Schools and Colleges with a Fitness Studies Major in the U.S.

Fitness studies majors prepare for careers as personal trainers, exercise instructors, physical education teachers and recreation center managers.The most common degree programs for fitness studies majors include kinesiology, exercise science and physical education.

Students who are passionate about using exercise to promote health and wellness may be interested in majoring in fitness studies. Graduating with a bachelor's degree from a well-respected university can make aspiring professionals more competitive for employment at fitness institutions, and it can demonstrate competency to potential individual clients.

Top 10 Schools for Fitness Majors

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)**
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $10,158 (in-state), $25,458 (out-of-state)
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $10,037 (in-state), $27,365 (out-of-state)
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $6,381 (in-state), $28,659 (out-of-state)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $13,790 (in-state), $22,210 (out-of-state)
The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $9,806 (in-state), $34,676 (out-of-state)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $13,486 (in-state), $43,676 (out-of-state)
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $11,622 (in-state), $29,832 (out-of-state)
The University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $12,436 (in-state), $30,856 (out-of-state)
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $8,104 (in-state), $27,890 (out-of-state)
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $7,621 (in-state), $21,432 (out-of-state)

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Degree programs in fitness studies vary considerably between schools. These are some things to keep in mind when choosing between them:

  • These programs may be highly interdisciplinary, integrating studies in fitness, nutrition and wellness, or they may focus particularly on exercise physiology. Students may choose between them based on their particular interests.
  • Different programs prepare students for different careers. Some focus more heavily on scientific principles for future researchers, while others are designed to prepare students for jobs in education.
  • Programs may offer a variety of specialization options. Students who want to focus their studies in a particular area may look for a program with a concentration in that subject.
  • Master's degree programs may offer thesis and non-thesis tracks. It is important for prospective students to consider which best fits their educational needs and career goals.

Many of the nation's top universities offer fitness studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Because they differ in their areas of academic focus, prospective students must carefully consider their options when choosing between them.

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