Exercise Science is fundamentally the study of human movement.

As the name implies, our discipline involves improving and/or maintaining physical fitness for ourselves and others, but it's much more than that. Our unique repertoire of movement habits and capabilities are essential to what it means to be human. Our program is recognized as an excellent springboard to advanced clinical training in numerous healthcare fields, many of which are offered at Pacific University. In addition, other graduates pursue additional education leading to teaching certifications or advanced academic study in the field, and many jump right into careers in fitness and other applied settings.

Program Highlights

Exercise science is flexible and interdisciplinary, with a strong liberal arts perspective and quality faculty from diverse disciplines. We offer rigorous academics with faculty-mentored research projects in the third and fourth years of study. A human anatomy course—in addition to the standard charts, models and computer simulations most college anatomy courses utilize—also involves the use of cadavers for instruction.


Core course work includes biology, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor learning and nutrition in two main tracks of course work: integrative physiology incorporates additional course work from the parent natural/physical sciences disciplines, and motor behavior accentuates behavioral and applied considerations related to movement. Students are able to choose additional course work to satisfy specific interests and meet core requirements.

Hands-on Experience

  • Cardiopulmonary function and metabolic analysis
  • Body composition, flexibility and isokinetic strength assessment
  • Reaction and anticipation time evaluation
  • Balance and stability assessment
  • Video motion analysis
  • PC-based data acquisition systems to support use of force platform, accelerometry, electrogoniometry and electromyography instrumentation

    Research, Scholarship and Internships

    Students have a variety of opportunities to broaden their experience and explore different fields in chemistry through internships and outside research programs.

    Opportunities Available


    Examples of Recent Projects

  • Explorations of the effects of caffeine on postural stability, ventilatory capacity and muscle compliance
  • Effects of cold temperatures, breathing strategies and exercise devices on human performance in varies domains
  • Consequences of practice session organization on the learning of motor skills
  • Influence of strength, fatigue, stretching and balance training on landing forces related to injury susceptibility
  • Examination of factors leading to D-III student-athletic burnout
  • Study of psychosocial factors potentially related to injury
  • More Information

    Fact Sheet
    Pacific Magazine Blog Feature

    Melissa Meads, Melissa Meads spent ten hours a week in the Exercise Science balance lab testing a range of people for her Senior Capstone research into the effects of Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and balance. While the research was grueling and her professors' expectations were high, she found the experience helpful for her upcoming graduate studies in gerontology. Plus it was fun working with friends who were conducting similar studies.

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    Exercise Science students work closely with faculty on research projects, including the Senior Capstone, a year-long intensive study with a faculty mentor. An increasing number of these projects are published in academic journals and/or presented at national and regional conferences.