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.
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.
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.
|EDUC 410||K-12 Student Teaching||3||View|
|ESS 181||Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science||3||View|
|ESS 185||Lifetime Wellness||3||View|
|ESS 201||Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with Lab)||4||View|
|ESS 275||Motor Development and Learning||3||View|
|ESS 282||Principles of Sport and Fitness Management||3||View|
|ESS 290||Curriculum Development and the Learning Environment||3||View|
|ESS 320||Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity||3||View|
|ESS 330||Exercise Physiology||3||View|
|ESS 331||Exercise Physiology Lab||1||View|
|ESS 340||Mental Training for Peak Performance||3||View|
|ESS 346||Psychology of Coaching||3||View|
|ESS 355||Psychology of Injury||3||View|
|ESS 360||Nutrition for Wellness and Performance||3||View|
|ESS 363||Inclusive Physical Activity||3||View|
|ESS 365||Topics in Physical Activity||3||View|
|ESS 370||Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning||3||View|
|ESS 382||Management of Sport and Fitness Facilities||3||View|
|ESS 385||Physical Activity Programming||3||View|
|ESS 392||Methods of Secondary Activities||3||View|
|ESS 395||Methods of Elementary Activities||3||View|
|ESS 396||Methods of Alternative Physical Education||3||View|
|ESS 410||Assessment and Exercise Prescription||3||View|
|ESS 430||Topics in Clinical Exercise Physiology||3||View|
|ESS 450||Risk Management in Physical Activity Settings||3||View|
|ESS 490||Sociology of Sport and Physical Activity||3||View|
|ESS 495||Senior Seminar in Exercise and Sport Science||3||View|
|ESS 498||Internship in Exercise and Sport Science||3-12||View|
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.
- 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)
DescriptionThis 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
- Exercise & Sport Science and Recreation & Outdoor Education majors
- Full-time at Western
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
Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information.
970.943.2010 | Wright Gym 209
Alumni Association Future Alumni ScholarshipThe 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).
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 2.0 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.
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 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.
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.