We offer the country’s most comprehensive aquatics degree program.

Established in 2002, the aquatics concentration was the first truly aquatic-specific program in the United States. Our well-rounded curriculum will prepare you for a diverse and satisfying career as an aquatic director, fitness trainer, coach, and many more opportunities. 

What You Will Learn

Coursework is as wide-ranging as

  • facilities design and management
  • pool operations
  • aquatics-focused biomechanics
  • lifeguard training and aquatics staff development
  • certifications in areas such as emergency medical responder, scuba, aquatic instruction, and aquatic special topics

Our electives are just as diverse, including sailing and kayaking, teaching diving and synchronized swimming, scuba instruction, and camp waterfront administration.


What It’s Like to Major in Aquatics at Ball State

Put simply, our program here at Ball State is the most comprehensive aquatics degree in the country. Since 2002, we have offered the only comprehensive bachelor’s degree in aquatics in the United States.

Students in the bachelor’s degree have the opportunity to earn at least eight industry-specific external agency certifications or licenses.

This places you in a position to earn $7,000 to $10,000 more per year compared to 25 percent of the workforce that enters the profession with no prior aquatic experience (based on a 2002 analysis).

Students who choose to major or minor in our aquatics programs with the Department of Kinesiology will get a broad range of hands-on, real-world experience before they enter the workforce. The student’s capstone experience during the 12-credit internship provides work opportunities in national and global locations.

Our students have the opportunity to take part in stroke evaluations using the departmental Flume (swim-in-place unit). This unique opportunity allows you to receive immediate feedback and rapidly apply knowledge representative to the profession.

Each May, the Aquatic School provides an intensive week of aquatic instruction including such topics as lifeguard training and instructing, swimming pool operations and maintenance, and open water scuba. The program is available for credit and is designed to build camaraderie and obtain several aquatic certifications prior to the summer season.

Major Requirements

The degree is designed so that a full time student can complete it in four years. Completion time will vary if you attend part time. We encourage you to speak with your advisor about your workload and your timeframe goals for completing your degree.


Total: 120

  • University Core Curriculum
  • Core Requirements: 15
    • AQUA 190 Introduction to Aquatics
    • AQUA 479 Aquatic Professional Internship
  • Required Courses: 34
  • Directed Electives: 10


A few of the classes you will take include:

  • Biomechanics of Aquatics
  • Water Safety Instructor (WSI)
  • Aquatic Leadership and Staff Development
  • Aquatic Facility Design

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Aquatics?

A major in aquatics can provide opportunities to gain employment with various institutions, including: educational institutions; health and fitness facilities; recreation natatoriums; waterparks; private clubs and fitness centers; and government entities. Specific jobs can include:

Administrative/Professional Opportunities

  • Aquatics Director
  • Aquatics Supervisor/Manager
  • Coordinator
  • Consultant
  • Pool Operator
  • Aquatic Technician

Teaching Opportunities

  • Aquatics Coach
  • Lifeguard Instructor
  • Swimming Instructor

Government Opportunities (examples of specific departments)

  • Parks and Recreation
  • Community Services
  • Leisure Services

Paying for Your Education

Department Scholarships

On top of the dozens of funding options offered through Ball State’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, our department awards scholarships to our own students. Find a scholarship.

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or, if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.