Health, fitness & sport science
Devoted to a healthier world.
At Bluffton you will discover a wide range of learning experiences in the education, recreation, wellness and sport management areas.
In preparation for life after Bluffton, you will be encouraged to obtain professional experience through internships, student teaching, coaching and to earn CPR and first aid certification.
There will be ample opportunity for you to participate in intercollegiate and intramural sports as well as other clubs and activities.
The exercise science major is a foundation for a number of different opportunities in fitness and health-related fields including pre-athletic training, pre-chiropractic training and cardiac rehabilitation. Entry-level exercise science positions can be found in commercial, agency, corporate, hospital, clinical and recreational settings, including health clubs and community centers, specialized training centers such as Para-Olympics and professional sports teams, personal consulting and educational institutions. >>>occupational outlook
All majors are required to perform an internship which provides additional experiences in the field.
Exercise science major Sydney Zinkon ’23 gained hands-on experience as an intern in the cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation unit at Blanchard Valley Health System.
“If someone new came in, I normally would teach them stretches and how to work the machines. Sometimes, I would also monitor the computer system where I could see if something was wrong when they were exercising.”
Angel Velasco Urbina ’25, an exercise science major, had given up his goal of playing college soccer and was planning to attend a university near home when he got a last-minute recruiting call from Bluffton’s men’s soccer coach.
“I’ve seen what athletic trainers can do for athletes, and I want to help other athletes. Exercise science is a stepping stone to athletic training with some extra classes.”
Due to the increasing interest and participation in sport and physical fitness, there is a need for qualified leadership in the area of sport management. Graduates will find careers in athletic administration, corporate fitness, sporting goods retail, sports information, YMCA/YWCA and other similar opportunities.
An integral part of the major an internship in a job setting. The sport management major incorporates courses in communication and business to offer concentrations in sport communication and sport organization.
Ethan Stearns ’23, a sport management and business administration major, born and raised in Pataskala, Ohio, is interning as a sports information assistant under the direction of Bill Hanefeld, director of sports information.
“The internship is teaching me a lot about how open my communication needs to be just so that I can get my job done and make everyone else’s job easier, too.”
Grace Fillinger ’23, from Hinckley, Ohio, found her fit as a sport management major with a concentration in communication. Last fall she interned with the Bluffton football team.
“I knew what I was getting into because we had a really good conversation about everything I would be doing, down to the smallest detail. I feel like it definitely met my expectations.”
As a summer intern for the parks and recreation department in Green, Ohio, Bethany Behnfeldt helped with adult sports programs and assisted in setting up and tearing down for events. After finishing her academic coursework, she was immediately hired by Green and later promoted to full-time recreation coordinator.
“All the hard work I was doing in the classroom with support from professors just
really paid off when it came to the internship.”
>>> Bethany's story
The sport and recreation leadership program is designed to empower students to succeed and become a leader in the sport or recreation industries. This broad-based curriculum will give you greater flexibility in both areas for future employment opportunities.
As a student you will find yourself directly involved in planning special events, programming activities for youth and adults, creating business and marketing plans and much more. An upper-level internship is required.
Graduates find career opportunities in settings such as resorts, convention and visitor centers, private recreation clubs, non-profit community organizations, municipal parks and recreation departments, sports facilities, outdoor/adventure centers, cruise ships and professional meeting and event planning. >>>occupational outlook
The strength and conditioning major has a strong scientific base and experiential learning component for students interested in the field of health, fitness and sport science. Bluffton’s major is approved by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
This program is designed for students interested in professional careers as a strength and conditioning specialist or coach who trains athletes for improvement of athletic performance, or a group exercise instructor, personal trainer or health-fitness specialist who works with individuals to improve health and fitness, or a health club manager. The major requires an upper-level internship experience. >>>occupational outlook
For as long as he can remember, Carson Kindred ’24 has wanted to be a collegiate strength and conditioning coach. The Brookville, Ohio, native is a triple major in exercise science, sport management and strength conditioning at Bluffton University.
“It is something I really enjoy. I thought with these degrees, my experience and my background, I could give athletes some extra help and experience.”
Are you interested in health, fitness & sport science but leaning toward a major in another department? Consider a minor in coaching, wellness, exercise science or recreation management.
Persons in areas other than the food and nutrition and exercise science majors (which have a wellness concentration for the major), may be interested in a minor in wellness.
- Explore courses for a minor in wellness (not available to food & nutrition majors)
The recreation management minor allows students to develop recreation skills and interests through a variety of avenues and to better understand the importance of leisure in our society.
- Explore courses for a minor in recreation management