Apr 27, 2010

Exercise Science Majors work it out

by Camille Smith


The exercise science specialization at Liberty University is breaking out from under the kinesiology major to stand on its own. 

James Schoffstall, the new director of the Exercise Science program, has seen the kinesiology department grow from 100 students to just over 400 in fewer than four years.  

“It’s exciting to see our program stepping out on its own and just what that means to students who go on to graduate school later on,” Schoffstall said. “Right now, there are only 27 programs in the country that are accredited exercise science programs, so now with our program accredited, students can go above and beyond.”

The Exercise Science program was accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in January.  The new major will begin July 1, according to Schoffstall.  

Senior John LaRue will be one of the first seniors to graduate in the new exercise science major.  While he is still unsure of exactly what to pursue with his major, the recent accreditation will open up doors for him.

“Knowing that a program I am involved in has a higher accreditation gives me confidence not only in the education that I’m getting from my professors, but when I get out into the world, I’ll have specific training that will be involved with my degree,” LaRue said.

Beginning with the fall 2010 semester, new courses will be available and students can officially change their majors to exercise science. An Introduction to Exercise Science class will now be available for students to better prepare them with the knowledge they need to progress in the new major.

“I’ll get to teach the new introduction course, so I’ll get to teach students as freshman …” Schoffstall said. “Right now all my classes are senior level courses, so I see students for one or two semesters before they are gone.”

Exercise science students gain real-world training in the Human Performance Lab at Campus North.  The lab, soon to be expanded, is designed to enhance student learning and promote research, according to Liberty’s Web site.

“The Human Performance Lab involves video equipment to do three-dimensional video tape of persons doing athletic activities to analyze the picture to see any problems,” Schoffstall said. 

The lab is packed with equipment that makes possible new research capabilities such as anaerobic capacity testing, cardiopulmonary/ECG Exercise testing and others.

“Preparation for this major is amazing,” LaRue said. “The lab, for a lot of us, is really exciting.  The equipment that is in there is so helpful and having hands-on experience makes all the difference in the world.

Two tracks will be offered in the exercise science major. The first will be a fitness specialist for students who want to enter directly into the career world without further education. Some of the career choices under this specialization are personal training or working in a wellness center, according to Schoffstall.

The second track offered, previously known as the exercise science track, will be the pre-professional track. In this track, additional classes in chemistry, physics and biology are required.  This specialization will have job preparation for careers in the physical therapy, occupational therapy or chiropractic care as well as pursuing an additional degree in exercise physiology.


Contact Camille Smith at


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