Health and Wellness (BS)

Chair: Karl Kozlowski, PhD
Director: Charles J. Pelitera, EdD


The major will provide a Bachelor of Science degree that will allow graduates the opportunity to be employed in facilities offering personal health and fitness programs ranging from health clubs and corporate fitness/wellness to physician-based wellness programs. Student eligibility for certification through organizations such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association, American College of Sports Medicine, National Academy of Sports Medicine and American Council on Exercise will be available following completion of the degree. Additionally, a minor in an area such as business could allow the student to pursue management positions in the fitness industry or lead them into areas related to sport administration.

Many students in health and exercise-related fields go on to graduate school. Students in this major may take electives to meet competitive admissions requirements for graduate programs in related fields. Through the use of guided electives, students will have the ability to complete pre-requisites for other health care professions. Examples include professions such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, physician’s assistant, and for an exceptional few medical school.

Admission to these graduate programs is extremely competitive and requires a strong academic record and standardized test results and many programs also expect evidence of leadership, service/volunteerism, written and oral communication skills and a working knowledge of the health profession. Students must work closely with the Canisius University Pre-Med director for advisement and the professional school of interest to determine the curriculum electives needed to satisfy necessary prerequisites.


Students must achieve a C or above in the following courses: BIO 114 and lab, BIO 115 and lab, KIN 115KIN 170, KIN 205, KIN 337 and KIN 235 and also maintain a 2.3 GPA in their major and a 2.3 overall average to graduate with a degree in Health and Wellness. All students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Students interested in graduate work in a pre-professional program (Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Occupational Therapy, Physician’s Assistant, etc.) should seek advisement through the Canisius University Pre-Med director in addition to the major advisor.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per university policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless completing the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

BIO 114
Human Biology: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Human Biology: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
BIO 115
Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Physiology
and Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
KIN 115Basic Nutrition3
KIN 170Emergency Care3
KIN 205Wellness and Fitness3
KIN 220Healthy Behaviors3
KIN 235Kinesiology3
KIN 300Women's Health3
KIN 336
Physiology of Exercise
and Physiology of Exercise Lab
KIN 337Exercise Principles and Applications3
KIN 350Organization and Administration of Health and Wellness3
KIN 361Psychology of Sport and Mental Health3
KIN 398Statistics and Research Design3
KIN 425Evolution of Disease and Illness3
KIN 498Internship in Health and Wellness (240 required hours)6
PSY 101Introduction to Psychology I3
Total Credits54

Major Electives

Health and Wellness majors should consult their advisor to identify free electives that might complement the major requirements.

Major Experiences

All students in the health and wellness major must meet and continue to meet the professional standards of the program. No one who jeopardizes the health or well-being of a client/patient, classmate or him or herself will continue as a student in the program. All students must possess the necessary physical attributes and exhibit qualities of good judgment and emotional stability.

The Health and Wellness program reserves the right to limit attire and adornments (such as clothing, jewelry, piercing, tattooing) of the body, hands, face, and oral cavity. The program assessment handbook outlines the enforcement of this policy. In all cases, the final appeal may be made to the Department of Kinesiology chair.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

BIO 114
BIO 115
ENG 111KIN 170
KIN 115ENG 112
Field 3 or 4Field 3 or 4
PHI 101RST 101
KIN 235KIN 205
PSY 101KIN 300
KIN 220KIN 425
KIN 336
KIN 361
Field 1 or 2KIN 337
AttributeKIN 398
AttributeField 1 or 2
KIN 350KIN 498
Elective Core Capstone
Elective Elective
Elective Elective

Additional Course Considerations

Health and Wellness majors should consult their advisor for additional course considerations.

Learning Goals and Objectives

Learning Goal 1 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed in Writing)
Candidates in the Health and Wellness program will demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical, and professional knowledge necessary for successful performance in their field.

Students will:

  • Identify and appraise the content of appropriate health information, services and products.
  • Assess health behaviors related to fitness, nutrition, relationships, substance use and abuse, and the environment.
  • Interpret the scientific literature in regard to aspects of human nutrition.
  • Describe how disease and illness affects the various body systems.

Learning Goal 2 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed Skills and Dispositions)
Candidates in the Health and Wellness program will demonstrate professional skills and dispositions necessary for successful performance in their field.

Students will:

  • Design and implement an exercise program for an individual client.
  • Develop an exercise progression for a team that reduces risk and maximizes benefit.
  • Utilize the epidemiological model of disease and disorders by examining predisposing factors, symptoms, preventions, treatment and control.

Learning Goal 3 (SERVICE)
Candidates in the Health and Wellness programs will demonstrate willingness to use their skills to benefit and serve society. Within the contexts of their work, candidates promote authentic learning, social and emotional development, and a commitment to social justice in environments that foster respect for diversity and the dignity of all.

Students will:

  • Design and implement an exercise program for an individual client.
  • Develop an exercise progression for a team that reduces risk and maximizes benefit.
  • Demonstrate the ability to modify exercise programs based on age, skill, setting, specificity and progress.

Candidates will demonstrate self-reflection as a habit of mind, continuously assessing and refining their professional practice as they construct a rich repertoire of research-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective performance ensuring that all students and/or clients have optimal opportunities to learn and grow.

Students will:

  • Demonstrate and instruct on standardized testing techniques involved in fitness assessment.
  • Demonstrate and instruct proper functional movements involved in strength and conditioning.

Learning Goal 5 (LEADERSHIP)
Candidates will become adept at applying their acquired knowledge in the process of evaluating their own professional performance and decision-making with respect to its impact on students and/or clients, organizations, and the wider community.

Students will:

  • Students will develop confidence and proficiency in their ability to communicate health related information through oral communication.
  • Students will develop confidence and proficiency in their ability to communicate health related information through written communication.


Strength and Conditioning Minor

Introduced for those interested in pursuing careers in personal training, athletic performance or strength and conditioning.