Exercise and Sport Science Major, B.A.–Fitness Professional

The goal of the fitness professional program is to prepare students to assume roles as leaders in the fitness field and the area of fitness research. The blend of theoretical coursework and practical experience will assist the student in preparing for career opportunities and national fitness certifications.

For more information, interested students can also access the fitness professional website or contact Professor Alain Aguilar.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Exercise and Sport Science program (fitness professional track), students should be able to:

  • Apply curriculum learning to pass fitness-related accredited certifications
  • Efficiently and independently demonstrate accurate fitness testing methods to create comprehensive fitness programs for healthy and clinical populations
  • Explain, correct, and modify exercise techniques to healthy and clinical populations
  • Explain general nutritional concepts for specific fitness goals
  • Comprehend the basic administrative duties of fitness management
  • Critically analyze fitness-related research, blog posts, and other outlets of information


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Students seeking the major in exercise and sport science–fitness professional (EXSS–FP) must complete the following departmental requirements in addition to required General Education courses:

Core Requirements
EXSS 175IDEAs in Action General Education logo Human Anatomy F3
EXSS 220Fitness Management3
EXSS 276Human Physiology3
EXSS 360Sports Nutrition3
EXSS 376Physiological Basis of Human Performance3
EXSS 380Neuromuscular Control and Learning3
or EXSS 385 Biomechanics of Sport
EXSS 408Theory and Application of Strength Training and Conditioning for Fitness Professionals3
or EXSS 478 Sports Performance Training
EXSS 410Exercise Testing and Prescription4
EXSS 593IDEAs in Action General Education logo Practicum in Physical Fitness and Wellness3
Select two courses from the following options: 6
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Practicum in Physical Fitness and Wellness (can be taken for an additional 6 hours, or a total of 9 hours for the core requirements)
Additional EXSS elective course(s) excluding first-year seminars 1
Additional Requirements
BIOL 101
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory H, F
Select one:4
Introduction to Biochemistry
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry I
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1, F
Total Hours42

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.


FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.


If EXSS 593 is taken for fewer than 9 credit hours, additional EXSS courses must be taken to reach 34 total hours of core requirements. If more than one additional course is required to reach 34 hours, at least one must be above 199. 


CHEM 101 requires MATH 110 as a prerequisite. 

Special Opportunities in Exercise and Sport Science

Honors in Exercise and Sport Science

The senior honors program provides exercise and sport science majors the opportunity to pursue an independent, two-semester research project. A student must have an overall grade point average of 3.3 or above prior to acceptance into the departmental honors program and must maintain an overall average of 3.3 or above to remain in the program. Students complete EXSS 693H and EXSS 694H. Honors study involves the completion of a substantial piece of original research and the formal oral presentation of the results. Those successfully completing the program are awarded their degree with either honors or highest honors. Previous senior honors thesis topics and more information can be found on the EXSS department web page. Please contact Dr. Claudio Battaglini by email if you are interested.

Departmental Involvement

In addition to its academic offerings, the department houses many research laboratories, and the campus recreation program. Both provide experiences outside the classroom. Students may also affiliate with the Carolina Sports Business Club and the Carolina Sport Administration Club.

Experiential Education/High-Impact

The following courses satisfy the experiential education requirement in the Making Connections curriculum and some satisfy the high-impact experience requirement in the IDEAs in Action curriculum.

EXSS 51IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Entrepreneurship in Human Performance and Sport3
EXSS 207Coaching Principles3
EXSS 393IDEAs in Action General Education logo Sports Medicine Clinical1
EXSS 395IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research Course1-3
EXSS 420IDEAs in Action General Education logo Program Planning in Recreation Services3
EXSS 493IDEAs in Action General Education logo Field Experience in Sport Administration3
EXSS 593IDEAs in Action General Education logo Practicum in Physical Fitness and Wellness1-3
EXSS 693HIDEAs in Action General Education logo Senior Honors Thesis3
EXSS 694HIDEAs in Action General Education logo Senior Honors Thesis3

Laboratory Teaching Internships and Assistantships

The fitness professional students serve a practicum with local fitness organizations.

Study Abroad

The Department of Exercise and Sport Science offers summer study abroad programs depending on faculty availability. Refer to the department’s website and the study abroad website for more information. For other study abroad experiences the department will gladly work with its majors in advance of the experience to determine appropriate credit.

Undergraduate Awards

The Patrick F. Earey Award, named in honor of a longtime faculty member, is given annually to the outstanding senior major in the department. The award signifies exemplary leadership, academic achievement, and extracurricular involvement by a senior exercise and sport science major.

The Ronald W. Hyatt Scholarship, named in honor of the late Dr. Hyatt, one of Carolina’s “priceless gems” and a faculty member in the department, is a merit-based scholarship awarded annually to an outstanding full-time undergraduate exercise and sport science major with junior status.

Undergraduate Research

Students are encouraged to explore research interests by taking EXSS 395, completing independent research studies, or writing senior honors theses. Please review the EXSS website under the research laboratories tab to determine where your research interest lies. Contacting individual faculty in your area of interest is encouraged, or reach out to Claudio Battaglini, the EXSS director of undergraduate research.

Department of Exercise and Sport Science

Visit Program Website

209 Fetzer Hall, CB# 8700

(919) 962-2021


Darin A. Padua

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Meredith Petschauer