Health & Exercise Science

Optimizing health, movement & performance

The Health and Exercise Science (HESC) major is for any student interested in improving the health and/or athletic performance of humans. The major prepares students for diverse career opportunities in health and performance by building a broad foundation of scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Explore the physiological, biochemical, psychological, behavioral and mechanical principles of both health and exercise science.
Why study Health & Exercise Science at Millsaps?

In their own words

Rylee Stephens , Class of 2025

“The Millsaps Health and Exercise Science Program has been great at preparing me for physical therapy school. I really enjoy the interactive structure of the classes because it enables me to apply what I learn in the classroom through hands-on experience.”

Featured Courses

Here is a sampling of a few courses that might pique your interest.

HESC 2100 Evaluation of Health and Fitness
This course introduces techniques used to evaluate human health and fitness. Emphasis is placed on interpretation of the measurements to formulate lifestyle interventions. Mental health, addiction, and sexual health are also covered.
HESC 3560 Kinesiology
Study the muscular and skeletal systems as they are involved in the science of movement. The course includes the mechanical principles underlying human performance.

Degree Options

Discover your degrees, minors, concentrations and certification options available for this field of study.

Minor in Health & Exercise Science

15% growth in need for health care occupations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in health care occupations will grow 15% between 2019 and 2029.

Pathway to Professional Degree

This degree provides academic preparation for professional degrees, including chiropractic, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Research Opportunities

Upper-level HESC students design their own research project, collect the data and present the results.

Our distinctive strengths

Our program gives you the flexibility to take your education straight into a career or gets you ready to move into advanced training in clinical health care fields. If you enjoy science courses and are passionate about helping people optimize their health, this is the major for you. An HESC degree qualifies you to excel in many clinical and allied health professions, including nursing, physical therapy, personal training or performance coaching. HESC graduates can also pursue graduate degrees in areas such as exercise physiology and health promotion.
  • Comprehensive curriculum that includes multiple opportunities for choice based on career interests
  • Interdisciplinary – Students can choose from a variety of courses in multiple departments across campus (BIOL, COMM, HESC, HIST, MATH, PHIL, PSYC, SOAN, etc.)
  • Skill development through hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom
  • Choose an internship based on career interest

Gain hands-on experience

HESC courses emphasize hands-on experiences where students learn how to assess various markers of human health and fitness such as blood pressure, body composition, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular fitness and flexibility. Upper-level HESC courses also include research opportunities. Each student designs their own research project, collects the data and presents the results. Each HESC major completes a 180-hour internship that is tailored to their specific career interests. Opportunities are available through our Athletics Department and also with numerous community partners.


Our curriculum emphasizes problem solving and critical thinking skills essential to any career (and therefore any Pathway), as well as scientific writing and experimentation skills that may be especially critical to students interested in any of our six Pathways tracks.

Study Abroad

All Millsaps students can take advantage of our study-abroad classes. Millsaps College is ranked as one of the best study-abroad programs in the country! Check out all the opportunities.

More About the Degree

Recent Career Placements

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • University of Southern Mississippi Athletics

Postgraduate Study

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Health Related Professions
  • Mississippi College Master of Science in
  • Applied Exercise Physiology
  • Millikin University School of Nursing
  • University of Southern Mississippi Master of Science in Athletic Training

Careers of Recent Graduates

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Nursing
  • Personal training
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Athletic training
  • Clinical exercise physiology

Related Areas of Study

  • Minor in Biology
  • Minor in Psychology
  • Minor in Medical Humanities
  • Self-Designed Major

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Q&A with Victoria Gorham

Millsaps was a transformative institution for me. I always knew I wanted to teach at a liberal arts college like it when I finished graduate school.

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