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Exercise & Sport Science

Bachelor of Science

Degree Type

Major, Minor, K-12 Licensure

Department

Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Exercise and sport science are the studies of human movement—from developmental—to psychological perspectives. To be a physical therapist, professional coach, or occupational therapist, you’ll need a deep foundational understanding how the human body works in clinical and nonclinical settings. Western’s Exercise & Sport Science program uses Gunnison’s high-altitude environment to create an unparalleled academic experience with an abundance of novel research opportunities.

Program Overview

Study everything about the human body—from bones and muscles—to skin and tissue.

In the Exercise & Sport Science (ESS) program, you’ll learn how to promote healthy lifestyles and enhance performance in exercise, sport and physical activity settings. As one of the highest-altitude colleges in the country, the ESS program at Western offers the unique opportunity to conduct original research in the state-of-the-art High Altitude Performance Lab. To get hands-on experience in your field, you can participate in the Wellness Elevated program, a partnership with the medical community of Gunnison Valley that allows you to work with clinical populations and their exercise programming for a semester or more.

As an ESS major, you can also start to build your professional network through the Association for Students of Exercise Sports Science, a club that provides provide social support, professional development and networking opportunities. Upon graduating, you can pursue entry-level careers in teaching, fitness, sport and wellness in addition to professional certifications and graduate degrees in physical therapy, exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation.

Feeling the pulse

Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals having diverse needs in physical education, recreation, sport, fitness, or rehabilitation settings.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

All standard majors require a minor in a second discipline or a second major.

Exercise and Sport Science Emphasis

A  minimum of 41 credits is required, including the 15-credit Exercise and Sport Science Nucleus:

To graduate, all exercise and sport science majors must complete ESS 181 Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science and ESS 185 Lifetime Wellness with a minimum grade of “C”:

Exercise and Sport Science Nucleus
ESS 181Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science3
ESS 185Lifetime Wellness3
ESS 320Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity3
ESS 490Sociology of Sport and Physical Activity3
Select one of the following ESS Captone courses: 13
ESS 495
Senior Seminar in Exercise and Sport Science
EDUC 410
K-12 Student Teaching
ESS 498
Internship in Exercise and Sport Science
Total Credits15
1

EDUC 410 K-12 Student Teaching is a capstone option for K-12 Physical Education majors seeking Colorado licensure; ESS 498 Internship in Exercise and Sport Science is a capstone option for the ESS Standard Emphasis.

First Aid/CPR competency, and the following:

ESS 201Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with Lab)4
ESS 275Motor Development and Learning3
ESS 282Principles of Sport and Fitness Management3
ESS 330Exercise Physiology3
ESS 331Exercise Physiology Lab1
ESS 363Inclusive Physical Activity3
Nine upper division elective credits9
Total Credits26
Plan of Study Grid
Year OneCredits
"C" or better required for both ESS 181 and ESS 185 to receive credit toward ESS degree.
 Credits0
Fall
ESS 181
or ESS 185
Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science
or Lifetime Wellness
3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
Gen Ed General Education Courses 9
 Credits16
Spring
ESS 181
or ESS 185
Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science ("C" or better required to receive credit toward ESS degree.)
or Lifetime Wellness
3
MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 8
 Credits14
Year Two
Fall
ESS 201 Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with Lab) milestone course & prerequisite for ESS 330 & ESS 380 4
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 4
Elective Elective/Minor/2nd Major 3
 Credits14
Spring
ESS 275 Motor Development and Learning 3
ESS 276 Emergency Response 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 7
Elective Elective/Minor/2nd Major 3
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
ESS 330 Exercise Physiology 3
ESS 331 Exercise Physiology Lab 1
Elective Elective (upper division) ESS/Minor/2nd Major 12
 Credits16
Spring
ESS 320 Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity 3
Elective ESS Elective 3
Elective Elective (upper division) ESS/Minor/2nd Major 9
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
ESS 380 Biomechanics 3
Elective ESS Elective 3
Elective Elective (upper division) ESS/Minor/2nd Major 9
 Credits15
Spring
Capstone Senior Sem/Internship 3
ESS 490 Sociology of Sport and Physical Activity 3
Elective ESS Elective 3
Elective Elective (upper division) ESS/Minor/2nd Major 6
 Credits15
 Total Credits121

Western is committed to doing our part to provide each student a clear path to graduation. This four‐year degree plan is a sample map for fulfilling requirements in the major and General Education. The pathway that you take to your degree may differ somewhat from this illustration, depending on where you start and the detours and side trips you may take along the way. You are responsible for ensuring your overall, upper division, and major‐specific credits as well as GPA requirements are fulfilled for graduation.

Spotlight

Exercise & Sport Science

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."

Exercise & Sport Science

Ryan Barnhouse

Student

“Being an orientation leader and having that leadership position helped me branch out to try these other things. It gave me the confidence to express myself as a leader and learn what kind of leader I am. And then be able to use that leadership in other aspects.”

Exercise & Sport Science

Jacob Stroup

Student

“Learning how my body works and learning ways to improve my performance is something I have always thought about. Exercise and Sport Science is the perfect major for the interests that I have always had.”

Exercise & Sport Science

Brittney Hoots

Alumni

Exercise & Sport Science

Aspen Wallace

Student

"Exercise and being active is so important at any level and encouraging people to be physically active is so important. I feel like I can help educate so many people on the importance of health."

