Exercise & Sport Science

Western’s ESS program will prepare you for careers focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and enhancing performance in exercise, sport, and physical activity settings.

To help reach your professional goals, the ESS program at Western provides you with a unique educational experience, including:

  • Caring, student-centered faculty, who are accessible, approachable, and possess a wide range of expertise and professional experience
  • Small classes that ensure individual attention, including personalized one-on-one advising
  • An engaging learning environment, including multiple opportunities for "hands-on," applied learning and undergraduate research
  • Opportunities for professional networking, including conference attendance, and internships
  • The High Altitude Performance Lab, with state-of-the-art, exercise-testing equipment
  • Advising for graduate school and entry-level careers in ESS
  • ​Preparation for industry certifications
  • ASESS student majors club

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

The ESS program helps you develop knowledge and skills required to complete nationally accredited certifications with the American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Council on Exercise, National Association of Sports Medicine and/or USA Weightlifting.  K-12 physical education majors will be prepared for Department of Education licensure requirements.  

You’ll have the chance to work in our High Altitude Performance Laboratory through coursework, volunteer work and undergraduate research opportunities. In addition to acquiring a variety of exercise testing skills, you’ll build communication, critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving skills working with individuals of all ages to develop and implement evidence-based activity and nutrition plans for healthy living.

Beyond the Classroom

Our program prepares students for leadership roles in the development and administration of fitness, wellness and sport programs in both private and public sectors through practicum, internship and field experiences. Through community partnerships, we have placed students in hospitals, assisted living centers, adaptive sport programs, worksite health promotion programs, commercial fitness centers, sport and exercise performance laboratories, community parks and recreation programs, as well as intercollegiate and professional sport organizations. Students have learning opportunities outside the Gunnison Valley, including trips to the United States Olympic Committee training facilities and professional sport venues, such as the Pepsi Center and Sports Authority Field.

Internship supervisors consistently describe our students as well as, or more prepared than undergraduate students from other institutions. Many students are hired following the conclusion of an internship.

ESS students have opportunities for service learning through initiatives such as Gunnison Community School health screening, Gunnison Valley Health annual health fair, adult fitness & wellness programming, and work with local nonprofit organizations, such as Gunnison Country Mentors, Six Points Evaluation and Training, and City of Gunnison Parks & Recreation. s.

After Graduation

Students with a major or minor in ESS can pursue entry-level careers in teaching, fitness, sport and wellness in both private and public sectors. Other students pursue graduate degrees in areas such as physical therapy (DPT), exercise physiology, nutrition, athletic training, cardiac rehabilitation, sport psychology, teacher education, sport administration or other allied-health fields.  Western is currently the only school in Colorado with a 3+1 agreement with the Palmer College of Chiropractic, allowing Western students who meet eligibility requirements to enroll at Palmer after three years at Western, completing the Western degree after the first year of Chiropractic school.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's ESS program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 ESS 100 - INTERCOLLEGIATE ACT BB (1 credits)

Basketball open to members of the intercollegiate basketball team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/instructor permission

 ESS 101 - INTERCOLLEGIATE CROSS COUNTRY (1 credits)

Intercollegiate Athletics: Cross Country Open to members of the intercollegiate cross country team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/ instructor permission

 ESS 102 - INTERCOLLEGIATE FOOTBALL (1 credits)

Football Open to members of the intercollegiate Football team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/ instructor permission

 ESS 103 - INTERCOLLEGIATE INDOOR TRACK (1 credits)

Indoor Track Open to members of the intercollegiate Indoor Track team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/ instructor permission

 ESS 104 - INTERCOLLEGIATE OUTDOOR TRACK (1 credits)

Open to members of the intercollegiate Outdoor Track team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/ instructor permission.

 ESS 105 - INTERCOLLEGIATE VOLLEYBALL (1 credits)

Open to members of the intercollegiate Volleyball team. May be taken one time for credit. Prequisite: Coach/ instructor permission.

