Study Sports Performance Techniques for Athletes at Any Level
This BS in Exercise Science at Grand Canyon University is designed to help prepare you for direct entry into the field of sports performance and strength and conditioning at various levels of athletics, including high school, college, club, professional sports and private practice, among others.
You can expect coursework that may prepare you to pursue graduate-level studies and qualify you to seek various nationally recognized professional certifications in the field.
Earn Your Bachelor’s in Exercise Science for Sports Performance at GCU
This bachelor’s degree includes flexible electives that can enable you to align your academic path with your career plans, which may include nutrition, entrepreneurial studies, business, sport management, communication or behavioral health, among others.
This program delves into the scientific principles and processes pertaining to exercise science and athletic performance, which may position you to better support athletes as they strive to reach their full potential. In addition, the program offers comprehensive coursework in areas such as corrective exercises, resistance training and cardiovascular exercise.
Topics Covered in the Sports Performance Courses
Enjoy an active learning environment while you earn your bachelor’s in exercise science degree on GCU’s supportive, friendly campus. You will have opportunities to examine the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness, as well as sports performance. As you work through the exercise curriculum, you will be taught competencies in content areas that include:
- Principles of sound nutrition and how food selection contributes to overall wellness
- Foundational basics of sports performance, including plyometrics, acceleration, multidirectional speed, exercise techniques and the science of coaching
- The structures and functions of human anatomy, including the integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems
- Effective exercise programming in resistance training and cardiovascular fitness
- The design of health education and physical fitness programs through the lens of special populations
- The analysis of human movement, its influences and proper biomechanics
The sports performance courses include a capstone course, which is intended to give you an opportunity to demonstrate the competencies taught in this program. There is a focus on preparation for exercise science careers. This educational program is structured to provide you with the tools to prepare yourself for the rigors of exercise science professions, including a comprehensive foundation and preparation in exercise physiology, assessment techniques and the latest industry trends.
Career Paths With a BS in Exercise Science: Sports Performance Emphasis
Sports and exercise science is a versatile field that may be applicable to a range of industries. With a foundation of competencies in this field, you might pursue a variety of potential career opportunities. Some may even choose to pursue a master’s or doctoral level education to further specialize in an area of sports performance or a related field. This may increase your chances of earning advanced certifications in the strength and conditioning industry, which may allow you to position yourself to potentially enhance career qualifications and opportunities.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may not offer specific details on careers in exercise science, related occupations such as exercise physiologists are among the fields relevant to this degree, focusing on assessing, improving and maintaining individuals' physical fitness and overall health.3
With this bachelor’s in exercise science sports performance emphasis, you may be positioned to pursue work as an exercise physiologist. Professionals in this role develop physical activity programs to help people improve components of their fitness, such as cardiovascular function, muscular strength or flexibility.3
It’s important to note that some careers within exercise science may require additional training, practicum experience or certification beyond a graduate degree.
NSCA Recognized Program from an Institutionally Accredited University
GCU is proud to be recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as one of their Education Recognition Program (ERP) universities. This recognition reflects our program’s ability to offer preparation for certification through the NSCA.
In addition, GCU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a testament to our commitment to maintaining high educational standards and providing quality academic programs. GCU is pleased to offer institutionally accredited programs to continue in our longstanding tradition of prioritizing the quality of our curriculum and instruction. At GCU, you will be taught by instructors who are knowledgeable in their respective fields, and who are committed to supporting all students.
Bachelor’s in Exercise Science: Sports Performance FAQs
Your choices of a degree and career path are significant decisions for your future. Take some time to review the following frequently asked questions and answers, which may help you become more familiar with the exercise science field.
Are you eager to combine your passion for sports and fitness with purpose for your future career? Fill out the form on this page to learn more about GCU’s Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Sports Performance degree.
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Exercise Physiologists, retrieved on Oct. 6, 2023.
2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Exercise Physiologists as of May 2022, retrieved on Oct. 6, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as exercise physiologists, nor does it reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc., against a pool of candidates.
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023, Sept. 27). What Exercise Physiologists Do. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on Oct. 10, 2023.
4 Indeed (2023, Jan. 25). How to become a sports scientist (definition and skills). Retrieved Oct. 6, 2023.
5 National Strength and Conditioning Association (n.d.). Become a Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS). Retrieved Oct. 6, 2023.
6 Sports Management Degree Guide (n.d.). Top 5 sports certifications. Retrieved Oct. 6, 2023.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.