Are you eager to earn a degree in sports medicine that leads to direct client care? Or are you hoping your degree will ensure you a spot on sports team, designing and implementing crucial health plans?
Whatever your interests and ambitions, a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine is a fantastic way to study both the practical, clinical elements of exercise science in addition to building the leadership skills necessary for a job in sports-centric medicine.
The field of sports medicine is actually very wide-ranging, and encompasses all aspects of athletic health, from nutrition to administration. Which is why the online schools we’ve provided vary in emphasis and scope but each provide a broad foundation in the health sciences. You can graduate with a degree from any of these schools and go on to become an athletic trainer, a kinesiologist, or an exercise physiologist. You’ll be ready for advanced schooling and you’ll be ready to dive into a career.
Due to the broad nature of sports medicine, we thought it would be helpful to provide a quick outline of the different degrees one can earn, and we’ve made sure to note throughout our list which schools offer which kinds of programs.
Exercise Science: Generally speaking, exercise science is a broad study of the body’s reaction to physical activity. This includes the biomechanical as well as the psychological response. Those with a BS in Exercise Science make, on average, over 47k annually.
Kinesiology: Even a bit broader than exercise science, kinesiology is the study of human movement, not just exercise, and includes multiple aspects of human health. Those with a BS in Kinesiology make, on average, over 43k annually in the early years of their career.
Athletic Training: Utilizing the same foundations found in kinesiology and exercise science programs, those who go into athletic training learn how to develop and implement health plans that are specific to their clients. They also make, on average, over 45k annually.
Now is a fantastic time to consider starting (or continuing) your degree online. Distance education is a flexible, affordable way to enhance your professional career without breaking the bank: most online degrees, including those below, are more affordable than those earned “traditionally.”
In addition to the financial factor, online education is incredibly flexible, allowing you to study whenever, wherever, and at your own pace. And though online degrees were once stigmatized, they are now considered an equal to “traditional” education, as many don’t even differentiate the two. We’ve even put together a list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities throughout the country.
What are the Best Online Bachelor Degrees in Health and Sports Medicine?
Considering that the field of sports medicine is so expansive and encompasses everything from health programming to exercise science, nutrition, and physiology, the schools below offer a similar range of degree options.
While some emphasize the business facet of sports medicine and others direct client care, they all share one thing in common: they are the best online undergraduate programs in the nation for those who want to work in athletics and health care. To determine such a comprehensive and definitive list, we started first with the academic reputation of each program in the nation and then examined student retention—a reflection of student satisfaction—affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.
The result, after such exhaustive research, is a list of those programs that are the best in the nation at training and educating future physical therapists, sports scientists, and athletic trainers. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 100
Credit Hour Cost: $129
Located in Gainesville with a student population tipping over 50k, the University of Florida (UF) is a flagship university that offers an impressive range of academic degrees and research opportunities, as UF is also home to more than 150 research facilities and centers. Even though many of these research centers, projects, and initiatives take place on campus, online students receive the same access and opportunities as on-campus students.
The University of Florida lands the top spot on our list of best online bachelor degrees in sports and exercise science because its online platform incorporates the same curriculum, delivered by the same faculty, as the on-campus classrooms. Students can therefore expect the same amount of rigor and a degree experience that mirrors a traditional program. This BS in Health Education and Behavior degree is fully online and trains students to promote healthy lifestyles with individual clients as well as within diverse communities. UF graduates have found careers as:
- Fitness Counselors
- Health Education Specialists
- Environmental Health Emergency Response Specialists
- Public Health Information Officers
- Exercise Science Consultants
- Athletic Training Assistants
- And more
Nationally and globally ranked as a whole by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Times Higher Education, many of UF’s of undergraduate and graduate programs—including the clinical medicine, biology, and chemistry departments, among others—are also ranked among the best in the country.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 97.75
Credit Hour Cost: $186
Located in Columbus, Ohio State University (OSU) is an elite research school of nearly 60k combined undergraduate and graduate students (though there are over 100k if you include all campus locations, including its online community). It is one of the largest universities in the country, home to a prolific athletic program, a member of the Big Ten Alliance, and a huge contributor to research in energy, biomedics, cardiovascular health, and more.