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Eligibility

  • Full-time juniors and seniors
  • Must be a declared major in Exercise & Sport Science
  • 3.0 GPA or greater
  • Show outstanding achievement in four of the following five areas (special talents, leadership, obstacles overcome, community service and unique endeavors)

Description

This scholarship is provided by the estate and family of Ernest Degutis.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Western Exercise & Sport Science faculty in consultation with the Admissions Office and Financial Aid as needed. Award made at the end of the Spring Semester each year.

Application:

Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2010 | Wright Gym 209

The Ernest Degutis Scholarship

This scholarship is available to Exercise & Sport Science (ESS) majors with demonstrated excellence in academics and outstanding achievement in personal fields.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • ESS Major
  • Junior or senior class standing
  • 3.0 Minimum GPA
  • Demonstrated excellence in academics
  • Show outstanding achievement in four of the following:
    • Special talents
    • Leadership
    • Obstacles overcome
    • Community service
    • Unique endeavors
Application Procedures:
  • A written letter of application – please include local address
  • Unofficial transcript (may use DegreeWorks)
  • Two letters of recommendation from Western faculty or staff
    • Letters must NOT be from ESS department members
    • At least one letter must be from a faculty member
  • Essay addressing at least four of the five areas listed above

The Ernest Degutis Scholarship is Provided by:

Ernest Degutis

Amount depends on fund availability.

Scholarship Recipients Selected by:

Western Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Faculty.

Completed applications must be turned in to Terri in the RESS Department office in Wright Gym no later than the second Friday of April for the upcoming academic calendar year.

Eligibility

  • Woman Physical Education or Recreation major at Western
  • Must have completed a minimum of one year in residence at Western
  • Must be a Junior or Senior (ie., will have completed at least 64 semester hours at the completion of the spring semester in which the award is to be granted, but will not be graduated at the completion of that same semester).
  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 at time of selection.
  • Must have exhibited leadership in intramurals, the intercollegiate program or other departmental activities.
  • Must have demonstrated professional promise in the field of Physical Education or Recreation.

Description

This award has been established in honor of Miss Hannah E. Praxl, in recognition of her long and illustrious service as a member of the Division of HPER at Western. The contributions made by Miss Praxl during her tenure at Western were many. In addi­tion to her everyday duties as professor of Physical Education and Counselor and advisor to many students, Miss Praxl contributed much time and effort in working with the Women’s Recreation Association, the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, and numerous local, state, regional and national organizations associated with the development and promotion of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Following retirement, a number of friends, faculty, and alumni have endeavored to establish a suitable award in honor of Miss Praxl, and to be known as the “Hannah E. Praxl Award.” Award for Outstanding Woman Athlete.

Application

A list of all women students majoring in Physical Education and Recreation and whose grade point averages meet the 3.2 criteria, or are close enough that they could meet the criteria at the completion of the spring semester, will be submitted to the selection committee for consideration. This list will be given to the committee as soon after April 15 as possible, with instructions that the recipient be determined by May 1.

The selection committee shall be composed of the women Physical Education staff members, the Division Chairman, and any other Division HPER staff members, as determined by the committee.

DEADLINE DATE: April 15 of each academic year; selection by May 1

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 2022. 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 freshman 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.

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

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.

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Graduate Research: Collaborate on research projects with students in the High Altitude Exercise Physiology master’s program.
  • High Altitude Performance Lab: Take classes and conduct research in our state-of-the-art facility.
  • Publish Research: Publish your work in the Center for Wellness and Human Performance Health & Fitness Journal.
  • Wellness Elevated: Work with clinical populations and their exercise programming for a semester or more.
  • Association for Students of Exercise Sports Science: This club is specifically tailored to ESS majors. Outings and events provide social support, professional development and networking opportunities.

High Altitude Performance Lab

Early exposure to cutting-edge research through the High Altitude Performance Laboratory (HAP Lab)—7,717 feet above sea level—enables students to gain career-ready skills normally found only in graduate school.

News & Research

ESS Clinical Trial

Clinical Trial Adds Rigor to Exercise and Sports Science

Read More about Clinical Trial Adds Rigor to Exercise and Sports Science
wellness elevated

A New Slant on Wellness Elevated Program

Read More about A New Slant on Wellness Elevated Program
online courses

Western Colorado University moves summer courses online

Read More about Western Colorado University moves summer courses online
Western professor shares insight on ‘fast fitness’ on popular biohacking podcast

Western professor shares insight on ‘fast fitness’ on popular biohacking podcast

Read More about Western professor shares insight on ‘fast fitness’ on popular biohacking podcast
Western Students and Faculty Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Western Students and Faculty Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Read More about Western Students and Faculty Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Several Studies by ESS, HAEP Faculty, Students Published

Several Studies by ESS, HAEP Faculty, Students Published

Read More about Several Studies by ESS, HAEP Faculty, Students Published

Additional Resources

Wellness Elevated

Wellness Elevated Wellness Elevated is housed within the High Altitude Performance Laboratory (HAP Lab) at Western Colorado University and represents a partnership between the Department of Recreation …

Learn More

Department Chairperson

Lance Dalleck, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science

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

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