Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Public Health - Fitness and Wellness Degree

Description of Program

The B.S.P.H. in Fitness and Wellness focuses on the applied science of movement and research-based preparation of a health and fitness professional. Students from this program become qualified to seek certification through many National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). 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 fitness and wellness curriculum delivers a scientific academic foundation in topics such as physiology, functional kinesiology, biomechanics, motor learning and epidemiology. 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 fitness and wellness 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.

Degree Requirements

The four-year B.S.P.H. in Fitness and Wellness curriculum is designed to prepare students to work in the fitness/wellness industry. The core course work is designed to follow the behavioral objectives of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) certification. Students are encouraged to also sit for other health-related certifications such as the ACSM/National Physical Activity Society (NPAS) Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (PAPHS) certification. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements.
  • completion of fitness and wellness 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 courses used to complete the portions of this degree entitled: public health core and fitness and wellness courses.
  • No Pass/Fail except for free electives.
General Education (20–39 credits)

All undergraduate students must complete the IU Bloomington General Education Common Ground Requirements. Visit gened.indiana.edu to review them.

Major (75–77 cr.)

Public Health Core (15 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-B 366 Community Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 311 Introduction to Epidemiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-P 309 Public Health Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 381 Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 241 Foundations of Environmental Health (3 cr.) +N&M

Fitness and Wellness Courses (25 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-K 216 Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health (3 cr.) P:SPH-K327
  • SPH-K 319 Physical Activity/Exercise Leadership (3 cr.) (P: SPH-K 205 or ANAT-A 215, SPH-K 216)
  • SPH-K 327 Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 395 Fitness Specialist Practicum (2 cr.) (P: SPH-K 216, SPH-K 319, SPH-K327)
  • SPH-K 416 Physical Activity/Fitness Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 417 Physical Activity and Disease: Prevention and Treatment (3 cr.) (P: SPH-K 409)
  • SPH-K 419 Fitness Testing and Interpretation (3 cr.) (P: SPH-K 319, SPH-K 409)
  • SPH-K 486 Field Experience in Fitness and Wellness (5 cr.) (P: public health core and fitness & wellness courses.)
  • SPH-V 235 Introduction to Public Health Biology (3 cr.)

Additional Required Courses (29–31 cr.)
Complete each of the following courses:

  • ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.) –or– ENG-W 240 Community Service Writing (3 cr.) –or– SPH-B 250 Public Health Communication (3 cr.)
  • PHSL-P 215 Basic Human Physiology (5 cr.) +N&M
  • SPH-I 119 Personal Fitness/Wellness (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 200 Microcomputer Applications in Kinesiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 205 Structural Kinesiology (3 cr.) +N&M –or– ANAT-A 215 Basic Human Anatomy (5 cr.) +N&M
  • SPH-K 280 Basic Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries (2 cr.)
  • SPH-K 301 Professional and Career Preparation (1 cr.)
  • SPH-K 305 Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 409 Basic Physiology of Exercise (3 cr.): (P: ANAT-A 215 or SPH-K 205, and PHSL-P 215)
  • SPH-K 452 Motor Learning (3 cr.)
  • BSPH-N 220 Nutrition for Health (3 cr.) –or– SPH-N 231 Human Nutrition (3 cr.) (P: Introductory Chemistry) +N&M

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

Suggested Courses for the First-Year Health Fitness Specialist Student
First Semester (15 cr.)

ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition (3 cr.)

SPH-I 119  Personal Fitness and Wellness
MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics (3 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Course (3 cr.)
Free Elective (3 cr.)

Second Semester (15 cr.)
SPH-K 216 Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health (3 cr.)
Social and Historical Studies course (3 cr.)
SPH-N 220 Nutrition for Health (3 cr.)
Free Elective (3 cr.)

Special Opportunities

The Fitness and Wellness program fulfills 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 Exercise Physiologist. This certification can only be taken by those individuals with a four-year degree in an allied health field.
In addition, students must complete a 5-credit professional field experience and 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 during their junior year. 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.


Exciting, rewarding, and challenging careers in the health/fitness industry include:

  • community wellness program director
  • post-rehabilitation specialist
  • worksite fitness/wellness center director
  • health coach
  • private and commercial health clubs as director, general manager, owner or consultant

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