Offered through the College of Medicine, this online BS in Health Science degree introduces students to the various facets of human health while also preparing them (for those so interested) for medical school. OSU’s program will provide a solid foundation in health care, whether you’re interested in advanced schooling or you hope to dive right into a career after graduation. You can specialize by pairing the degree with a minor, in aging, cognitive science, disability studies, or integrative health and wellness. Some of the unique classes you will have the opportunity to take include:
- Individual Differences in Client Populations
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Introduction to Pathophysiology
- Community and Policy Influence on Health care
- Contemporary Topics in Health and Society
- Among others
OSU is known for its many research efforts as well as its business, science, medicine, education, and politics departments. It is considered one of the top hundred universities in the nation by ARWU, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly, as well as being globally ranked by Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Ranking.
College Choice Score: 96
Credit Hour Cost: $445
A Roman Catholic, Jesuit university based in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University was founded by the Society of Jesus and is currently a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It is the state’s largest private, religious university with around 9k enrolled undergraduates. Creighton is organized into nearly a dozen colleges and schools, among them the School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, and the College of Nursing.
For those seeking a faith-based, liberal arts approach to health care and sports science, the online BA in Healthy Lifestyle Management degree at Creighton is a confluence of classes on physical activity, holistic health, lifestyle medicine, nutrition, health psychology, and cultural perspectives on health. This is a markedly interdisciplinary degree program, so students gain experience in teaching, research, and practicum, and thus graduate ready to find careers in:
- Health Education
- Health and Wellness Coaching
- Wellness Planning and Consulting
- Community Health Organizing
- Recreational and Wellness Planning
- And more
Creighton University is ranked (by U.S. News & World Report) first among regional colleges and universities. Similarly, it is consistently included in rankings put forth from Forbes and Washington Monthly.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 92.5
Credit Hour Cost: $585
Arizona State University (ASU) is a large, elite, research school with multiple campuses throughout the state and in downtown Phoenix. It is home to over 72k combined undergraduate and graduate students, several renowned research centers (ASU is among the top twenty in the nation for its research expenditures), major medical schools and hospitals, and one of the best distance education programs in the country.
Known for its medical degrees and programs, ASU is a great choice for earning an online BS in sports science, exercise science, and health education. They offer a BS in Health Sciences degree with a concentration in Healthy Lifestyles Coaching that combines exercise science with holistic wellness, nutrition with health science. Students gain a foundation in preventative health care while taking classes in seven-week chunks, among them, a core comprised of the following courses:
- Fitness for Life
- Complementary Health care
- Changing Health Behaviors
- Eating for Lifelong Health
- Health Coaching Concepts and Skills
- Nutrition and Health Communications
Arizona State University is designated a top research school by Carnegie, and it is consistently included in public, national, and global rankings by U.S News, Washington Monthly, and ARWU.
University of Wisconsin–Superior
College Choice Score: 91
Credit Hour Cost: $305
A member of the well-regarded University of Wisconsin system, the Superior campus is a small public university that offers dozens of degrees across academic levels. It is considered the premier liberal arts school in the UW system and is thus a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Approximately 3k undergraduates attend UW Superior.
Offered through the Health and Human Performance Department, the online Exercise Science degree at UW Superior readies students for either advanced education (so they can go on to become physical therapists, sports physicians, athletic trainers, and more) or to find a career right after graduation. The curriculum at UW Superior is a blend of coursework on nutrition, exercise physiology, pathophysiology, and hands-on clinical experience. Because of the practical nature of this online program, UW Superior graduates have found careers in:
- Sport Nutrition
- Exercise Physiology (clinical and nonclinical)
- Cardiopulmonary Rehab
- Personal Training
- Health and Fitness Instruction
- And more
Due to the small size and liberal arts focus of UW Superior, the student to faculty ratio is distinctively low at 16:1. Students work closely with professors in a collaborative, mentorship model of education. UW Superior also connects its students with local communities through the frequently lauded Academic Service Learning program.
Indiana University Purdue University
College Choice Score: 85.5
Credit Hour Cost: $361
A public school, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is a mid-sized research institution that specializes in professional education and a liberal arts core. A member of both the university systems of Indiana University and Purdue, IUPUI works with all eight IU campuses to offer many online degrees and degree completion programs. Around 30k combined undergraduates and graduate students attend Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
IUPUI offers an online BS in Health Sciences degree that prepares you to attend graduate school or to find a career in health promotion, development, and service. To specialize your degree you can also supplement the major with certification in one of three areas of health: gerontology, global health and rehabilitation studies, or rehabilitation and disability. Whether or not you decide to include a concentration, you will progress through a common core that includes classes on:
- Health and Rehab Systems Across the World
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Disability and Society
- Ethical Issues in Health and Rehab Services
- Nutrition and Exercise
- Human Nutrition through the Lifespan
- And more
IUPUI is also known for its research initiatives in an array of health fields, including in imaging, STEM education, nanosystems, and physician science, among others. Ranked “with distinction” by the President’s Higher Education Community Service, IUPUI is also well-ranked for its academics, its commitment to sustainability, and its commitment to diversity.
