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Exercise Science Area of Concentration, Arts and Sciences Degree

Associate of Arts
Exercise Science AA Degree

This AA area of concentration is designed for the student who wishes to pursue a career in health promotion, fitness, or corporate wellness. An analysis of job markets in fields related to health promotion shows that they are experiencing rapid growth expansion as our society continues to become more aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. This area of concentration has been designed as a transfer program, including a program developed in conjunction with Salisbury University's exercise science degree. This associate's degree program is also appropriate for students interested in pursuing a baccalaureate degree in exercise science, health promotion, health education, or kinesiology from another college or university.

Students will acquire knowledge and skills and will develop the abilities to apply theoretical information in practical real-life situations. Emphasis is on an understanding of the human body, health behavior, personal health, lifetime fitness principles and training techniques, nutrition, weight control, stress management, and other related healthy lifestyle topics. Students will learn to assess the different components of health and fitness, and they will acquire skills in the design, implementation, and supervision of healthier lifestyle programs for groups and individuals.


Students will also acquire the program assessment and evaluation skills needed for the successful implementation of health behavior change programming.

Completion of the AA requirements in exercise science will prepare students for fitness certifications through nationally recognized professional organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine. Upon completion of designated courses, students will be eligible to sit for various NCCA approved certifications. Upon completion of the Salisbury University degree, students will be eligible to sit for a variety of CoAES professional certifications including Certified Health Educator Specialist certification, ACSM's Health Fitness Specialist certification, or NCSA's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

MC Ranks #20 in the US

The Best Health Degrees ranks MC as one of the 25 Best Exercise Science and Kinesiology Associate’s Degrees for 2021new window.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program a student will be able to:

  • Define health and describe the dimensions of wellness and a healthy lifestyle while demonstrating the impact of individual health related behaviors on health status.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics as it relates to health and exercise programming.
  • Describe and utilize current theories of health behavior to facilitate behavior change and program adherence.
  • Design a comprehensive health fitness program using the principles of exercise science and the skills necessary to administer appropriate fitness assessments.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of exercise professional's responsibilities, limitations, and the legal complications.


Program Outcomes
Academic Year *Admitted Continued
2016-2017 108 n/a
2017-2018   61 n/a
2018-2019   29 27
*Prior to 2018 any student who registered for PHED 206 was considered admitted to the program without declaring Exercise Science as a major. Beginning in the 2018 – 2019 academic year, students who pass PHED 206 with a C or better and have declared Exercise Science as a major are considered admitted to the program.


Program Outcomes
Academic Year Graduated ** Graduated Placement Rate
2016-2017 41 100%
2017-2018 35   94%
2018-2019 17 100%
**These students either transferred to a four-year institution or obtained employment in a related field.

Program Advising

Meet with your academic advisor regularly to discuss your academic plans and make sure you are on track to graduate and/or transfer. The program advising guide outlines the degree requirements and is meant to supplement the advising process.

Transfer Opportunities

MC has a long history of successfully preparing students for transfer to four-year institutions. This degree is designed for students to transfer and earn a bachelor's degree, including a program developed in conjunction with the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) -Salisbury University. See all transfer agreements.


Exercise science professionals lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercise. Related careers include personal trainer/manager, group fitness instructor/manager, fitness specialist—corporate fitness, general manager—commercial fitness, and wellness director.


Suggested Course Sequence: Exercise Science

A suggested course sequence for students follows.

  • All students should review the advising guide and consult an advisor.
  • Find out about related programs and course in the Fields of Study section.
  • Most courses have either assessment levels that must be met or prerequisites (courses that must be taken first). Part-time students and those who need to meet assessment levels or take prerequisite courses will take longer to complete a degree. An advisor will help make sure you are taking your courses in the right order.
  • All degree-seeking students must take a central group of General Education courses in English, mathematics, arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and science. These courses are included in the suggested course sequence below.


Suggested Course Sequence

All students should review the Program Advising Guide and consult an advisor.

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

* ENGL 101/ENGL 101A, if needed for ENGL 102/ENGL 103. If ENGL 101/101A is not needed, health elective (recommended HLTH 121). 

† MATH 165 or MATH 150 can be taken to fulfill this requirement. (Consult department advisor to determine the appropriate math course).

 †† Recommend one of the following if transferring to Salisbury University: HIST 114 or HIST 116

‡ Meets general education global and cultural perspective.

Students participating in the articulated curriculum with Salisbury University @ Shady Grove need an additional 7 credits that include PHED 166, HLTH 160 and one of the following health courses: HLTH 131, HLTH 170, HLTH 212, or HLTH 215. Students must meet with departmental advisors for selection of appropriate general education and professional courses.

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Related Programs and Courses

General Studies Degree

Students who major in general studies explore personal, professional, and academic areas of interest within a flexible framework supporting transfer.

Workforce Development and Continuing Education

MC offers a wide variety of noncredit classes. These courses are designed to help you upgrade your skills, pursue career training, or learn something new.