 ESS 106 - INTERCOLLEGIATE WRESTLING (1 credits)

Open to members of the intercollegiate athletic wrestling team. May be taken one time for credit. Prerequisite: Coach/instructor permission.

 ESS 107 - INTERCOLLEGIATE SOCCER (1 credits)

Open to members of the intercollegiate athletic soccer team. May be taken one time for credit. Prerequisite: coach/instructor permission.

 ESS 108 - INTERCOLLEGIATE SWIMMING (1 credits)

Open to members of the intercollegiate athletic swimming team. May be taken one time for credit. Prerequisite: coach/instructor permission.

 ESS 131 - PHYSICAL COND-OFF SEASON ICA (1 credits)

Off-season conditioning activities for intercollegiate athletes. Students develop the knowledge of how to improve and maintain fitness relevant to their sport during the off-season. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission.

 ESS 131 - PHYS CONDITN OFF SEASON ICA (1 credits)

Off-season conditioning activities for intercollegiate athletes. Students develop the knowledge of how to improve and maintain fitness relevant to their sport during the off-season. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission.

 ESS 132 - WEIGHT TRAINING (1 credits)

The theory and practice of weight training. Information is presented concerning physiological and bio-mechanical adaptations accompanying resistive training, reasonable methods of improving athletic performance, and methods of resistance training that can lead to improved quality of life.

 ESS 170 - LIFEGUARD TRAINING (2 credits)

Provides the individual with the knowledge and skills designed to save one's own life or the life of another in the event of an emergency, with certification by the American Red Cross.

 ESS 172 - WATER SAFETY INSTRUCTION (3 credits)

Satisfactory completion of these skills leads to the Red Cross WSI Certificate.

 ESS 181 - FOUNDATNS EXERCISE SPORT SCI (3 credits)

An introduction to the field of exercise and sport science. An overview of philosophical, historical, and scientific foundations, current trends and issues, professional opportunities, and skills and competencies required for careers in a wide variety of physical activity settings.

 ESS 185 - LIFETIME WELLNESS (3 credits)

Provides conceptual and experiential components designed as a basis for developing a healthier lifestyle.

 ESS 201 - ESSENTIALS HUMAN ANAT PHYS (4 credits)

An introduction to basic anatomy and physiology of all human systems. Lab and lecture are integrated.

 ESS 212 - SKL DVL ANLYSIS:TARGT FIELDNG (1 credits)

Skill development and analysis for target and fielding games including bowling, archery, golf (traditional and disc), softball, and bocce. Learning and application of content in a developmental model. History, scoring, rules, terminology, equipment, and safety considerations included.

 ESS 213 - SKL DVL ANLYSIS:DANCE (1 credits)

Skill development and analysis for a variety of dance forms including fitness, folk, country, social, and ballroom. Learning and application of content in a developmental model. History, terminology, music choices, and safety considerations included.

 ESS 275 - MOTOR DEVELOPMENT LEARNING (3 credits)

An application of the knowledge of motor development and learning to physical activity across the lifespan. This class introduces the physiological, perceptual, and cognitive, as well as the affective changes that occur in motor development and learning across the lifespan. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of "C-" or above.

 ESS 276 - EMERGENCY RESPONSE (3 credits)

Students are provided essential knowledge and skills needed to develop CPR and advanced first-aid capabilities. For students who might be required to provide first aid frequently and for special interest groups. Exercise and Sports Science majors have first option for this course.

 ESS 282 - PRINCIPLES OF SPORT MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

A focus on the administration of programs within the sport and fitness industries. Topics include administrative theories and concepts, personnel, communication and problemsolving, fiscal management, budgeting, ethical considerations, and program evaluation. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of "C-" or above, ESS 181, or instructor permission.

 ESS 290 - CURRICULUM DEVEL LRNG ENVIRON (3 credits)

A comprehensive overview of materials, suggested teaching methods, procedures, techniques, well-directed and well-selected activities, and ways of evaluating physical education in K-12 schools.