University of Missouri
College Choice Score: 85
Credit Hour Cost: $282
A public, land-grant research institution with over 30k undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Missouri (Mizzou) is organized into twenty colleges and schools. It is located in Columbia and home to dozens of renowned research centers and labs, including the MU Sports Park, the International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine, and its number of hospitals and clinics.
Mizzou offers an online BHS—Bachelor of Health Science—degree that can be earned fully online. This program trains students in the areas of corporate wellness, sports health, human services, medical management, and pharmaceuticals. You’ll graduate from Mizzou’s program an expert in:
- Clinical ethics
- Public health principles and practice
- Sports and exercise science
- The U.S. healthcare system
- Health literacy and leadership
- Research methodology
U.S. News & World Report ranks Mizzou as among the top 100 best universities in the nation. ARWU, Forbes, and Washington Monthly also rank Mizzou nationally. In addition to its academic accolades, Mizzou is known for many things, such as its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
California University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 83.5
Credit Hour Cost: $624
California University (Cal U) is a public university and a member of the well-regarded Pennsylvania State System. It is also a mid-sized school that offers degrees across all academic levels, from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees, and in a variety of disciplines and fields. In fact, Cal U offers over 150 academic programs, including those housed under the nationally recognized Global Online College.
The sports programming at Cal U is unique among those on our list: the online sports management studies degree comes paired with a track in wellness and fitness that easily translates into an advanced degree in sports medicine or direct client care after graduation. Also distinctive about this program is the emphasis on peer relationships. Students enter with a cohort who they work closely alongside, making this an ideal program for those who want a more traditional undergraduate experience. Cal U’s graduates have found careers in:
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Spas and rehab clinics
- Exercise physiology
- Strength coaching
- Athletic training with high school and college-level athletes
- And more
Cal U is consistently ranked among the top three best online colleges in the country. The global program has solidified a reputation in providing affordable, high-quality distance education and for over a decade has been included among Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Northern Kentucky University
College Choice Score: 82
Credit Hour Cost: $425
Located just south of Cincinnati—in Highland Heights, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is a public liberal arts school. Around 15k students attend Northern Kentucky and are enrolled in one of the six schools or colleges, including its renowned College of Informatics and Salmon P. Chase College of Law. NKU offers 60 bachelor’s degrees in the arts, sciences, education, business, law, and health fields.
The online Health Sciences degree at NKU is one of the broadest on our list, with discrete tracks in transdisciplinary health, non-clinical health, and clinical medicine. While the clinical track is for those who already have experience in the healthcare professions, the non-clinical health track is for those who are looking to transition into the health profession. Both however, enable students to further their careers and/or advance into graduate school. The transdisciplinary track is for those who want to work in health promotion and wellness but not necessarily in a clinical setting. Students from all tracks take courses in:
- Healthcare Management
- Aging in Today’s Society
- Healthcare Research
- Global Perspectives of Healthcare
- Concepts of Quality Patient Care
- Statistical Methods
Since NKU is modeled after a liberal arts program, class sizes are notably small with under 25 students, on average, in each class. Equally, the student-to-faculty ratio is small as well, with around 17 students to each faculty member.
University of the Incarnate Word
College Choice Score: 82
Credit Hour Cost: $425
A private, Catholic university, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is located in San Antonio, Texas. It was originally founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and today has nearly 12k students, making it the third largest private university, and the largest Catholic university, in Texas. UIW offers 80 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.
The online BS in Health Science degree program at UIW may not directly introduce you to sports science concepts, but the general degree program provides a broad base of education in which to work with. Meaning, you can find a career in wellness and exercise science after graduation, or you can move into graduate school to further specialize in sports medicine. This program is notably flexible and can be paired with multiple concentrations, in administration, nutrition, or general studies. All students, however, take core classes in:
- Public Health
- Healthcare Policy
- Legal Issues in Healthcare
- Bio Statistics and Health Sciences
- Information Systems for the Health Sciences
- And more
UIW has a renowned study abroad program that gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on, international learning experience in nearly 50 different countries—among them, China, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, and much more.
