 

First and Sophomore Years

Plan Your Academics

  • Attend an Identifying Vocational Interests workshop through the Piper Center and take the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory (career interest assessment).  You will learn how your interests, personality, values and strengths are related to you academic goals and career options.
  • Explore the Exercise Science website and major requirements. Be intentional in choosing classes that fulfill general education requirements and enhance your writing, research, and analytical skills.
  • Speak with faculty members in the department to learn more about the major requirements.
  • If you are considering the pre-medicine route, read this advice from Professors Ted Johnson, chair of the Health Professions Committee, and Jean Porterfield, director of the Biomedical Studies program, about planning your courses.
  • Enroll in the first Exercise Science course, Prevention and Care of Sports Injuries, the spring of your first or sophomore year.
  • Get on the Exercise Science email alias by contacting department chair, Cindy Book, and officially adding your Exercise Science major.

Explore Careers in Exercise Science

  • Visit the Piper Center to learn about different opportunities within Exercise Science that you can connect with throughout your career at St. Olaf, such as internships, grants, civic engagement opportunities, and more.
  • Check Ole Career Central often to stay updated about workshops, fairs, scholarships, internships, jobs, and other opportunities.
  • Discover how your interests and skills apply to the world of work; use the Assessing and Exploring Careers web links on the Piper Center’s student page.
  • Attend career panels and forums related to Exercise Science and your interests.
  • Use the Online Alumni Directory to locate and contact former Oles who work in your field of interest and conductinformational interviews to learn more about specific careers and fields.

Gain Experience

Junior Year

Grow in academics and experience

Plan ahead and build your network

  • Participate in the Career Network for Oles to create a network of alumni contacts in your field of interest.
  • Begin to research graduate school options and additional courses, skills, or experiential learning that may be necessary for different programs.
  • Develop strong relationships with professors.  Get to know one or two faculty members well. Talk to them about your interests within Exercise Science and your career ideas.
  • Create a resume and cover letter and have them critiqued by a Piper Center peer advisor or professional staff member.
  • Practice articulating what you’re studying, and why, and the skills you’ve developed through your academic and experiential learning in order to prepare for graduate school and job/internship interviews.

Senior Year

Gain capstone and internship experiences

  • Register for the Senior Seminar course during the fall or spring of senior year.
  • Apply for a position as a teaching or lab assistant within the department.
  • Complete an academic internship during Interim if you haven’t yet had an internship experience.

Prepare to transition out of St. Olaf

  • Define your post-graduation goals and create and action plan for senior year.
  • Attend Piper Center workshops relevant to your future plans.
  • Meet with Piper Center staff and faculty mentors to discuss your post-graduate plans and to learn more about what employers and graduate/professional schools are seeking in an applicant.
  • Continue researching employmentpost-graduate volunteer, or grad school options and start applying for programs.
    • Explore the option of taking a gap year before continuing with your studies.
  • Use your network of alumni, professionals in your field, and professors in seeking and preparing for opportunities.
  • Write a personal statement and curriculum vitae for graduate school applications.
  • Conduct a practice interview with a Piper Center staff member to enhance your self-presentation skills and gain experience in potential interview situations. Call x3268 to schedule a practice interview.
  • Remain open to possibilities; be proactive and continue to assess your options.