Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Exercise Physiology, B.S.

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Department Contact:

Chair: Dr. Kristofer S. Wisniewski, kwisniewski@francis.edu, 814-471-1132

Program Description:

The American College of Sports Medicine and exercise physiologists define an Exercise Physiologist as one who studies the acute and chronic physiological responses and adaptations resulting from physical activity. An exercise physiologist can apply this knowledge to improve or maintain health, fitness, or performance. Traditionally exercise physiologists worked and studied only with athletes to improve performance. Today, however, exercise physiologists also work and study in commercial, clinical, and workplace settings to increase health, fitness, and quality of life in the general population. For example, an exercise physiologist may work as a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist, a personal trainer, or direct an employee fitness program. (www.acsm.org)

The Exercise Physiology program’s curriculum, faculty, and resources are consistent with the standards and guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Commission on Accreditation of Exercise Sciences.

The Saint Francis University Exercise Physiology program is flexible and allows students to select exercise physiology and non-exercise physiology elective courses to focus their studies based on their post baccalaureate career goals. Electives are available for those interested in the Health and Fitness Industry, Clinical Exercise Physiology, Physical Therapy (EXPT), Medicine, among other health professions.

Non-majors may minor in exercise physiology with the approval of the department chair.

Accreditation Statement:

The Saint Francis University Exercise Physiology program has been continuously accredited since January 16, 2014 by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP). CAAHEP may be contacted at 9355 - 113th St. N, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775; (727) 210-2350; www.caahep.org.

What is CAAHEP Accreditation?

CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health-sciences field. CAAHEP reviews individual education programs to make sure they meet the standards of the profession. The CAAHEP standards by which these programs are measured have been developed primarily by the professionals involved in each discipline, are approved by each profession, and are intended to reflect required knowledge and skills that a person needs to be able to successfully function within that profession. CAAHEP standards focus on quality outcomes, assuring that educational programs are preparing competent entry-level health care professionals. That means that CAAHEP-accredited programs provide the educational foundation necessary to begin a successful career in many allied health professions. Earning a degree from an accredited program verifies the quality of the educational experience you’ve received meets the standards of the profession.

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Admission Requirements:

In addition to University admission requirements the program also requires the following:

  • SAT score of 1100 or higher in critical reading and math or an ACT composite score of 22 or higher;
  • GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0

Technical Standards or Essential Functions:

The University’s Exercise Physiology Program prepares students and graduates to competently practice as exercise physiologists and to sit for national certification exams. The education of exercise physiologists requires the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities typically required to perform the job of an entry-level Exercise Physiologist. A full list of the essential functions can be found in the Exercise Physiology Student Handbook.


Saint Francis University is committed to the principle that no qualified individual, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits or services, programs or activities of the University, or be subjected to discrimination by the University as required by the Americans with Disability Act. A copy of the technical standards for admission into the Physician Assistant Sciences program is available in the office of the program director or on the department’s website. The Physician Assistant Sciences program adheres to the policies for academic accommodation as determined by the Center for Academic Success. The Center’s Office of Disability Services assists eligible students in receiving basic services as determined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act. Every effort is made to arrange appropriate academic accommodations for students who experience physical or mental disabilities. Students are required to provide appropriate documentation to the accessibility coordinator upon request of the accommodation.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of the Exercise Physiology program will be able to utilize exercise physiology concepts to:

  • Assess an individual’s readiness for exercise and appropriately conduct, interpret, debrief, and implement exercise testing results.
  • Develop safe and effective individualized exercise programs and appropriately modify the exercise prescription.
  • Optimize adoption of, and adherence to, exercise and other healthy behaviors through communication, motivation, and behavioral strategies.
  • Recognize the importance of risk management policies in health and fitness settings.
  • Display personal and professional character consistent with the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education, specifically respect for the uniqueness of individual persons.


For further information, see the full list of CAAHEP Performance Domains and Associated Competencies for Educational Programs in Exercise Sciences that are covered in the program in the Exercise Physiology Student Handbook.

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

In order to maintain a high-quality program and to encourage students to perform at their best, each Saint Francis University Exercise Physiology student is expected to meet a minimum cumulative GPA standard in all Exercise Physiology required and collateral courses in order to maintain their standing in the major. The standards are progressive in that the requirements are higher as one advances through the curriculum from the freshman to the senior year.

The Standard:

  • 2.00 GPA at the end of the freshman year
  • 2.50 GPA at the end of the sophomore year
  • 2.75 GPA at the end of the junior year
  • 2.75 GPA also required for assignment to internships

Prior to the fall semester of the junior year, 40 hours of documented volunteer experience or paid employment in two different exercise physiology settings.

The Courses utilized for the GPA are as follows:

*(Not all students take these courses, as it depends on their concentration.)

Further, these standards require earning no grade below “C” in any major or collateral course, and require if the earned grade is below a “C” that the course(s) be repeated. Courses may be repeated only once.

Students in the EXPT must meet admissions criteria for the DPT program in order to progress into the graduate phases of the programs.

  • EXPT students must meet the following Minimum Criteria:
    • Overall GPA of 3.2
    • Math/Science GPA of 3.2
    • Complete 50 hours of volunteer experience in at least one physical therapy setting
    • No major or collateral requirements with a grade below “C”

(A complete description of these requirements is available in the Department of Exercise Physiology office.)

Capstone Requirement:

Students in the Exercise Physiology program are required to successfully complete ONE of the following requirements in order to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology:

  1. Take the comprehensive exercise physiology major written exam (EXAM 401)
  2. Take an accredited and approved certification exam offered by:
    • The American College of Sports Medicine: EP-C exam; OR
    • The National Strength and Conditioning Association: CSCS exam.


All Exercise Physiology students must complete two* 100-hour internship/practicum experiences. These experiences may be completed during the fall or spring semesters, but it is encouraged that they be completed in the summer months. These experiences are arranged between the student and the Internship Coordinator. Students are responsible for all expenses related to housing, food and transportation to the internship site.

*(BS EXCC students have one 100-hour experience.)

Total Credits Required:

128 - 130 Total Credits

128 credits minimum. Total credits are dependent on the concentration selected.

Courses Required for the Major: (79 credits)

Courses Required for Exercise Physiology, B.S. leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy (4+3 EXPT) (13 credits)

Go to complete listing for Exercise Physiology, B.S. leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy (4+3 EXPT)  

Courses Required for Pre-Medicine Concentration:

Go to complete listing for Exercise Physiology, B.S., Pre-Medicine Concentration  

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