California Baptist University
College Choice Score: 81.75
Credit Hour Cost: $566
California Baptist University (CBU) is a private, Christian, liberal arts school with a known history of providing excellent distance education and flexible degree completion programs. Because of its Baptist affiliations and memberships, the CBU curriculum, regardless of degree subject, incorporates a conservative, faith-based perspective on learning. Around 10k students attend CBU.
Of all the schools on this ranking, California Baptist University offers the most pointed sports medicine degree. Their online BS in Kinesiology teaches students how to research, articulate, and interact with the functions of the human body as it relates to exercise, performance, and development. Students gain a broad understanding of holistic health while also being fully prepared in disparate fields, from sports medicine to athletic training. An important thing to note is that this curriculum heavily emphasizes theology, biblical studies, and faith formation. A sampling of upper and lower division kinesiology classes at CBU includes:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- First Aid and Safety
- Movement Anatomy
- Lifelong Motor Development
- Care and Prevention of Athletic Injury
- Behavior Aspects of Sports
- And more
CBU has been praised for its online accelerated undergraduate degree opportunities. As courses start every eight weeks and three semesters are offered year round, most students with some transfer credits can finish their degree in under two years. CBU is also known for its online personal enrollment counselor, student service advisors, and 24/7 online tutoring support.
Southern New Hampshire State University
College Choice Score: 80.5
Credit Hour Cost: $320
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private university located primarily in Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. Organized into six schools and colleges that specialize in the fields of health, engineering, technology, business, education, and the arts and sciences, SNHU has nearly 60k students, most of whom study from a distance.
SNHU online students learn how to engage in all facets of health care—from finances to direct, practical care—through this online BS in Health Science degree. The breadth of this program, and SNHU’s emphasis on leadership training, allows students to pursue a number of career and advanced education options after graduation. In fact, graduates have secured careers in everything from cardiovascular technology to sports-centric physical therapy. Core classes in the SNHU program include:
- Healthcare Economics
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Ethical and Legal Considerations of Healthcare
- Quality Management
- Finance Systems
Offering some of the most interactive, affordable, and flexible online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the nation, Southern New Hampshire University has earned its strong reputation in distance education programming. Across both educational and business sectors, Southern New Hampshire University is widely known for its ingenuity and has been named among the most innovative organizations in the world (by Fast Company).
Kansas State University
College Choice Score: 80.25
Credit Hour Cost: $433
Located in Manhattan (Kansas, of course), Kansas State University (KSU) is a large public university that enrolls nearly 25k undergraduate and graduate students in one of its nine affiliate schools and colleges. The first public state school in Kansas, KSU is now a hub of research activity, especially in the areas of agriculture, biosecurity, energy, and the health sciences.
For those who want to combine the science of nutrition with the science of sports health, this online BS in Nutrition and Health degree from Kansas State is a perfect choice. Students engage in a curriculum that covers nutrition in the individual body all the way to global nutritional health. And for those who want to specialize even further, there are a number of online minors, in business, conflict analysis and trauma studies, gender and sexuality studies, and human development, among others. A sampling from the core curriculum at KSU includes classes such as:
- The Science of Food
- Human Nutrition
- Nutritional Assessment
- Research in Health Sciences
- Public Health Nutrition
- Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries
KSU is nationally and globally ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education, among others. It was founded during the American Civil War as a land-grant, agricultural college.
Grand Canyon University
College Choice Score: 77.75
Credit Hour Cost: $470
A for-profit Christian university located in Phoenix, Grand Canyon University (GCU) was originally founded as a non-profit liberal arts college before being purchased by the Grand Canyon Education Incorporation. Today it maintains its biblically rooted mission and vision, which is reflected heavily in their curriculum and their emphasis on community, community values, and service. Though once a primarily Baptist school, they are now inter-denominational and open to students of all belief traditions.
