An exercise science degree that scientifically addresses issues of health and fitness by focusing on how people can recover from the unhealthy effects of chronic lifestyle diseases and on training athletes to extend and expand their performance.
As an exercise science major you will learn to scientifically address issues of health and fitness as well as human performance as part of a rapidly growing field. A clinical track focuses on helping people recover from the unhealthy effects of a sedentary lifestyle and an athletic track focuses on training athletes to extend and expand their capacity for exceptional human performance.
RIT’s exercise science degree is designed to be completed in four years and is offered at RIT as an on campus learning experience. The program also offers clinical and athletic tracks.
The clinical track is designed for students interested in using exercise as therapy. Clinical exercise medicine is an emerging field that is poised to grow as the population ages. This field is for students who see the opportunity to provide exercise/fitness services as an integrated medical service. With an entrepreneurial spirit, students prepare themselves to become the newest practitioners in the health care field. Clinical exercise physiologists perform fitness assessments, design exercise prescriptions, and implement therapeutic exercise programs for health promotion.
The athletic track is for students who want to raise the bar of performance for athletes at all levels. A scientific approach to athletic conditioning improves performance while maintaining the health of athletes. Athletic track courses allow students to learn how to better train and maintain athletes, especially those performing at intense levels of competition. Skilled strength and conditioning specialists are in demand at all levels of sports and the prevalence of private sector sports specific training facilities has never been higher. Students interested in a career to train athletes and enhance the capabilities of those who play sports will be well prepared to advise and guide the next generation of athletic performers.
Program goals and student learning outcomes
The exercise science program has set the following student goals and learning outcomes:
Integrate scientific information and research into practice
Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate, and use professional literature to make ethical practice decisions.
Use current information technologies to locate and apply evidence- based guidelines and protocols.
Develop communication skills and professional behaviors for entry into pre-professional practice
Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication
Demonstrate assertiveness, advocacy, and negotiation skills appropriate to the situation
Demonstrate counseling techniques to facilitate behavior change
Apply established guidelines to professional practice
Describe the professional roles that collaborate with an exercise physiologist in the delivery of fitness services
Develop and deliver information and clinical customer services
Use the fitness assessment process to make decisions, identify problems and evaluate fitness interventions
Apply knowledge of the role of the environment, exercise, and lifestyle choices to develop interventions to affect change and enhance wellness in diverse individuals and groups
Utilize knowledge of education and behavior change theories to develop an educational session or program for a target population
Demonstrate foundational knowledge of core sciences
Demonstrate knowledge of physical, chemical and biological sciences
Prepare students for successful completion of National Fitness Certification Exams
Acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for successful completion of an advanced certification with an organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Examples include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Certified Exercise Physiologist, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Minor in exercise science
The exercise science minor is designed to prepare students to take an accredited certification exam and to become a professionally credentialed personal trainer. The minor is open to all RIT students, except those majoring in exercise science. For more information, including curriculum requirements, please visit the exercise science minor page.
Certificate in exercise science
Completion of the certificate in exercise science prepares you for employment as an entry-level service provider in a fitness facility. To enroll in the certificate program, you do not need to be a matriculated student at RIT. The certificate requires the completion of three courses. For additional information, including curriculum and admissions information, please visit the exercise science certificate program page.
Students who complete the athletic track are prepared to achieve professional certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). The CSCS is a highly respected and sought-after credential in the field of strength conditioning. Students completing the clinical track are well prepared to take the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Exercise Physiologist exam. This certification validates the knowledge, skills, and abilities of fitness and exercise practitioners who are prepared to work with people diagnosed with chronic disease.
2+2 Transfer Options
The exercise science program has articulation agreements with a number of colleges that enable you to seamlessly transfer into the exercise science program upon the successful completion of your associate degree at one of the following schools. For more information regarding these 2+2 transfer options, please contact Undergraduate Admissions or the program director.
This course serves as an introduction to cellular, molecular, and evolutionary biology. Topics will include: a study of the basic principles of modern cellular biology, including cell structure and function; the chemical basis and functions of life, including enzyme systems and gene expression; and the origin of life and evolutionary patterns of organism development on Earth. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summer).
General Education – Elective: General Biology II
This course serves as an introduction to animal and plant anatomy and physiology, in addition to the fundamentals of ecology. Topics will include: animal development; animal body systems; plant development; unique plant systems; Earth's terrestrial and aquatic environments; population and community ecology; animal behavior; and conservation biology. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
General Education – Elective: General Biology I Lab
This course provides laboratory work to complement the lecture material of General Biology I. The experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of basic cellular and molecular biology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for microscopy, and improve ability to make, record and interpret observations. (Co-requisities: BIOL-101 or equvialent course.) Lab 3 (Fall, Summer).
General Education – Elective: General Biology II Lab
This course provides laboratory work to complement the material of General Biology II. The experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of animal and plant anatomy and physiology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for experimenting with live organisms, and improve ability to make, record, and interpret observations. (Co-requisites: BIOL-102 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Spring, Summer).
