15 Most Affordable Bachelor’s Exercise Science Degree Online Programs

Sports Management Degree Guide - Most Affordable

By: SMDG Staff

Getting an online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science degree is a flexible way to advance your fitness career. Additionally, online sports science degrees will help graduates break into one of the world’s most rapidly developing health and fitness sectors. This article features the top most affordable online exercise science programs for undergraduates. 

What Is Exercise Science?

Exercise science is a unique area of study. It focuses on how the human body works during physical activity. Exercise science helps people understand the relationships between fitness, exercise, food, and health. The field also takes a scientific approach to fitness. And it allows students to comprehend the physiology of movement as well as its advantages and outcomes.

Why Get an Online Sports Science Degree?

A sports science online degree is an excellent choice if you want to help others. As an exercise science professional, you will assist people in achieving their potential through exercise and activity. An online bachelor’s degree in sport science is an ideal way for sports-minded professionals to advance their careers. Distance learning programs offer flexible online courses and hands-on learning opportunities you can do in your own community. Additionally, you can complete sport science online degrees without sacrificing personal and professional responsibilities. 

Most Affordable Exercise Science Undergraduate Programs

How Long Does It Take To Get a Degree in Exercise Science?

A bachelor’s in exercise science typically takes four years to complete. However, some programs may take as little as three. For example, a degree completion program will take less time since some of the undergraduate degree work has already been completed. In fact, some students even earn their online associate’s degree first. And this can significantly reduce the time spent on core courses in an online degree completion program.

Additionally, some online colleges offer accelerated sports and health science programs. With these sports science degree online programs, students can increase the time they put into their studies to graduate sooner. Some students even earn their online associate’s degree first. And this can significantly reduce the time spent on core courses.

What Is Kinesiology?

You will often notice the term “kinesiology” when looking at exercise science programs. Some of the programs on our list focus on kinesiology. And many of the exercise science programs also include kinesiology courses. So what is kinesiology? Essentially, it’s the scientific study of movement in the human body. Understanding how muscles move is essential for a better understanding of physiology. Kinesiology classes will teach you which muscles and joints create which specific actions. Kinesiology is a branch of sports medicine that requires a master’s degree to practice. However, undergraduate students will still encounter many kinesiology-related topics.

Related Resource: What is an Exercise Physiologist?

Methodology for the Best Exercise Science Bachelor Degree Online Programs

To identify the 15 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Exercise Science Programs, we started with a search on NCES College Navigator. First, we determined which colleges offer exercise science degrees online. Next, we ensured each selected program’s school was accredited. And finally, we choose the colleges with the most affordable programs. Within the best online exercise science programs, we also compared the following:

  • Student-to-faculty ratios
  • Undergraduate net cost
  • Graduation rates
  • Accreditations

Where there are ties, we favored the school with the lower net undergraduate tuition. From our list, we created a rating system to select our most affordable exercise science degrees online:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio:

15:1 or less= 2 Points

Greater than 15:1= 1 Point

Net Undergraduate Tuition Cost

Undergraduate Net Cost:

Less than $20,000 per year= 2 Points

More than $20,000 per year= 1 Point

Overall Graduation Rate:

Less than 50%= 1 Points

Greater than 50%= 2 Point

15 Most Affordable Bachelor’s Online Exercise Science Degree Programs

  School Student-to-Faculty-RatioNet PriceGraduation RateSCORE
United States Sports Academy19:1$21,0604.6%3
California University of Pennsylvania19:1$20,31748%3
Franklin University12:1$29,77325%4
University of Saint Mary12:1$23,80147%4
California Baptist University19:1$23,49457%4
PennWest University18:1$21,31850%4
University of the Cumberlands 21:1$13,63148%4
American Public University22:1$11,91649%4
East Central University17:1$11,18431%4
Cameron University17:1$9,29427%4
Maryville University13:1$24,73372%5
University of Kansas17:1$18,60866%5
Concordia University18:1$15,94453%5
University of Louisiana at Lafayette19:1$11,81850%5
University of North Dakota 14:1$17,42562%6

Ranking the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science Programs

#15 – United States Sports Academy 

Daphne, Alabama

Online Bachelor of Sport Science: Sports Studies

 United States Sports Academy  Logo

The United States Sports Academy offers an innovative online sport science bachelor’s degree. The curriculum is specifically developed to fulfill the demands of athletes. Students will collaborate closely with an adviser to design a customized plan of study based on their specific needs. US News & World Report has ranked USSA’s online sports bachelor’s programs in the top ten in the Nation.

