Health and Human Performance, B.A.

Program Overview

Do you have a personality that drives you to help people? Are habits like eating well or working out a priority for you? Does motivating, teaching, and being a catalyst for behavioral change in the health and lifestyles of others interest you? If so, a PLNU degree in health and human performance can lead to a very fulfilling and worthwhile career.

Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Performance isn’t simply lifting heavy weights or being able to run fast — it's about working with people to overcome their fears; identify and prevent injuries; help them avoid preventable disease; and live out a healthy, happy lifestyle. From biomechanics and anatomy to physiology or psychology, expect to find yourself gaining important skills in fitness assessment, exercise prescription, proper nutrition for fueling performance, and ethical/faithful leadership in this fast-growing discipline.

PLNU health and human performance majors are also required to complete concentrations in either exercise and sports science or pre-allied health, which aim to engage students in topics around the health and fitness industry, strength and conditioning, nutrition, learning theory, physical education, coaching, and many more conversations.


Exercise and Sports Science

The Exercise and Sport Science Concentration focuses on the science and practice of sports performance, physical fitness, and life-long health. Students prepare for a range of professional certifications and careers in the movement professions, including Personal Training, Athletic Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Sport Science, Physical Education, Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Corporate Wellness, Fire, and Law Enforcement. Students in this degree program will explore the science of human movement, conduct physical fitness assessments, and learn to use metrics and evidence in developing exercise programs that help clients and athletes build physical fitness safely and efficiently.

Pre-Allied Health

The Pre-Allied Health Concentration is designed to prepare students for careers in Athletic Training (via our 3 + 2 year track leading to the MS in Athletic Training), Occupational Therapy, and Post-Baccalaureate Nursing. If you are interested in becoming an Athletic Trainer click here for more information on the 3 + 2 program.

See how PLNU prepares rising professionals for bright futures in careers and advanced academic programs in health, medicine, kinesiology, occupational therapy, anatomy, and more.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Health and Human Performance, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Current PLNU Student Information

MS-AT Application Info for Current PLNU Students

Athletic Training, M.S. 

The 3+2 accelerated Athletic Training, M.S. program in is coordination with the Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Performance (Pre-Allied Health Concentration) and prerequisites at Point Loma Nazarene University. Working with your advisor for this route of admission is critical for the application process, and applicants will apply directly through the internal application below.

Start Application

*If you are not currently a PLNU undergraduate student, please do not fill out the above application. Prospective students can apply for the MS-AT program after their third year. Students already with a bachelor's degree may apply on the MS-AT program page.


Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

The health and fitness industry is poised for huge growth as demand for healthier lifestyle options has propelled exercise and sport science into some of the top career opportunities available. Increased public understanding and awareness continues to grow the need for alignment between fitness, nutrition, stress management, and treatment of preventable disease. A Bachelor of Arts in Human Performance prepares you to help others find the right course of action to achieve health and wellness. 

At PLNU, our health and human performance program focuses on two goals:

  • Teaching you to gain important skills in fitness assessment, exercise prescription, proper nutrition for fueling performance, and ethical and faithful leadership.
  • Supporting you as you learn to identify and prevent injuries, help patients avoid preventable disease, and work with people to achieve their health goals 

Job outlook for health and human performance careers

Job opportunities with a degree in health and human performance are wide-ranging and available in many fields. For physical therapists (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU health and human performance program), overall employment is projected to grow 18% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

What can you do with a health and human performance degree?

PLNU graduates are trained to successfully navigate the collaborative fitness and medical field to uncover ways of improving people's lives and health. Students also graduate with the scientific basis to achieve professional fitness certifications and specialized training to serve this growing need effectively. Many alumni have found success as fitness industry professionals, personal trainers, pre-health professionals, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, sports coaches, physical education teachers, and nutritionists.

Some of the positions our graduates currently hold include:

Coach or Scout

2020 Median annual salary: $36,330

Coaches teach amateur and professional athletes the skills needed to find success in their sport, whereas scouts look for and recruit new players based on their skills or likelihood for success at a variety of levels (college, amateur, or professional). Many coaches are also involved in scouting potential athletes.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Highly organized to plan and conduct practice sessions
  • Well-versed and experienced in the sport being coached
  • Knowledge of how to plan strategies and lineups based on the strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and opposing teams
  • Strong communicator and leader to provide direction, encouragement, and motivation to athletes
  • Physically able and fit to plan and direct physical conditioning programs 

Physical Therapist

2020 Median annual salary: $91,010

Physical therapists help clients who are injured, ill, or elderly improve mobility and manage pain. They often play an important role in preventive care, rehabilitation, and treatment for patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. They must be able-bodied and strong to help patients with limited mobility. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Physically strong to help lift patients or guide them in strengthening workouts
  • Knowledge of conditions and injuries to diagnose a patient’s functions and movements by observing them and by listening to their concerns
  • Developing individualized plans of care for patients, outlining patient goals and the expected outcomes of the plans
  • Knowledge of exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients’ pain
  • Strong writing to evaluate and record a patient’s progress
  • Communication to educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process

Exercise Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors

2020 Median annual salary: $40,510 

Fitness trainers and group fitness instructors lead, instruct, and encourage people in exercise activities and classes. They work in buildings such as recreation centers, gyms, and yoga studios. A significant part of their job is motivating their clients in workouts that are both engaging and strenuous to help them achieve fitness goals. They work with a wide range of equipment from weights to exercise machines such as treadmills and stationary bicycles.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Thorough understanding of safety and regulations on sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment
  • Planning and demonstration of various exercises and routines meant to improve fitness
  • High energy and fitness-oriented
  • Trained in emergency first aid

Exercise Physiologist

2020 Median annual salary: $50,280

Exercise physiologists create specialized fitness and exercise programs to help patients recover from chronic diseases (often relating to cardiovascular or pulmonary problems). These programs help patients improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility. Additionally, through treatment, they provide health education to patients and their families.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Knowledge of exercises and treatment to prescribe based on an analysis of a patient’s medical history
  • Thorough understanding of how to perform fitness and stress tests with medical equipment
  • Ability to measure and record blood pressure, oxygen usage, heart rhythm, and other key patient health indicators
  • Strong writing to evaluate and record a patient’s progress
  • Communication to educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process

Make a lasting impact on clients, families, athletes, and the overall wellness of your community

Upon completion of PLNU’s Health and Human Performance B.A. you’ll be equipped with knowledge of how to provide quality care and support in the medical field, health and wellness programs, and fitness settings. This program prepares you with a versatile set of skills to flourish in a variety of settings. Within healthcare, athletic, or recreational positions, you can make a difference preventing and treating many types of conditions and diseases — one client or athlete at a time.

If you’re ready to make an impact and begin your journey at PLNU, connect with one of our counselors or apply today! 

Department Faculty