Admissions Office
The College of St. Scholastica
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
(218) 723-6046
(800) 249-6412
TTY/TDD: (218) 723-6790
admissions@css.edu

Larry Birnbaum, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Burns Wellness Commons, Room 240
phone: (218) 723-6621
Lbirnba3@css.edu

Exercise Physiology student assessing patient's vital signs

Exercise Physiology:
Real-world Experience

B.S. Exercise Physiology

Fast Facts: Exercise Physiology Major

  • Located in a state-of-the-art academic, athletic and fitness center.
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio means students receive individual attention and get to know their instructors and fellow classmates.
  • Outstanding faculty put teaching first, while also pursuing scholarly research and scientific writing.
  • Exercise physiology students can work as interns or volunteers in the Cenergy! program, which provides coaching and custom workout plans for St. Scholastica students.
  • Through the Fast Track program, CSS seniors enrolled in the undergraduate Exercise Physiology program can bypass aspects of the graduate application process. 
  • Program offers a concentration in pre-athletic training as part of the Athletic Training “M.S. in 5” graduate degree program.
  • Exercise physiology students may choose to pursue a health humanities double major or minor, which provides an interdisciplinary approach to investigating and understanding the profound effects of disease and illness on patients, on health professionals and on the social worlds in which they live and work

Program Requirements

Major: 44-56 credits

Internship opportunities 

  • The program allows students to complete an internship, which puts their interests and objectives first
  • The internship is designed for maximum flexibility in terms of career options, location preferences and term of completion
  • Internship options range from cardiac rehabilitation, to corporate wellness, to athletic performance
  • Internship sites include the Duluth-Superior and Twin Cities areas. Out of state internship opportunities are also available — previous sites include Colorado, California, South Carolina and Washington

Post-graduate opportunities

The B.S. in Exercise Physiology provides an excellent preparation for entry level positions across the broad field it encompasses, including cardiac rehabilitation, adult fitness, corporate wellness and athletic performance. Students are also well prepared to pursue graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training and exercise physiology

Pair with a language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology at The College of St. Scholastica, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Analyze the underlying reasons, including biomechanical principles, for the involvement of specific nerves and muscles in human movement.
  2. Perform and evaluate the results of a variety of clinical assessments of different human populations (e.g., age, gender, athletes, chronic disease) and prescribe appropriate exercise protocols based on clinical assessment results. Assessments include exercise test protocols, metabolic gas analysis, 12-lead ECGs, risk assessment, screening, energy expenditure, heart rate and blood pressure, anaerobic and aerobic fitness/capacity, flexibility and range of motion, muscular strength and body composition.
  3. Evaluate research articles with respect to research designs, statistical analyses, limitations, validity and reliability.
  4. Discuss nutritional requirements of different human populations (e.g., children, adults, elderly, athletes, chronic disease) and the use of supplements with respect to effectiveness, potential adverse effects and ethics.
  5. Demonstrate professional behavior and effective written and oral communication skills in academic and professional settings.

Sample curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse BIO 1036 - Biology of the Cell

Introduces cell biology, intended for students who are not majoring in the natural sciences. Topics include the study of structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids; study of the structure, function and behavior of cells; an introduction to cellular metabolism. 2 class hours.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2110 - Anatomy and Physiology I

Introduces the study of anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate body with an emphasis on the human. Topics include an introduction to cells, tissues, and systems organization, osteology, fluid compartments, gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the circulatory system, body defense systems and the gross anatomy of musculature. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1036.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2120 - Anatomy and Physiology II

Continuation of BIO 2110. Topics include gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the renal system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and endocrine system. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1040 - General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Health Sciences

Introduces concepts of general, organic, and biochemistry in an integrated rather than a sequential order. Topics include the structure and function of atoms, ions and compounds, the periodic table, organic functional groups, biological macromolecules, and an introduction to metabolism. This course is required for Nursing majors and can be applied to the Exercise Physiology major.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1110 - General Chemistry I

Introduces atomic and molecular structure, bonding, stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical periodicity, and equilibrium. Three 50-minute lectures, one 2-hour lab each week. Prerequisite: high school chemistry and appropriate placement test score.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1120 - General Chemistry II

