Calling all health, sports and fitness enthusiasts

Are careers in health professions like physical therapy in your future? What about fitness, strength and conditioning, sport administration, or sports coaching? A degree in movement and exercise science gets you ready for careers considered among the fastest-growing over the next decade.

As a student in one of the strongest pre-health majors at UNI, you’ll study how physical activity, lifestyle, and overall health and wellness impact function and performance. Learn from faculty who teach and shape knowledge through research (and encourage you to join in!). Benefit from top-notch facilities, labs, and experiences that prepare you for that next step, whether an exercise, health, or sports-related career or on to graduate studies in physical therapy, chiropractic, or occupational therapy. 

Abi Hart Movement and Exercise Science

Opportunity for growth

In demand! Well above average growth projected for MES majors over the next decade. 


State-of-the-art labs

Get hands-on in high-tech laboratories, including psychomotor behavior, biomechanics and exercise physiology labs.

Consistently high placement

Graduates of this program routinely earn high acceptance rates when applying to physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic programs.

Interested in Majoring?

Tell us more and we'll send information on how you can succeed with a degree in movement and exercise science from the University of Northern Iowa College of Education.

Contact us directly at:
Department of Kinesiology
WRC 104
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0200

Phone: (319) 273-6854

Undergraduate Majors RFI Form

Complementary Minors

Coaching Minor

Gain the skills and experience you need to become a successful coach in a sport you love — and qualify for the Iowa K-12 coaching endorsement.

Sport Administration Minor

Expand your knowledge — and career options — by studying the business side of the sports industry.

Strength and Conditioning Minor

Improve sport performance through effective strength and conditioning programs — and set the stage for national certifications.

Courses and Careers


As a movement and exercise science major, you’ll choose from a variety of courses that will teach you all about the intersection of science, sports, and health. Here’s a sampling of the classes you’ll take on the way to your degree.

  • Exercise Physiology: Applications for Health and Human Performance
  • Physical Activity and Nutrition for Health and Fitness
  • Anatomy and Physiology of Human Movement
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
  • Introduction to Sport Administration
Plan of Study


A world of possibilities awaits on this career path, whether you choose to find a job upon graduation or continue on with graduate education. 

Career options include:

  • Fitness trainer
  • Sport coach
  • Strength and conditioning coach for university athletes
  • Sport administrator
  • Hospital or business wellness specialist
  • Sport psychologist 

Many of our graduates go on to graduate school in a health profession, leading to these careers: 

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Chiropractic
Mary Ann Schmadeke
Katie Dorman

Get Involved in Research 

How does exercise impact depression? That’s just one question of many that our kinesiology faculty address as part of their research. And, they encourage undergraduate students to help find the answers as part of one to two faculty-led research projects each semester. Students participate from initial planning to publication of findings. Learn more about the research process and advance understanding and knowledge at the same time.

Undergaduate MES research group

Beyond the Classroom

Get Connected

For students looking to get connected with their peers and get more involved within the Department of Kinesiology, consider joining a student organization. Three are overseen by department faculty: 

  • Movement and Exercise Science Club 
  • Physical Education Club
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology Club

In addition, our MES majors often join in (and lead) other clubs including:

  • Pre-Physical Therapy Club
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy Club
  • Pre-Chiropractic Club

Interested in something totally different? Check out more than 250 clubs and organizations to choose from across campus, including the College of Education Student Ambassadors (CESA). 


PE Club

Apply Your Knowledge

As a part of earning this degree, students will participate in a variety of field experience opportunities. Students interested in strength and conditioning have the opportunity to work directly with the UNI strength coaches and athletes. Students will also complete their studies with a clinical internship in an area of their choice.

Strength and conditioning experiential experience

Go Beyond

Gain direct access to state-of-the-art laboratories, exercises and investigations — often, as part of your coursework, or through special projects with clubs or working with faculty on research. Settings and equipment support your studies, including:

  • Classrooms, gyms and fitness centers within the Wellness and Recreation Center
  • Strength and conditioning room in the Human Performance Center 
  • State-of-the-art laboratories 
    • Biomechanics lab
    • Exercise physiology lab
    • Psychomotor behavior lab 
Biomechanics lab