Grand Canyon University offers a multidisciplinary, online BS in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care degree that serves those students who want to work directly with clients, to create and implement health plans, to prevent and assist with injury, and to improve patient outcomes. This is a practical degree that will help you get your foot in the proverbial door of sports medicine. And for those seeking a faith-based approach to health, this program is ideal. Classes include:
- Trends and Issues in Health Care
- Risk Management and Health Care Regulations
- Safety, Quality, and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Care
- Spirituality in Healthcare
- Among others
Grand Canyon University has offered online degrees for over a decade so their expertise in distance education is clearly evidenced by the leading online faculty members, the innovative online tools and services, the academic and social opportunities online students are given, and the degree variety these students have to choose from.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 77.5
Credit Hour Cost: $350
Nova Southeastern University is a private school located near Fort Lauderdale, FL. Comprised of 18 colleges and schools, and nearly 200 academic areas of study, NSU proffers professional degrees in a variety of subjects, from law to business, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, allied health, nursing, and more.
This online, interdisciplinary degree in health sciences from Nova Southeastern develops leadership qualities in its students, ensuring they graduate ready for further specialized education or to find rewarding careers, as sports scientists, athletic trainers, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, and technicians of all stripes. While gaining concrete, practical knowledge of direct client care, Nova students also learn the political, social, legal, and ethical issues and play in sports medicine. The Nova Southeastern curriculum covers:
- Sports medicine principles and practice
- Current issues in healthcare
- The history of the US health system
- Health care ethics
- Conflict resolution in health care
- And more
Nova Southeastern University has offered distance and online education options since the 1980s, making it one of the most established online colleges on our list. The SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) certified electronic campus offers a handful of bachelor degrees and a plethora of graduate degrees that can be achieved fully online.
Eastern Oregon University
College Choice Score: 74
Credit Hour Cost: $232
Located in La Grande, Eastern Oregon University (EOU) is small school with under 5k undergraduates. Proffering dozens of online undergraduate degrees at an affordable rate (EOU has one of the lowest credit hour costs on this ranking), Eastern Oregon provides students with a broad liberal arts base regardless of major or projected degree.
Housed in the College of Business and Education, the online degrees in Physical Activity and Health are organized into three programs: Physical Education and Sport, Exercise Science, and Community Health. The sports specific degree can be applied to a career in athletic training, injury care, or kinesiology, or it can be used in an educational setting or to pursue further degree specialization. The core curriculum comprising this online BS program include:
- Sport Psychology
- Qualitative Analysis of Human Movement
- Teaching Team Sports
- Prevention and Care of Injury
- And Sports Management, among others
Eastern Oregon University is known for being a small campus with fewer than 25 students in each class. However, there are more than 50 student clubs and organizations, creating a close-knit campus feel. More than half of EOU’s students take classes online either at some point in their academic career or throughout.
University of West Florida
College Choice Score: 72.75
Credit Hour Cost: $218
Part of the State University System of Florida, the University of West Florida (UWF) is located on a beautiful natural preserve, next to two rivers and the Escambia Bay. UWF is a mid-sized research institution with around 13,000 students enrolled in one of its several colleges. The university is organized generally into the business, health, education, and engineering schools.
Like many of the other programs on our list, the University of West Florida provides a broad bachelor’s degree in health sciences that can be completed fully online and that readies students for careers in diverse fields. This program, however, was specifically designed to develop leaders in the health industry who can develop, promote, and implement holistic health plans. UWF is therefore a great place to earn a foundation in health science before moving into the particulars of sports medicine. A sampling of UWF courses includes those on:
- Current Topics in Health Informatics
- Human Physiology
- Principles of Human Disease
- Pharmacology for Health Professionals
- Health Ethics and Professionalism
- And more
The University of West Florida boasts a number of strong rankings, from Forbes as one of “America’s Top Colleges” and by The Princeton Review as one of the “Best Southeastern Colleges.” UWF is also frequently praised for its beautiful campus and its active student population, who are involved in the arts, student government, recreation, and athletics.
Concordia University–St. Paul
College Choice Score: 71
Credit Hour Cost: $420
An affiliate of the ten-member Concordia University System, which is owned and operated by the Lutheran Church, Concordia University in the Twin Cities is a small, liberal arts college with around 4k students. It offers dozens of degrees options spanning the sciences, humanities, arts, and professional studies.
One of the very few BA in Exercise Science programs on our list, this online degree from Concordia was specifically developed for busy, working adults. Through a flexible program model—in which courses are only seven weeks long, allowing you to accelerate swiftly toward graduation—you will focus on key concepts in human movement: kinesiology, exercise, coaching, sports medicine, and rehabilitation. Ninety-two percent of Concordia students find jobs after graduation, in athletic coaching, wellness training, sports science, and more. The Concordia curriculum includes courses on:
- Applied Nutrition
- Sports Business
- Motor Development, Control, and Learning
- Exercise Physiology
- Kinesiology Internship
- And more
Concordia’s traditional on-campus programs are well-regarded for their academic rigor, and the online campus reflects this standard as well. The global campus similarly offers degrees, certifications, licensure, and more, in hundreds of areas of study.
