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College of Arts and Sciences

Health and Exercise Science

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Contact Information

OU Health and Exercise Sciences Department

Phone: (405) 325-5539

Email: mdenney@ou.edu

Website: hes.ou.edu

Program Description

Whether students dream of becoming a strength coach for a college or professional sports team, helping people achieve healthy and fit bodies by establishing sound health behaviors and formal training programs, working as physical therapists in clinics or hospitals or entering graduate school to pursue their interests in Exercise Physiology or Health promotion; the Department of Health and Exercise Science offers a diverse degree that can help them achieve these and other careers. Health and Exercise Science students learn the skills needed to enter into these and many other exciting fields or to continue their education and receive masters or doctoral degrees in Exercise Physiology or Health Promotion or in the allied health professions.

The Health and Exercise Science Department at OU is one of the few interdisciplinary programs and one of the largest in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program integrates the biological, physiological, medical, and behavioral sciences as they relate to physiological responses to exercise and other aspects of human health.  All the faculty in the department specialize in the areas of Exercise Physiology or Health Promotion.  This unique curriculum and instruction in both the classroom and the laboratory helps students develop the skills needed to work in sports- or medicine-related fields. Many of OU's Health and Exercise Sciences students choose to continue their education after receiving their bachelor's degrees and enter fields such as medicine, physical therapy, dietetics, or nursing.

The Health and Exercise Science Department houses several state- of-the-art laboratories used by faculty and students to work on a wide range of research projects which include muscle and nerve physiology, body composition, bone physiology, endocrine function, health and aging, biological signal processing, stress management, designing and evaluating theory-based health programs, prevention of childhood obesity, public health and individual nutrition behaviors, physical activity measurement, tobacco use prevention, social marketing, health disparities, efficacy of health coaching on chronic disease management, impact of historical trauma on diabetes risk and management, social determinants of health, obesity and weight management, and functional movement assessments.  The laboratories give students the opportunity to work on their own research ideas during their undergraduate and graduate studies as well as a chance to work with new technology that will better prepare them for their careers. 

Degree Options

A Health and Exercise Science student graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science degree. A minor in Health and Exercise Science also exists for students pursuing degrees in other areas. If majors wish to continue their education, they can receive Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Exercise Physiology or Health Promotion.

Interests & Skills

Health and Exercise Science students typically have interests in science, health, fitness and sports fields. Many students are also interested in other health fields such as dentistry, public health or allied health services; however, these fields require students to continue their post baccalaureate education in specialized programs at the Health Sciences Center or other academic institutions.

Notable Achievements

Many faculty members in Health and Exercise Science have published a variety of journal articles, book chapters and books highlighting an array of research interests and are invited to present their research findings at national and international conferences. Several of these research projects allow students to work on published material while still in school and many studies are funded from external grants.

In addition, many faculty members have served on the editorial boards of prestigious journals, including Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and Journal of Applied Physiology and have served in leadership roles in many national and international organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Your Future

Recent Graduates Jobs

Aquatic Director, Bartlesville Physical Rehab.
Assistant Director, Chesapeake Energy
    Fitness Center
Assistant Marketing Director at Excel Therapy
    Specialists, LLC
Clinical Director, Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation
    Outpatient Clinic
Coach, Bart Conner Gymnastics
Community Assessment & Evaluation Specialist,
    Oklahoma County, Health Department
Community Epidemiology and Evaluation,
    Oklahoma County, Health Department
CT Tech, Integris
Director of Contracts, Goodwill Industries
Educational Leadership Consultant, Alpha Phi
    International
Evaluation Coordinator, Oklahoma State
    Department of Health
Fitness Manager, Devon Energy
Fitness Specialist, NCED, Anytime Fitness
Health and Wellness Coordinator, YMCA Downtown
Health and Wellness Educator, Chesapeake
    Energy, Oklahoma State Employees
Health Unit Coordinator, Integris Southwest
    Medical Center
Hospital Rehab Team Member, Norman Specialty
    Hospital
Immunization Field Consultant, Oklahoma County,
    Health Department
Learning Specialist, OU Athletic Department
Medical Assistant, OK Sports Science & Orthopedics
Medical Operations Officer, OK National Guard
Medical Scribe, Midwest Regional Hospital
National Trainer, Les Miles Int'l
Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Oklahoma City
Nurse, Oklahoma Heart Hospital
Performance Coach Intern, Elite Gamespeed,
    Tampa Bay Florida
Personal Trainer, The Health Club, Steele Fitness
Physical Activity Consultant, Oklahoma State
    Department of Health
Prevention Education Specialist, Seminole Nation
    Tribal Youth Program
Program Coordinator, Cooper Aerobics and
    Devon Energy
Program Evaluator, Oklahoma State Department
    of Health
Project Manager, Liver, Research Unit Australia
    National Univ. Medical School
Respiratory Therapist, OU Medical Center
Sales Representative Professional/College Teams,
    Cybex International
Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Performance
    Sports Co.
Surgical Neuro Monitoring Technologist,
    Synaptic Resources
Wellness Technician, Integris
World Bank Center for Rehab of
    Paralyzed, Bangladesh

Experienced Alumni Jobs

Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach,
    Arizona State University
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Evaluator,
    OU College of Public Health
Diabetes Educator, OU Pediatrics
Dietitians in Various Settings
Director of Student Affairs, OU-Tulsa
Doctor of Osteopathy Family Practice, Sapulpa
Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Mercy Hospital
Professors at Numerous Academic Institutions
Research Coordinator, Oklahoma Medical Research
    Foundation
Research Coordinator, OUHSC