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Exercise Science

The Exercise Science program provides health and fitness professionals with a strong understanding of the scientific concepts hands on application that is required in a variety of health and fitness careers. The Exercise Science graduate will have the ability to raise awareness about health and physical activity, change behavior, and create environments that support good health practices, including, but not limited to exercise and physical activity. The Exercise Science professional assists people to develop self-responsibility for their own health and wellness, and implement health assessments and wellness programs that promote a healthy lifestyle. Exercise Science professionals work and study in commercial, clinical, and workplace settings to increase health, fitness, and quality of life for the general population. They are also able to apply their knowledge of acute and chronic exercise physiology to promote better health, reduce chronic disease, or to enhance the performance of athletes.

Student Spotlight

Program Goals

The goal of the Exercise Science program is to provide quality academic instruction and learning experiences:

  • To prepare students to procure entry-level employment in the health/fitness/wellness field, or continue formal education in schools offering advanced degrees in health related graduate programs
  • To prepare students to obtain the ACSM Health Fitness Specialist certification
  • To produce qualified employees to the health and fitness profession
  • To provide academic satisfaction to student graduates
  • To provide an academic curriculum that engages students with hands on experiences and individual support to foster student retention

Academic Program Outcomes

  • Implement personal fitness assessments
  • Prescribe exercise and healthy lifestyle habits
  • Create comprehensive wellness programs for diverse population needs
  • Demonstrate effective communication/interpersonal skills

The specific knowledge, skill, and ability (KSA) learning outcomes within the Exercise Science curriculum can be found KSA curriculum map.

Career Opportunities

An Exercise Science major may seek employment in a number of areas. Jobs exist in the private and public sectors. Some examples may include:

  • Hospitals – cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise specialists, clinical exercise specialists, exercise stress testing technologist, research technologists, disease management, diabetes education, and wellness/health coaching
  • Corporate – corporate fitness management, personal training, strength and conditioning, pharmaceutical sales, health and fitness technology development, medical device sales
  • Community – worksite wellness, wellness programming, health education, fitness club management, personal training, health programming, state and local health department specialist
  • University – strength and conditioning, research technologist, wellness programming, health education.
  • Military – research technologist, exercise physiologist, exercise testing technologists, wellness center manager

The Exercise Science major is also an excellent preparatory major for students who plan to go on to pursue advanced degrees. Common graduate areas of study include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chiropractic School
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Physician’s Assistant
  • Athletic Training
  • Medical School
  • Public Health
  • Strength and Conditioning

Recent Employers

  • Sanford Health (Sanford Health Plan, Profile by Sanford, fit, Sanford Power, Sanford Wellness Center)
  • Avera Health (Corporate Health, Avera Sports Institute, Avera McKennan Fitness Center)
  • Orthopedic Institute D1 Sports Training
  • Health Management Partners of South Dakota
  • FitSTEPS for Life®

Check out course descriptions and program requirements for the Exercise Science major in the Online Catalog.

Program Application

For information on how to apply to the exercise science program, please reference the Exercise Science student policy and procedural manual.