Exercise Science Major

Ali Worthen

Students who major in Exercise Science at SPU build a strong foundation to serve in a variety of fields where they can promote healthy lifestyles for people of all ages. Whether you plan to become a strength and conditioning trainer, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, or any other type of health care or fitness professional, an Exercise Science degree from Seattle Pacific gives you the skills and knowledge base you need.

As an SPU Exercise Science major, you examine the health and fitness benefits of physical activity and exercise using a science-based approach. This approach combines:

  • Classroom learning, including chemistry
  • Laboratory work
  • An internship in a Seattle-area professional setting

Whether you plan to enter the workforce after graduation or attend graduate school for an advanced degree or certification, an Exercise Science degree provides you with a solid foundation.


In this major, you will take courses such as “Motor Learning and Development,” “Biomechanics,” “Exercise Physiology,” and “Sports and Exercise Nutrition.” You will benefit from outstanding faculty members who not only have years of experience working within academic settings, but also have significant experience in the exercise industry — working with recreational and elite populations, as well as coaching and training athletes. In this program, you will: 

  • Move through a sequential, comprehensive curriculum that prepares you to enter a variety of movement-related careers, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sports medicine.
  • Learn from practical hands-on experiences throughout the program in areas such as research, physical-fitness testing, and exercise prescription and leadership.
  • Access state-of-the-art equipment in the HHP Lab, which includes assessment of maximal oxygen uptake, in-vivo muscle mechanics, motor skills, isokinetic dynamometry, and functional movement screening that will be used with future clients, patients, and students.  
  • Participate in a required internship, to gain valuable real-world experience in a local organization such as a fitness center, rehabilitation center, local sports organization, or research-based laboratories.
  • Fulfill the requirements of your senior colloquium and capstone by completing an original research project and paper and presenting it during the annual Health and Human Performance Colloquium.   

Career Opportunities

After graduation, you will be equipped to enter a variety of careers or earn a professional certification.

Possible health and wellness roles

  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Biomechanist
  • Health and fitness educator

Other possible roles

  • Personal trainer
  • Athletic coach
  • Wellness director
  • Strength and conditioning specialist

Major Courses and Degree Requirements

As an Exercise Science major, you will be required to take a minimum of 73 credits, including at least 35 upper-division credits.

Review the Exercise Science major courses and requirements.

Apply Online

Online Application Instructions

Dale Cannavan

Why I Teach at SPU

Dale Cannavan, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

“I am fortunate to be involved in a profession that I love. This love for exercise science excites me, and being able to teach SPU students the things I know and love is hugely rewarding. If I can pass on a little of my excitement and enthusiasm for exercise science and life to my students, my role as an educator will be successful.”