New Minor In Exercise Science | University of Portland

New Minor In Exercise Science

A group of older people working on stretches with an instructor

With over 600 students in the College of Arts and Sciences planning a future career in the health professions, it is clear that the College must meet the growing student interest in health sciences. The new minor in Exercise Science directly addresses that need. Director of the minor program and Professor of Biology, Dr. Terry Favero, says, “The new exercise science minor fills in a curricular gap between integrative health and wellness and our pre-health sciences program. Moreover, it meets the needs of our growing young population that realize the importance and value in exercise and movement in human well-being.” Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity improves mental and physical health, reducing the risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, many types of cancer, depression, anxiety, and dementia, among other health conditions. Now students can study the scientific connection between exercise and good health across a lifetime.  


The Exercise Science minor comprises 15 credit hours: BIO 305/365 and 306/366 Human Anatomy I and II and their associate labs; BIO 418 Biology of Exercise or EXS 491 Kinesiology and Functional Anatomy; one elective course; and one 1-credit capstone experience. The capstone is designed to be a high-impact practice in the form of a project or internship, giving students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of exercise science in a hands-on experience. The program is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences but will collaborate with the School of Nursing and Health Innovations. It is expected to be of appeal to students in both schools, as well as student athletes across the University. The creation of this minor makes UP competitive with our peer institutions who are also responding to students’ increased interest in the health professions.  


As Dr. Favero explains, “Exercise science isn’t just about lifting weights, it’s about helping people overcome their barriers to change, prevent injury, manage stress, reduce risk of disease and overall, live longer, happier lives, leading to stronger and healthier communities.” In line with our Holy Cross mission to educate the whole student and the University’s commitment to supporting the needs of our community, the Exercise Science minor will help prepare students for careers as health professionals. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, such careers are expected to grow faster than the average of all occupations combined between 2021 and 2031 (see