All students participate in an internship, gaining valuable hands-on experience. There are no on-campus residency requirements. This means students can complete their studies from almost anywhere! The program includes four core courses, two mandatory courses, 14 optional courses, and a final internship. Some of the courses in this affordable online sport science degree include:

  • Organization and Management in Sports
  • Sports Strength and Conditioning
  • Applied Sports Performance
  • Sociology of Sports
  • Sports Promotion and Event Planning
  • Sports Law and Risk Management

The academy also offers online Bachelor of Sport Science programs in:

  • Sports Management
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Strength and Conditioning 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Net Price: $21,060

Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 4.6%

#14 – California University of Pennsylvania 

California, Pennsylvania

Bachelor’s Online Exercise Science Degree

California University of Pennsylvania logo

Cal U of Pennsylvania offers a low-priced, online exercise science program. The program is for students who want to channel their passion for wellness and fitness into a professional career. The school’s connections with NASM and NASE guarantee the curriculum matches employer demand in fitness. Coursework readies students for in-demand credentials like the:

  • Certified Personal Trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • Certified Speed Coach from the National Association of Speed and Explosion.

The fully online bachelor’s program may be completed in three years. And there are no on-campus residency requirements. Online course offerings include:

  • Motivational Strategies in Wellness and Fitness
  • Functional Kinesiology
  • Psychology of Sport

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net Price: $20,317

Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 48%

 #13 – Franklin University 

Columbus, Ohio

Online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science

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An online exercise science degree is offered by Franklin University. It features an ACSM-aligned curriculum. Interactive courses teach students how to assess fitness levels. You will learn how to design a results-oriented exercise program to achieve maximum potential. The program leads to a profession assisting people in achieving their health and fitness objectives.

The BS in Exercise Science program requires 120 credits and is fully online. And incoming students can transfer up to 94 previously earned credits, saving both time and money. Students can also supplement their coursework by completing a field experience course. The contemporary curriculum includes courses like:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Kinesiology/Biomechanics
  • Intro to Sports and Exercise Psychology
  • Principles of Strength Train/Condition
  • Applied Research Methods

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $29,773

Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1Overall Graduation Rate: 25%

Related Resource: What are the Benefits of Earning a Degree in Fitness or Exercise Science?

#12 University of Saint Mary

Leavenworth, Kansas

Online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science

University of Saint Mary Logo

An online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science is offered by the University of Saint Mary. The program prepares students to pursue certifications from ACSM, NSCA, and NASM. It incorporates beliefs from each nationally known fitness group into a range of courses within the major. Graduating with this degree can help you find a career such as:

  • Personal trainer
  • Exercise specialist
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Group exercise leader
  • Exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab

This program is 100% online, so you don’t have to sacrifice your career or obligations. The average completion time is two years. Core curriculum courses include:

  • Introduction to Health & Wellness
  • Kinesiology
  • Methods of Fitness Assessment
  • Sports Injuries & Illnesses
  • Exercise in Special Populations

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $23,801

Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 47%

#11 – California Baptist University

Riverside, California

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

California Baptist University Logo

California Baptist University offers an affordable online Bachelor in sport science degree. The Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology is a well-rounded degree. And it meets the needs of those pursuing graduate training in kinesiology and athletic training. It includes courses in areas like physical education and exercise science. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to sit for various professional certification exams.

