Exercise Science Major

Whether you're passionate about athletics, fitness training, or sports ministry, Houghton’s major in exercise science allows you to combine your passion with valuable training in physical therapy and exercise physiology.

Our bachelor’s degree in exercise science takes advantage of the college’s participation in NCAA Division III Athletics. At Houghton, you’ll have ample opportunities for hands-on laboratory training and first-hand clinical experience.

Choose from one of two tracks:

  • Graduate track, preparing you for graduate school in physical therapy, occupational therapy, or athletic training
  • Applied track, preparing you for immediate certification and job entry in exercise fields

Why Major in Exercise Science?

Through Houghton’s exercise science program, you will be able to apply critical analysis and hands-on experiences to evaluate health concerns and fitness-related injuries. You will engage in knowledgeable and respectful discussion of policies and procedures, including the particular challenges and opportunities of rural and age-appropriate approaches to exercise science.

Major Tracks

Exercise science, graduate track (BS)

Exercise science, applied track (BS)

Experiential Learning Opportunities

At Houghton, we emphasize hands-on engagement in the field of biology. Our students do science as scientists in the first year of the general biology sequence. Learning experiences are often ‘open-ended’ and require critical thinking and input from students regarding design, implementation and analysis. Students can work directly in the field through off-campus study, practicums, internships and student/faculty research collaboration.

  • Arctic Studies Semester (Alaska)
  • Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
  • Creation Care Study Program (Belize; NZ)
  • Ecology of Alaska
  • Ornithology (Mayterm)
  • Summer Research Institute

Personal Attention from Invested Faculty

The biology department includes seven faculty members with doctorates in their fields. With a departmental emphasis on personalized teaching and close relationships among faculty and students, biology students have many opportunities to get to know their professors on a personal level. Professors teach the laboratory sections as well as lectures instead of relying on teaching assistants, and class sizes are deliberately capped to maximize interaction between faculty and students. Each student has an adviser from the biology department whose interest/expertise is aligned with each student (as much as possible) to personalize advisement related to graduate school or career preparation as well as course selection.

Undergraduate Research

Many motivated biology majors do real research with one or more of the faculty at Houghton College. Some of these students publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals or present talks and posters at regional and national conferences. Opportunities for research include the Collaborative Research in Biology course, independent studies, senior honors projects and the Summer Research Institute. Students also have traveled with faculty to work with collaborators (e.g., Cornell University, Sierra Nevada mountains of California).

Excellent Facilities

The biology department occupies approximately 15,000 square feet on the third floor of the Paine Center for Science. Additional facilities include the Margaret Bush Greenhouse and adjacent ecology laboratory on the ground floor, and animal facilities on the fifth floor. Biology students have nearly constant access to laboratories, research space and the greenhouse for working on projects and research problems. Additionally, the biology floor within the Paine Science Center has a study room close to faculty offices with space dedicated to working, studying or interacting in small groups.

The main campus in Houghton has 100+ acres of primarily forested land and riverine habitats. It sits in close proximity to the Genesee River, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute for Natural History, and Allegany and Letchworth State Parks, offering varied ecological and environmental study and internship opportunities.


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