FB Pixel Skip to Main Content
Recreation

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Scroll to bottom of section

Exercise, sport science, recreation and outdoor education are the studies of human movement —from developmental—to psychological and natural perspectives. To be a physical therapist, professional coach, or Wilderness First Responder, you’ll need a deep understanding of how the human body and mind work in clinical and natural settings.

Department Overview

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Help individuals overcome physical and emotional adversity in unique ways.

From our renowned High Altitude Performance Laboratory to high-alpine trails, Western’s Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science programs educate students in disciplines that help people reach their full potential. Whether you want to enroll in the Clinical Exercise, Physical Education, or Health & Fitness program, you’ll develop skills that will prepare you for a career in athletic training, physical education and wellness coaching. You can also learn to lead among the peaks, rivers and trails that surround campus in Western’s Outdoor Environmental Education program and become a Wilderness First Responder along the way.

High Altitude Performance Laboratory

Exercise & Sport Science students gain exposure to cutting-edge research through the High Altitude Performance Laboratory (HAP Lab) located 7,717 feet above sea level.

Areas of Study

Clinical Exercise Science

Clinical Exercise Science

Emphasis

Clinical Exercise Science
Exercise sport science

Exercise & Sport Science

Major | Minor | K-12 Licensure

Exercise & Sport Science
Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Health & Fitness

Emphasis

Health & Fitness
Physical Education

K-12 Physical Education

Minor | Emphasis | K-12 Licensure

K-12 Physical Education
Exercise sport science

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP)

Master of Science

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP)
Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP) 3+2

Accelerated Degree Programs

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP) 3+2
A student harvests vegetables from the Chipeta Garden.

Nutrition Science

Major | Minor

Nutrition Science
Outdoor Environmental Education

Outdoor Environmental Education

Emphasis

Outdoor Environmental Education
Two students take a break on the trail in the mountains during a field-based course.

Outdoor Leadership

Emphasis

Outdoor Leadership
A student ascends the indoor climbing wall at the Mountaineer Field House.

Recreation

Emphasis

Recreation
Recreation and Outdoor Education

Recreation & Outdoor Education

Major | Minor

Recreation & Outdoor Education
Sports Management

Sport & Fitness Management

Emphasis

Sport & Fitness Management
Sport Psychology

Sport Psychology

Minor

Sport Psychology

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Access to apply for scholarships through the portal is open through April 1.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Access to apply for scholarships through the portal is open through April 1.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2023. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

News & Research

Western Colorado University study shows big benefit from AI-guided workouts

Western Colorado University study shows big benefit from AI-guided workouts

Read More about Western Colorado University study shows big benefit from AI-guided workouts
Gar Van Guilder poses by a trophy case

Western, Palmer College of Chiropractic partner to offer headstart on graduate degree

Read More about Western, Palmer College of Chiropractic partner to offer headstart on graduate degree
Students work with a professor to conduct research in a forest damaged by wildfire

Workshop synthesis paper describes value of prescribed fire in wilderness areas

Read More about Workshop synthesis paper describes value of prescribed fire in wilderness areas
Drummer leading students

Western Hosts West African Dance and Drummers

Read More about Western Hosts West African Dance and Drummers
ESS Clinical Trial

Clinical Trial Adds Rigor to Exercise and Sports Science

Read More about Clinical Trial Adds Rigor to Exercise and Sports Science
HAEP researcher holding a timer

Western Research Proves CAROL Bike May Be the Wave of the Future

Read More about Western Research Proves CAROL Bike May Be the Wave of the Future
most environmentally friendly colleges, farm ing area

Leadership and Experiential Learning Projects at Western

Read More about Leadership and Experiential Learning Projects at Western
wellness elevated

A New Slant on Wellness Elevated Program

Read More about A New Slant on Wellness Elevated Program
Western professor helps medical students

Western Professor Helps Student Take the Next Step in Medical Career

Read More about Western Professor Helps Student Take the Next Step in Medical Career
Outdoor Industry Equality Index

Western Programs to Participate in Outdoor Industry Equality Index

Read More about Western Programs to Participate in Outdoor Industry Equality Index

Spotlight

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Brittney Hoots

Alumni

"Participating on Western’s track team led her to a life lesson that’s infused everything since: being part of the team matters more to her than being the most competitive player."

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Alexia Abric

Student

"As an Honors Program student, Mountain Sports athlete and an active member of the Academic Leadership Program, Alexia is versatile in terms of academics as well as athletics."

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Uma Costanza

Student

“I feel like our skills would be difficult to teach in a typical classroom setting. It’s difficult to teach when it’s a teacher, a projector and students in the seats."

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Kevin Fox

Alumni

“Western helped me develop soft skills, such as strong communication and problem-solving, through a wide variety of opportunities across campus.”

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Brooke Moran, Ph.D.

Faculty

"The approach-problem-based learning and experiential learning in the ROE program absolutely foster growth."

Department Information

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Department Chairperson

Gary P. Van Guilder, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science; Chair, Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science Department

Administrative Assistant

Terri Stinson

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information

970.943.7129

970.943.7125

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Paul Wright Gym 209
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

Take the Next Step

Apply to
Western
Students pose for a photo on top of Mount Crested Butte in the summer

Apply to
Western

We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.

Visit
Western
Colorado Hall with the Palisades in the background on a bluebird day.

Visit
Western

The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.

Alumni
Community
A group of four alumni look at an old photo that one of them picked up from a selection of photos that were printed and laid out for the Ski Team Social event.

Alumni
Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

Request
Information
A few students pose for a photo behind the Multicultural Center table at the Admitted Student Day Club Fair.

Request
Information

Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.