Exercise Science

Rigorous, yes. Rewarding, definitely. If you are fascinated by the marvels of exercise and human movement and want a career helping others achieve their physical and personal best, we can provide you with a top-notch education. When you merge your SAU degree with your drive, you can achieve your professional goals.

Our graduates work at Trinity Regional Health System, Army Wellness Center, Alliance Rehab, Illini Restorative Care, Rock Valley Physical Therapy, and many more.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Learning Focused on Scientific Principles
  • Create and Guide Fitness Programs
  • Solid Preparation for Advanced Degrees

student with breathing device

personal training session

students in class

Our Kinesiology professors give you their full attention and diverse expertise, providing the perfect balance of classroom, hands-on and research experience. This pre-professional degree meets SAU’s requirements for advanced studies in in physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology, and physician assistant studies.

Read Our Fact Sheet on Exercise Science (pdf)

More Information on the Exercise Science Program

What will I learn?

Exercise Science is a broad-based study of scientific principles and includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and physiology. Advanced courses study human movement, exercise physiology, and scientific research. Course topics include exercise and aging, nutrition, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning principles, pharmacology, biomechanics, and behavioral neuroscience.

Our Kinesiology professors represent diverse fields of expertise and research, and focus on giving you a well-rounded education. All graduates of the SAU Kinesiology program are expected to be knowledgeable and adaptable, and able to:

  • compete successfully in graduate programs
  • teach and lead competently in school, business, and community-based programs
  • seek and obtain appropriate certification
  • perform competitively in the work environment
  • exemplify the values and ethics of the allied professions
Where will I learn?

As an exercise science student, you get the awesome opportunity to take classes - and apply what you learn - in our new, state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center. This massive, 80,000 square-foot building just opened this fall, and holds exercise physiology and biomechanics laboratories, classrooms, research-quality equipment, and a group exercise room which are specifically designed and equipped to give you a top-quality education.

The Quad Cities is a noted a leader in healthcare, wellness, and fitness, making it a great community to prepare for – or even start – your career. The SAU College of Health and Human Services has deep, established relationships with major hospitals and healthcare providers, all who need highly-trained health specialists. St. Ambrose students have a wide range of internship and clinical placement options without leaving the area. Organizations from the YMCA to the Rock Island Fitness & Activity Center offer a variety of opportunities for experts in wellness and fitness.

What are some potential career outcomes?

Within a fitness or clinical setting your opportunities are endless. Careers include exercise physiologist, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist, and researcher. The exercise science major also doubles as a pre-professional degree and satisfies prerequisites for SAU graduate programs in physical therapyoccupational therapyexercise physiology, and physician assistant studies.

With the constant need for people to lead healthy lives, you shouldn't have an issue launching your career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for athletic trainers and exercise physiologists is expected to grow 19 percent through 2022.

What have alumni of this program done?

Holly Fettkether '13 works at UnityPoint Health at St. Luke's as a Cardiac Rehab Exercise Physiologist.

Dominique Guinnane '14 is a Speed and Strength Coach at The Riekes Center in Menlo Park, Calif.

Kevin Kelley '10 added a psychology and biology minor to his exercise science major, which complements his job as the PT and Clinic manager at Rock Valley Physical Therapy in Geneseo, Ill.

Zach Rockford '14 is the assistant director of athletic performance at Southern Illinois University. 


Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science (66-67 credit hours)

Grade of C or better required for BIOL 230, BIOL 232, and all KIN courses for this major.

