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

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

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

Brittney Hoots

Alumni

Exercise & Sport Science

Amy Stevens

Alumni

"Going to such a small school and being in this really healthy outdoor environment just encouraged me to do exactly what I wanted to do. I could get involved with so many different things and get involved with what I love.”

Exercise & Sport Science

Alicja Konieczek

Alumni

“Western helps students focus on things that matter—you’re surrounded by people who believe in you no matter what. The way professors support students is incredible.”

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.”

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

Eligibility

  • Exercise & Sport Science and Recreation & Outdoor Education majors
  • Full-time at Western

Description

This scholarship is provided by Alumni Donations. The Student Professional Development Fund is to support professional activities such as professional certification exams, conference attendance, research, or other professional preparation activities.

Approximately $400 awarded every semester.

Selected by: Western RESS faculty committee

Application:

Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2010 | Wright Gym 209

Learn more about Western’s Exercise & Sport Science Program.

Learn more about Western’s Recreation & Outdoor Education Program.

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 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, 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 here (click). 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

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

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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

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Several Studies by ESS, HAEP Faculty, Students Published

Several Studies by ESS, HAEP Faculty, Students Published

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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