Exercise Science

students on treadmills; student an trainer with weight machine

Exercise Science at Franklin College

Turn your passions for health, wellness, fitness, and performance into a thriving career as you pursue this highly hands-on program that combines rigorous coursework, clinical experiences, and career development support to prepare you to lead in this expanding field.

Download the Exercise Science Major Handout (PDF)

The Classroom Experience

Experiential, lab-based learning

The Franklin College exercise science major is designed to prepare students for careers in both clinical and sports performance settings, covering anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, sport psychology, exercise prescription and more. Courses accentuate hands-on, lab-based learning, preferring a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, heart rate monitor and training equipment to a textbook. Beginning their first semester, students perform foundational health assessments like EKGs — electrocardiogram tests that assess a patient’s heart health — and ultrasounds, which become second nature well before graduation. Students are assessed using practical testing to demonstrate their proficiency in these skills. In addition to coursework, every major pursues independent research on human subjects, a unique opportunity for undergraduate students. Past research topics have included:

  • Testing the acute physiological effects of high-altitude training masks
  • Measuring physical changes after using blood flow moderation (KAATSU) training
  • Assessing the physical response to exercise using virtual reality gaming

The curriculum also infuses digital fluency, leadership and career preparation, giving students the professional competence and confidence they need to accelerate in their field.

Outside the Classroom

Integrated and immersive clinical experience

The Franklin College exercise science faculty emphasize evidence-based practice and introduce clinical experiences into the program as early as possible. Majors have the opportunity to work directly with patients off campus at Otterbein Senior Life Community. Students often continue their education abroad, taking advantage of the college’s ample travel opportunities; past exercise science majors have studied the history of sports in Ireland, interned with the Special Olympics in Costa Rica, and investigated the role of sport in the racial divide in South Africa. Students have also interned with:

  • Indianapolis Colts strength and conditioning team
  • The University of Indianapolis strength and conditioning coaches
  • Physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses
  • High-performance athletic coaches
  • Physical therapists and occupational therapists
  • Specialty technicians

3+2 Exercise Science to MSAT

Franklin College offers an accelerated Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) track in the form of a combined Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science and Master of Science in Athletic Training, with the potential to complete both degrees in five years. This cooperative program consists of common core and specific courses required for each particular program, in addition to specific pre-requisites for application to the MSAT program. Students may apply to the exercise science and MSAT programs simultaneously in the spring of their freshman or sophomore year for early admittance. Students admitted to the exercise science program may also apply to the MSAT program in the fall of their junior or senior year. Students accepted to the MSAT in their fourth year are considered graduate students and take primarily MSAT graduate courses, while also finishing required undergraduate courses. After completing three years of undergraduate courses and one year in the MSAT program, students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science from Franklin College. After completing the second year in the MSAT program, students graduate with their Master’s in Athletic Training.

Exercise Science students pursuing the 3+2 option can apply for early admittance into the MSAT program at the same time they submit the application for the exercise science program. Students who meet the early admittance requirements are guaranteed a spot in the MSAT program. Even though the application process is happening simultaneously, acceptance to the Exercise Science program does not ensure acceptance to early admittance for the MSAT.

Career options for Certified Athletic Trainers

Past students who have obtained a master’s degree in athletic training have secured jobs working in:

  • Secondary schools, colleges and universities, and professional settings
  • Physician offices, clinical settings, and hospitals
  • Police and fire departments and military branches
  • Performing arts
  • Sports and youth facilities
  • Commercial settings (medical devices, protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, etc)


While graduate school isn’t required to have a successful career in the field, 94 percent of Franklin College exercise science majors who have chosen to pursue a graduate program have been accepted since the start of the program in 2016. Students have been accepted to medical school, physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, physical therapy, athletic training, law, orthotics and prosthetics, chiropractics, accelerated nursing, speech therapy, pharmacy and doctor of philosophy programs. Alumni from exercise science have secured jobs working in:

  • Applied behavioral analysis therapy
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Coaching
  • Medical sales
  • Nuclear medicine and testing
  • Firefighting
  • Teaching

Meet Our Faculty

Did You Know?

100% of students in our 2018 senior class were accepted into graduate programs.