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Exercise Science Program Details

Exercise Science Program Handbook

Meet the Staff    Student Resources    Getting Involved    Exercise Science Main Page


The Exercise Science program at South Dakota State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES). CAAHEP is the largest accrediting agency in the health science field and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Currently, South Dakota State University has the only CAAHEP accredited Exercise Science program in the State of South Dakota.

Athlete completing jump test

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 N., Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763

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

  • Prepare students to obtain the ACSM Health Fitness Specialist certification

  • Produce qualified employees to the health and fitness profession

  • Provide academic satisfaction to student graduates

  • 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 broken down by class within the exercise science curriculum can be found within the KSA curriculum map.

Student completing Bodpod analysis on study participant

Student Requirements

Student Satisfaction

100% of the 2015 Exercise Science graduates students were satisfied with the quality of their education. Students note the wealth of hands on experiences, small class sizes, developing professional relationships with faculty and peers, and the opportunity to take the ACSM EP-C exam prior to graduation as strong points of the program.

Student Retention

The majority of students who are accepted into the exercise science program graduate with a BS degree in Exercise Science. For example, 100% of the students admitted to the 2015 graduating class earned their BS degree with their peers.


Graduate Placement

96% of Exercise Science students are employed or enrolled in graduate school within one year of earning their diploma. Exercise Science is currently the degree with the highest admission rate into physical therapy graduate programs. (PTCAS Application Data Report 2015–2016). In addition to Pre-PT, Exercise Science is a great preparatory science degree for Pre-OT, Pre-Med, Pre-PA, and Pre-Chiropractic student’s earbecause of the strong science core and hands on experience helping individuals improve their health.

National Certification Exam

All Exercise Science students have the opportunity to sit for the national certification exam to become a certified American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP).  South Dakota State University Students have an average pass rate of 95%, which is far above the national pass rate average of 58%, showcasing the quality of the Exercise Science program. Learn more about the certification here: