Programs in fields related to fitness science include those in fitness training, physical education, exercise science research or orthopedic medicine. Programs are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels through the public health, kinesiology, human performance and education departments of both 2-year colleges and 4-year universities.
Top 10 Schools with Fitness Programs
Fitness programs are offered at the institutions listed here.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition* (2015-2016)|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $13,856; Out-of-state $43,476|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst||Amherst, MA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state $14,171; Out-of-state $30,504|
|Wake Forest University||Winston-Salem, NC||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$47,682|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state $15,192; Out-of-state $44,365|
|James Madison University||Harrisonburg, VA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state $10,018; Out-of-state $25,152|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $15,054; Out-of-state $30,214|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $11,622; Out-of-state $29,832|
|University of Delaware||Newark, DE||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state $12,520; Out-of-state $31,420|
|The University of Texas at Austin||Austin, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $9,806; Out-of-state $34,676|
|University of San Francisco||San Francisco, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$42,634|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
There are a number of things to consider when selecting a fitness science program.
- Programs in physical education should prepare students for the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Exam or the Board of Certification (BOC) exam.
- Schools with fitness facilities open to the general public enhance the student's knowledge.
- At undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate levels, programs offering practical experience in clinical medical settings or laboratories offer students an advantage.
- Programs are offered at both public and private institutions, and tuition costs can vary widely; some schools offer tuition discounts to local or in-state students.
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Health and Fitness
Graduates of this 2-year program should be able to perform fitness assessments and design fitness programs in a variety of settings. Some will apply their studies to a more advanced degree in the field. Preparation for national certification exams is an integral part of most programs.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Exercise and Sports Science
Typical degree programs offer concentrations in exercise and biosciences, exercise and nutrition, K-12 physical education and physical rehabilitation. In addition to general education and kinesiology classes, students may take a variety of different courses depending on if they pursue a scientific track or physical education track.
Master of Science (M.S.) in Exercise Science/Kinesiology
The master's degree program in exercise science is primarily for students who want to get into medicine or research. Extensive research and clinical studies are part of most programs. Students may specialize in particular disease management programs. Most programs require a master's thesis for graduation.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Exercise Science
Doctoral degree students investigate the effects of exercise on the body down to the cellular level. Laboratory research rotations and a dissertation are integral to these programs. Graduates often go into research careers for pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and medical research facilities.
A career in fitness science can be pursued with an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field. Some individuals may opt to pursue an educational career and prepare to teach physical education, while others may focus on exercise science or kinesiology.