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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Exercise Science View this department's website

The Exercise Science program aims at developing those cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills that equip students to perform competently in the program's science based core and selected electives. The interdisciplinary academic structure of the program arises from the belief that critical thinking, effective writing, clear articulation, and strong analytical skills are crucial elements in the mastery of all subject matter. In this, and in its emphasis on developing the well-rounded person, the Exercise Science program pursues goals and objectives that are congruent with those of the College of Liberal Arts curriculum.

The Exercise Science program at Willamette University is designed to meet the needs of our student population, focusing on the development of the total person as it is expressed in the classical Greek emphasis on the interaction of mind, body, and spirit. The department achieves these ends by offering of an Exercise Science major and service classes.

The major is designed to provide students with the essential knowledge and training to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities. In the past decade, the majority of graduates from the program have continued on to graduate studies in fields such as allied health and medicine, teaching, research in Exercise Science, and activity related business. Individual internship programs and field experiences are available to expand students' practical knowledge in their particular areas of interest.

The focus of the service activity offerings is he development of leisure and lifetime skills to accommodate the changing lifestyles of our society and increase the potential for personal fulfillment through physical activity.

The department is housed in the 84,000-square-foot Lestle J. Sparks Center, which was expanded and extensively remodeled in the summer of 1995. Facilities include two newly renovated, wired classrooms and a recently expanded integrated research teaching laboratory, as well as a separate cadaver laboratory. In addition, the Sparks Center contains a 3,000-seat field house, double gymnasium, natatorium, handball/racquetball courts, a climbing wall, fitness center, and aerobics room.

Requirements for the Exercise Science Major (14 Credits)

8 credits in Exercise Science, 6 other credits

Core Courses

Exercise Science Core Total = Five and one-half (5.5). Outside Major Core Total = Three (3).

Required Electives: Two and one-half credits from the following

Required Integrated Courses

One credit from the following (1)

  • BIOL 110 (NW) Principles of Biology (1)
  • CHEM 115 (NW) Introductory Chemistry I (1)
  • PHYS 221 (QA; NW) Introductory Physics I (1)

Two Credits from the following (2)

  • HIST 240 History of Western Medicine (1) [Crosslisted with SST 240]
  • HIST 323 History of Science, Technolgy & Medicine (1)* [Crosslisted with SST 323]
  • HIST 392 Biology and Society (1) [Crosslisted with SST 392]
  • PSYC 210 Introduction to Psychology (1)
  • Any 300 level PSYC course (1)**
  • SOC 119 Medical Sociology (1)
  • SOC 132 (W) Sports and Society (1)

* Prerequisite needed
** Prerequisite may be required


  • Russ J. Cagle, Professor of Exercise Science, Chair
  • Julianne Abendroth-Smith, Associate Professor of Exercise Science
  • Peter A. Harmer, Professor of Exercise Science
  • Stasinos Stavrianeas, Associate Professor of Exercise Science

Course Listings

EXSCI 135 Concepts and Contemporary Issues in Exercise Science and Sport (.5)

Historical, scientific, psychological and sociological studies related to Exercise Science. Basic development of various philosophies related to ethics and moral values in Exercise Science and sport will be discussed.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

EXSCI 221 Epidemiology (.5)

The study of the causes and distribution of disease and injury. It focuses empirically on the identification and control of threats to health and well-being. The class covers historical cases, epidemiological techniques, and current applications.

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Harmer

EXSCI 241 Methods of Teaching Activities and Sports (.5)

The study of effective teaching and coaching in physical education and sports with an emphasis on analysis of teaching; methodology; maximizing the learning environment; classroom management; and lesson, unit and program planning and implementation. Not open to freshmen.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Kenitzer

EXSCI 248 Exercise Science for Special Populations (.5)

The analysis of functional and organic abnormalities, assessment methodology and federal regulations that apply to the exceptional individual and the role of physical activity.

  • Offering: Alternate falls, even years
  • Instructor: Kenitzer

EXSCI 251 Sport Leadership and Management (.5)

The class explores the nature of administration and management in fitness, sport, allied health and physical education settings at school and community level. Leadership styles, public relations skills, organizational and administrative skills along with topics of conflict resolution, legal aspects of negligence and liability, fiscal management/budgeting practices, and risk management are developed.

  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: Kenitzer

EXSCI 330 The Science of Nutrition (1)

This course will provide students with the necessary scientific principles that dictate current nutritional guidelines. The following topics will be discussed: Classification of nutrients, metabolism and energy balance, dietary supplements, diet planning, the role of nutrition in health. Students will analyze their own eating habits and design diet programs with the use of comprehensive nutrition software. Closed to freshmen.

Prerequisite: One chemistry or biology class

  • Offering: Alternate springs beginning Spring 2005
  • Instructor: Stavrianeas

EXSCI 340 Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries (1)

Introduction to the field of sports medicine and concepts of athletic training as related to sports trauma. This course will present the following: prevention, psychological factors, recognition procedures, predisposition, initial and progressive management, and principles of rehabilitation pertaining to specific injuries. The course includes laboratory for skill acquisition of adhesive tape application, emergency management procedures, and injury evaluation procedures.

Prerequisite: BIOL 246

  • Offering: Fall and Spring
  • Instructor: Cagle

EXSCI 347 Biomechanics (1)

The analysis of structural principles and mechanical application pertaining to human movement. Course will discuss concepts of human movement with investigation of biomechanics and structural kinesiology. Efficiency of movement, neuromuscular integration, proprioception, mechanical concepts related to muscular function, and analysis of human motion/motor skills will be extensive. Laboratory.

