Favorites ()
student inside of the Bod Pod

On a mission to improve health

Department of Health and Exercise Science

Health and Exercise Science at St. Thomas

The core mission of the Department of Health and Exercise Science (HES) is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to promote healthy living and well-being for individuals and their communities.

Our world is faced with significant health challenges affecting individuals and the population more broadly. Graduates of the Health and Exercise Science programs are meeting these challenges by putting theory into practice by promoting healthy lifestyles, evaluating human movement and the body’s response to exercise, and finding solutions that address complex health issues and health disparities in our communities. The department’s programs in health promotion and wellness, exercise science, public health, and nutrition prepare graduates to help both individuals and communities improve health.

Majors and Minors

Exercise Science

Examine how the body moves, responds and adapts to physical exercise, and how exercise contributes to overall health and wellness across the age span. Exercise science prepares you for a variety of allied health-related career paths or a graduate program in a related field.

Major and Minor

Health Promotion and Wellness Major

Health Promotion and Wellness is a major designed to assist others to change personal behavior to achieve health and whole-person wellness. The major teaches you how to promote awareness in the community about leading a healthy life while providing you with practical experiences in a variety of health-related settings.


Public Health

The public health major challenges students to think critically about much-needed solutions to our most complex health challenges—pandemics, cancer, heart disease, health inequity.

Major and Minor


Students in the Nutrition program will learn to communicate behaviors that align with healthy eating patterns to support the needs of different life stages and diverse populations. Nutrition students will build skills in finding, evaluating, and translating information about food and nutrition for a variety of audiences.The nutrition minor is a great option for students seeking careers in nutrition and dietetics, healthcare, fitness, food science and technology, public health, sports nutrition and many other fields and is open to students from all academic areas of study.

Two students working together outside on a bench

A lot to do, a lot to learn

The Student Experience

You’ll receive individual attention from faculty and have access to best-in-state facilities and equipment for undergraduates, research opportunities, student clubs and internships. We set our students up for career success or graduate school, whichever comes first.

Student running on the HES equipment

Our Partnership with Tommie Athletics

The Sports Science Institute

The University of St. Thomas is the first college to ever make the jump from DIII to DI athletics. Read how health and exercise science students are helping our athletes train, perform and recover at a higher level.

Sports Science Institute


Dr. Paul Mellick

Dr. Paul Mellick

Dr. Paul Mellick is an Associate Professor and department chair for the Department of Health and Exercise Science. He holds a Master of Arts from the College of St. Scholastica and a doctorate in Kinesiology from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Dr. Mellick’s research interests are focused on metabolic function and hormonal regulation, particularly their relationships to high-intensity exercise.

Dr. Paul Mellick
Dr. Amy Hedman-Robertson

Dr. Amy Hedman-Robertson

Dr. Amy Hedman-Robertson strives to provide interactive, experiential classroom activities to facilitate learning and retention. Her research interests include mental health help-seeking and community-based suicide prevention interventions. She is passionate about mental health literacy and provides suicide prevention education and training to communities.

Dr. Amy Hedman-Robertson
Amber Roy

Amber Roy

Amber Roy is Clinical Faculty in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. She holds a B.S. in Dietetics and an M.S. in Food Science and Technology from Iowa State University and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Amber is passionate about using culturally affirming, transparent and inclusive teaching and mentoring strategies in her work.

Prof. Amber Roy