American Public University
College Choice Score: 70.25
Credit Hour Cost: $270
A private, for-profit school that delivers education solely online, American Public University (APU) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. There are over 200 online academic degrees to choose from, in the arts, humanities, health professions, business, STEM, and more. Nearly 100k students are enrolled in one of APU’s many programs.
American Public University offers a fully online BS in Sports and Health Sciences degree that is unlike any other on our list. It is one of the most integrative online degrees where you learn about all facets of sports and exercise science, and it is the only one to be affiliated with the guidelines of the American Sport Education Program (ASEP). At American Public University you will learn all about:
- Sports psychology and human behavior in sports
- Exercise programming, testing, and physiology
- Training, conditioning, and health and wellness
- Nutrition and exercise programs
- Sports law, risk, and regulations
- Business skills for the fitness and wellness industry
- Among other key physiology concepts
American Public University is known for its active and non-active military students, and for providing flexible, sensitive education to veterans. APU also maintains a crucial relationship with Walmart, who has spent over $50 million funding the education programs, including tuition grants for those who work in their stores.
Azusa Pacific University
College Choice Score: 69
Credit Hour Cost: $400
An evangelical university based outside of Los Angeles, Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a member of the CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) and a small liberal arts school that provides a Christian education to both its online and traditional students. Around 10k students attend APU and are earning a degree in one of the university’s 100 bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral programs.
The online BS in Health Sciences degree at Azusa Pacific is markedly hard science centric. You will be expected to take classes on psychology as well as genetics, chemistry as well as microbiology. Though rigorous, this program will give you the knowledge, experience, and confidence you’ll need to excel in a sports medicine graduate program. Additionally, the curriculum is also steeped in theology. While students examine cultural and diversity issues at play in healthcare, they also learn how to integrate biblical theology with the healthcare industry. APU courses, in addition to those mentioned above, include:
- Human Growth and Development
- Human Physiology
- Human Anatomy
- And more
Azusa Pacific is affiliated with the Wesleyan-Arminian church and is known for its research contributions in the unique areas of theology, leadership, ministry, and faith integration.
College Choice Score: 68.5
Credit Hour Cost: $410
Over 10k students are enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate programs of private, non-profit Bellevue University. The education model, both on campus and online, is founded on the principles of accelerated, student-centered, cohort-based education. Thus, Bellevue (located in the Nebraskan town of the same name) works closely with a student body who is relatively older and eager to advance their careers.
At Bellevue, while earning an online BS in Health Sciences, you will learn how to apply scientific principles to healthcare problems, and you will be able to distinguish normal human anatomy and physiology from those changes brought on by aging, illness, and injury. While analyzing wellness decisions throughout the human lifespan you will also be able to evaluate ethical issues related to healthcare. Bellevue’s program is a great base for getting your start in the world of sports medicine. Bellevue’s major core is comprised of:
- Wellness for Life
- Introduction to Psychology
- Nutrition through the Lifespan
- Health Communications
- Medical Ethics and Leadership
- Among others
Bellevue has sought to provide affordable and accessible education to adult learners since it was first founded in the middle of the Twentieth Century. Today, over 80 percent of its students are aged twenty-five and older, meaning it has kept its commitment to serving busy, working adults. Furthermore, the distance education program is an extension of this vision, and has been consistently praised by U.S. News & World Report as being among the best online schools in the country.
University of South Dakota
College Choice Score: 68
Credit Hour Cost: $335
A public research institution, the University of South Dakota (USD) is located in the small town of Vermillion (about an hour southwest of Sioux Falls). It’s a mid-sized school in terms of student enrollment, which is just barely in double digits with 10k combined undergraduate and graduate students. But it offers over 200 degrees through its seven colleges and schools.