The 50-credit program takes 18 months to complete. Courses are taught by diverse faculty who bring their experience to the classroom. The curriculum adheres to guidelines set by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Some of the featured courses include:

  • Lifelong Motor Development
  • Nutrition Science
  • Methods of Teaching Sports Activities
  • Principles of Conditioning Athletes
  • Exercise Physiology

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Net Price: $23,494

Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 57%

Related Resource: 20 Best Online Masters in Kinesiology and Exercise Science

#10 Pennsylvania Western University

California, Pennsylvania

Online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science

Pennsylvania Western University logo

PennWest University offers an online Bachelor in Exercise Science. The curriculum allows you to turn your passion for health, wellness, and fitness into a lucrative career. You will study exercise science, wellness, and fitness. Plus, you’ll learn about business, sport management, and marketing. The B.S. in Exercise Science prepares students to sit for certification exams such as the NASM and NASE. Students can choose from one of four concentrations, including:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Human Performance & Wellness 
  • Nutrition & Fitness 
  • Professional Golf Management 

The PennWest Global Online platform allows you to earn a degree without stepping foot onto the campus. And the 120-credit hour program can be finished in as little as three years. This program is an ideal choice for those wanting a career in exercise science.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net Price: $21,318

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 50%

#9 – University of the Cumberlands  

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Coaching

University of the Cumberlands Logo

For more information: University of the Cumberlands

The online Bachelor’s in Coaching from University of the Cumberlands is an excellent choice for students planning a career in coaching. Students will develop their talents and expand their skill sets to prepare for a professional career in coaching. And they will improve their skills and broaden their technical and communication skill sets to have a more significant effect on people’s lives. With a Bachelor’s in Coaching, you can find careers such as:

  • Head Coach
  • Health and Physical Education Instructor
  • Rec Center Manager
  • Athletics Director
  • Sports Management Professor

Courses are taught by industry experts who know what it takes to succeed in this competitive industry. Graduates have the foundation for success in graduate school or to obtain professional roles in sports and athletics. Online course offerings cover areas like:

  • Sport Management
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Officiating Games
  • Athletic Injury

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Net Price: $13,631

Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 48%

#8 – American Public University 

Charles Town, West Virginia

Online Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences

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For more information: American Public University

American Public University offers a low-cost online Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences. And there is an exercise science concentration. In this program, you will have access to the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s (NASM) exclusive course content. This allows you to take certification exams such as the Certified Professional Trainer (CPT). It also includes the Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) exams. 

During the program, students participate in the scientific study of human movement and behavior. This provides a window into maximizing health and wellness in an era when life expectancy is increasing. The comprehensive curriculum includes four concentration areas to choose from, including:

  • Fitness and Wellness Professional Studies
  • General
  • Coaching Studies
  • Exercise Science

The exercise science concentration prepares students to:

  • Analyze sport movement
  • Prescribe appropriate exercises that support training and reconditioning goals
  • Train athletes to improve athletic performance

There’s no application fee and no cost for textbooks or ebooks. The senior capstone course allows students to create a portfolio to showcase their skills. You will need 120 credit hours to graduate. However, students can transfer up to 90 of them. Featured courses include:

  • General Chemistry with Lab
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports First Aid & Safety
  • Exercise Programming & Testing
  • Human Anatomy with Lab

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $11,916

Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 49%

#7 East Central University

Ada, Oklahoma

Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

East Central University Logo

East Central University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. The program prepares you for a gratifying profession assisting others in feeling their best. It provides a comprehensive curriculum that is appropriate for all students with an interest in human movement. In addition, the program will teach you the skills you need to boost your earning potential and advance your career.

Courses are offered in 8-week sessions, and all classes are online. The program requires 124 credit hours. Students can complete it in two to four years. Additionally, a generous transfer program allows them to transfer up to 94 credits. You’ll need 44 hours in general education courses and 23 hours in electives. A faculty-supervised practicum is required. Featured courses include:

  • Fundamentals of Sports Administration 
  • Health Promotion 
  • Biomechanics 
  • Research and Evaluation of Kinesiology 
  • Motor Learning 
  • Physiology of Exercise

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $11,184

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 31%

#6 Cameron University

Lawton, Oklahoma

Online Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Science 

Cameron University Logo

Cameron University provides a bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science. This program teaches students about the legal implications of exercise science and exercise prescriptions. And they will also learn how to organize fitness programs. Most exercise science graduates pursue professions as sports or fitness instructors. However, some also get into personal training or become exercise physiologists. Technical assistance and accessibility services are available to online students.