+BIOL 199 General Biology I: Foundations of Living Systems (4 credits)
BIOL 200 General Biology II: Functioning of Living Systems (4 credits)
BIOL 230 Human Anatomy & Physiology (4 credits)
BIOL 232 Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology (4 credits)
+CHEM 105 General Chemistry I (4 credits)
CHEM 106 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
+PHYS 203 College Physics I (4 credits) OR CHEM 207 (3 credits) OR +PHYS 251 (4 credits)
PHYS 204 College Physics II (4 credits) OR CHEM 208 (3 credits) OR PHYS 253 (4 credits) OR CHEM 319 & 320 (4 credits)
+STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences (3 credits)
KIN 101 Foundations of Kinesiology (2 credits)
KIN 216 Exercise and Sport Psychology (2 credits)
KIN 282 Exercise and Aging (3 credits)
WI-KIN 340 Nutrition Concepts (3 credits)
KIN 361 Functional and Structural Kinesiology (3 credits)
WI-KIN 390 Exercise Physiology (4 credits)
KIN 440 Senior Research I (2 credits)

Choose one of the following two Programming Courses:
KIN 350 Scientific Principles of Strength and Conditioning (3 credits)
KIN 392 Exercise Testing and Prescription (3 credits)

Choose six credit hours from the following Advanced Topics:
KIN 409 Exercise Pharmacology (3 credits)
KIN 410 Biomechanics (3 credits)*
KIN 411 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology (3 credits)
KIN 412 Sports Nutrition (3 credits)
KIN 441 Senior Research II (3 credits)

*Choose one - Neuropsychology requirement*:
PSYC 255 Brain and Behavior (3 credits)
PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
PSYC 350 Health Psychology (3 credits)
PSYC 360 Behavioral Pharmacology (3 credits)
PSYC 402 Psychology of Sensation and Perception (3 credits)
PYSC 403 Behavioral Neuroscience (3 credits)

+ = satisfies a general education requirement
WI = writing intensive


Students who enter the SAU 3 + 2-1/2 DPT program after their junior year may make the following substitutions in the 1st year of the DPT Program (4th year undergraduate):

DPT 540 Neuroanatomy & Neurophysiology may replace the Neuropsychology requirement
DPT 530 Kinesiology/Biomechanics may replace KIN 410 Biomechanics
DPT 650 Issues in Research I may replace KIN 441 Senior Research II

Plan to Graduate in 4 years

This is the suggested course of study for students majoring in Exercise Science. This plan assumes the student has met the foreign language requirement.

You do not need to take the College Reading or pre-College Math class(es).

See below for the Exercise Science degree in Three Years.

First Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
+ENGL 101 3 +BIOL 200 OR CHEM 106 3
+BIOL 199 OR CHEM 105 3 +PSYC 105 3
+MATH 171 3 +COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, or 329 3
+Creative Arts elective 2-3 +PHIL 101, 201, 207, 208, 210, 217 3
KIN 101 2 +IL 101 3
KIN 101 +KIN 149 1
TOTAL 14-15 credits TOTAL 15 credits

Sophomore Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
STAT 213 3 BIOL 232 4
BIOL 230 4 +CHEM 106 OR BIOL 200 4
+CHEM 105 OR BIOL 199 4 KIN 282 3
+THEO 101, 102, 103, 107, 120, 130, 132, 160 3 KIN 216 2
+KIN Physical Activity 1
TOTAL 15 credits TOTAL 16 credits

Junior Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
PHYS 203 OR CHEM 207 OR PHYS 251 4 PHYS 204/CHEM 208 OR PHYS 253/CHEM 319&320 4
PSYC 255, 324, 350, 360, 402, OR 403 3-4 KIN 350 OR KIN 392 3
KIN 361 3 +Humanities Elective 3
WI-KIN 390 (must take at SAU 4 WI-KIN 340 3
Elective 3
TOTAL 14-15 credits TOTAL 16 credits

Senior Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
KIN 400 2 KIN 409, 410, 411, 412, OR 441 3
KIN 409, 410, 411, OR 412 3 +PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 3
+PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 3 Electives 9
+Humanities Elective 3
Elective 3

