Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (BSK), Health Fitness Specialist Major

Description of Program

The undergraduate health fitness specialist program focuses on the applied science of movement and research-based preparation of a health and fitness professional. Students who choose to study in this program become qualified to seek certification through many NCCA accredited organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). This undergraduate program provides the education and practice that students need to be competitive in health and fitness careers. The curriculum is based on guidelines and standards developed by the ACSM. The health fitness specialist curriculum delivers a scientific academic foundation in topics such as physiology, psychology, functional kinesiology, biomechanics, motor learning, and chemistry. This knowledge is combined with the latest research and training methods as well as a variety of community engagement experiences which promote active and healthy lifestyles that impact the health of the public at large.

The health fitness specialist program strives to provide students with numerous practical experiences in the areas of assessment, exercise prescription and leadership, program administration, posture and movement analysis, communication and coaching strategies, and program design for a variety of populations across the lifespan.


Apply online for undergraduate admission to Indiana University at http://admissions.indiana.edu/.

A newly admitted freshman pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree with a health fitness specialist major will receive an offer of direct freshman admission to the this program if he or she meets both of the following criteria:

  1. Entrance Test Scores: The applicant must have earned one of the following minimum standardized test scores:
    • a composite score of 29 on the ACT (American College Test). --or--
    • one of the following combined critical reading and math scores on the SAT, either 1270, if taken before March, 2016, or 1330 if taken in March, 2016 or after.
  2. Academic Performance: The applicant must either:
    • rank in the top 12 percent of his or her high school graduating class. --or--
    • possess a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5.

Before entering the School of Public Health - Bloomington as a health fitness specialist major, all other students begin studies in the University Division, and then subsequently certify into this program as soon as they satisfy the following two admission criteria:

  1. successful completion of at least 30 credit hours.
  2. minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Indiana University.

Students in the University Division must also declare their intended health fitness specialist major to the University Division Records Office. If a student earns less than 2.0 semester GPA for the term before entering the School of Public Health-Bloomington, the student may be admitted on academic probation as long as the student has completed 30 credits and has at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

International applicants for admission to a second undergraduate degree program in the School of Public Health - Bloomington, whose primary language is not English, must satisfy one of the following criteria before being considered for admission directly into one the School's degree programs:

  • submission of a minimum score on the Test Of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL), of 550 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or 80 on the Internet-based test.
  • submission of a minimum score of 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • proof of completing at least three full years of secondary school in a predominantly English speaking country.

For students from countries where the TOEFL and the IELTS are not available, other evidence of English proficiency may be considered.

All entering international students whose primary language is not English will be required to take a special examination in English with IU prior to registering. Prepared by IU and designed to test a student’s ability to use English in an academic setting, the exam consists of three parts: an essay on a general topic, a listening comprehension exercise, and a grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension section. There is little that one can do to prepare for this exam other than to continue using written and spoken English at every opportunity. Appropriate remedial English courses may be prescribed on the basis of the results of this test.

International students whose primary language is not English must agree to take any English language courses prescribed from the results of this examination. Fees for special part-time English courses are the same as for other courses; however, credits earned do not meet degree requirements. If the results of the proficiency examination indicate that full-time work in English is required, the student will be assigned to the Intensive English Program (IEP).  

Students enrolled in IEP do not take academic courses until they achieve adequate English proficiency. If a student has serious doubts about English ability and is not financially prepared to undertake the additional time and expense of an intensive English program here, the student should consider completing English study in the student’s home country. In addition, the student may consider delaying admission to a future session.