 ESS 298 - FITNESS INSTRUCTION (3 credits)

Students develop knowledge and skills to plan and implement group fitness classes as well as personal training sessions. Topics include: risk management, exercise plans, group fitness instruction, personal training, fitness pedagogy, training special populations, cardiovascular fitness, resistance training, flexibility training, and core stability. Prerequisite: ESS 201 or BIOL 372.

 ESS 320 - PSYCH OF SPORT PHYS ACTIVITY (3 credits)

A variety of issues and research areas in the psychology of sport and physical activity are addressed. Topics covered include an overview of the development of sport and exercise psychology, personality theories, exercise and mood, exercise adherence, goal setting, motivation, psychological interventions for athletes, and cohesion theories. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing.

 ESS 330 - EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY (3 credits)

An emphasis on the theory and principles of exercise physiology to health, physical fitness, and athletic performance in diverse populations. Prerequisites: ESS 201 or both BIOL 372 and BIOL 373.

 ESS 331 - EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY LAB (1 credits)

Basic laboratory techniques of exercise physiology correlating with ESS 330. Laboratory experiences include aerobic and anaerobic exercise, body composition, strength, flexibility, and body composition and other indicators of exercise. Prerequisites: completion of the College Mathematics course requirement; Corequisite: ESS 330.

 ESS 340 - MENTAL TRNG PEAK PERFORMANCE (3 credits)

An application of theories and concepts of sport psychology. This course focuses on application of specific psychological skills necessary for high level performance and assisting students in teaching others those same skills. Prerequisite: ESS 320 or instructor permission.

 ESS 346 - PSYCHOLOGY OF COACHING (3 credits)

Psychological factors involved in coaching and leadership are explored in this course. Relevant theory and research, as well as practical applications, are discussed. Topics include expert coaching characteristics and behaviors, leadership and motivational styles, the coach-athlete relationship, stresses of coaching, reinforcement strategies, ethics in coaching, and issues related to youth sport coaching. This course is designed for current and future coaches, individuals in leadership roles, as well as anyone interested in the coach's experience. Prerequisites: ESS 320, minimum junior standing or instructor permission.

 ESS 353 - COORD SCHL HLTH PHYS ACT PRG (2 credits)

Overview of coordinated school health programs with a heavy focus on local wellness policy, comprehensive school health education and the role of physical activity and physical education in schools. Includes 2-4 hours of required field experience. Prerequisites: EDUC 000 and junior standing.

 ESS 355 - PSYCHOLOGY OF INJURY (3 credits)

Psychological factors involved in sport-related injuries and the rehabilitation process. Course content includes relevant theory and research as well as practical applications. Topics include: stress, responses to injury, mental skills used to manage injury (i.e., goal setting, motivation, and confidence), social support, potential psychological problems faced during rehabilitation, and returning to sport after injury. Prerequisites: ESS 320, minimum junior standing or instructor permission.

 ESS 360 - SPORT NUTRITION SUPPLEMNT (3 credits)

A focus on concepts geared to promote peak performance based upon nutritional intake. An understanding of macronutrient ingestion along with other essential nutrients is gained and applied in detail to the physically active population. This includes an understanding of the metabolic effect of food. The pros and cons of select sport supplements are discussed and applied to real-life scenarios. Prerequisites or co-requisites: ESS 330 and ESS 331.

 ESS 363 - ADAPTED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (3 credits)

Students develop knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals having diverse needs in physical education, recreation, sport, fitness, or rehabilitation settings. Content includes planning, instructional design, assessment, coordination of resources, and advocacy in physical activity settings. Prerequisites: ESS 275 and minimum junior standing.

 ESS 365 - TOPCS PHYS ACT:CANCER EXERCI (3 credits)

Interdisciplinary study of the role of physical activity under a variety of conditions and settings, and for a variety of populations. Content focuses on current research and practice as it relates to the topic under consideration. Topics will rotate annually. Can be repeated up to three times for credit if a different topic is selected. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185; ESS 201 or BIOL 372; junior/senior standing.

