Exercise and Sport Science
Are health and fitness important to you? Interested in the science of human movement? Exercise science is the study of human performance, including health and wellness, strength and conditioning, weight management and athletic ability.
St. Kate’s offers four majors related to this field — Exercise and Sport Science, Exercise Science and Nutrition, Exercise Science and Physical Therapy, and K–12 physical education — and minors in coaching plus exercise and sport science.
These majors, sometimes combined with minors or graduate education in other areas, prepare you for a range of rewarding careers: physical therapist, athletic trainer, health and wellness specialist, sports journalist and athletic facility designer.
St. Kate’s has the only accredited exercise and sport science program in Minnesota — and it’s one of only 30 in the nation. Our accreditation means you’re going into a program that meets the rigorous standards of the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Your qualifications and achievements will be recognized when you’re ready to seek employment.
Modern lab, collaborative research
“Hands-on activities, combined with small class sizes and the internship opportunities, make our program strong.” — Mark Blegen, associate professor
The Women’s Health Integrative Research (WHIR) Center is a multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art research and teaching facility at St. Kate’s. Faculty and students from physical therapy, exercise and sport science, nutrition science and biology explore ways of moving, fueling our bodies, and honing athletic skills. The center works with participants across the age spectrum, with a focus on issues critical to women’s health and biology.
Current research studies include massage and weight loss, how carrying kids affects our movement and energy use patterns, what factors influence how much we eat and how age influences walking stability in women. The center also conducts performance assessments on athletes, including 2004 Olympic distance runner Carrie Tollefson, who holds a distance training camp for teens at St. Kate's.
In addition to motion-tracking equipment — such as a 3-D Electromagnetic Motion System, a Metabolic Measurement Unit and a Heart Rate Monitoring System — the center also has a wet lab that supports the processing and storage of human blood and saliva samples. Take a 360-degree tour of the WHIR Center.
Interactive and tech-savvy
In class, we engage you in many ways, including lively discussions and small-group projects. Some faculty members use their iPads and our SMART interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching, and they encourage you as well to pull out your laptops and mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, for textbook readings or articles.
Tailor your interest
Our engaging courses focus on athletic injuries, kinesiology and biomechanics, sports nutrition, physical education administration, exercise testing and coaching women’s sports, and individual and team techniques for sports such as aquatics, badminton, fencing, soccer and volleyball.
During the fall semester, exercise and sport science majors have the chance to work as personal trainers. This 10-week experience, part of the “Exercise Testing and Prescription” course, includes conducting fitness assessments and exercise testing, and prescribing an exercise regime for participating faculty and staff members.
Our students frequently partner with professors on original research projects that are presented at regional and national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. For example, Nicole Neumann and Jessica Arechigo reported their findings on a “doughnut study,” which looked at the impact of professional status on eating habits, at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in New York.
While there, the St. Kate’s students also had a chance to brainstorm future projects with Cornell researcher Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating.
Our faculty are captivating teachers and active researchers who specialize in many areas, including public health nutrition, chronic disease prevention, sports nutrition and food safety. They are renowned in athletic fields such as water fitness, aerobics, dance and self-defense. Professor Dave Luedtke, for example, has done research with Olympic swimmers, and Professor Allys Swanson studied at the International Olympic Studies Center in Switzerland.
Our faculty are also influential members of professional organizations. Associate Professor of Exercise and Sport Science Mark Blegen is president of the Northland American College of Sports Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Athletics at St. Kate’s
The Wildcats compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — one of the strongest in NCAA Division III — in basketball, ice hockey, cross country, softball, swimming and diving, dance, track and field, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Club and recreational sports include aerobics, volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis and rock climbing.
About 55 percent of our exercise and sport science majors are intercollegiate athletes. St. Kate’s also has the Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness — a women-oriented sports center complete with an eight-lane swimming pool, weight room, suspended jogging track, spa and sauna.