Jessica Meendering, PhD, ACSM-EP, Coordinator
Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences
Wagner Hall 405, Box 2275A
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
Upon completion of the Exercise Science curriculum students will be able to meet the following outcomes:
- Apply knowledge of the acute and chronic physiological adaptations to exercise to common practices in the field of exercise physiology.
- Plan a health education/promotion program among diverse populations and in various health settings. (Cross-curricular Skill: Diversity, Inclusion and Equity)
- Develop an academic and career plan to include coursework, degrees, professional development activities, and goals. (Cross-curricular Skill: Teamwork; Foundational Lifelong Learning Skills)
- Demonstrate competence in conducting health and fitness laboratory/field tests in exercise science.
- Create a strength and conditioning program for a healthy client that demonstrates application of the theories and principles of strength and conditioning.
- Analyze graded exercise stress test data pertaining to heart rate, blood pressure, and 12-lead ECG results.
- Perform a qualitative movement analysis of a client/athlete/patient and explain the underlying movement mechanics responsible for their faulty movement patterns. (Cross-curricular Skill: Integrative Learning)
- Apply the principles of exercise testing and prescription to special populations to create safe and effective exercise plans aimed at treating and preventing chronic illness.
- Create and lead a group fitness class utilizing the principles of an ACSM certified group fitness instructor. (Cross-curricular Skill: Critical and Creative Thinking)
- Conduct a personal fitness evaluation and evaluate the results to create a personalized fitness plan specific to the needs of the client. (Cross-curricular Skill: Critical and Creative Thinking)
- Remember, understand, and apply the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a Certified Exercise Physiologist.
Students interested in exercise science should complete coursework to meet system and institutional general education requirements, as well as BIOL 221-221L and BIOL 325-325L 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 221-221L - Human Anatomy and Lab (COM) and BIOL 325-325L - Physiology and Lab (COM) by the final semester of the application year.
Students will complete an application to 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 221-221L - Human Anatomy and Lab (COM) and BIOL 325-325L - Physiology and Lab (COM) ; and a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better.
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.