Degree Requirements

The four-year health fitness specialist curriculum is designed to prepare students to work in the fitness/wellness industry. There is a minimum 2.3 cumulative grade point average (GPA) eligibility requirement for the internship. The internship is generally completed near the end of the program. The core course work is designed to follow the behavioral objectives of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) certification. Students are encouraged to also sit for other health-related certifications. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements.
  • completion of health fitness specialist major requirements.
  • a minimum of 120 successfully completed credit hours which count toward the degree program.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in a combination of ANAT-A 215 and courses with the following department code-prefixes: SPH-A, SPH-C, SPH-D, SPH-K, and SPH-M.
  • No Pass/Fail except for free electives.
General Education (20 – 39 credits)

All undergraduate students must complete the IU Bloomington campus-wide general education common ground requirements. Such students must visit the 2015-2016 General Education Bulletin to view these requirements.

Major (88-89 cr.)

Health Fitness Specialist Course Requirement (67-68 cr.)

Complete one of the following 5 credit chemistry options:

  • CHEM-C 101 Elementary Chemistry I (3 cr.) +(N&M) and CHEM-C 121 Elementary Chemistry Laboratory I (2 cr.) +(N&M)

  • CHEM-C 103 Introduction to Chemical Principles (5 cr.) +(N&M)

Complete each of the following:

  • COLL-P 155 Public Oral Communication (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 416 Introduction to Health Counseling (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 150 Introduction to Kinesiology and Public Health (3 cr.) S&H
  • SPH-K 205 Structural Kinesiology (3 cr., Minimum grade of B- required)
  • SPH-K 216 Current Concepts and Applications in Physical Fitness (3 cr., Minimum grade of B- required) (P: K 205)
  • SPH-K 280 Basic Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries (2 cr.)
  • SPH-K 391 Biomechanics (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 405 Introduction to Sport Psychology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 409 Basic Physiology of Exercise (3 cr.): (P: A 215/K 205 & P 215)
  • SPH-K 452 Motor Learning (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 497 Internship in Exercise Science (3 cr.) (2.3 GPA eligibility requirement)
  • SPH-N 231 Human Nutrition (3 cr.) (P: Introductory Chemistry) +(N&M)
  • PHSL-P 215 Basic Human Physiology (5 cr.) +(N&M)
  • PSY-P 101 Introductory Psychology I (3 cr.) +(N&M) or PSY-P 155 Introduction to Psychological and Brain Sciences (3 cr.) +(N&M)

A student must be an admitted health fitness specialist major or minor to enroll in the following classes.

Complete each of the following:

  • SPH-K 217 Methods of Group Exercise Instruction (P: K 205)
  • SPH-K 218 Methods of Personal Fitness Instruction (3 cr.) (P: K 205, K 216)
  • SPH-K 395 Fitness Specialist Practicum (2 cr.) (P: K 216, K 218)
  • SPH-K 416 Fitness Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 417 Physical Activity and Disease: Prevention and Treatment (3 cr.) (P: K 409)
  • SPH-K 419 Fitness Testing and Interpretation (3 cr.) (P: K 218, K 409)
  • SPH-K 420 Exercise Leadership and Program Design (3 cr.) (P: K 417, K 419)

Human Development Requirement (6 cr.)
Complete two of the following courses:

  • SPH B-315 Health in the Later Years (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 354 Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Gerontology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 366 Community Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-F 150 Introduction to Life Span Development (3 cr.) S&H
  • SPH-H-235 Obesity and Health (3 cr.) +(S&H)
  • SPH-H 334 (Formerly SPH-H 234) Heart Health and Diabetes (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 490 Motor Development and Learning (3 cr.)

Statistics Requirement (3 cr.)
one of the following courses:

  • PSY-K 300 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.)
  • SPEA-K 300 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 381 (Formerly: SPH-H 381) Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr.)

Computer Competency Requirement (3 cr.)
Complete one of the following courses:

  • BUS-K 201 The Computer in Business (3 cr.)
  • CSCI-A 110 Introduction to Computers and Computing (3 cr.) +(N&M)
  • SPH-K 200 Microcomputer Applications in Kinesiology (3 cr.)