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry I
This is a general chemistry course for students in the life and physical sciences. College chemistry is presented as a science based on empirical evidence that is placed into the context of conceptual, visual, and mathematical models. Students will learn the concepts, symbolism, and fundamental tools of chemistry necessary to carry on a discourse in the language of chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between atomic structure, chemical bonds, and the transformation of these bonds through chemical reactions. The fundamentals of organic chemistry are introduced throughout the course to emphasize the connection between chemistry and the other sciences. Lecture 3, Recitation 1 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry II
The course covers the thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical reactions. The relationship between energy and entropy change as the driving force of chemical processes is emphasized through the study of aqueous solutions. Specifically, the course takes a quantitative look at: 1) solubility equilibrium, 2) acid-base equilibrium, 3) oxidation-reduction reactions and 4) chemical kinetics. (Prerequisites: CHMG-141 or CHMG-131 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry I Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-141 lecture material. The course emphasizes laboratory techniques and data analysis skills. Topics include: gravimetric, volumetric, thermal, titration and spectrophotometric analyses, and the use of these techniques to analyze chemical reactions. (Corequisite: CHMG-141 or CHMG-131 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry II Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-142 lecture material. The course emphasizes the use of experiments as a tool for chemical analysis and the reporting of results in formal lab reports. Topics include the quantitative analysis of a multicomponent mixture using complexation and double endpoint titration, pH measurement, buffers and pH indicators, the kinetic study of a redox reaction, and the electrochemical analysis of oxidation reduction reactions. (Prerequisites: CHMG-131 or CHMG-141 or equivalent course.
Corequisites: CHMG-142 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Seminar in Exercise Science
This course will provide first-year exercise science students with a strong foundation for a successful transition to university life. The course will introduce them to key personnel and resources essential for academic and personal achievement at RIT. Students will also develop a peer-based learning community with group projects centered on exercise science. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in EXRSCI-BS.) Lecture 1 (Fall).
Introduction to Exercise Science
In this initial course of the Exercise Science undergraduate curriculum, students will be introduced to a broad array of topics within the field. Through an introductory review of body systems and physiological concepts students will gain an understanding and appreciation for the processes of response and adaptation which enhance and improve both health and fitness of people who exercise regularly. Career options will be reviewed and explored giving students an informed exposure to potential areas of future employment. (Prerequisites: BIOL-101 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: Applied Calculus
This course is an introduction to the study of differential and integral calculus, including the study of functions and graphs, limits, continuity, the derivative, derivative formulas, applications of derivatives, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, basic techniques of integral approximation, exponential and logarithmic functions, basic techniques of integration, an introduction to differential equations, and geometric series. Applications in business, management sciences, and life sciences will be included with an emphasis on manipulative skills. (Prerequisite: C- or better in MATH-101, MATH-111, MATH-131, NMTH-260, NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or Math Placement Exam score greater than or equal to 45.) Lecture 4 (Fall, Spring).
Cell Structure & Function
This course will cover the foundations of cellular biology and will focus on the integration of cell structure and function as a platform for advanced work in courses such as molecular biology, endocrinology, pharmacology, histology, anatomy & physiology, neuroscience, microbiology, pathology and related areas of study. (Prerequisite: BIOL-101 or BIOL-121 or equivalent course and 1st or 2nd year student standing with a major in CHST.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
General Education – Elective
This course is designed to provide instruction to prepare students for certification as a Personal Trainer. It examines the role exercise plays in both the enhancement of health and fitness as well as the improvement of athletic performance. Students will develop a basic understanding of how the human body functions while physically active. Case studies are utilized to assist in the development of practical skills. (Prerequisites: (MEDG-101 and MEDG-103) or (MEDG-102 and MEDG-104) or BIOL-101 or BIOL-121 or (1026-211 and 1026-231) or (1026-212 and 1026-232) or (1026-213 and 1026-233) or 1001-201 or 1001-251 or equivalent course(s).) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Human Motor Behavior
Human movement is complex and learning to move is an essential component of a lifetime of healthy activity. Exploring the nexus of learning and movement is the primary aim of this course. Using application-based activities students will develop the skills to recognize movement patterns, perform assessments, and correct inefficient movement. After successful completion students will be able to provide appropriate instruction leading to better movement mechanics, reduced risk of injury, and higher levels of athletic performance. (Prerequisites: MEDS-250 or equivalent courses.) Lec/Lab 3 (Spring).