WI=writing intensive
+=satisfies a general education requirement

Plan to Graduate in Three Years

• DPT pre-requisites are bolded; a grade of "C" or above is required in all prerequisites. A "C-" does not meet this requirement.
• Order of courses taken can be varied. Choice of general education electives can be varied in consultation with undergraduate advisor. The prerequisite of the Physical Therapy program is an upper level Psychology/Sociology course, this can serve a dual purpose if it also is one that meets the general education requirements.
• Students entering the SAU 3 + 2 ½ DPT program after their junior year may make the following substitutions in the first year if the DPT program (4th year undergraduate): DPT 540 is an acceptable substitute for PSYC 403. DPT 530 Kinesiology/Biomechanics will substitute for KIN 410. DPT 650 will serve to replace KIN 441.
• Have taken three years of foreign language in high school or two semesters in college.
• Extended Exploration of Arts & Sciences includes two additional courses in philosophy, theology or Catholic studies (one at 300 level) AND Option 3, Breadth of Study in the Arts and Sciences to include one additional course each of humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Year One

+BIOL 199 or CHEM 105 4 +BIOL 200 or CHEM 106 4
KIN 101 Foundations of Kinesiology 2 +PSYC 105 Intro to Psychology 3
+MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 +PHIL 101, 201, 207, 208, 210, 217 3
+Creative Arts Elective 2-3 +COMM 129, 132, 203, 228,  329 3
+ENGL 101 Written Communication 3 +IL 101 Information Literacy 1
+KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 +Humanities Elective 3
Total Credits 15-16 Total Credits 17

Year Two

STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning 3 MATH 171 BIOL 232 Human Anat.&Phys. II 4 BIOL 230
BIOL 230 Human Anatomy & Phys. I 4 One of BIOL 101, 199, 112, CHEM 103 or 105 +CHEM 106 or BIOL 200 4 CHEM 105, MATH 171/BIOL 199
+CHEM 105 or BIOL 199 4 MATH 171 KIN 282 Exercise and Aging 3
+THEO 101, 102, 103, 107, 110, 120, 130, 132, 160 3   KIN 216 Exercise & Sport Psyc 2
+Humanities Elective 3   #WI-KIN 340 Nutrition Concepts 3
Total Credits 17   Total Credits 16

Year Three

PHYS 203 College Physics I 4 MATH 171 PHYS 204 College Physics II 4 PHYS 203
KIN 440 Senior Research I 2 STAT 213, **KIN 390 KIN 350 or KIN 392 3 WI-KIN 390, WI-KIN 366; KIN 361 recommended
KIN 361 Functional & Structural Kines. 3 **BIOL 230 or **BIOL 205 +PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 300-level 3
#WI-KIN 390 Exercise Physiology 4 **ENGL 101 **BIOL 232, KIN 101 Electives 6
+PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 3  
Total Credits 16   Total Credits 16

#One of these two must be taken at SAU to satisfy writing intensive
+Meets General Education Requirement
**Must have C grade or better

Scholarships and Grants


For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria, although some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full-tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Scholarships (2018-19)

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation form (pdf) to be completed by your pastor.

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year.

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Institutional Aid

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award

Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Criteria: Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership
Award: $12,500/year for new transfer students, renewable each year up to eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Out-of-State Grant

Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000/year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship

Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000/year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Award

Criteria: accepted diverse student
Award: $1,000/year on-campus; $500/year off-campus

Athletics Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability
Marching band scholarships also available
Award varies

Fine Arts Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability in art, music, theatre
Audition or portfolio required
Award varies

Dual Admission Scholarship

Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 maximum

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarship

Criteria: attend Catholic parish in Diocese of Davenport; on-campus students only
Award varies

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant

Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $5,920 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FESOG)

Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study Award

Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant

Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: 5,650

Carver Scholarship

Criteria: Iowa resident and entering junior, visit carvertrust.org for eligibility details, deadline April 1.
Award: $7,600 maximum

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Apply Visit Info


Sandra Lund

Kinesiology Department
Hayes Hall 226
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
Fax 563-333-6488

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!