The B.S. is a four-year, full-time program requiring 124 credit hours. And it is offered entirely online. In the final semester, students complete a practicum, which includes applied learning initiatives. A few of the courses include:

  • Intro to Sports & Exercise Science
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Care & Prevention of Athletic Injuries
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Facility Management

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $9,294

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 27%

#5 Maryville University 

St. Louis, Missouri

Online Bachelor’s in Exercise Science

Maryville University  logo

Maryville University provides an online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree program. The program covers human mobility, health technology advancements, fitness program design, and coaching. Students can specialize in either Wellness Management or Strength & Conditioning. Depending on your emphasis, your career options may differ. Some students pursue careers as strength and conditioning trainers. Others pursue wellness coaching in a variety of sectors.

The BS in Exercise Science is fully online and includes access to online resources and technical assistance. You can complete the program in four years. Students can access several digital resources, including app and video-based exercise and training tech. All participants must complete a capstone project in which they design their own exercise science project. Some featured courses cover topics such as:

  • Movement
  • Exercise counseling and coaching
  • Nutrition
  • Behavioral strategies
  • Exercise program design and prescription
  • Business

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $24,733

Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 73%

#4 – University of Kansas 

Lawrence, Kansas 

Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science 

University of Kansas  Logo

For more information: The University of Kansas

The University of Kansas features a cost-effective, online B.A.S. in Exercise Science. Students will study areas like human movement and functional changes to the body. The high-value, online degree program is an excellent choice for students considering a pre-health or pre-med education path. Courses are taught by credentialed, experienced faculty who understand the demands of the field. And the hands-on curriculum prepares students to meet their professional and educational goals.

This degree program is a designated Education Recognition Program (ERP) through the NSCA. ERP means the program offers a standardized curriculum. This curriculum readies students for certifications like the:

  • Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)
  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

The program requires 120 credit hours for graduation. This includes 18 hours of approved electives. Elective options are customizable and directed toward your career goals. Graduates can work in a variety of positions, such as:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Personal Training
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Health Care
  • Chiropractic
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise Physiology

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $18,608

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 66%

Related Resource: 5 Great Podcasts on Exercise Science

#3 – Concordia University – Saint Paul

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Online Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science

Concordia University - Saint Paul Logo

For more information: Concordia University – St. Paul

Concordia University St. Paul offers a best-value online Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science. The program helps students gain fitness center management skills. The primary learning outcomes include:

  • Demonstrating knowledge of kinesiology and related health ideas and concepts
  • Exhibiting a thorough understanding of the consequences of physical exercise on the body’s functions

The program consists of ten courses and a required internship. However, students can learn at their own pace, balancing school requirements with work and family obligations. The internship is interest-based. This way, students can apply their knowledge and skills in a professional work environment near them. The required 120 credit hours can be completed in as little as two years. A few of the core curriculum courses include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Motor Development, Control, and Motor Learning
  • Foundation of Exercise and Sport Science
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Functional Anatomy

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $15,944

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 53%

#2 – University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, Louisiana

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology – Health Promotion & Wellness 

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers an online Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. This degree focuses on health promotion and wellness. So the program prepares students for future roles as public health educators or community health workers. And graduates often work in organizing community fundraisers and advocating for public health policies. Upon completion, you will be eligible to test for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) national exam. 

