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Exercise Science (B.S.)

  • Location IconBrookings Main Campus

Improving health and performance through the science of exercise.

The exercise science program aspires to prepare health and fitness professionals with a strong understanding of the scientific concepts related to exercise science and the practical application of these concepts. 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 industrial settings to improve 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 in the general population, reduce chronic disease and enhance the performance of athletes.

Is it for you?

This program will be a good fit if you:

  • Enjoy fitness, physical activity and/or sports.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • Want to help people improve their health, fitness and/or sport performance.
  • Enjoy science based coursework.
  • Have strong communication skills.

Career Opportunities

  • Personal trainer
  • Group exercise instructor
  • Gym/wellness center manager/owner
  • Worksite wellness coordinator
  • Clinical exercise physiologist (cardiac rehabilitation) (with additional education)
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Physical therapist/occupational therapist (with additional education)
  • Chiropractor (with additional education)
  • Occupational therapist (with additional education)

Recent Employers

  • Sanford Health (Sanford Health Plan, Sanford Power, Sanford Wellness Center)
  • Avera Health (Corporate Health, Avera Sports Institute, Avera McKennan Fitness Center
  • Orthopedic Institute (OI Performance)
  • GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness
  • SDSU Strength and Conditioning

Internship Opportunities

  • Active Generations, Sioux Falls
  • Avera - Human Performance Center, Sioux Falls, and Avera Therapy, Sioux Falls
  • Brookings Health System Cardiac Rehabilitation, Brookings
  • Brookings High School Strength and Conditioning, Brookings
  • Benson Sports Training, Rapid City
  • GreatLIFE Fitness, Sioux Falls
  • Orthopedic Institute Performance, Sioux Falls
  • Rock Steady Boxing, Sioux Falls SD and Stillwater, Minnesota
  • Sanford Health - Sanford Sports, Sioux Falls, and Sanford Cardiac Rehabilitation, Sioux Falls
  • South Dakota State University - Strength and Conditioning Department, Miller Wellness Center, and Extension

Suggested Accelerated Programs

Clubs and Organizations

  • Exercise Science Club

Undecided or still deciding on a major and future career?

If you are uncertain about your major and have questions about career planning, you are not alone. Choosing a major or career can be a very difficult decision. The exploratory studies program may be a good fit if you are unsure of your major and career focus. Entering the university in the exploratory studies program will help you gain confidence and valuable insights on majors and minors available at SDSU and future career choices. 

In addition, FOCUS 2 Career, a self-guided assessment, education and career planning program, will help you reflect on your values, interests, personality traits and skills to provide valuable insight as you explore major and career choices. SDSU students may access FOCUS 2 Career by using their student email and password. After completing FOCUS 2 Career, you may find it helpful to discuss your results with a career coach in the Office of Career Development.