Exercise Science

Exercise Science

Interested in studying various forms of physical activity and their impact on health, society and quality of life? As an exercise science major, you’ll take classes that examine physical activity in educational, wellness/fitness-oriented, therapeutic and performance-based settings. In addition to your diploma, you’ll also earn entry-level certification from either the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

of graduates are employed or in grad school within one year of graduation
Majors can study health promotion, health & exercise science, physical education or strength & conditioning
More than 30% of majors attend graduate school immediately following graduation

The Central Difference

Take Advantage of Research Opportunities and Hands-On Experiences

Your ability to conduct research in an applied setting is an important component of the exercise science major. This includes the options to conduct collaborative research with Central faculty members or to present your work to larger audiences at conferences across the country. If you choose to be part of the Emerging Scholars program, you will complete an honors thesis during your senior year.

Real-life experiences can positively impact your learning as well as your growing résumé. If you’re interested in a health profession, consider a robust job-shadowing opportunity, a focused internship or practicum experience.

Where He Belongs

Jacob Wegner ’21 has battled cancer and faced more than his share of challenges with determination, grace, gratitude—and the support of the Central community.

Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities

In Central’s state-of-the-art exercise science building, you’ll find a dedicated classroom for the exercise science program that features taping stations instead of desks. The human performance lab features a hydrostatic underwater weighing tank, one of only three in the Midwest. The building uses LCD screens and classroom capture, which enables all classes to be videotaped so you can review them later. The adjacent Ron Schipper Fitness Center features a 2,000-square-foot exercise science area.


If you’re thinking of continuing your education in a graduate program in the health field, look to Central faculty members for expert advice and mentorship. They will ensure that you have a well-rounded background in the sciences and are fully prepared to take your entrance exams. The exercise science acceptance rate is very high, and Central has a great reputation with graduate schools because they know Central students are prepared and will be successful.

Take Your College Career to the Next Level: Study Abroad

Enhance your development as a global citizen and earn credits toward your major when you participate in one of Central’s international programs. Our Wales program expands your studies with “Outdoor Pursuits,” which includes rock climbing, spelunking and more. It’ll help you get that much more ahead while gaining international experience. Get the attention of prospective employers and graduate schools by adding this to your résumé. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Daniel Weir ’18, Wellness Coordinator, Aegis Therapies, Wildwood, Missouri
  • Alayna Bailey ’14, lifestyle director, WesleyLife, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Theron Stewart ’14, physical education and health teacher, Riverside Intermediate School, Carson, Iowa
  • Justin Livingston ’14, head men's golf coach, Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa
  • Jasmine Garth ’11, doctor of physical therapy, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Associates, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Nate Weir ’05, assistant athletic trainer, Green Bay Packers, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Central’s Kuyper Gym Renovation Speeds Toward Completion

Work on phase three of the $18-million Forever Dutch ® initiative is speeding towards an April completion.


  • CAAT (Club Associated with Athletic Training)
  • Exercise Science Club
  • Health Professions Club

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you!

Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Graduate Placement

  • Truman State, athletic training
  • Western Michigan University, athletic training
  • Creighton University, occupational therapy and physical therapy
  • University of Nebraska, physical therapy
  • University of Iowa, physical therapy
  • A.T. Still University, occupational therapy and physical therapy
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic
  • University of Washington, St. Louis, Mo., occupational therapy
  • University of Indianapolis, physical therapy
  • Des Moines University, public health
  • University of Nebraska Omaha, physical activity and health promotion
  • Iowa State University, kinesiology
  • Des Moines University, Doctor of Physical Therapy


  • Tulsa Football, strength and conditioning
  • Northern Illinois University, strength and conditioning
  • Community Rehab, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, Omaha, Neb.
  • University of Notre Dame, strength and conditioning
  • Mercy Hospital, Des Moines
  • YMCA, Newton & Oskaloosa
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The exercise science major is thoughtfully designed to give students a choice of tracks, all built upon a solid academic core. By design, majors learn all of the content necessary for successful careers and then have the opportunity to practice in an applied setting.

Depending upon their chosen track, students engage the field by doing internships, practical experiences, undergraduate research and laboratory work. Students have the choice of four tracks: health promotions, health and exercise science, physical education or strength and conditioning.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty:

  • Shelli Green, B.A., M.S., Instructor of Exercise Science and Clinical Education Coordinator of Exercise Science
  • Cody Huisman, B.A., D.C., Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
  • David Pavlat, B.S., M.S., Ed.D., Associate Professor of Exercise Science
  • Pam Richards, B.S., M.S., Ed.D., Associate Professor of Exercise Science
  • John Roslien, B.S., M.S., Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Director of Athletic Training
  • Sara Shuger Fox, B.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Exercise Science
  • Katelin Valster, B.A., M.S., Lecturer of Exercise Science and Pre-Health Programs Advisor


Learn More

Want to find out more about Exercise Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.