Exercise Science Major

George Fox exercise majors study at a Christian university.

George Fox University’s exercise science major provides students with a scientific foundation for careers in health care. The degree consists of a 53-semester-hour course of study and is tailored to students who wish to pursue graduate work in physical therapy or occupational therapy, become a physician assistant, or work in a variety of sports science-related fields.   

The core curriculum includes courses in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, exercise physiology and performance enhancement. Many graduates of the program pursue a doctorate in physical therapy or occupational therapy; masters programs in kinesiology, exercise physiology or athletic training; or other areas related to human performance and corrective exercise. 

In addition to the sciences, students take general education courses ranging from Bible and humanities to communication and mathematics – all taught in a Christian college environment where faith is integrated with learning.

Learn more about a career in exercise science


Request more information about the exercise science major at George Fox University or schedule a visit to begin your education at Oregon's Christian university, ranked as one of the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes.

Jobs, Internships and Graduate School for Exercise Science

George Fox's exercise science major prepares students for a number of careers in the field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from aging baby boomers in addition to those with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

Occupational therapists are projected to see a 24-percent growth in employment opportunities during the same time period. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, autism or the loss of a limb.

Finally, employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, as people across all age groups are increasingly becoming interested in chiropractic care.

  • Physical Therapist, Salem Hospital
  • Physical Therapist and Clinic Owner, Reger Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Aide, Willamette Spine Care and Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Aide, Star Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Aide, Tigard Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic
  • Pharmacy Technician, Rite Aid Pharmacy
  • George Fox University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Pacific University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • University of Puget Sound, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Regis University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Arizona School of Health Sciences, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Eastern Washington University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Creighton University, Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Pacific University, Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • Oregon State University, Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Providence Physical Therapy
  • Marquis Post Acute Rehab
  • Chehalem Physical Therapy
  • Therapeutic Associates
  • ProAction Physical Therapy
  • Providence St. Vincent Rehabilitation Acute Care
  • Special Olympics Oregon 
  • Progressive Fitness
  • Active Edge Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
Expand All

Major Requirements

Complete the following:

Structure and function of the human body. Fall semester topics include basic chemistry, body organization, integument, skeleton, muscles, and the nervous system, including special senses. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
Structure and function of the human body. Spring semester topics include cardiovascular, reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, urinary, and digestive systems. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, or permission from instructor. Additional course fee is required.
This course covers fundamental chemical principles, reactions, and mode theories. Special emphasis is given to the role of chemistry in everyday life. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: A math SAT score of at least 500 (test taken prior to March 2016) or a math SAT score of at least 530 (test taken March 2016 or later), or successful completion of MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics (or equivalent).
This course covers fundamental chemical principles, reactions, and mode theories. Special emphasis is given to the role of chemistry in everyday life. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: CHEM 211 General Chemistry I.
An introduction to the study of human communication. Application of communication principles to interpersonal, group, and public contexts. Particular emphasis on the practice of public speaking. Students will prepare and deliver several oral presentations.
Mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, wave motion and optics, and modern physics, using algebraic methods for analysis. Three lectures and one lab per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics.
Mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, wave motion and optics, and modern physics, using algebraic methods for analysis. Three lectures and one lab per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: PHYS 201 General Physics I.
An introduction to the scientific study of human behavior. Major topics include the biological bases of behavior, sensation, perception, thinking, learning, memory, development, emotion, motivation, personality, social interaction, and abnormal behavior. Prerequisite to most other psychology courses.
An introductory survey of athletic training. Emphasis will be on terminology, injury prevention, evaluation, treatment, and emergency care procedures. Common taping techniques also will be presented. Additional course fee is required.
Application of human anatomy and physical laws to the explanation of movement activities. Special emphasis is given to detailed analysis of various sports activities. Prerequisites: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy and Physiology II.
Application of principles of physiology to physical activity. Special attention is given to the effect of exercise on the various body systems and the construction of training programs. The laboratory component explores the assessment of resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure, body composition, respiratory function, maximum oxygen uptake, lactate threshold, strength and flexibility, and other physiological responses to exercise. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy and Physiology II.
A study of the development of motor skills. Psychological principles of learning are applied to motor-skill learning. A review of research and an inquiry into the effect of various conditions on the learning and performance of motor skills from early childhood through the adult years.

A supervised experience in the discipline, including internships and practica required for professional programs. This experience must have an on-site supervisor and a departmental instructor overseeing, designing and evaluating the content of the course. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

Research of current issues in health, physical education, and athletics. Senior thesis and public presentation of thesis is required.

Choose one of the following:

An introduction to probability and statistics with content and application directed toward the natural and physical sciences. Topics to be covered include methods of describing data, probability, random variables and their distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, linearregression, and correlation. Prerequisite: MATH 180 College Algebra or equivalent.
Applied statistics for the social and behavioral sciences. Emphasis is placed on statistical logic and decision making. Prerequisite: high school algebra or equivalent.