This bachelor’s degree in exercise science online requires no campus visits. Instead, students complete a six-hour internship in their local area. Students can access online tutoring, technical help, library services, and more. Courses are delivered in an accelerated format or a traditional 16-week semester. Those who choose the accelerated format can finish the degree in eight semesters. You will need 120 credit hours to graduate. Course offerings include:

  • Concepts of Fitness and Wellness
  • Basic Human Nutrition
  • Principles of Human Communication
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Health Promotion Program Planning
  • Epidemiology

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Net Price: $11,818

Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 50%

#1 – University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Online Bachelor in Kinesiology 

University of North Dakota Logo

The online bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of North Dakota is a fully accredited program. It is both flexible and affordable. Upon completion, you will be qualified to teach physical education and coach esports/athletics. Plus, you will be equipped to work with people of all ages in the expanding sectors of exercise, sports, and fitness.

Asynchronous classes include:

  • lesson modules
  • streaming video content
  • posted lectures
  • online simulations.

Online students can access unlimited academic coaching to help them achieve their goals. And asynchronous classes mean you don’t need to attend class at a specific time. So if you need to combine work, family, and other obligations, the flexible format allows you to learn whenever and wherever you choose. Financial aid is available.

Other perks include online access to the UND Writing Center, career services, and financial aid. Courses are taught by UND faculty, who engage with their students throughout the program. The degree requires 120 credits. Featured courses include:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Applied Motor Development
  • Biomechanics
  • Prevention, Care, and Legal Issues for Injury
  • Fundamentals of Physical Conditioning

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission.

Net Price: $17,425

Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1

Overall Graduation Rate: 62%

Related Resource: What Does A Sports Nutritionist Do?

What Can You Do With a Degree in Exercise Science?

Top 15 Affordable Exercise Science Degrees

With a background in exercise science, you have the opportunity to pursue many roles in the field. Some jobs in exercise science may require a graduate degree. However, there are still many ways to break into the field as an undergraduate. Assisting people in reaching their health goals and meeting their fullest potential is highly rewarding. So if you love fitness and helping others, here are some careers you can get by pursuing an online bachelor degree exercise science program:

Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors may work in many settings, including community centers, health clubs, and more. Their job is to help others meet their health and fitness goals. In addition, they may plan and teach fitness programs and exercise classes of all types for many different populations. They are also involved in exercise program design.


Coaches monitor and train individual athletes and teams for competitive sports. In addition, they may help prepare them with new techniques, nutrition advice, and support to help them be their best. Those with an undergraduate degree in exercise science typically conduct coaching education for elementary and high school students. They may even teach physical education programs for schools.

Activities Director 

Activities directors may also be called recreational therapists. And these professionals are tasked with planning and implementing recreational activities for groups of people. This job typically takes place in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other institutions. And the activities can be anything from sports and exercise to arts and crafts. 

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers help individual clients improve their health and fitness in a home or office setting. A personal trainer helps their client with wellness management and fitness plans that align with their specific needs. This can include nutrition, weight loss, training, and other advice. Personal trainers also instruct clients in proper exercise techniques to prevent injuries. 

Community Program Director

Similar to an activities director, a community program director develops recreational plans for groups of people. This can be related to community sports, social events, cultural programs, etc. In some cases, they may act as a public health educator, teaching people how to achieve and maintain good health and wellness. 

Sports Facilities Manager

A sports facility manager is tasked with managing sports facilities such as gyms, arenas, and stadiums. They are responsible for the planning operations and day-to-day management of a facility. In addition, they may hire and train other workers or ensure the facility maintains a specific budget. 

Physical Therapy Assistant

To become a physical therapist, you need a graduate degree. But sometimes, undergraduates can secure a job as a physical therapy assistant. Under the supervision of the physical therapist, they help patients with various therapeutic activities. They may also handle some of the paperwork involved in the role. 

Most Affordable Exercise Science Undergraduate Programs


Students with exercise science degrees can pursue many career opportunities in the field after graduation. And many of these professional roles are only available with a degree. Online learning is a convenient way to take advantage of these opportunities in the health and fitness industry. Today, there are many distance learning programs available. So take the leap and check out one of these great online exercise science degrees today!

This concludes our review of the 15 most affordable exercise science bachelor’s degree programs in the US.

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