10 Online Bachelor’s in Sport Exercise Science 2024

Online Bachelor's in Sport and Exercise Science

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for exercise physiologists are on the rise, growing at a pace that is much faster than that of the average occupation. And this is just one of the exciting career paths individuals with a bachelor’s in sport and exercise science can take. This is good news for individuals interested in pursuing this degree online. In this ranking, our editors identify the top 10 online bachelor’s in sport and exercise science programs currently available.

Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top online bachelor’s in sport and exercise science, our editors scoured the web for undergraduate programs in this field of study that can be completed via distance education. This search yielded 17 results. We then applied the tuition filter, eliminating schools with tuition costs exceeding $25,000 per year. Finally, the site-wide undergraduate ranking methodology was applied. The results are listed below in our official ranking of the best online bachelor’s in exercise programs in the U.S.

Types of Degrees Mentioned in this Ranking

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Exercise Science
  • Bachelor’s in Health and Human Performance: Exercise Science
  • Bachelor’s in Kinesiology: Fitness and Wellness
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science
  • BS in Sports and Health Sciences: Exercise Science
  • BS in Exercise Science, Fitness, and Nutrition Management
  • Bachelor’s in Human Performance

#10—Liberty University

BS in Exercise Science

Website

Featured Programs

Points: 3

Tuition: $22,511

Liberty University - logo

The only hybrid option in our ranking, Liberty University’s online bachelor’s in exercise science program includes some courses that cannot be completed via distance education. Still, it’s a viable option for prospective students who desire a flexible learning experience that includes some hands-on features. Course titles associated with the program may include:

  • Group Exercise Instruction
  • Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning
  • Corrective Exercises and Rehabilitation Theory
  • Musculoskeletal Injury Assessment

Online students can pursue one of three available concentrations:

  • Therapeutic Science
  • Fitness Specialist
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist

This bachelor’s degree in exercise science is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Programs (CAAHEP). Financial aid is available for online learners who qualify.

#9—Concordia University – St. Paul

BA in Exercise Science

Website

Points: 4

Tuition: $24,400                         

Concordia University - St. Paul- logo

The Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science program from Concordia University-St. Paul can be completed within just two years of online study. The program’s curriculum features a liberal arts core alongside major-specific courses such as:

  • Functional Anatomy
  • Applied Exercise Prescription
  • Motor Development, Control & Motor Learning
  • Applied Nutrition

An internship is also required for program completion. Graduates are prepared for success on several industry certifications, including the ACSM-CPT, NETA, NCSA, and AFFA.

#8—PennWest California

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Website

Points: 4

Tuition: $10,958

PennWest University - logo

The BS in Exercise Science option from PennWest California is a fully online program that can be completed within three years. The program’s curriculum emphasizes business and leadership skills in the sports and exercise science industry. Required major courses include:

  • Motivational Strategies in Wellness and Fitness
  • Business Aspects of Fitness
  • Integrated Personal Fitness Program Design
  • Fundamentals of Speed Training

A capstone course may also be required for this online bachelor’s degree. Graduates of the program are job-ready and prepared to sit for professional examinations from the NASM and the NASE.

#7—Eastern Oregon University

Bachelor’s in Health and Human Performance: Exercise Science

Website

Points: 4

Tuition: $10,041

The bachelor’s in exercise science from Eastern Oregon University is a flexible BA/BS program in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Exercise Science. This comprehensive 4-year program requires 180 credit hours of online coursework. Sample online courses include:

  • Measurement and Evaluation in Physical Activity & Health
  • Nutrition and Sport Performance
  • Motor Learning and Control
  • Physical Activity in Disease Prevention

A capstone in Applied Exercise Programming is also required for program completion. Internship opportunities are available for distance learners.

#6—North Carolina Central University

Bachelor’s in Kinesiology: Fitness and Wellness

Website

Points: 4

Tuition: $6,599

North Carolina Central University - logo

The 120-credit hour bachelor’s option in exercise science is a BS in Kinesiology with a concentration in Fitness and Wellness. The robust curriculum for this online degree program is comprised of course titles such as:

  • Fitness Management
  • Group Exercise Leadership
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Program Design in Strength and Conditioning

Students may also select from a variety of elective courses, including:

  • Career Readiness in Kinesiology
  • Weight Training
  • Nutrition

Graduates are career-ready, but they are also equipped with the foundational knowledge for graduate programs in the field.

