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.

Study Abroad

You've heard people say it before: "College will be the greatest time of your life!" With Study Abroad, you can add even more to your college years.

You can study in another country – without paying extra tuition – in a semester-long or short-term study abroad program (with a few offered during spring and winterim breaks). No matter the duration, these trips deepen your professional education while earning credit toward graduation.

There are also opportunities through an exchange program, an overseas internship, or volunteering. The limits for Study Abroad are only ones you set for yourself! SAU students have studied in Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, United Kingdom, Spain, Ecuador, Japan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Croatia, Belize, Canada, Chile, and more.

SAU students returning from their Study Abroad locations talk about their time away as life-changing - personally, emotionally, culturally, and academically. Click here to search our Study Abroad programs, and for general information click here.

Peace Corps Prep

If service is included in your future plans, we one of few universities in Iowa offering Peace Corps Prep, a program that can make you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs. You'll gain skills and a cultural worldview that employers value and best of all, most students can earn the certificate - awarded by the Peace Corps - without taking extra courses. Peace Corps Prep is a competitive edge that sets you apart and broadens your opportunities, no matter what path you choose. Click here to learn more or talk to your faculty advisor.

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. Career information from ACSM and NSCA.  

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. 

Kinesiology Faculty and Staff

Sandy Lund, PhD, Assoc. Professor and Chair
Sarah Eikleberry, PhD, Asst. Professor and Assistant Chair
Rhiannon Seneli, PhD, Asst. Professor, MSEP Director

Darla Baumgarten, EdD, Assoc. Professor
Kyle Bohnert, MS, Asst. Professor
Michael Dahlinghaus, PhD, Asst. Professor
David Lantis, PhD, Asst. Professor
Bo Li, EdD, Asst. Professor
Chris Schwartz, PhD, Asst. Professor
Erica Thomas, MBS, Asst. Professor
Jason Vorwerk, MS, Clinical Asst. Professor
Suzanne Wiese, Administrative Assistant


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 English Composition 3 +BIOL 200 Gen. Biology II OR CHEM 106 Gen. Chem II 3

+BIOL 199 Gen. Biology OR CHEM 105 Gen. Chemistry

3 +PSYC 105 Intro to Psychology 3

+MATH 171 Elementary Functions

3 +COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, or 329 3
+Creative Arts elective 2-3 +PHIL 101, 201, 207, 208, 210, 217 3
KIN 101 Foundations of Kinesiology 2 +IL 101 Information Literacy 3
+KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1
TOTAL 14-15 credits TOTAL 15 credits

Sophomore Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
STAT 213 Appl Stats/Sciences 3 BIOL 232 Human A&P II 4
BIOL 230 Human A&P I 4 +CHEM 106 Gen. Chem. II OR BIOL 200 Gen. Biology II 4
+CHEM 105 Gen. Chemistry OR BIOL 199 Gen. Biology 4 KIN 282 Exercise and Aging 3
+THEO 101, 102, 103, 107, 120, 130, 132, 160 3 KIN 216 Exercise and Sport Psychology 2
+KIN Physical Activity 1
TOTAL 15 credits TOTAL 16 credits

Junior Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
PHYS 203 College  Physics I OR  CHEM 207 Organic Chem. OR PHYS 251 Gen. Physics I: Mechanics         4 PHYS 204/CHEM 208 OR PHYS 253/CHEM 319&320 4
PSYC 255, 324, 350, 360, 402, OR 403 3-4 KIN 350 Sci Prin Strength and Cond. OR KIN 392 Exercise Testing/Prescription 3
KIN 361 Kinesiology  3 +Humanities Elective 3
WI-KIN 390 (must take at SAU) Exercise Physiology 4 WI-KIN 340 Nutrition Concepts 3
Elective 3
TOTAL 14-15 credits TOTAL 16 credits

Senior Year

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
KIN 400 2 KIN 409 Exercise Pharmacology, 410 Biomechanics, 411 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, 412 Sports Nutrition, OR 441 Senior Research II  3
KIN 409 Exercise Pharmacology, 410 Biomechanics, 411 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, OR 412 Sports Nutrition 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 3 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

Fall Credits Spring Credits
STAT 213 Applied Reasoning 3 BIOL 232 Human Anatomy & Physics II 4
BIOL 230 Human Anatomy & Physics I 4 +CHEM 106 or BIOL 200 4
+CHEM 105 or BIOL 199 4 KIN 282 Exercise and Aging 3
THEO course 3 KIN 216 Exercise & Sport Psychology 2
Humanities course 3 #WI-KIN 340 Nutrition Concepts 3
Total Credits 17 Total Credits 16

Year Three

PHYS 203 College Physics I 4 PHYS 204 College Physics II 4
KIN 440 Senior Research I 2 KIN 350 or KIN 392 3
KIN 361 Functional & Structural Kines. 3 +PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 300-level 3
#WI-KIN 390 Exercise Physiology 4 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

Undergraduate Scholarships

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.)

First-Year Scholarships

Amounts are for first-year students entering St. Ambrose in the 2019-20 academic year. There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria. The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using unweighted high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies, for up to four years, as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and remain a full-time student. 

On Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Trustee Scholarships
Criteria: unweighted 4.0 GPA and minimum 30 ACT or 1390 SAT score
Award: $23,000 per year and invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship

Presidential Scholarships
Criteria: minimum unweighted 3.8 GPA and 28 ACT or 1310 SAT score
Award: $20,000 per year

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $14,000 per year, $15,000 per year, $16,000 per year or $17,000 per year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
$12,000 per year

On Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000 per year

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $1,000/year

Off Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000 per year, $12,000 per year, $13,000 per year or $14,000 per year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $10,000 per year

Off-Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $500 per year

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2019-20 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.


Phi Theta Kappa
Criteria: awarded to all Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society members transferring from a community college
Award: $14,000


Transfer Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA
3.5-4.00 GPA $13,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $12,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $11,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $9,000 

Out-of-State Grants
Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000 per year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000 per year

Dual Admission Scholarships
Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 per year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $1,000 per year on-campus; $500 per year off-campus

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant
Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $6,095 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
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
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

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

Fine Arts Scholarships

How do I qualify for a fine arts scholarship? 
Scholarships are awarded based on performance and ability in art, music and theatre. Review the various requirements below:

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.


Ashley Nelson

Bachelor of Science in Biology,Class of 2014

We have roughly 150 biology majors, which means our faculty can give students personal attention and guidance. Many of our undergraduate programs are intentionally designed to give you an exceptional foundation for medical programs. We do all we can to help you explore – and reach your goals – just as we did with Ashley.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info


Sandra Lund

Kinesiology Department
Hayes Hall 229
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!