Choose one of the following:

An introduction to life science for those majoring in biology and bioscience-related fields. Topics include cellular biology, genetics, systematics, development, ecology, and anatomy and physiology of plants and animals. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
The comparative study of the structure and functional morphology of organisms in the phylum Chordata. Laboratory will emphasize dissection of representative vertebrate animals. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
Investigation of physiological principles in animals, with 4 hours. A majors-level course is intended to meet the physiology requirement of graduate/professional programs in health-care fields. Investigation of physiological principles in humans/mammals, with emphasis on mechanisms of integration and homeostasis at cellular, organ, and system levels. Topics include muscular, neural, vascular, excretory, and endocrine interactions. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
An introductory course that provides a basic understanding in the multidisciplinary field of Neuroscience. Major topics covered in this course include neural signaling, neurophysiology, sensation and sensory processing, physical and functional neuroanatomy, movement and its central control, nervous system organization, brain development, complex brain functions and diseases of the nervous system. The course will examine different model organisms that have advanced the field of neuroscience. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.

Choose two of the following:

Instruction in concepts related to developing and maintaining physical fitness and movement skills.
In-depth study of the lower extremities including skills of injury evaluation, physical examination and treatment. One 1-hour lab per week. Pre-requisite: Athletic Training major or instructor permission.
In-depth study of the spine and upper extremities including skills of injury evaluation, physical examination and treatment. One 1-hour lab per week. Pre-requisite: Athletic Training major or instructor permission.
A study of physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral development from infancy to old age. Will not count as part of the psychology major. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
A study of physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral development from young adulthood to old age. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
A study of the unique physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral developmental changes during the period of adolescence. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
This course provides an overview of the neuropsychological, neuroanatomical, and biochemical basis for mental functions including motor control, object recognition, spatial reasoning, attention, language, memory, and emotion. Methods of neuropsychological research are explored. Recommended: PSYC 220 Biological Psychology.
A study of the nature, causation, and treatment of the major psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology. Recommended: PSYC 220 Biological Psychology.

Optional

Choices of the following courses are dependent upon the direction the student has previously selected with regard to graduate school or profession. However, a student isn't required to take any of these courses. Some courses listed below are only offered every other year. Plan accordingly.
Examines the knowledge, skills, and values that the entry-level certified athletic trainer must possess to recognize, treat, and refer, when appropriate, the general medical conditions and disabilities of athletes and others involved in physical activity. Students will be introduced and exposed to various health care providers.
An emphasis on the knowledge, skills, and values required of an athletic trainer on pharmacologic applications, including indications, contraindications, precautions, interactions, and governing regulations relevant to the treatment of injuries and illnesses of the physically active. Prerequisites: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy and Physiology II.
Course will examine exercise procedures as the first modality for rehabilitation of the injured athlete. Also examines the role of exercise for the prevention of injuries, as well as rehabilitation to all major joints and musculature of the body. Includes a lab for practice. Prerequisites: HHPE 390 Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries and Athletic Training major or instructor permission.
Course will examine the role of therapeutic modalities including thermal modalities, electrical agents, deep heating agents, and mechanical modalities in the rehabilitation of the injured athlete. Includes a lab for practice. Prerequisites: HHPE 390 Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries and Athletic Training major or instructor permission.
Application of exercise testing and prescription of individuals ranging from athletes to special populations. Includes aspects of nutrition, disease, training methods, and exercise responses. Prerequisites: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy and Physiology II. Additional course fee required.
Emphasis is given to methods of evaluation in programs of physical education. Testing procedures, standard tests, physical examinations, and evaluation activities are discussed.
A study of nutrients present in food and their relation to the nutritive needs of the human body. Emphasis on the young adult, along with discussion of contemporary nutrition-related topics of national and global concern. Computer-assisted dietary analysis included. (Identical to HLTH 300.)

Exercise Science Student Experiences

Jordan Visser

“I knew early on in college that I wanted to go to physical therapy school, and the exercise science major was great preparation. It gave me strong roots in essential science classes, such as anatomy and physiology, physics and biology; but I also got exposure to athletic training classes that focused on recognition and treatment of athletic injuries. I also loved how the program was set up so I could tailor it to my particular needs, taking the classes that were most interesting to me and those that were required by the grad schools I was applying to. This combination of science and hands-on interventions meant I was excellently prepared when I arrived at grad school!”

- Jordan Visser

Rachel Arias

“The exercise science major at George Fox University has provided me with many opportunities to pursue my career and passions. I was able to tailor my classes to best fit my prerequisites for graduate school and also take some courses that interested me. Through my field experience my senior year I gained valuable skills and lessons that will assist me in my profession as an occupational therapist. My experience in the program was both beneficial and rewarding. I would highly recommend it to anyone pursuing a career in healthcare.”

- Rachel Arias

Exercise Science Points of Distinction

  • Nearly all students receive placement after graduation.
  • Clinical educational rotations for students include OHSU, Portland State, Lewis & Clark College, Willamette University and area high schools.
  • Courses include hands-on practice with modalities, rehabilitation and orthopedic assessment.

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you’ll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country..