#5—University of Kansas

Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science

Website

Points: 5

Tuition: $11,167

University of Kansas - logo

The online bachelor’s in exercise science program from the University of Kansas is a unique BAS in Exercise Science. Students enrolled in this distance learning program will take general education courses as well as required courses, including:

  • Principles of Personal Training
  • Care and Prevention of Athletic Injury
  • Clinical Fitness Evaluation Techniques
  • Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Elective classes are also available and include:

  • Medical Terminology for Health Professionals
  • Psychological Aspects of Exercise
  • Sport Communication
  • Applied Sport and Performance Psychology

The program’s curriculum is also intended to prepare graduates for professional certification in the field.

#4—American Military University

BS in Sports and Health Sciences: Exercise Science

Website

Points: 5

Tuition: $7,360

American Military University - logo

The online bachelor’s in exercise science program from American Military University is a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences with a formal concentration in Exercise Science. Once enrolled, students will take online courses spanning eight to sixteen weeks in length. Sample course titles include:

  • Principles of Corrective Exercise
  • Sports Medicine
  • Biomechanics
  • Advanced Strength and Conditioning

The curriculum also includes professional exam certification preparation, including content aligned with the following certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine:

  • Certified Professional Trainer (CPT)
  • Group Fitness Instructor (GPI)
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
  • Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES)

A senior seminar in Sports and Health Science is also required prior to graduation.   

#3—Bryan University

BS in Exercise Science, Fitness, and Nutrition Management

Website

Points: 6

Tuition: $12,184

Bryan University - logo

Bryan University offers a 120-credit hour bachelor’s degree in exercise science that can be completed fully online. Prospective students can expect to take online courses such as:

  • Physical Activity and Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Rest and Recovery Strategies
  • Psychosocial Aspect of Physical Activity
  • Sales and Marketing for the Fitness Professional

Courses are taken two at a time and last for eight weeks each.

#2—Franklin University

Online BS in Exercise Science

Website

Points: 6

Tuition: $9,577

Franklin University - logo

The transfer-friendly bachelor’s in exercise science from Franklin University is a 120-credit hour distance learning option that can be completed in just 20 months. The curriculum for this contemporary program is aligned with the American College of Sports Medicine standards. Required course titles may include:

  • Introduction to Sports and Exercise Psychology
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription
  • Designing Exercise Programs
  • Contemporary Issues in Sport

Aside from fundamental coursework in the major, students may also take classes in an optional focus area such as:

  • Athletic Administration and Sport Leadership
  • Athletic Coaching Leadership
  • Health Promotion and Public Health
  • Sport Performance and Fitness Business Ownership

This is a full-time program, though students need only take one course at a time.  

#1—University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Bachelor’s in Human Performance

Website

Points: 6

Tuition: $7,864

University of Wisconsin- Whitewater - logo

The exercise science bachelor’s program from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a BS in Human Performance that can be completed entirely online. The 120-credit hour curriculum for the program includes core courses such as:

  • Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise
  • Physical Activity and Recreation for Special Populations
  • Structure and Function of the Human Body
  • Health Appraisal and Exercise Testing

In addition to program requirements, prospective students may also consider one of four available minors:

  • Health Promotion
  • Sport Management
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies

A capstone course entitled Research in the Performance Sciences is also required.

Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science: Admissions

Gaining admission to a bachelor’s degree program in sport and exercise science is much like applying to any other undergraduate program. That said, specific admissions criteria may vary from one school and program to the next. Here are some common requirements:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • GPA (usually 2.0 or higher)
  • Complete Academic Transcript (including any previous college or associate’s degree programs)
  • Official Application
  • Admissions Essay
  • Personal Recommendations