Studies solutions, equilibria, coordination chemistry, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, kinetics, nuclear chemistry, and qualitative analysis. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 1110.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3322 - Biomechanics

Explores fundamental principles, calculations and applications of biomechanical analysis to the human body at rest and during movement. Special attention is given to the relationship of biomechanics to kinesiology and exercise physiology in order to understand the role of physical stressors as they influence significant clinical changes in the body.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3323 - Sports Nutrition

Studies structure, function and dietary sources of macro and micronutruients. Determination of individual nutrient requirements and diet analysis. Effect of nutrition and hydration on health and athletic performance. Efficacy and ethical considerations regarding the use of nutritional manipulation techniques, supplements and ergogenic aids to improve performance and enhance recovery. Prerequisite: CHM 1040.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3331 - Exercise Physiology

Studies basic principles of human physiology and metabolic processes used to produce and store energy with direct application to acute and chronic exercise. Structure, function and measurement of the cardiovascular, pulmonary and neuromuscular systems with respect to human activity and athletic performance. Measurement of hemodynamic parameters and expired ventilatory gases to determine energy expenditure at rest and during exercise.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3332 - Physiological Assessment

Explores basic to advanced instrumentation used to evaluate aerobic capacity, flexibility, body composition, muscular strength and endurance. Pre-exercise screening, safety and legal ramifications of exercise as a therapeutic intervention. Physiological adaptation in response to acute and chronic exercise and its application to exercise prescription and training for athletic performance. Administration and application of various stress test protocols and exercise programs in developing individualized exercise prescriptions for healthy and diseased individuals. Effect of exercise on the treatment and progression of common lifestyle diseases. Prerequisite: BIO 2120.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3334 - Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Studies multi-disciplinary risk factors considered responsible for heart and vascular disease along with commonly associated diseases (obesity, diabetes) and behaviors (smoking, physical inactivity). Changes in cardiac structure, function and coronary circulation that occur in heart and vascular disease. Behavioral, surgical and pharmacological treatments used in primary and secondary prevention of heart disease. Use of diagnostic techniques to determine safe and effective exercise prescription for cardiac and pulmonary patients. Recognition of, and response to, common psychosocial issues as they relate to the post-myocardial infarction and pulmonary patients.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3342 - Strength Training & Conditioni

Scientific theory and practical application of strength training and aerobic exercise to enhance the function and capacity of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4431 - Advanced Exercise Physiology

Integrates undergraduate exercise physiology classroom and laboratory experiences to illustrate how the understanding of the physiology of exercise, sport, and physical activity is applied in real world settings within the scope of practice of an exercise physiologist. Laboratory sessions focus on physical/physiological measurement and evaluation techniques while the lecture portion is centered on applied exercise physiology topics and professional development.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4436 - Exercise Physiology Research I

Foundations of research including the fundamental tenets of scientific investigation and the scientific method; the importance of objectivity and ethical behavior in research; and the ability to critically read, interpret, and discuss the content of scientific articles. The skills involved in writing a research paper according to specified guidelines will also be taught and will culminate in the writing of a research paper.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4438 - Exercise Electrocardiography and Graded Exercise Testing

Students read electrocardiograms of individuals at rest and during exercise with special attention paid to the electrocardiograms of post-myocardial infarction patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs. Includes cardiac medications and graded exercise testing. Prerequisite: EXP 3334.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4555 - Internship

A supervised off-campus internship that allows the student to apply theoretical knowledge and hands-on laboratory skills to real-life situations. Prerequisites: EXP major and consent of the chair.

Expand and Collapse HSC 2209 - Medical Terminology

Studies the terminology common to medicine utilizing word elements (prefixes, suffixes and roots) basic for building medical terms and analyzing meanings using a programmed learning format; includes spelling and pronunciation of medical terms.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2001 - Physics I

Covers algebra-based general physics including Newtonian mechanics (motion, force, energy, momentum), harmonic motion, fluids, and thermodynamics. Students must have ease and familiarity with basic algebraic and trigonometric techniques. Includes one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in College Algebra (MATH 1111) or a C or better in a more advanced college math course or a math ACT score of 24 or higher or by permission of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2002 - Physics II

Continues the study of algebra-based general physics including content in electricity and magnetism, geometric optics, sound and light waves, and selected topics in modern physics. Includes one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in PSC 2001.