Prerequisite: BIOL 246

  • Offering: Fall and Spring
  • Instructor: Abendroth-Smith

EXSCI 356 (W) Research Design in Exercise Science (1)

Introduction to concepts and principles for conducting research and for evaluating the research literature in Exercise Science. Topics include the nature and purpose of research, the research process and the types of research used in Exercise Science. The relationship between design and statistical analyses will also be discussed.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: EXSCI 135

  • Offering: Fall and Spring
  • Instructor: Harmer, Stavrianeas, Abendroth-Smith

EXSCI 357 Motor Learning and Control(.5)

Study of the neural, physical and behavioral aspects of human movement, and the processes involved in acquiring and refining motor skills. The class will examine research that explains why certain behaviors manifest themselves, and provides the basis for assessing performance and designing optimal practice, rehabilitation and training experiences. Not open to freshmen.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Abendroth-Smith

EXSCI 360 Physiology of Exercise (1)

This class examines the physiological systems of the human body as they are affected by different mode, intensity, and duration of exercise. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationship between the skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and digestive systems. The required laboratory will focus on measuring and analyzing various anthropometric, physiological and metabolic functions and performance parameters, using the data to predict and describe work capacity and training protocols.

Prerequisite: BIOL 260

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Stavrianeas

EXSCI 394 Junior Internship (.5)

Refer to the internships section for an explanation of internship requirements.

Prerequisite: Closed to seniors

  • Offering: Fall and Spring
  • Instructor: Abendroth-Smith

EXSCI 440 Neuroscience in Human Movement (.5)

This course explores the intrarelationship of structure and function of the human nervous system. It provides detailed anatomical and physiological characteristics of the nervous system before discussing the effects of training and injury of neural pathways and motor patterns. The effects of therapeutic modalities and drugs, and their mechanism of action, will also be presented from a clinical perspective.

Prerequisite: BIOL 246 and BIOL 260

  • Offering: Alternate Falls
  • Instructor: Abendroth-Smith, Cagle, Stavrianeas

EXSCI 445 Advanced Injury Management (.5)

Advanced topics in injury recognition and management based upon stress-strain of tissue, structural-functional aspects, and pathomechanics. The phases of healing and rehabilitation are investigated and appropriate protocols of management and reconditioning are integrated during each phase. Includes concepts of pain, pharmacology, therapeutic principles, physical modalities, advanced skill acquisition in evaluation and reconditioning, and anatomical dissection.

Prerequisite: BIOL 246 and EXSCI 340

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Cagle

EXSCI 496 Senior Seminar in Exercise Science (.5)

A seminar course and capstone experience required of all Exercise Science majors. Students may meet this requirement by completing one of the following three options: a) an original research study, b) a literature review, or c) an internship with an associated service project. Topics are selected in consultation with Exercise Science faculty. Regardless of the option chosen, students must present their work orally in an open meeting format and provide a final paper detailing the work to the department.

Prerequisite: EXSCI 356

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

EXSA 030X-100X Activity Classes (.25 credit each)

These classes are listed by title in the class schedule. Many are offered each semester and will on occasion have multiple sections or a suffix of I or II (novice or a more advanced level -- respectively). Activity classes are coed unless otherwise specified. Course offerings include: step aerobics, basketball, crew, fencing, golf, karate/self-defense, Tai Chi, tennis, scuba, skiing, swim fitness, swimming, volleyball, weight training, conditioning, and yoga. No more than 2 credits (8 courses) from a combination of activity (EXSA) or Varsity Sports (EXSV) courses can count toward graduation. A student may pre-register for a maximum of one EXSA course per semester. If the student has taken less than an average of one EXSA/EXSV course for their previous Willamette semesters, a maximum of one additional EXSA course may be added on the first day of classes on a space available basis.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

EXSP 230 Methods of Coaching Football (.5)

A course designed to give the student a varied background of philosophies, methods, techniques, organization and strategies of coaching football. This course does not count toward the Exercise Science major.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Speckman

EXSP 231 Methods of Coaching Basketball (.5)

This course (both lecture and on court demonstrations) provides students with an understanding of the skills, fundamentals, and techniques of basketball; and how to effectively teach those aspects to a variety of age levels. The class will examine a variety of offensive and defensive philosophies and how to incorporate and implement those concepts in a team system. Students will examine game preparation, strategic situations, and performance evaluation. Plus they will develop an awareness of the psychology of coaching and its methodology. This course does not count toward the Exercise Science major.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: James

EXSP 233 Personal Fitness (.5)

A course designed to teach the role personal fitness plays in a productive lifestyle. Includes lectures (one per week) on the values and components of fitness, human physiology as it relates to exercise, fitness programs, weight control, nutrition, coronary risk awareness and other topics associated with exercise and health. This course does not count toward the Exercise Science major.

  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: James

EXSP 239 Responding to Emergencies (.5)

Evaluation, treatment and prevention of specific traumatic conditions incurred by the human body. Course teaches safety measures at work, play and in the home. Discusses various safety programs. Course experiences lead to certification in Responding to Emergencies (formerly Advanced First Aid) and CPR by the American Red Cross. This course does not count toward the Exercise Science major.

  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: Harmer

EXSV 001X-029X Varsity Sports (.25 credit each)

Credit can be earned by students participating in the following varsity sports: baseball (m), basketball (m/w), crew (m/w), cross country (m/w), football (m), golf (m/w), soccer (m/w), softball (w), swimming (m/w), tennis (m/w), track and field (m/w), and volleyball (w). No more than 2 credits (8 courses) from a combination of activity (EXSA) or Varsity Sports (EXSV) courses can count toward graduation. Credit will be awarded for varsity sports participation at the end of the season, if the student has not exceeded an average of one EXSA/EXSV course per semester at Willamette.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff