Admissions Office
The College of St. Scholastica
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
(218) 723-6046
(800) 249-6412
TTY/TDD: (218) 723-6790

Larry Birnbaum, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Burns Wellness Commons, Room 240
phone: (218) 723-6621

Exercise Physiology

Fast Facts: Exercise Physiology

  • Located in a state-of-the-art academic, athletic and fitness center.
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio means students receive individual attention and get to know their instructors and fellow classmates.
  • Outstanding faculty put teaching first, while also pursuing scholarly research and scientific writing.
  • Exercise Physiology students can work as interns or volunteers in the Cenergy! program, which provides coaching and custom workout plans for St. Scholastica students.
  • Through the Fast Track program, CSS seniors enrolled in the undergraduate Exercise Physiology program can bypass aspects of the graduate application process. 

Program Requirements

Major: 44-56 credits


  • The program requires students to complete an internship; students can choose a site that fits their interests and objectives.
  • For guidance on securing internships, contact the department chair. Scholastica students have interned at a variety of sites, including Fairview Hospital, Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota, collegiate athletic programs and fitness centers.
  • Students also have the opportunity to have an internship abroad.


Upon graduating, students have secured good positions within healthcare facilities, university settings, and fitness and rehabilitation centers.  

Students have also gone on to pursue graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy and athletic training at Scholastica as well as other doctor of physical therapy programs within the Midwest.

Pair with a Language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology at The College of St. Scholastica, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Analyze the underlying reasons, including biomechanical principles, for the involvement of specific nerves and muscles in human movement.
  2. Perform and evaluate the results of a variety of clinical assessments of different human populations (e.g., age, gender, athletes, chronic disease) and prescribe appropriate exercise protocols based clinical assessment results. Assessments include exercise test protocols, metabolic gas analysis, 12-lead ECGs, risk assessment, screening, energy expenditure, heart rate and blood pressure, anaerobic and aerobic fitness/capacity, flexibility and range of motion, muscular strength, body composition.
  3. Evaluate research articles with respect to research designs, statistical analyses, limitations, validity and reliability.
  4. Discuss nutritional requirements of different human populations (e.g., children, adults, elderly, athletes, chronic disease) and the use of supplements with respect to effectiveness, potential adverse effects and ethics.
  5. Demonstrate professional behavior and effective written and oral communication skills in academic and professional settings.

Sample Curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse BIO 1036 - Biology of the Cell

Introduction to cell biology, intended for students who are not majoring in the natural sciences (biology majors take BIO 1110 and 1120). Topics include the study of structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids; study of the structure, function and behavior of cells; an introduction to cellular metabolism. 2 class hours.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2110 - Anatomy and Physiology I

Introductory study of anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate body with an emphasis on the human. Topics include an introduction to cells, tissues, and systems organization, osteology, fluid compartments, gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the circulatory system, body defense systems and the gross anatomy of musculature. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1110 or BIO 1036.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2120 - Anatomy and Physiology II

Continuation of BIO 2110. Topics include gross and microscopic anatomy, physiology of the renal system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and endocrine system. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 2110.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1040 - General, Organic, and Biochemistry for Health Sciences

Introduces concepts of general, organic, and biochemistry in an integrated rather than a sequential order. Topics include the structure and function of atoms, ions and compounds, the periodic table, organic functional groups, biological macromolecules, and an introduction to metabolism. This course is required for Nursing majors and can be applied to the Exercise Physiology major.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3321 - Kinesiology

The kinesiology course provides students the opportunity to engage in an advanced introduction to: (a) the study of the origins, insertions, and functions of 75 major muscles of the upper and lower extremities; (b) the brachial plexus and lumbar-sacral plexus and the role of each in muscle function and dysfunction; (c) the application of functional anatomy concepts in weight lifting and stretching exercises, human movement activities, and athletics; and (d) the blending of anatomical information with the physiology of the body to thoroughly grasp the meaning of “the science of movement.”