Communications Requirement (3 cr.)
Complete one of the following courses:

  • ANTH-A 122 (Formerly: CMCL-C 122) Interpersonal Communication (3 cr.) +(S&H)
  • BUS-C 204 Business Communications (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 103 Introduction to Creative Writing (3 cr.) +(A&H)
  • ENG-W 143 Interdisciplinary Writing (1 cr.)
  • ENG-W 203 Creative Writing (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 240 Community Service Writing (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 270 Argumentative Writing (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 280 Literary Editing and Publishing (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 350 Advanced Expository Writing (3 cr.)
  • MSCH-C 221 (Formerly: TEL-T 211) Writing for Electronic Media (3 cr.)

Health Fitness Elective Requirement (6 cr.)
These courses enhance professional development in the health and fitness industry. Consult your academic advisor when selecting electives from this list of courses. Courses are commonly selected with the intent of completing a minor.
Select 6 credits from the following courses:

  • SPH-H 160 First Aid and Emergency Care (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 180 Stress Prevention and Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 305 Women's Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 306 Men's Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 315 Consumer Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 318 Drug Use in American Society (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 320 The Nature of Cancer (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 351 Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 401 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)—Ambulance I (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 404 Emergency Medical Technician Lab (1 cr.)
  • SPH-K 301 Job Strategies for Kinesiology Students (1 cr.)
  • SPH-K 316 Theories of Advanced Conditioning (2 cr.)
  • SPH-K 317 Theory and Practice of Resistance Training (2 cr.)
  • SPH-K 412 Exercise in Health and Disease (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 421 Field Assessment of Physical Activity and Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 496 Laboratory Assisting or Field Experience in Kinesiology (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 142 Living Well (3 cr.) +(S&H)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification Requirement
A student applying to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree in the health fitness specialist program must present evidence of current CPR certification to the School of Public Health - Bloomington recorder's office in SPH Room 123 at the time the student applies for graduation. The document submitted must display a date which indicates that the student is currently certified in CPR. Certification in CPR is only acceptable from the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or the National Safety Council.

+ Courses followed by a A&H notation apply toward completion of both the major requirement and the general education, arts and humanities requirement.

+ Courses followed by a N&M notation apply toward completion of both the major requirement and the general education, natural and mathematic sciences requirement.

+ Courses followed by a S&H notation apply toward completion of both the major requirement and the general education, social and historical studies requirement.

Suggested Courses for the First-Year Health Fitness Specialist Student
First Semester (15-16 cr.)
ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition (3 cr.)
SPH-K 150 Introduction to Kinesiology and Public Health (3 cr.)
SPH-K 205 Structural Kinesiology (3 cr.)
SPH-K 280 Basic Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries (2 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Course (3 cr.)
Free Elective (1-2 cr.)

Second Semester (15 cr.)
COLL-P 155 Public Oral Communication (3 cr.)
MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
SPH-B 416 Introduction to Health Counseling (3 cr.)
SPH-K 216 Current Concepts in Physical Fitness (3 cr.)
Social and Historical Studies course (3 cr.)

Special Opportunities

The IU Health Fitness Specialist Program has the distinction of being endorsed by the ACSM (in May 2004) as having fulfilled the educational requirements established by the Committee on Certification and Registry Boards. This means that the current curriculum covers the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of an ACSM Health Fitness Specialist. This certification can only be taken by those individuals with a four-year degree in an allied health field.
In addition, students are encouraged to complete a 200-hour internship and encouraged to complete a 50-hour practicum during their matriculation. Students are given numerous opportunities to demonstrate their skills by working at various on and off campus sites.
All students are encouraged to sit for the ACE, NSCA, NASM, or ACSM personal training certification within their junior or senior years. Many students are actively involved both on campus and in the community as fitness consultants, instructors, and personal trainers gaining invaluable experience working directly with individuals.


There are many exciting, rewarding, and challenging careers in the health/fitness industry. Community wellness program director; Medically-based facilities (post-rehabilitation specialist); Worksite fitness/wellness center directors; Health coaches; Private and commercial health clubs as directors, general manager, owner or consultant.

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