The University of South Dakota offers a BS in Health Sciences degree that can be completed fully online. This program is particularly flexible, giving students plenty of academic options so they then have plenty of vocational options after graduation. And it is notably interdisciplinary, meaning you can study the parts of sports science, biomechanics, and training that most interest you. USD’s program also offers five “academic pathways,” which qualify students for entry into either a graduate program or employment in a healthcare related position. These pathways are in:
- Pre-Professional Studies
- healthcare Studies
- healthcare Advancement Studies
- Undergraduate Clinical Informatics
- Undergraduate Research
The University of South Dakota is a site of notable research initiatives; the state’s only medical, law, and business schools; the National Music Museum, and a NCAA Division 1 athletics program.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
College Choice Score: 66
Credit Hour Cost: $1,184
The largest in the nine-member University of Louisiana system, the Lafayette (ULL) branch is a public, research institution with 17k students, the second largest school in the state. It was originally founded as an industrial school and still maintains today a reputation for its computer science, engineering, and architecture programs. But ULL now offers over 80 undergraduate degrees in an array of fields.
With its motto, “Be a Health Advocate!” the online Kinesiology Health Promotion and Wellness degree at ULL emphasizes holistic health and collaborating with clients to create long-term, sustainable health goals. You will be trained on how to improve the quality of life for both individuals and groups, how to evaluate health programs, and how to identify community needs. And you will graduate fully prepared to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Some of the unique courses you’ll have the opportunity to take as a ULL student include:
- Environmental Health
- Stress and Stress Management
- Nutrition for Fitness and Sports
- World Health Issues
- Health and Sexuality
- And Drugs and Society
While The Princeton Review named ULL as among its “Best 381 Colleges,” U.S. News & World Report included it among its national college rankings, as does Washington Monthly’s National Universities Rankings.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 64.5
Credit Hour Cost: $597
Located on the beautiful foothills of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public research school. Over 30k students attend NAU and are enrolled in one of the 150 academic programs options.
The only one like it on our list, the online BS in Health Sciences degree at Northern Arizona is specifically for those who want to apply their interest in sports medicine to the field of physical therapy. Through this program you will learn all about rehabilitation services and how to improve client function, pain relief, and health maintenance. Graduates have gone on to become Physical Therapist Assistants in:
- County Health Departments
- Primary Care Offices
- Rehabilitation Facilities
- And Private PT Practices
NAU is already an affordable option for students, but for those who hail from the Western half of the country, the rates are even lower; NAU participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, which provides residency rates to students within the Western states’ region. Northern Arizona, ranked among the top 500 universities worldwide by Times Higher Education, also promises the same tuition rate for students for four years.
College Choice Score: 59.25
Credit Hour Cost: $452
Based in San Diego, Ashford University is an online, for-profit school accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. It’s a large school with nearly 50k students, all of whom are studying at a distance, and it is organized into five colleges: the School of Business and Technology, the College of Education, the liberal arts school, the Honors College, and the College of Health, Human Services, and Science.
An online BA in Health and Wellness from Ashford University consists of five-week courses wherein a student tackles just one course at a time. This accelerated format, plus the opportunity to transfer up to 90 previously earned credits, means you can earn a degree in record time. The Ashford program is ideal for those who want to go into sports medicine because students are specifically trained on holistic wellness, injury prevention, exercise science, nutrition, and stress management. You’ll graduate able to:
- Describe in detail human anatomy and its biomechanics
- Examine and evaluate chronic conditions
- Develop individual wellness programs
- Utilize motivational strategies to incite top athletic performance
- Assess lifestyle factors that affect sports performance
- And more
Ashford University was originally founded, in 1893, as the Mount St. Clare Academy, an all women’s school affiliated with the Sisters of St. Francis. It was located in Iowa until it became the fully online university it is today.
United States Sports Academy
College Choice Score: 57.25
Credit Hour Cost: $395
The United States Sports Academy is located in Daphne, Alabama and specializes in sport-specific academic programs. It offers degrees in sports science across all academic levels, from certificate programs to doctoral degrees. The Academy is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
What better place to earn a foundational degree in sports and exercise science than the United States Sports Academy. This is a one stop shop for everything sports and health: coaching, management, the science of movement, strength and conditioning—you’ll learn it all at the U.S. Sports Academy through this online Bachelor of Sports Science degree. And through a multidisciplinary curriculum you’ll gain a broad perspective on sports that includes the sociological, psychological, ethical, behavioral, technological, and health impacts of exercise and athleticism. A sampling of courses includes those on:
- Sports Medicine
- Scientific Principles of Human Performance
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Sports Officiating
- Technology of Sports
- Sports Nutrition
The Academy was originally founded to provide coaching and training programs for Olympic athletes. While maintaining that initial vision, it has now expanded to the large university it is today. Further, it is home to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives, which houses more than 1k works of sport art from around the world.
