Skip to main content
B.S. Exercise Science

Get your career in shape with an online exercise science degree

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle extend beyond physical and mental well-being and impact nearly every aspect of our lives. Consequently, the health and fitness industry generates more than $80 billion worldwide every year. The B.S. in Exercise Science major provides a clear path to a rewarding career helping individuals realize their health and fitness goals. You’ll learn to evaluate fitness levels, design results-oriented exercise programs and apply coaching methodologies to help your clients reach their full potential. 

Program not available in

On Site

Take the next step toward your degree!

Request free program information or submit your online application.

ACSM Aligned

Learn relevant theory and recommended sports medicine practices

Finish Faster

Transfer up to 94 previously earned college credits.

Contemporary Curriculum

Keep up with an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Accredited Online University

Nearly 80% of our students take online courses.

Program Overview

Learn best practices in exercise design to meet the needs of healthy adults, as well as specialized populations

From trendy high intensity interval training (HIIT) to pre-natal yoga, you’ll learn to prescribe exercise according to American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for apparently healthy individuals, as well as cardiac and pulmonary patients, children, the elderly and pregnant women. 

You’ll gain the knowledge and skills necessary to create effective strength training and conditioning programs. You’ll be able to keep your clients on track with proper and safe exercise techniques for warm ups and stretching, resistance training, plyometrics, speed, agility and endurance programs.

Master the industry-standard tools to test and evaluate clients’ current fitness levels

Franklin’s B.S. Exercise Science is aligned with ACSM guidelines for exercise testing, as well as prescription. You’ll explore health screening, exercise risk assessment, methods of exercise testing and prescription. You’ll get opportunities to interact with tools like the Just Jump system that measures lower-body power and reaction time, ergometers to identify anaerobic aerobic fitness levels, as well as a variety of tools to measure lung capacity and cardio fitness levels. You’ll become proficient in using fitness testing to assess individuals’ exercise tolerance, determine fitness level and prescribe appropriate exercise.

Understand the impact of exercise from the inside out

As a student in the Exercise Science major, you’ll take a deep dive into how exercise works with studies in kinesiology and biomechanics. You’ll learn about the musculoskeletal system’s anatomy and functions, as well as how physics applies to the human body. Moreover, you’ll gain insight on basic principles of nutrition and its role in maintaining health and achieving optimum performance. You’ll also focus the mind-body connection by exploring uses of visualization and mental imagery and their effects on athletic performance. Lastly, you’ll benefit from an emphasis on the concept of wellness and its relationship to fitness, nutrition, self-esteem and stress management. 

Tackle the legal and administrative issues relative to sport administration

Exercise science is career path that provides many opportunities for you to expand your expertise and grow professionally, while still providing fitness solutions for individuals and communities. As a result, our bachelor’s degree curriculum includes coursework that focuses on the changing administrative environment in health, physical education and recreation programs. You’ll be exposed to issues surrounding daily operations including: maintaining physical locations, purchase and care of supplies and equipment, legal liability, insurance management, and professional and public relations.

Supplement your online coursework with required field experience

Put your knowledge to the test and get practical experience with an on-site field experience at an organization of your choice. Tailor you degree to your ultimate career ambition with an internship in a healthcare facility, fitness center or community rec center. You’ll build on-the-job skills under the direction of an on-site supervisor and a Franklin faculty member.

Earn your degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100 percent online or pursue available coursework at one of our Midwest locations. Regionally accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family and life. Get started on your future today.

Read more >

Curriculum & Course Descriptions

120 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education Core (24 hours)
English Composition (3 hours)

Choose a minimum of 3 semester hours from:

ENG 120 - College Writing (4)
In this course, students acquire the writing competence necessary for conducting and presenting research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all of their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of good writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of a documented research paper.

*If the course does not have a research paper component, ENG 130 Research Paper, two semester credits, is also required.

Mathematics (3 hours)

Choose a minimum of three semester hours from*:
*at least one mathematics or statistics course beyond the level of intermediate algebra.

MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)
This course introduces the student to statistics with business applications. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; graphical displays of data; linear regression; basic probability concepts; binomial and normal probability distributions; confidence intervals; and hypothesis testing. These topics will be covered using a basic knowledge of algebra and Microsoft Excel. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.

Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite. Both courses can count as a general education or University elective.

Sciences (6 hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

SCIE 244 - Foundations of Anatomy & Physiology (4)
This course is designed for students interested in the allied healthcare professions and focuses on gross anatomy and the function of human organ systems and how they relate to one another. Students in this course will expand their medical terminology and scientific understanding of the physiology of the human body. In addition, students will gain an understanding of general pathology as it relates to the disruption of homeostasis. This course will include a one-hour lab component.

*Two science courses, with one having a laboratory component.

Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

PSYC 110 - General Psychology (4)
A survey of the various fields of study comprising modern scientific psychology. The course examines the theories, research findings, and applications in each of the major areas of psychology, with the goal of providing students with practice information they can apply to their personal and professional lives. The topic areas covered in the course include learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development, theories of personality, psychopathology, and social behavior. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.

Choose additional coursework from the Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology disciplines, or POSC 204 American Government.