Exercise Science Bachelor’s Programs: Curriculum

Like any bachelor’s degree program, an undergraduate exercise science program will consist of a combination of general education and major-specific, or core, courses. While each program may be unique, there is often significant overlap from one program to another. Below are some examples of core courses you may encounter in a bachelor’s in sport and exercise science curriculum:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Corrective Exercise and Rehabilitation Theory
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Sport Business
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Design of Fitness Programs
  • Integrated Personal Fitness Training
  • Wellness and Fitness for the Aging Population
  • Structure and Function of the Human Body
  • Group Exercise Leadership
  • Motor Learning
  • Physical Education
  • Foundations of Nutrition
  • Exercise Programming and Testing
  • Rest and Recovery Strategies
  • Corrective Impairment Strategies
Exercise science curriculum concepts

Bachelor’s in Exercise Science Degree: Concentrations

Sport and exercise science is a vast field. Thus, it offers prospective students many opportunities for specialization. In many cases, colleges and universities give these students the chance to select a formal concentration. Depending on which concentration they choose, individuals will take specific courses tailored to a subfield of exercise science. Some of these concentration options are listed below for reference:

  • Therapeutic Science
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • Fitness Specialist
  • Athletic Administration and Sport Leadership
  • Fitness and Wellness
  • Health Promotion and Public Health
  • Athletic Coaching Leadership
  • Sport Performance and Fitness Business Ownership

Types of Online Degree Programs in Sport and Exercise Science

It’s a common misconception that all online degrees in exercise science are identical. In reality, there can be considerable variation from one program to the next. In this section, we’ll address some of the different types of distance learning programs that are available in the field of sport and exercise science.

Graduate of online bachelor's in exercise science program

Fully Online Versus Hybrid Bachelor’s in Sport and Exercise Science

With the exception of Liberty University, all of the schools featured in this ranking of bachelor’s degrees in exercise science offer fully online programs. This means all coursework and other requirements for the degree can be completed via distance education. Fully online options are typically the more convenient programs for busy and working adults. Still, hybrid programs shouldn’t be overlooked if your schedule allows for minimal campus visits. These programs often feature unique experiential learning elements that may be beneficial.

Part-Time Versus Full-Time Undergraduate Programs in Exercise Science

When looking for the right program for you, keep in mind that both part-time and full-time options exist. Some schools offer both while others may offer one or the other. Both types of programs have advantages, but part-time degrees may be more convenient for prospective students who are short on time. For students whose schedules allow for a full courseload each semester, full-time bachelor’s in exercise science programs, particularly those that follow accelerated formats, could be completed faster.

Accredited Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Exercise Science

When searching for a suitable online bachelor’s in exercise science program, it’s important to look for one that is accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation shows that the program meets quality standards. It also ensures that your degree will be acknowledged by future employers and graduate school admissions officers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor’s in Exercise Science Programs

It’s common for prospective students to have questions about online programs in exercise science. Below, our editors field some of the more popular questions about this particular distance education offering. Keep in mind that these FAQs are intended to provide general information. For specifics, contact an admissions officer or visit the school’s website.

Undergraduate exercise science student
Can I earn a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise science online?

Yes. It is possible to earn an undergraduate degree in this field via online learning. There are also numerous on-campus options for those who desire a more traditional experience.

How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s in exercise science program?

Your time to completion will vary. There are many factors that determine the duration of the program. Some of these include the school you attend, program specifics, course load, transfer credits, and more. Typical program lengths span two to four years of online study.

How much does an online degree in exercise science cost at the undergraduate level?

Costs associated with online bachelor’s in sport and exercise science can vary widely. Depending on the school and program, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 to $40,000 per year. The affordable exercise science programs featured in this ranking cost less than $25,000 per year.

Careers in exercise science

Career Questions for Sport and Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degrees

What can I do with a bachelor’s in sport and exercise science degree?

Career opportunities in this field are bountiful and may include:
certified personal trainer
physical therapist
exercise physiologist
health education professional

Are jobs in sport and exercise science in demand?

Yes. By 2032, jobs for exercise physiologists are expected to grow by 10 percent. The demand for fitness trainers, including personal trainers, is even greater.

How much will I make with an exercise science degree?

According to PayScale, individuals with a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise science earn approximately $67,000 per year on average.

What professional associations can I join with a sport and exercise science degree?

There are several different professional associations you can join as a student or graduate of an undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science. Some of these organizations may include:
American Kinesiology Association
American College of Sports Medicine
American Council on Exercise
American Physical Therapy Association
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance

Sources

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
  • PayScale.com