Trident University International
College Choice Score: 51.5
Credit Hour Cost: $375
Trident University International is a small school with around 6k students. It is a private, for-profit (accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission) that offers online education across academic levels. Founded as a university that specifically designed distant education programs that could rival the academic standards of traditional programs, Trident now specializes in health science, business, education, and IT degrees.
At Trident University you can earn a BS in Health Sciences degree that is fully online and that will expand your awareness of current and ongoing health trends, making you an asset to the world of sports training, medicine, and health upon graduation. Despite the fact that 100 percent of this degree is online, you’ll work closely with faculty, admissions counselors, and career advisors to ensure a successful academic experience. The Trident curriculum is notably three-tiered in its emphases, placing balanced stress on the following categories of holistic healthcare:
- Ethics in Health Care
- Cross Cultural Health Perspectives
- And Health Behaviors
Military Times calls Trident a university that is “Best for Vets,” solidifying its reputation for being military friendly. Likewise, Trident has been recognized by the Military Advanced Education and Transition as a top college for consecutive years.
College Choice Score: 50.75
Credit Hour Cost: $510
Located in Albany, New York, Excelsior College is a private, non-profit school with approximately 35k students. It offers degrees in business, technology, health sciences, nursing, and in the liberal arts; and it is a member of “The Big Three,” that is, a distance education provider known for its liberal arts model and academic standards.
Excelsior offers an online BS in Health and Wellness degree that teaches its students how to create, implement, and evaluate personal healthcare plans. This is an ideal program for those who want a broad experience in and knowledge of health promotion, as Excelsior introduces students to all facets of sports medicine. You’ll take classes on research methodology, but also classes on leadership and communication. You’ll learn the mechanics of motion as well as the psychological aspects of sports. In the end, Excelsior prepares you for further education or to enter a career in a diverse range of areas. To further specialize, you can even take on an area of focus; Excelsior provides concentrations in:
- Natural Healing
- And Spirituality and Health
Many of Excelsior’s programs and departments have received accolades for their ingenuity, research contributions, and academic excellence. Among them the nursing, health sciences, and engineering schools.
College Choice Score: 48
Credit Hour Cost: $310
Walden University is a private school headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Though it offers a breadth of academic programs, it specializes in business, public health, education, management, and technology degrees. With approximately 50k undergraduate and graduate students, Walden is a member of a large, global network of universities and schools.
If you’re interested in multidisciplinary approaches to the study of illness, disease, and injury, if you’re fascinated by the behavioral and cultural factors that influence personal health, and if you want to study sports medicine through the lens of holistic health, this degree from Walden could be for you. Walden’s online BS in Health Studies gives students a broad foundation in exercise science, kinesiology, sports medicine, and the healthcare industry. You’ll graduate ready to work in direct client care, providing patients with individualized training plans that will keep them safe and healthy while pushing for performance. There are also ten unique concentrations to choose among for further specialization, including (though not limited to):
- Health Informatics
- Health and Cultural Diversity
- Health Promotion and Wellness
- Health Psychology and Behavior
- And a Self-Designed program
Walden University is the flagship online school in the Laureate International Universities system. It is known for its multinational student body population.
College Choice Score: 47.5
Credit Hour Cost: $371
Kaplan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a for-profit college owned by the Graham Holdings Company. Though it has fifteen physical campuses around the country, Kaplan is primarily a distance education provider. It is organized into eight academic schools and colleges, and it proffers degrees in everything from business and IT to law, health sciences, and nursing. Around 30k students across the country attend Kaplan.
Among Kaplan’s many health-related degrees, they offer an online BS in Health and Wellness that emphasizes practical, clinical care of athletes, both amateur and professional. Students in this program learn about community and individual wellness, injury prevention, and body mechanics; and they graduate ready to find a job in training, coaching, and consulting athletes. And for those who plan to attend graduate school, Kaplan offers an accelerated, combined bachelor’s and master’s program, in healthcare administration, informatics, healthcare management, public health, or education. Kaplan’s core curriculum includes classes on:
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Current Trends in Exercise and Fitness
- Models for Health and Wellness
- Contemporary Diet and Nutrition
- Creating Wellness: Psychological Aspects of Healing
- And much more
Kaplan consistently and frequently shows up on the national online degree rankings put forth by U.S. News & World Report.