*The six semester hours must come from at least two different disciplines

Arts and Humanities (6 hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

HUMN 210 - Intro to Logic & Critical Thinking Skill (2)
The goal of this course is to help you improve as a critical, logical thinker. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. You will discover how to apply these valuable skills to your studies and everyday life, learning how to overcome obstacles to critical thinking, and how to avoid being deceived by means of misleading reasoning.
HUMN 211 - Intro to Ethical Analysis & Reasoning (2)
The goal of this course is to help you improve your ethical analysis and reasoning skills. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing ethical arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. In this course, you will discover how to apply the following questions to your job and everyday life. Why do we need ethics if we have laws to govern our behavior' Does the majority view determine what is ethical and what is not' Are feelings, desires, and preferences reliable ethical guides' Is it ever appropriate to criticize another individual's (or culture's) ethical judgment' Are people always responsible for their actions' Do human beings have a natural tendency to good, a natural tendency to evil' both' neither' Is there a single moral code that is binding on all people, at all times, and in all places'
HUMN 218 - World Religions (4)
A comparative study of the founders, sacred writings, beliefs and practices of some of the major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. This course enables the student to study and compare the leading religions of the world in light of their historical and cultural backgrounds. Students will be encouraged to explore faith traditions other than their own. Common themes across religions, spiritual practice, and current related cultural and political issues will also be considered.
HUMN 232 - Introduction to Literature (4)
In this course, students will analyze works from the three major literary genres: poetry, drama, and fiction. Students will become familiar with standard vocabulary and approaches specific to the field of literary criticism and consider the importance of literature in contemporary society. The goal of this course is to encourage students to read for pleasure (engage with the text on an emotional level) while also moving towards a more objective consideration of literature by introducing the fundamentals of close reading and literary analysis.
HUMN 240 - Popular Culture (4)
An introductory course that examines basic concepts in popular culture studies and the role popular arts and artifacts play in shaping cultural values. The course covers basic theories and approaches to topics like best sellers, popular music, popular art forms, cultural heroes from the sports and entertainment worlds and other popular phenomena.
HUMN 246 - Film Appreciation (4)
This course is an introduction to the art of film intended to enable students to become more knowledgeable, appreciative and critical viewers. The course covers the major areas of film: narrative, documentary, animated and experimental. While some film history is covered, this course emphasizes understanding key elements in the filmmaking process: scripting, filming, editing, acting, directing, promoting and distributing. Students will be required to view and write critical reviews of films screened both in and out of class. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.
HUMN 305 - Global Issues (4)
This course provides students with a coherent sense of the past and present human societies drawn from five cultural areas: Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America. It also reviews the diversity of traditions that have formed the world and continue to interact in it today. Through the synthesis of connections, influences and parallels among cultures, students will gain an understanding of how to communicate in a culturally diverse world.
Additional General Education Requirements (12 hours)
PF 321 - Learning Strategies (2)
This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments. The assignments and activities in the course are created to closely simulate teamwork found in the workplace.
OR UNI 199 - University Seminar (2)
A mandatory course for entering full-time, degree-candidate students at Urbana (may be waived for transfer students). This course is designed to help freshmen adjust to the Urbana University and develop strategies for success by providing a "support group" during this critical period of adjustment and examining problems common to the freshman experience. Students must pass the course or be required to repeat it.
COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)
By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and public speaking. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.
OR SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)
This public-speaking course emphasizes the fundamentals of extemporaneous speaking. Skill-building activities and assignments focus on research, organization, reasoning, style and delivery of presentations as well as listening and audience engagement.
ENG 220 - Research Writing: Exploring Professional (4)
This is an intermediate course focusing on the composition of research papers. Students in this course prepare to be active participants in professional discourse communities by examining and practicing the writing conventions associated with their own fields of study and work. By calling attention to the conventions of disciplinary writing, the course also prepares students for upper-division college writing and the special conventions of advanced academic discourse. Course activities include three extended research papers, semi-formal writing addressing interdisciplinary communication, and readings fostering critical engagement with disciplinary conversations.
PF 106 - Introduction to Spreadsheets (1)
This course focuses on using spreadsheets to solve business applications.
OR PF 116 - Computer Applications (3)
A course designed to acquaint students with the computer and its capabilities as they relate to business situations. Students will learn computer basics and how to use the computer for various applications including word processing, spreadsheets, internet usage, and presentation software.
Major Area (49 hours)
EXS 125 - Designing Exercise Programs (3)
This course is an introduction to exercise program design. It will review general principles for designing exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals and individuals with physical disabilities. Strategies to improve exercise compliance and adherence will be included. Legal issues in the designing of exercise programs will be addressed.
EXS 140 - Foundations/Principles/History Sport (3)
Students become familiar with the nature, scope, history and philosophy of physical education; changing concepts of physical education; and scientific foundation of physical education.
EXS 203 - Sport and Society (3)
Designed to look at sport and its role in society and the influence of society on sport in the areas of preparation for life, deviance in sports, coach's role, gender, race and ethnicity, class relations and social mobility, sports and the economy, sports and the media, sports and politics, sports and religion.
EXS 204 - Intro to Sports and Exercise Psychology (3)
This course introduces students to sports and exercise psychology theories, research, and selected applications of those theories and research. Topics include, but are not limited to, motivation, team dynamics, improving performance, and challenges/transitions in sport. Students will also learn how to apply sports psychology concepts to professional, personal, and social contexts.
EXS 252 - Exercise Physiology (3)
Presents organ systems of the human body and the role and adaptation of the organ systems to exercise. The immediate, chronic, and residual effects of exercise and methods of prescribing exercise programs are presented.
EXS 335 - Principles of Strength Train/Condition (3)
This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design strength training and conditioning programs for apparently healthy individuals. Proper exercise techniques and safety will be discussed for stretching, warm-up, resistance training, plyometrics, speed, agility, and endurance programs. The course will also address facility design, scheduling, policies and procedures, maintenance, and risk management concerns.
EXS 351 - Kinesiology/Biomechanics (3)
Provides the student with an understanding of the human musculoskeletal system's anatomy and functions. Laws of mechanics are discussed as well as the application of physics to the movement of the human body.
EXS 400 - Exercise Special Populations (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for exercise prescription in special populations. Topics will include exercise prescription for cardiac patients, pulmonary patients, children, elderly, and pregnant women. The influence of medications and medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes will also be addressed.
EXS 423 - Organization/Admin of Sports Programs (3)
Covers the changing nature of administration of health, physical education, and recreation programs; administrative relationships, administrative setting; physical plant; purchase and care of supplies and equipment; legal liability; insurance management; and professional and public relations.
EXS 460 - Exercise Testing and Prescription (3)
This course is designed to introduce students the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Topics will include health screening, exercise risk assessment, methods of exercise testing, and exercise prescription. The course will have both lecture and laboratory sessions.
HEA 152 - Wellness (3)
This course is designed to assist students when making intelligent decisions throughout life in order to achieve an optimal level of wellness. Emphasis will be placed on the wellness concept and its relationship to fitness, nutrition, self-esteem, and stress management. The areas of catastrophic diseases, aging process, and medical consumerism will be covered.
HEA 254 - Nutrition and Fitness (3)
Basic principles of nutrition as they apply to the general population in the maintenance of optimum health and to the competitive athlete with the objective of attaining optimum performance levels.
SOCL 335 - Applied Research Methods (4)
Applied Research Methods introduces students to foundational issues of social scientific research - that is, research entailing the application of the scientific method to the study of human behavior. Students will examine the strengths and weaknesses of major quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques as well as the processes involved in planning and executing such projects and the standards of evaluating the quality of data.
SPM 351 - Sports Law (3)
This course provides information into the legal issues related to the sports field. Topics will cover the time frame from amateur through professional sports. Basic legal principles affecting the management of recreation and sports programs, liability and risk assessment of those programs will be covered.
EXS 491 - Field Exp Exercise Science Wlns & Fit (1-6)
The student supplements theoretical classroom knowledge with practical, on-the-job experience in Wellness & Fitness, receiving close supervision and comprehensive evaluation for credit purposes by employers and college personnel. It is possible to receive a salary while doing field experience, depending upon placement Opportunities.
University Electives (35 hours)

