The JWU Advantage: Exercise & Sports Science

Updated December 2022: Video of the Exercise and Sports Science labs has been added so you can watch the spaces in action.

Athletic success is built on a complex foundation of endurance activities, physical techniques, nutrition and hydration. JWU’s new bachelor’s degree program in Exercise and Sports Science is uniquely positioned to unite the science of peak-performance workouts with fitness-optimized nutrition.

For Associate Dean Paul A. Ullucci, Jr., Ph.D., DPT, learning to fuel athletes on all fronts — physical, metabolic and systemic — is one of the prime differentiators of JWU’s program.

Here, he outlines this holistic approach in more detail. While most programs offer classes on exercise progression, anatomy & physiology, Johnson & Wales goes beyond the typical exercise science program by:

Learning and Working in Real-World Settings

Collaborate with top-notch athletes and strength and conditioning coaches to explore strategies for enhancing performance and avoiding injury.

Opportunities include working with JWU’s own athletes and coaches on site, or choosing an internship in a rehabilitation clinic or industrial/corporate setting that is physically demanding.

The “industrial athlete” is someone who works in an industrial setting like a warehouse or manufacturing facility. The work often involves heavy lifting, pulling, climbing, or other repetitive tasks that can take a serious toll on the body. This segment is often ignored in traditional exercise science programs; a JWU education will allow students to apply their skills to help these workers, who often struggle to avoid injury — or even remain mobile — throughout their careers.

Exercise and Sports Science students will get to build skills in two brand new labs with state-of-art equipment. Watch these game-changing labs in action in the video below:

Learning How to Fuel Athletes

Food is medicine here at JWU, and we do more than talk the talk — we FUEL the walk.

Courses like Sports Nutrition (DIET2020) will provide you with powerful tools to improve your client’s response to YOUR exercise programs, thus making you a much better clinician. This niche skill is often missing in traditional exercise science programs, and will provide you with a significant competitive advantage as you compete for high quality jobs and motivated clients.

How do we do this? Assistant Professor Jonathan Poyourow '03, RD, LD, explains: “This course will provide you the necessary framework to be able to work alongside a sports dietitian to enhance your client’s potential or make you comfortable enough to be able to provide basic education while training your athletes on your own.”

He continues: “You will be learning from an elite sports dietitian not only the science behind nutrition, but how to properly assess an athlete from a nutritional standpoint; the basics behind developing appropriate diet selections for weight loss or muscle building; and maximizing your client’s endurance potential.”

Other topics that will be covered are dispelling nutritional myths, evaluating supplements from a scientific standpoint and scheduling the appropriate timing of meals. Explore the full range of courses in the JWU Catalog.

Getting Undergraduates Involved in Research

The Exercise & Sports Science program is committed to involving undergraduate students in impactful research projects. Our students will be learning and conducting research with faculty from within the Exercise & Sports Science program, as well as those who teach in graduate programs like Physician Assistant Studies (M.S.P.A.S), Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.), and Public Health (M.S.). Further down the road, JWU’s proposed Doctorate in Health Sciences degree (expected to start in 2022) will allow collaborative research opportunities for Exercise & Sports Science students who are looking to gain a better understanding of what doctoral research entails.

Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of the program will be able to sit for a number of personal trainer certificates, including those of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS).

Expect to enter the workforce in the area of fitness strength and conditioning. The U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics lists the 2019 median pay of personal trainers at $19.42/hour, with the job growth at 15% (much faster than average).

The program curriculum is specifically constructed to meet or exceed prerequisite requirements for most healthcare-focused graduate programs, including:

• physician assistant
• occupational therapy
• physical therapy
• medical school

Another bonus: You can apply to JWU’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies or Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program as a student in the Exercise Science major. If you meet academic and experiential eligibility requirements, you can move past most of the competition with a guaranteed interview by Physician Assistant admissions staff as part of our Competitive Pathway program for select undergraduate programs.

These JWU advantages provide students with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience that will give them a competitive advantage as they enter the workforce or transition to graduate education.


Exercise and sports science students learn about anatomy, kinesiology and physiology.