 ESS 365 - TOPCSPHYSACT:INTROTOELECARGRAM (3 credits)

Interdisciplinary study of the role of physical activity under a variety of conditions and settings, and for a variety of populations. Content focuses on current research and practice as it relates to the topic under consideration. Topics will rotate annually. Can be repeated up to three times for credit if a different topic is selected. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185; ESS 201 or BIOL 372; junior/senior standing.

 ESS 370 - ESSNTLS OF STRNGTH TRNG COND (3 credits)

Exercise prescription and conditioning in the form of resistance training, including the use of free weights, machines, Olympic lifts, and plyometrics. Muscular adaptations to anaerobic and aerobic training, testing and evaluation, exercise techniques, and resistance training program design. Design, implementation, and demonstration of appropriate resistance training routines and proper lifting technique for a variety of populations. Content knowledge aligns with requirements for completion of certification as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Prerequisite: ESS 330 or instructor permission.

 ESS 382 - MGT SPORT FITNESS FACILITIES (3 credits)

A study of the principles, guidelines and recommendations for planning, constructing and the use and maintenance of indoor and outdoor sports, physical education, recreational and fitness facilities. Prerequisite: ESS 181

 ESS 385 - PROGRAM DESIGN FOR PA SETTINGS (3 credits)

A focus on the principles of behavior modification and how they apply to program design and implementation in physical activity settings. Comprehensive behavior modification programs within exercise, wellness or sport settings are designed. Prerequisite: ESS 185.

 ESS 392 - METHODS SECONDARY ACTIVITIES (3 credits)

For students planning to obtain licensure in physical education. A variety of curriculum models (e.g., tactical, sport education, social responsibility) are used to present individual, dual and team sport activities. Lesson and unit plans are developed, implemented and assessed in keeping with Colorado and NASPE standards as they relate to secondary physical education. Prerequisites: 2 of the following: ESS 210, 211, 212, 213; ESS 290, minimum junior standing; Prerequisite or corequisite: ESS 350

 ESS 396 - MTHDS OF ALTERN PHYS EDUCATION (3 credits)

Units covered may be Nordic skiing, rock climbing, orienteering, camping, mountain biking, and adventure activities. Lesson and unit plans are developed, implemented, and assessed in keeping with national standards as they relate to secondary physical education. Prerequisites: ESS 290, ROE 189, and minimum of junior standing; admission to major or instructor permission.

 ESS 405 - PRACTICUM (1 credits)

Pre-professional experience in a physical activity setting. Such experiences include observing and participating in the professional activities associated with the particular setting. Students work with an Exercise and Sport Science faculty member to select an approved practicum experience, and are required to develop an approved learning contract. May be repeated once for credit (in a different setting). Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185, junior or senior standing.

 ESS 410 - ASSSSMNT EXERCISE PRESCRIPTION (3 credits)

Students work with assessment formats, appraisal techniques, and metabolic calculations to gain information needed to construct exercise prescriptions designed to meet individual needs for different segments of the population. Prerequisites: ESS 331and ESS 298 or instructor permission.

 ESS 430 - TOPICS CLIN EXER PHYSIOLOGY (3 credits)

A study of diseased populations, including, but not limited to, exercise therapy in cardiac and cancer patients. Course content focuses on the etiology and pathophysiology of disease, electrocardiogram and diagnostic stress test interpretation, specialized exercise prescription, and other topics at the discretion of the instructor. Prerequisites: ESS 330 and ESS 331.

 ESS 450 - RISK MGT IN PA SETTINGS (3 credits)

A focus on risk assessment and management for physical activity professionals. Topics covered include risk assessment, standard of care, negligence, forms to limit liability, constitutional law as relevant for physical activity professionals, development of a risk management plan, and risk reduction strategies. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing.

 ESS 490 - SOC OF SPORT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (3 credits)

A focus on the social organization of sport and physical activity and their relationship to the institutional structure, cultural patterns, and dynamics of American society. Students use different sociological approaches/theories to analyze sport and physical activity and to analyze current issues and problems in sport and physical activity settings. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing.

