Shepherd to Offer New Major in Health and Exercise

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Shepherd may be adding a new major to its inventory covering the areas of health and exercise science.

The Board of Governors approved the plan for the bachelor of science in health promotion and exercise science in February. The new degree would cover the skills needed for individuals to develop plans for group exercise for both healthy persons and those who may have controllable diseases.

Health and exercise science covers a broad range of areas such as sports medicine, sports psychology, biomechanics, public health, and health and exercise psychology. These areas of interest are developed within the program’s curriculum.

The program would include classes focusing on anatomy, health sciences and skills and theories for the health exercise fields. Classes would include additional focus on exercise physiology, structural kinesiology, nutritional science and stress management.

The degree also involves a supervised career related internship in a place that uses the knowledge needed in a health and exercise profession.

The focused classes and internship are designed to prepare graduates from the program to work in settings that involve interactions with health care providers and the design of wellness, rehabilitation, research and sports medicine programs. Graduates will be prepared to work in such environments as rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, nursing facilities and health and fitness clubs. The graduates will be taught how to be able to help clients in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle through assessing risk factors and overall health status of an individual.

The health and exercise program also prepares students for certifications from such organizations as American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association.

The opportunities for students with this degree are numerous. There are an endless number of careers students can pursue with a degree in health promotion and exercise science, according to Dr. Virginia Hicks, dean of education and professional studies.

According to Shepherd’s website, the university currently offers over 75 undergraduate majors across multiple career areas. The new major is planned to be available pending approval from the Higher Education Policy Commission.