What Is a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science With an Emphasis in Sports Performance Degree?
This bachelor’s degree in exercise science is designed to prepare undergraduate students for direct entry into the field of sport performance and strength and conditioning at various levels of athletics including high school, college, club, professional sports, and private practice, among others. In addition, undergraduates can expect to receive foundational knowledge designed to prepare sports science degree students to sit for a variety of nationally recognized professional certifications in the field.
Graduates may choose to pursue graduate education at the master’s or doctoral level to further specialize in an area of sports performance or a related field. This bachelor’s degree in exercise science includes an expansive pool of electives that enables students to align their learning path with their career plans, which may include nutrition, entrepreneurial studies, business, sport management, communication, or behavioral health, among others.
We are 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.
What You Will Learn in GCU’s Sports and Exercise Science Degree Program
Enjoy an active learning environment while you earn your bachelor’s degree in exercise science on GCU’s vibrant, friendly campus. Acquire a solid academic foundation in science as you examine the many connections that contribute to overall health and wellness. Learn the essentials of anatomy and physiology, proper exercise technique, the positive effects of exercise, behavior change, kinesiology, exercise physiology, motor learning, corrective exercise, and understand how to effectively communicate these principles to your future athletes and clients. Some of the core sports science program courses include the following:
- Nutrition and wellness
- Research methods
- Resistance training and cardiovascular fitness
- Sports performance science and coaching
- Exercise physiology
- Sports performance capstone
- Advanced principles of sports performance
Take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime to gain hands-on experience with a variety of populations. Through our research program and outreach activities, students currently have the opportunity to work with elite firefighters, law enforcement, the military, and a variety of athletic teams on and off campus including professional sports teams!
GCU has a state-of-the-art exercise science teaching laboratory that will allow students to experience what it is truly like to be a sports scientist, conducting tests that would be like those offered by the US Olympic team and professional sports teams. Students will learn and use high-tech laboratory devices throughout their education in the required exercise science laboratory courses.
Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science
Sports and exercise science is a versatile field that is applicable to a range of industries. Individuals with this specialized knowledge are in-demand as strength and conditioning coaches, sports performance coaches, wellness coaches, personal trainers, and fitness professionals. The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Sports Performance prepares graduates to pursue advanced certifications in the strength and conditioning industry, which can enhance their career qualifications.
Some graduates with a sports science degree may choose to pursue advanced academic training by earning a master’s or doctoral degree. Additional academic education may enable graduates to pursue graduate degrees to prepare for the following occupations:
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Physician assistant
- Public health specialist
- Athletic trainer
- Registered dietician
- Kinesiology or exercise physiology research professional
Another possible career path lies in education. Graduates with a bachelor’s in exercise science may choose to pursue work as instructors in exercise and sports science, or as physical education teachers within a public or private school system.
Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science – Sports Science FAQs
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Exercise Physiologists, retrieved on 3/25/2022.
2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Exercise Physiologists as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as exercise physiologists. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect 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. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.
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.