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School of Medicine: Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology, BS

Trained in human movement and physiology, exercise physiologists work to prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease in healthy people and to provide therapeutic benefits to those with known disease.

Our BS in Exercise Physiology (EXPH) program prepares you to pursue immediate employment in the field, or to continue into graduate or professional school in diverse areas, including medicine, biomedical sciences, physical therapy, dentistry, physician assistant studies, pharmacy, athletic training, occupational therapy and more.

Regardless of your intended pathway, our program offers a strong background in basic and clinical science and exercise physiology. Courses include human cadaver anatomy, human physiology, kinesiology, clinical applications to health and disease, and nutrition.

Students pursuing a BS in EXPH are required to complete either a minor or an area of emphasis prior to graduation. If you're interested in pursuing professional programs, such as medicine, dentistry or pharmacy, select the Health Professions area of emphasis. The general EXPH curriculum prepares you for other areas of graduate or professional study. You can further tailor your undergraduate experience by selecting one of the other areas of emphasis described below, or through a complementary minor.

Well-qualified incoming freshmen may be eligible for the Physical Therapy Early Assurance Program.

Your Degree Plan

Intro

Aerial view of Martin and Woodburn Halls

Exercise Physiology is an exceptional foundation for postgraduate study in medicine, dentistry and allied health fields, through a customizable major that aligns your interests with the foundational science knowledge needed to excel.

WVU’s EXPH curriculum uses a combination of classroom instruction and research/clinical experiences to prepare students for postgraduate studies or immediate employment.

Additionally, EXPH students are required to complete either a minor or an area of emphasis prior to graduation, allowing them to customize their undergraduate major to align even more completely with their interests and career goals.

Students interested in pursuing professional programs, such as medicine, dentistry or pharmacy, should select the Health Professions area of emphasis. The general EXPH curriculum prepares students for other areas of graduate or professional study.

Tailor this major to your interests by focusing your coursework in one of these areas:

  • Aquatic Therapy

    This area of emphasis is for students who would like to distinguish themselves by pursuing a specialized and rapidly developing health profession, and to prepare for the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Exam.

  • Dance Science

    This area of emphasis is for students who want to learn and engage in the application of principles of movement, mechanics, conditioning, training and prevention of injury in dancers and performance artists.

  • Health Professions

    The Health Professions area of emphasis starts early, with advanced prerequisites required beginning in the freshman year. Throughout the degree, it contains additional upper division science and clinical coursework. It is ideal for students who wish to prepare for professional programs such as medicine or dentistry.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • Unique opportunities to participate in hands-on research and clinical experiences in WVU’s Human Performance Lab, which offers clinical programs to improve physical health and well-being to members of the community.
  • Selected senior students are eligible to take a hands-on cadaveric dissection gross anatomy laboratory, further enhancing their competitiveness for admission into graduate and professional programs.
  • Faculty are outstanding teachers and mentors, as well as world-class researchers. Many routinely receive grant funding from organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Heart Association and more.
  • WVU’s BS and MS programs in Exercise Physiology are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), a voluntary accreditation that affirms WVU’s robust educational standards.
  • The Division of Exercise Physiology offers a comprehensive portfolio of programs: a BS in EXPH; a Master of Science (MS) in EXPH; and a PhD in Pathophysiology, Rehabilitation and Performance.
Scholarships

Over 92% of WVU freshmen receive grants or scholarships (2022-2023).

Learn more

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

Research
WVU hosts three undergraduate research symposia each year. EXPH students and their faculty mentors are always well-represented, frequently as category winners and runners-up. A sample of recent winning research projects:

  • MINDDS: Mental Health in Digestive Disease Study – Aiden Aiello, Winner (Social and Behavioral Sciences), Fall 2022
  • RNA Sequencing of Pre-Clinical Models of Glioblastoma – Farah Kisto, Runner-Up (Health Sciences and Community Health), Fall 2022
  • Chronic Stress Increases the Production of Xanthine Oxidase in the Liver of C57BL/6J Mice – Phillip Englund, Winner (Health Sciences and Community Health), Fall 2021
  • E-Liquid Base Solution Used in Electronic Cigarettes Impairs Cerebrovascular Reactivity – Rachel Plants, Winner (Health Sciences), Spring 2021
  • Effects of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Upper-Limb Performance in Stroke Survivors – Mackenzie Barr, Runner-Up (Health Sciences), Spring 2021

Capstone Project
Before graduating, each student completes EXPH 496: Senior Thesis. Students may choose to conduct primary research with a faculty mentor or write a review of the literature on an important current topic in the field of exercise science or sports medicine.

Connect with other students who share your academic interests as a member of:

View all of the student organizations you can join.

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests. Includes vascular technologists.

Median Salary: $66,170

Possible job titles include: Cardiopulmonary Technician, Cardiovascular Technician, Cardiology Technician, Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT), Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS).

Explore Career

Fitness and Wellness Coordinators

Manage or coordinate fitness and wellness programs and services. Manage and train staff of wellness specialists, health educators or fitness instructors.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $56,090

Possible job titles include: Fitness and Wellness Director, Fitness Coordinator, Fitness/Wellness Director, Wellness Director.

Explore Career

Recreational Therapists

Plan, direct or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, dramatics, social activities and arts and crafts. May assess a patient's condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.

Median Salary: $51,330

Possible job titles include: Rehabilitation Therapist, Activities Director, Activity Assistant, Activity Coordinator, Activity Director, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), General Activities Therapist, Recreation Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

Explore Career

Exercise Physiologists

Assess, plan, or implement fitness programs that include exercise or physical activities such as those designed to improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, or flexibility.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $51,350

Possible job titles include: Bariatric Weight Loss Clinic Manager and Counselor, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Exercise Physiologist.

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Exercise Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors

Instruct or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities for the primary purpose of personal fitness. Demonstrate techniques and form, observe participants and explain to them corrective measures necessary to improve their skills. Develop and implement individualized approaches to exercise.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $45,380

Possible job titles include: Fitness Specialist, Aerobics Instructor, Fitness Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer.

Explore Career

Career options

Many exercise physiology alums pursue graduate study in in-demand health careers, including:

Where our grads are working

Exercise physiology graduates have gone to work at:

  • HealthWorks Rehab and Fitness
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Stryker
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
  • U.S. Air Force
  • Viatris
  • WakeMed
  • WVU Medicine

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Exercise Physiology major, first-time freshmen must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2024-25 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Tuition and Aid

How much does Exercise Physiology at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates are available on our tuition website. Anyone who is not a current West Virginia resident, including international students, will be charged non-resident rates.

View Tuition and Fees

Scholarships

Estimate your eligibility for merit scholarships at WVU Morgantown.

Find Scholarships

Net Price Calculator

Estimate your cost of attendance and eligibility for financial aid and scholarships at any WVU System campus.

Visit the Net Price Calculator

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Financial Aid

The most important step toward funding your future with financial aid for the Exercise Physiology major is submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU.

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits

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