What is a Bachelor of Science in Exercise & Sports Performance Degree?
Channel your passion for sports into a purposeful career. You can begin your academic journey with the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Sports Performance at Grand Canyon University. This sports science degree examines the scientific principles of movement and exercise, including the anatomical, kinesiological and physiological principles of physical activity. It is a comprehensive survey of the factors of human health and wellness, and the relationship between biomechanics and sports performance.
This sports science degree, offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, blends traditional classroom instruction with hands-on opportunities to practice newly acquired skills. Students acquire foundational knowledge in behavior change, basic nutrition, sports nutrition and health promotion. There is an emphasis on functional movement analysis. A BS in exercise and sports science degree can pave the way for additional certifications within related fields. The degree includes an expansive pool of electives that enables students to align their learning path with their career plans.
Earn Your Exercise Science and Sports Performance Bachelor’s Degree at GCU
Enjoy an active learning environment while you earn your Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science degree on GCU’s vibrant, friendly campus. Acquire a solid academic foundation in science as you examine the many connections between overall health and physical activity. Learn the essentials of nutrition, behavior change and biomechanics, and understand how to effectively communicate these principles to your future clients. Some of the core program courses include the following:
- Methods of Teaching Health and Measuring in Exercise Science
- Advanced Principles of Sports Performance
- Health Management and Administration
- Principles of Corrective Exercises
- Biomechanics and Sports Nutrition
- Exercise Testing and Prescription
Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, ranging from obesity and heart disease to certain types of cancer. As an aspiring fitness professional, you will learn how to encourage behavior change to support better wellness and disease prevention. In the course Health Risk Appraisal, Weight Control and Management, you will explore the principles and guidelines for weight loss management, health assessments and physical activity. Other core competencies included in this sports science degree include the following:
- Concepts and applications of corrective exercises to improve muscle imbalance and movement efficiency
- Principles and techniques of strength training, including sport-specific program design
- Muscle and joint anatomy, and functional movement analysis
- Nutrition theory to promote health and prevent illness
Additionally, sports science majors are required to complete the Sports Performance Capstone, a culmination of learning experiences. Students prepare for future opportunities through career preparation activities.
What Can You Do with a BS in Exercise and Sports Science Degree?
Sports science is a versatile field that is applicable to a range of industries. Individuals with this specialized knowledge are in demand as fitness instructors, personal trainers and athletic coaches. The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Sports Performance prepares graduates to pursue advanced certifications in the fitness and sports industry, which can enhance their career qualifications.
Some graduates may choose to pursue advanced academic training by earning a master’s or doctoral degree. Additional academic qualifications may enable graduates to pursue the following jobs:
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Physician assistant
- Public health specialist
Another possible career path lies in education. Graduates may choose to pursue work as instructors in exercise and sports science, or as physical education teachers within a public or private school system.
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, crosscultural 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
Program Core Courses
This is an introductory course in exercise and wellness. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of knowledge regarding what fitness entails, self-evaluation of each student’s present fitness needs, and development of personalized fitness programs. A special emphasis is placed on a review of nutritional principles and producing a personalized nutrition plan. Students also receive instruction and practice opportunities in the theoretical and practical aspects of flexibility, stretching, and weight training activities. This includes lesson planning, teaching techniques, evaluation, and proficiency in skills by means of lecture, demonstration, and participation.
This is a course that introduces the principles and techniques of strength training. This includes exercise physiology, injury prevention, sport and activity specific program design, and implementation. Students will gain a complete foundation of the practical application of resistance training exercise. Knowledge gained in this course will contribute to student preparation for professional certification in the field. Co-requisite: EXS-200L.
This is a course of field and laboratory experiences designed to reinforce the practical application of strength training techniques, with an emphasis on injury prevention strategies. Co-requisite: EXS-200.
This course introduces the principles and techniques of cardiovascular activities and training. This includes exercise physiology, injury prevention, sport and activity specific program design, and implementation. Topics will include pathophysiology on and for a variety of conditions. Knowledge gained in this course will contribute to student preparation for professional certification in the field. Co-Requisite: EXS-202L.
This is a course of field and laboratory experiences designed to reinforce the practical application of cardiovascular training techniques, injury prevention strategies, program design, and implementation. Co-requisite: EXS-202.
This course examines the principles and processes of small groups and the development of skills for participation and leadership in small group settings, as well as practice in problem solving, decision making, critical reasoning, and information sharing.
