Jessica Meendering, Coordinator
Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences
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The South Dakota State University Exercise Science program aspires to prepare health and fitness professionals with a strong understanding of the scientific concepts behind the application that is practiced in a variety of health and fitness careers. The mission of the Exercise Science program at South Dakota State University is to prepare competent entry-level Exercise Science professionals in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (abilities) learning domains that will assist others in adopting and championing healthy, active lifestyles.
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. The exercise science professional is 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 Learning Outcomes
The goal of the Exercise Science program is to provide quality academic instruction and learning experiences in order 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;
- students to obtain the ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) 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.
Upon completion of the exercise science major, students will:
- implement personal fitness assessments;
- prescribe exercise and healthy lifestyle habits;
- create comprehensive wellness programs for diverse population needs;
- demonstrate effective communication/interpersonal skills.
Students interested in exercise science should complete coursework to meet system and institutional general education requirements, as well as BIOL 221 and BIOL 325 during their freshman and sophomore years. Students who declare Exercise Science will be assigned an adviser who works closely with the Exercise Science Program. Application for admission into the Exercise Science major can begin during or after a student’s sophomore year (approximately 32 credit hours). Students must complete BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and BIOL 325 Physiology by the final semester of the application year.
Students will complete an application to the Exercise Science program that consists of submission of the following components: application form, letter of reference form, two letters of recommendation, self-evaluation questions and an academic transcript. A portion of the applicants may be called in for a formal face to face interview. Approximately 40-50 students are accepted into the program each year. However, please note that there are generally more students applying than can be accepted, so the process is competitive. Therefore, completion of basic requirements does not guarantee entrance into the Exercise Science program. The minimum selection criteria are as follows: student should display an interest and desire to pursue a career in an exercise science related field; successful completion (C or better) of BIOL 221 Anatomy and BIOL 325 Human Physiology; cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better; and the verification of technical standards. Students will be notified as to their admission status in early March.
A minimum final grade of “C” is required in all Major Requirements courses. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher to progress/graduate from the program.
Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences.
All Exercise Science students have the opportunity to sit for the Certified Exercise Physiologist Exam offered through the American College of Sports Medicine during their final year in the program.
Course Delivery Format
Course instruction occurs through face to face and online course instruction that includes lectures, discussions, laboratories, internship and field experiences, and service learning.