Brenau Adding Exercise Science to List of Health Care Degrees
Brenau University is planning to expand its list of health care programs with an undergraduate degree in exercise science, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Conditional upon that approval, the coeducational exercise science program will begin at Brenau in fall 2017, and approximately 30 students are expected to be admitted to the first cohort for the major. In addition to required classes, students will complete six credit hours of internships and nine credit hours of exercise science electives to specialize their interests in their fourth year.
Gale Starich, dean of Brenau’s College of Health Sciences and Sidney O. Smith Jr. Graduate School, said the degree program is really in two parts.
“It includes two years as a pre-exercise science student, followed by an application and admissions process,” Starich said. “Then students complete two years in the exercise science major in order to earn a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.”
Exercise science prepares students for jobs in booming sectors of the health care industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in exercise physiology are expected to grow by 11 percent by 2024, while occupational therapy positions are predicted to increase by 27 percent by the same year. The need for physical therapists during that time frame is expected to rise by a remarkable 34 percent.
Brenau’s new major will benefit both current and future students. Ellie Johnson, Brenau freshman from Cumming, Georgia, and defender on the Golden Tigers soccer team, said the new degree gives students more options in the fields of health science and medicine.
“I am interested in exercise science, because I am very interested in how the body works,” Johnson said. “I think it is cool how everything is attached. I would like to go into orthopedics eventually, but I’ve also thought about sports medicine. It is awesome that they are adding this, because exercise science can lead you into either one of those and many others.”
Eli Daniel, freshman at Brenau from Locust Grove, Georgia, and starting pitcher for the Golden Tigers softball team, said she is interested in enrolling in the major as soon as possible.
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to major in until I heard a friend thinking about majoring in exercise science,” Daniel said. “I think exercise science would be the best option for me, because I hope to become a dietitian. I’m happy to see Brenau adding more majors for people like me.”
The major provides all the prerequisites for Brenau’s own master’s degree in occupational therapy and doctorate in physical therapy programs, both high-quality and competitive programs. An undergraduate degree in exercise science would provide an excellent foundation to enter either field of advanced study.