Expand and Collapse PSY 2208 - Lifespan Developmental PSY

Cognitive, personality/social, and physical development from conception to death. Within a life span developmental perspective, the course examines research methods, developmental theories, and application of research findings to selected problems in the major periods of the life span: the prenatal period, infancy, early/middle/late childhood, adolescence, and young/middle/late adulthood. The developmental perspective provides an important foundation for understanding normal children and adults, while also providing the essential knowledge base for the modern view of psychological disturbances as "normal development gone awry." This approach has practical implications for individuals with interests in parenting, caregiving, education, social services, and health sciences with both normal and exceptional populations. Prerequisite: none, but sophomore standing recommended.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3423 - Abnormal Psychology

Provides an overview of what is considered to be abnormal behavior in American society. The main focus of the course is on describing various mental disorders and discussing how these disorders are explained and treated according to the major theoretical perspectives. Important issues related to diagnosing, researching and treating mental disorders are also addressed. Prerequisite: one course in general or developmental psychology and junior status recommended.

Expand and Collapse Concentrations

Expand and Collapse Pre-Athletic Training

Expand and Collapse BIO 1036 - Biology of the Cell

Introduces cell biology, intended for students who are not majoring in the natural sciences. Topics include the study of structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids; study of the structure, function and behavior of cells; an introduction to cellular metabolism. 2 class hours.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2110 - Anatomy and Physiology I

Introduces the study of anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate body with an emphasis on the human. Topics include an introduction to cells, tissues, and systems organization, osteology, fluid compartments, gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the circulatory system, body defense systems and the gross anatomy of musculature. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1036.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2120 - Anatomy and Physiology II

Continuation of BIO 2110. Topics include gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the renal system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and endocrine system. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1040 - General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Health Sciences

Introduces concepts of general, organic, and biochemistry in an integrated rather than a sequential order. Topics include the structure and function of atoms, ions and compounds, the periodic table, organic functional groups, biological macromolecules, and an introduction to metabolism. This course is required for Nursing majors and can be applied to the Exercise Physiology major.

Expand and Collapse PSC 1501 - Short Course in Physics

Selected topics from introductory physics for students who wish or need an understanding of physical concepts for their professional or personal enrichment. Some hands-on activities. Topics include force and motion, energy, waves, momentum, fluid mechanics, heat, sound, light, electricity and magnetism. Problem solving at the level of elementary algebra.

Expand and Collapse PSY 1105 - General Psychology

Designed to provide an overview of concepts, methods, and applications of psychology. Topics include psychology as a science, research methods, perspectives of psychology, sub disciplines of psychology, biological foundations of behavior, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, learning, memory, thinking, language development, intelligence testing, personality, psychological disorders, psychological and biomedical therapies for psychological disorders and social psychology.

Expand and Collapse PSY 2208 - Lifespan Developmental PSY

Cognitive, personality/social, and physical development from conception to death. Within a life span developmental perspective, the course examines research methods, developmental theories, and application of research findings to selected problems in the major periods of the life span: the prenatal period, infancy, early/middle/late childhood, adolescence, and young/middle/late adulthood. The developmental perspective provides an important foundation for understanding normal children and adults, while also providing the essential knowledge base for the modern view of psychological disturbances as "normal development gone awry." This approach has practical implications for individuals with interests in parenting, caregiving, education, social services, and health sciences with both normal and exceptional populations. Prerequisite: none, but sophomore standing recommended.

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  • "One of the best things about the exercise physiology program is that you're working with students in other disciplines — nursing, pre-med and others. It's great, because you're getting a similar foundation, and learning how to work together, because that's what we'll be doing five or 10 years from now in our careers."

    – Jacob Gallagher, '17

  • "Exercise physiology is a well-rounded program that's preparing me for countless different career paths. I've developed great relationships with professors and I enjoy that it's a program that consists of hands-on testing of a person's physical abilities."

    – Jane Sloan, '16