 ESS 495 - SENIOR SEMINAR EXER SPORT SCI (3 credits)

A capstone course required for all ESS majors addressing issues, ethical considerations, problem-solving and decision-making, leadership and communication in the discipline. Students integrate content from their course of study, write and speak in discipline-specific formats, and complete a comprehensive self-assessment in preparation for graduate school, internship, or entry-level job. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185, senior standing. Students are encouraged to take this course during their final semester.

 ESS 496 - FE:RMWC WORKSHOP WEIGHT CERT (1 credits)

Directed field experiences in teaching, coaching, and laboratory settings. Guidelines for the field experiences are provided and agreed upon at the beginning of the course.

 ESS 496 - FIELD EXPERIENCES (1 credits)

Directed field experiences in teaching, coaching, and laboratory settings. Guidelines for the field experiences are provided and agreed upon at the beginning of the course.

 ESS 601 - QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS (3 credits)

Research design and methodology in environmental exercise physiology.

 ESS 605 - EXER SPRT SCI TEST INSTRM LAB (3 credits)

Techniques of in-lab exercise testing and result interpretation in healthy and/or diseased populations.

 ESS 640 - ENVIRONMENTL EXERCISE PHYSIO I (3 credits)

Principles of exercise physiology in extreme environmental conditions including extreme temperatures, hyper- and hypobarometric pressure, air pollution, sleep deprivation, and zero gravity. Healthy and diseased populations are studied.

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Degutis, Ernest Memorial Scholarship

Degutis, Ernest Memorial Scholarship

ESS Scholarship Available to:

Full-time students at Western who are Juniors or Seniors. Must be a declared major in Exercise and Sport Science. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Show outstanding achievement in four of the following five areas; Special Talents, Leadership, Obstacles Overcome, Community Service and Unique Endeavors.

ESS Scholarship Provided by:

The estate and family of Ernest Degutis.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western Exercise and Sport Science faculty in consultation with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as needed. Award made at the end of the spring semester each year.

Application:
Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2010 - Wright Gym 209

Find out more about Western's Exercise and Sport Science at www.western.edu/ess

 RESS Student Professional Development Fund

RESS Student Professional Development Fund

Exercise and Sport Science Scholarship is Available to:

ESS and ROE majors who are full-time students at Western. The Student Professional Development Fund is to support professional activities such as professional certification exams, conference attendance, research, or other professional preparation activities. 

ESS Scholarship Provided by:

Alumni Donations 

Amount: Approximately $400 awarded every semester.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western RESS faculty committee  

Application:
Contact the RESS Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2010 - Wright Gym 209

Find out more about Western's Exercise and Sport Science Program at www.western.edu/ess.

Find out more about Western's Recreation and Outdoor Education Program at www.western.edu/roe.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

High Altitude Exercise Physiology Director
BA, Mt. Holyoke College, MS, PhD, Colorado State University
Phone: (970) 943-2027
Office Location: Wright Gym 224
Assistant Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
BA, Western State Colorado University; MS, Colorado State University; PhD, University of New Mexico
Phone: (970) 943-7132
Office Location: Wright Gym 227
Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science
B.S., Penn State University, M.A., PhD., West Virginia University
Phone: (970) 943-2241
Office Location: Paul Wright Gym room 234
Chair, Department of Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
BA, Grand Valley State University; MS, PhD, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
Phone: (970) 943-7133
Office Location: Wright Gym 229
Lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science
BA., Western State College
Phone: (970) 943-2083
Office Location: Wright Gym Pool
Lecturer in Exercise & Sport Science
PhD, University of Northern Colorado, MS, University of Memphis, BA, University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 970.943.2149
Office Location: 233 Wright Gym
Lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science; Manager, High Altitude Performance Lab
B.S., Grand Valley State University; M.S., Northern Michigan University
Phone: 970.943.2104
Office Location: Wright Gymnasium 225