Cumberland University

Health and Human Performance - Sport & Exercise Science

Mission Statement: The mission of the Health and Human Performance Program (HHP) is to educate individuals to become baccalaureate or master’s prepared, competent professionals in sport management, sport and exercise science, and physical education.

The Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance with an emphasis in Sport & Exercise Science is designed to prepare individuals for the world of fitness, such as personal training, strength and conditioning, and corporate fitness just to name a few. Due to the growing concern of cardiovascular disease and obesity not only within Tennessee but throughout the world, the future in this field is bright and will only continue to get brighter.

The Sport & Exercise Science Program prepares students for both the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification exams.

Click here for Catalog

Program Objectives

  1. Students who complete the undergraduate program in Exercise and Sports Science will demonstrate an understanding of functional anatomy and biomechanics of the human body.
  2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the physiological basis for exercise and physical activity in direct application to physical fitness and athletic conditioning.
  3. The student will demonstrate the ability to assess health status, conduct fitness testing, and prescribe and administer exercise programs.
  4. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of nutrition and the role of diet and exercise on body composition and weight control.
  5. The student will demonstrate an understanding of health and wellness programming based upon the ability to assess need, and to design, implement, and evaluate a program

Why study Sport & Exercise Science?

  • This major gives students the opportunity to explore the movement sciences and directly apply practical skills.
  • The major offers challenging and rewarding practicum experiences with the physically active population that compliments didactic coursework.
  • Students graduating from this program have the opportunity to continue on to graduate studies or immediately begin an exciting career in exercise science.

Job Opportunities in the area of Sport & Exercise Science consist of:

Exercise Physiology Research

A Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science will prepare students for graduate degree programs that emphasize research, and also prepare students for a master's or doctorate degree in exercise physiology. This degree provides preparation for research-related careers that include: laboratory technician, research assistant, or research scientist.

Sports Training Programs

For students interested in sports training, the undergraduate exercise science program: provides training for a career as a strength & conditioning coach; improves sport performance enhancement; and teaches students how to conduct sport performance research.

Clinical Programs

Majors can focus on a number of different clinical settings, including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, as well as diabetes and obesity clinics. Careers options include: exercise specialist, exercise test technologist, or clinical researcher.

Fitness and Wellness Programs

With this degree, students could work in fitness and wellness programs with clients of all ages and fitness levels, including athletes, children, adults, and the elderly. Career options include: health and fitness instructor or director, strength and conditioning specialist, or exercise leader.

Other Diverse career opportunities:

Athletic Programs:

  • Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Sport Coach

Exercise & Fitness Center:

  • Program Director
  • Personal Trainer
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Fitness Instructor

Hospital Wellness Programs:

  • Program Director
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Fitness Instructor

Corporate Fitness Programs:

  • Program Director
  • Exercise Specialist

Rehabilitation Centers:

  • Exercise Specialist
  • Exercise Testing Technician

Preparation for Further Study In:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Assistance
  • Medicine
  • Physician's Assistant
  • Chiropractic Medicine
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Graduate Program (M.S. / Ph.D.)
    -- Ergonomics
    -- Research

Other Allied Areas:

  • Research & Development
    -- Exercise Equipment
  • Sales
    -- Exercise & Testing Equipment
    -- Pharmaceuticals
  •  Sports Performance & Fitness Testing

Become an ACSM ( Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist

Students can become a clinical professional with ACSM Exercise Specialist Certification, pursuing a career helping clients with (or at high risk for) cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases. An ACSM Exercise Specialist is a health care professional with a bachelor’s degree who typically works in cardiovascular/pulmonary rehabilitation programs, physicians’ offices, or medical fitness centers. The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist may also provide exercise-related consulting for research, public health, and other clinical and non-clinical services and programs.

The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist is proficient in:

  • working with individuals with controlled cardiovascular pulmonary and/ or metabolic disease
  • performing clinical exercise testing and data interpretation
  • conducting and interpreting ECGs at rest and during exercise

Become an National Certified  Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCS) or NSCA - Personal Trainer (NSCA - CPT) according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (

Students who become NSCS or NSCA - CPT pursue careers in various Exercise and Fitness Centers and as Strength and Conditioning Coaches from the high school to professional setting. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. Recognizing that their area of expertise is separate and distinct, CSCSs consult with and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate.

Personal trainers are health/fitness professionals who, using an individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate and train clients regarding their health and fitness needs. They design safe and effective exercise programs, provide the guidance to help clients achieve their personal health/fitness goals and respond appropriately in emergency situations. Recognizing their own area of expertise, personal trainers refer clients to other health care professionals when appropriate.

The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) and NSCA - Personal Trainer (NSCA - CPT) are proficient in:

  • designing strength, conditioning, and exercise programs
  • work with athletes in a team setting or work with both active, sedentary or special population clients in one-on-one situations