General Education – Elective: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects. (Prerequisites: (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or (1001-201 and 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251 and 1001-252 and 1001-253) or (MEDG-102 or 1026-213) or NUTR-BS equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
General Education – Elective: Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects. (Prerequisites: (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or (1001-201 and 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251 and 1001-252 and 1001-253) or (MEDG-102 or 1026-213) or NUTR-BS equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Elective: College Physics I
This is an introductory course in algebra-based physics focusing on mechanics
and waves. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton’s laws,
gravitation; rotational kinematics and dynamics; work and energy; momentum
and impulse; conservation laws; simple harmonic motion; waves; data
presentation/analysis and error propagation. The course is taught using both
traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally
found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings. Lab 4, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Elective: College Physics II
This course is an introduction to algebra-based physics focusing on thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and elementary topics in modern physics. Topics include heat and temperature, laws of thermodynamics, fluids, electric and magnetic forces and fields, DC electrical circuits, electromagnetic induction, opyics, the concept of the photon, and the Bohr model of the atom. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings. (Prerequisites: PHYS-111 or 1017-211 or equivalent course.) Lab 4, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used. (Prerequisite: MATH-101 or MATH-111 or NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or a math placement exam score of at least 35.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Artistic Perspective
General Education – Ethical Perspective
General Education – Global Perspective
As a study of human movement this course will cover topics that begin with a review of the functional anatomy of the musculo-skeletal system including both the upper and lower extremity as well as the spinal column and thorax. Factors of linear and rotary motion are reviewed along with postural analysis and movement elements associated with pushing, pulling and throwing objects. There is no separate Lab for this class and laboratory experiences will be incorporated into specifically designated lecture times. At the conclusion of this course students will have a functional capability to assess the intricacies of human movement. (Prerequisites: MEDS-250 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
The study of mechanics as it pertains to living organisms is the basis of biomechanics. Principles of physics are applied to human motion with movements being analyzed for their relationship to statics and dynamics. Kinematics and kinetics are explored within the context of sports performance and functional human locomotion. (Prerequisite: EXSC-410 and PHYS-112 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Spring).
Exercise Physiology is the scientific basis for the field of exercise science. This course provides students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the body’s responses and adaptations to exercise. Neuromuscular physiology is reviewed along with energy systems and mechanisms of fatigue. The cardiorespiratory system is examined with a focus on control and regulation during activity and there is a look at the physiological components of exercise training. Environmental factors that impact sport activities as well as training techniques which optimize performance will be reviewed. The differences in performance and adaptation that exist between children, adolescents, and adults as well as between males and females will be compared and contrasted. Exercises influence on long term health and fitness will conclude the course. Laboratory experiences will allow students to integrate and apply the concepts of exercise physiology through investigative experiments. (Prerequisites: (MEDS-250 and MEDS-251) or (1026-350 and 1026-360) or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
Exercise Science Research
Gathering and analyzing data in order to establish the need and effectiveness of athletic training interventions is the focus of this course. Students will learn sport specific protocols and become familiar with analytical software as well as develop proficiency in the application of data in the design and implementation of training programs. (Prerequisites: EXSC-550 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Social Perspective
General Education – Immersion 1
Group exercise has progressed to include a wide variety of activities, equipment and environments. This course explores both the dynamics of group participation as well as techniques of instruction across a number of modalities including; hi/low impact, step training, kickboxing, sport conditioning, stationary indoor cycling, water exercise, yoga, and Pilates. Students will not only learn theory but will also design and teach classes to one another. Graduates of the class will be prepared to achieve certification in many of the modalities included in the course. (Prerequisites: (MEDG-101 and MEDG-103) or (MEDG-102 and MEDG-104) or BIOL-101 or BIOL-121 or (1026-211 and 1026-231) or (1026-212 and 1026-232) or (1026-213 and 1026-233) or 1001-201 or 1001-251 or equivalent course(s).) Lab 1.5, Lecture 1.5 (Fall).
Coaching Healthy Behavior
This course will teach students to encourage those with long standing lifestyle habits that contribute to their chronic illness to change is a very challenging proposition. It addresses this problem by incorporating psychological, sociological and counseling principles, along with coaching skills, into an intervention technique that emphasizes the positive and leads people to choose and adhere to a wellness lifestyle. Students will review case studies and meet with professionals in the field. (Prerequisites: (MEDG-101 and MEDG-103) or (MEDG-102 and MEDG-104) or BIOL-101 or BIOL-121 or (1026-211 and 1026-231) or (1026-212 and 1026-232) or (1026-213 and 1026-233) or 1001-201 or 1001-251 or equivalent course(s).) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Immersion 2, 3
Total Semester Credit Hours
Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
3 years of math is required. Pre-calculus is recommended
Biology and Chemistry required
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
AS degree in liberal arts with science option
Please note: The exercise science program has articulation agreements with the following institutions:
The mission of the Nutrition Education, Engineering, and Designs (NEEDs) lab is to engineer and design research and evaluation services that foster promotion and delivery of evidence-based health and nutrition education.
The Simulation Laboratory consists of three parts a patient room that contains a simulation mannequin, a control room where operation of the mannequin occurs, and a debriefing room where faculty interact with students after simulated medical scenarios end.
The Fitness Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment utilized by exercise science students to gain hands-on experience conducting fitness assessments and testing. Fitness services, such as fitness assessments, are also provided by exercise science students to the RIT community.