Any undergraduate courses offered by the University except developmental education courses.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) and either Speech Communication (SPCH 100) or Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) prior to enrolling in any other course at the 200 level or above. Either PF 121 or PF 321 must be taken prior to the first BLF course, or it may be taken concurrently with the first 15-week BLF course. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) in place of Learning Strategies (PF 321). Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

Program Details

Request Free Information!

Want to learn more about Franklin University? Complete the simple form - it just takes a minute!

  • Invest in yourself by finishing your degree.

  • Take classes online, on campus, or both.

  • Finish faster. Save more. Franklin fits your life.

  • Top employers hire Franklin grads to provide relevant industry knowledge.

Request Information

In submitting my contact information, I understand that I will receive phone calls, text messages and email about attending Franklin University. I may opt out of these communications at any time.

Your privacy is important to us. Privacy Policy

Career Opportunities

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers work 1:1 in to develop exercise and fitness programs to help individuals reach their personal health can fitness goals. 

Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiologists evaluate patients’ current fitness levels and create programs to aid in improvement or maintenance.

Sports Administrator

Sports administrators manage and promote sport clubs, programs and facilities for K-12 schools and community organizations, as well as at the college and professional level. 

Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors lead groups of people at a variety of ages and ability levels in cardiovascular, strength and stretching exercises.


Coaches motivate participants to achieve goals and improve performance. As the leader of a team, the coach prepares athletes for competition using training techniques and psychological motivation. 

Gym Owner

Gym owners are responsible for proper management of the business from advertising and client acquisition to hiring personnel and overseeing daily operations. Many gym owners start as trainers and maintain those responsibilities as well.

Sales Manager

Sales managers meet with prospective gym or fitness club members and provides them with membership options that align with desired results and fitness habits.

Knowledge & Skillsets

Gain in-demand skills sought by employers with curriculum that teaches you:

About the Exercise Science Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Back to College Blog