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Arnold School of Public Health

Exercise Science

Exercise scientists study the relationship between exercise participation and human health, and research focuses on understanding why regular physical activity prevents disease and promotes health.

The mission of the Department of Exercise Science (EXSC) is to expand and disseminate the body of knowledge concerning the relationship between physical activity and human health.

Career opportunities exist in academic institutions, hospitals, medical clinics, research laboratories, physical therapy facilities, rehabilitation facilities, perceptual-motor development clinics, health and fitness centers, and public health agencies. Jobs in the field include clinical exercise physiologist, motor rehabilitation specialist, health fitness instructor, professor of exercise science, research scientist, physical therapist and cardiac rehabilitation program director.

The department’s Ph.D. program, which is ranked #1 in the United States by the National Academy of Kinesiology, prepares graduates for entry into positions in universities, colleges, research institutes and research oriented clinical settings. Areas of specialization are applied physiology, health aspects of physical activity, and motor behavior/rehabilitation. Specific research emphases correspond to those listed for the departmental faculty. The M.S. program allows students to emphasize expansion of research competence (for those who plan on pursuing a Ph.D. degree or further graduate study) or to focus on professional and clinical aspects of the field with concentrations in cardiac rehabilitation corporate wellness, and motor control/development.

The goal of the department’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to produce graduates who possess the skills necessary to be reflective practitioners and who can conduct clinical research and scholarly activity necessary for the advancement of physical therapy as an evidence-based profession.

Degrees Offered

In addition to the bachelor degree in exercise science, we offer four advanced degrees. Each graduate degree has specific application deadlines and requirements

Exercise Science News 

Patrick Magee

Exercise science alumnus and SC Army National Guard pursues career as physician assistant to protect health of South Carolinians

South Carolina native Patrick Magee joined the South Carolina Army National Guard shortly after graduating from high school in Camden where he grew up. In the eight years since then, he’s been on one deployment and two activations for state emergencies. 

Toni Torres-McGehee

Toni Torres-McGehee receives Academic Leadership Development Program Alumni Fellowship from the SEC

The SEC has selected Toni Torres-McGehee, associate professor of exercise science and director of athletic training programs for the athletic training program, to receive one of the conference’s two Academic Leadership Development Program Fellowships. 

Joshua Swift

Master of public health alumnus Joshua Swift leads North Carolina county public health efforts

Several months into his role as public health director of Forsyth County in North Carolina, Joshua Swift continues to put his master of public health degree to good use – as he has done for the past 15 years since he graduated from the Arnold School.

Russell Pate

Russell Pate leads development of report on implementing strategies to enhance public health surveillance of physical activity in U.S.

The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine convened a committee of experts led by Russell Pate to develop strategies to help implement actions recommended to improve national physical activity surveillance. 

Russell Pate

Researchers successfully translate physical activity intervention program into online training for preschool teachers

Members of the Children’s Physical Activity Research Group (CPARG) have demonstrated that their evidenced-based approach to training preschool teachers to increase their students’ physical activity can be effectively translated into an online format.


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