A study of the basic structure and function of the major systems of the human body, this course focuses on an in-depth exploration of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems for athletic training, health, and exercise science majors. This course also compares normal and abnormal function for more comprehensive understanding of the human body. Co-requisite: BIO-155L.
This lab is designed to complement and support the principles taught in BIO-155. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to identify and describe functions, structures, and classifications of the skeletal, muscular, and organ systems along with related disorders. Co-requisite: BIO-155.
This course incorporates professional guidelines for health risk appraisal, assessment and stratification for a variety of health conditions for the general population. This also includes principles and guidelines for safe and effective physical activity and weight loss management. Knowledge gained in this course will contribute to student preparation for professional certification in the field.
This course provides a foundation of basic nutrition theory, with a focus on assessment, food components, exercise, nutrition, weight control, community programs, and resources. Application of these aspects is used to promote health and prevent illness.
This course incorporates the principles of assessment and program design for health and sport-specific analysis, static and functional exercise testing, and prescription of appropriate exercises. This includes exercise prescription for populations with various diseases and disabilities. Knowledge gained in this course will contribute to student preparation for professional certification in the field.
This course is a study of the methods and procedures of teaching health. Resources, aids, and agencies are studied in an attempt to determine how they may best assist the teacher. Practice teaching is included. Tests and measurements in health, physical education, and exercise science are presented. Emphasis is placed on producing valid and reliable tests, data analysis techniques for test evaluation, test construction assessment, and interpretation of test results. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L.
This writing intensive course is a study of the effects of exercise on the body. Topics include nutrition as the basis for physical activity; how energy is produced and utilized during physical activity; the energy delivery and vital functions of the respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems during exercise; how these systems can be enhanced through training; the impact of ergogenic aids and environmental stress on performance; and the effect of exercise on body composition, weight control, aging, and disease prevention. The body’s responses and adaptations to exercise at the systemic, as well as the subcellular level, are also discussed. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340L.
This is a course of field and laboratory experiences designed to reinforce the basic principles learned in the lecture course. Skills of measurement and evaluation, including computerized methods employed to facilitate testing, are applied to physiological and systemic principles of exercise. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340.
This course introduces analysis of special populations to assist in designing health education and physical fitness programs.
This writing intensive course is designed to provide the foundation of healthy behavior change in relation to influential factors. Content includes motivation for physical activity and healthy choices, as well as an introduction to the psychology of sports.
This course is an analysis of human movement, integrating knowledge of the skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems with the effects that gravity, friction, internal and external forces, and the laws of motion have on their functions. Topics presented include biomechanics of human bone, joint, and skeletal muscle; structure and function of the upper extremity, lower extremity, and spine; concepts of linear and angular kinematics and kinetics as applied to human motion; equilibrium and stability on land; and motion through a fluid medium of air or water. Included is the application of these factors to various types of physical skills. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335L.
This laboratory course is designed to apply the anatomical, kinesiological, and biomechanical principles learned in the lecture course to human body movement. Movement of all of the major joints of the body is analyzed by relative and absolute joint position and muscle action, and biomechanical terms - such as linear and angular kinematics, friction, work, power, energy, and torque - are applied to human motion. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335.
This course incorporates evidence-based concepts and application of corrective exercises to improve muscle imbalance and movement efficiency to decrease injury risk and promote recovery. Techniques include myofascial release, static and neuromuscular stretching, strength training, isometrics, and integrated dynamic movements. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L.
This course focuses on business principles and procedures including fiscal resources, human resources, leadership skills, strategic planning, and facilitating partnerships with an emphasis in professionalism and an adherence to a code of ethics.
This course expands the principles and techniques of strength training including sport- and activity-specific program design and implementation. Knowledge gained in this course will contribute to student preparation for professional certification in the field. Prerequisites: EXS-340 and EXS-340L. Co-Requisite: EXS-455L.
This course applies the principles and techniques of strength training including sport- and activity-specific program design and implementation. Prerequisites: EXS-340 and EXS-340L. Co-Requisite: EXS-455.
This course is a study of biomechanics which incorporates muscle and joint anatomy with functional movement analysis. Additional topics include interactions between nutrition and exercise concepts to enhance performance, as well as a study of ergogenic aids. Prerequisite: BIO-319.
This capstone course acts as a culmination of the learning experiences during the exercise science program. A focus will be on career preparation including resume building, portfolio creation, and networking. Prerequisites: EXS-455 and EXS-455L.