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Exercise PhysiologyMajor

Looking for a pre-medical, pre-dental or other professional degree program? This major combines basic science knowledge with clinical applications. You'll have access to state-of-the-art facilities and the only accredited Aquatic Therapy program in the U.S.


What is Exercise Physiology at WVU like?


We offer the opportunity to pursue a bachelor's degree, master's degree and PhD in Exercise Physiology.

The BS in Exercise Physiology is a preparatory program for graduate or professional school. Graduates continue their education in areas such as medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, physician assistant, pharmacy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology. The program is designed to provide a strong background in basic and clinical science and exercise physiology, and includes courses in human cadaver anatomy, human physiology, kinesiology, clinical laboratory sciences, clinical applications to health and disease, and nutrition.

Exercise physiologists are trained to evaluate people in the areas of cardiovascular fitness, respiratory function, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, neuromuscular integration and body composition. They are also trained to assess medical needs and conditions and provide exercise programs, based on the results of these evaluations, that increase the functional capacity of the participants and patients.

Exercise Physiology program highlights:

At a Glance

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here are some suggested next steps:

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Areas of Emphasis

Tailor this major to your interests by taking courses in one of these areas:

  • Aquatic Therapy
    Students interested in physical therapy or clinical exercise physiology will improve their clinical skills and increase the opportunities for job placement with training as an aquatic therapist. This unique area of emphasis helps students prepare to sit for the National Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Exam.
  • General Track
    Students who intend to pursue physical therapy, occupational therapy or a physician assistant program will find this area of emphasis will prepare them well.
  • Health Professions
    Students who wish to apply to professional school (i.e., medicine, dentistry, pharmacy) will find this area of emphasis extremely helpful in their preparations. In addition to standard biology and chemistry courses, the area of emphasis includes courses in biochemistry, pathophysiology, and clinical and/or research internships.

Fast Facts

What makes Exercise Physiology at WVU unique?

Research and Academic Opportunities

Our students have pursued research in:

  • Metabolic syndrome, exercise and vascular cerebral resistance arteries in animal models.
  • Mechanisms of heart disease using human and non-human research models.
  • Diabetes, and metabolic diseases using human and non-human models.
  • Stroke and exercise using human and non-human models.
  • Diabetes education in exercise and community outreach. Students can obtain a certificate in “Diabetes Education in Exercise and Community Outreach” to impact exercise treatment for persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Motor control, gait, EMG, bioengineering control of movement in humans.
  • Clinical animal models of cancer cachexia and cancer studies with exercise in patients with cancer.

Living-Learning Communities (LLCs)

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

Student Organizations

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

View all of the student organizations you can join.

Professional Organizations

Network with professionals in your field as a student member of:


How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Exercise Physiology graduates have gone on to work at NASA (Human Space Exploration Program), the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and many other organizations.

The number of Exercise Physiology undergraduates getting into medical and other professional schools is on the rise.

Possible Careers

Wondering what you can do with a degree from WVU's Exercise Physiology major? Check out these ideas from WVU Career Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is the midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.


Graduates from this major have gone to work at:


What are the courses like in Exercise Physiology at WVU?

Plan of Study

Check out a program overview, learning goals, course descriptions and suggested plan of study for WVU's Exercise Physiology major.

View the Plan of Study

Popular Courses

EXPH 364:

Anatomical, mechanical, and musculoskeletal study of the human body as the instrument for efficient performance of motor activities. (Laboratory work included.)

EXPH 386:
Advanced Physiology of Exercise 1

The study of the major systems of the body and how they function during acute and chronic adaptations that occur from exercise stress. Special focus is given to metabolism and the neuromuscular, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.

EXPH 387:
Advanced Physiology of Exercise 2

A study of the functioning of body systems during exercise and the acute and chronic adaptations that occur from exercise stress. Special focus is given to the endocrine system, obesity and body composition, exercise throughout the lifespan, environmental exercise stress, and clinical exercise physiology.

EXPH 388:
Physiology of Exercise Laboratory 1

PR or CONC: EXPH 386 with a minimum grade of C-. A study of the laboratory techniques and methods used in clinical and athletic settings by exercise professionals specifically as they relate to those topics covered in EXPH 386.

EXPH 389:
Advanced Physiology of Exercise Laboratory 2

A study of the laboratory techniques and methods used in clinical and athletic settings by exercise professionals specifically as they relate to those topics covered in EXPH 387.

EXPH 450:
Theory of Aquatic Therapy

An introduction to aquatic therapy. It covers the historical perspective, biophysiologic response to water immersion, and application of aquatic therapy to specific physical diagnoses.

EXPH 460:

The study of disease etiology and the physiological changes that occur from disease, with special emphasis given to the use of exercise in disease prevention and therapy.

EXPH 495:
Independent Study

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

Capstone Projects

Before graduating, all undergraduates in this major complete an academic project (or "capstone") to demonstrate their research, communication and critical thinking skills.

Before graduating, each student completes one of these two capstone courses:

  • Senior Thesis Capstone, EXPH 496 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 or exercise science or sports medicine.
  • Independent Study, EXPH 495 Students may pursue additional research opportunities in an area of faculty expertise and work closely with the faculty on research projects in: diabetes, obesity, muscle repair, mitochondria and heart disease, vascular function, stroke and rehabilitation, muscle wasting and cancer cachexia.

Cost and Aid

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

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates for the 2021-22 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current West Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

West Virginia Resident
Per Credit $453
Per Semester $5,436
Fall and Spring Semesters $10,872
Per Credit $1,271
Per Semester $15,252
Fall and Spring Semesters $30,504
Per Credit $1,271
Per Semester $15,552
Fall and Spring Semesters $31,104
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Ways to Save

Here is a way for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

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


What are the requirements to apply for Exercise Physiology at WVU?

To be admitted to WVU's Exercise Physiology major, you must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2022-23 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Next Steps

I like this major. What are the next steps?

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Want to know more about Exercise Physiology at WVU? Fill out the Request Information form to receive more information about the program and life at WVU.

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