Expand and Collapse EXP 3322 - Biomechanics

Fundamental principles, calculations and applications of biomechanical analysis to the human body at rest and during movement. Special attention is given to the relationship of biomechanics to kinesiology and exercise physiology in order to understand the role of physical stressors as they influence significant clinical changes in the body.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3323 - Sports Nutrition

Structure, function and dietary sources of macro and micronutruients. Determination of individual nutrient requirements and diet analysis. Effect of nutrition and hydration on health and athletic performance. Efficacy and ethical considerations regarding the use of nutritional manipulation techniques, supplements and ergogenic aids to improve performance and enhance recovery. Prerequisite: CHM 1040.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3331 - Exercise Physiology

Basic principles of human physiology and metabolic processes used to produce and store energy with direct application to acute and chronic exercise. Structure, function and measurement of the cardiovascular, pulmonary and neuromuscular systems with respect to human activity and athletic performance. Measurement of hemodynamic parameters and expired ventilatory gases to determine energy expenditure at rest and during exercise. Prerequisite: BIO 2110.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3332 - Physiological Assessment

Basic to advanced instrumentation used to evaluate aerobic capacity, flexibility, body composition, muscular strength and endurance. Pre-exercise screening, safety and legal ramifications of exercise as a therapeutic intervention. Physiological adaptation in response to acute and chronic exercise and its application to exercise prescription and training for athletic performance. Administration and application of various stress test protocols and exercise programs in developing individualized exercise prescriptions for healthy and diseased individuals. Effect of exercise on the treatment and progression of common lifestyle diseases. Prerequisite: BIO 2120.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3334 - Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Multi-disciplinary risk factors considered responsible for heart and vascular disease along with commonly associated diseases (obesity, diabetes) and behaviors (smoking, physical inactivity). Changes in cardiac structure, function and coronary circulation that occur in heart and vascular disease. Behavioral, surgical and pharmacological treatments used in primary and secondary prevention of heart disease. Use of diagnostic techniques to determine safe and effective exercise prescription for cardiac and pulmonary patients. Recognition of, and response to, common psychosocial issues as they relate to the post-myocardial infarction and pulmonary patients. Prerequisite: EXP 3331.

Expand and Collapse EXP 3342 - Strength Training & Conditioni

Scientific theory and practical application of strength training and aerobic exercise to enhance the function and capacity of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4431 - Advanced Exercise Physiology

Integration of undergraduate exercise physiology classroom and laboratory experiences to illustrate how the understanding of the physiology of exercise, sport, and physical activity is applied in real world settings within the scope of practice of an exercise physiologist. Laboratory sessions focus on physical/physiological measurement and evaluation techniques while the lecture portion is centered on applied exercise physiology topics and professional development.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4436 - Exercise Physiology Research I

Foundations of research including the fundamental tenets of scientific investigation and the scientific method; the importance of objectivity and ethical behavior in research; and the ability to critically read, interpret, and discuss the content of scientific articles. The skills involved in writing a research paper according to specified guidelines will also be taught and will culminate in the writing of a research paper.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4438 - Exercise Electrocardiography and Graded Exercise Testing

Students read electrocardiograms of individuals at rest and during exercise with special attention paid to the electrocardiograms of post-myocardial infarction patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs. Includes cardiac medications and graded exercise testing. Prerequisite: EXP 3334.

Expand and Collapse EXP 4555 - Internship

A supervised off-campus internship that allows the student to apply theoretical knowledge and hands-on laboratory skills to real-life situations. Prerequisites: EXP major and consent of the chair.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2001 - Physics I

Covers algebra-based general physics including Newtonian mechanics (motion, force, energy, momentum), harmonic motion, fluids, and thermodynamics. Students must have ease and familiarity with basic algebraic and trigonometric techniques. Includes one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in College Algebra (MATH 1111) or a C or better in a more advanced college math course or a math ACT score of 24 or higher or by permission of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse PSY 2208 - Lifespan Developmental PSY

Cognitive, personality/social, and physical development from conception to death. Within a life span developmental perspective, the course examines research methods, developmental theories, and application of research findings to selected problems in the major periods of the life span: the prenatal period, infancy, early/middle/late childhood, adolescence, and young/middle/late adulthood. The developmental perspective provides an important foundation for understanding normal children and adults, while also providing the essential knowledge base for the modern view of psychological disturbances as "normal development gone awry." This approach has practical implications for individuals with interests in parenting, caregiving, education, social services, and health sciences with both normal and exceptional populations. Prerequisite: none, but sophomore standing recommended.

Expand and Collapse PSY 3331 - Statistics

Covers basic statistical concepts and methods useful in conducting research and evaluating results of studies done by others. Topics include frequency distributions and graphs, measures of central tendency and variability, transformed scores, correlations, multiple regression, hypothesis testing (t test, analysis of variance, and chi square), selection of appropriate statistics, calculation with MS Excel spreadsheets and SPSS, interpretation of the "results" sections of journal articles, and numeracy (understanding and using numbers in decision-making). Prerequisite: competence in arithmetic.

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  • "The exercise physiology program gave me the confidence to challenge myself as a student and future professional. The instructors were always supportive and helpful, and the curriculum and technology available allowed for a more in-depth study of the physiological effects of physical activity on the human body."

    – Devin Soul, ‘11