About the Wellness & Human Performance Department

The WHP Department offers programs in health education, physical education, excercise science, recreation, and sports management with minors in coaching, adapted physical activites and DAPE (Developmental Adaptive Physical Education).

The Mission Statement of the department is:

"Through the study of human movement, wellness and healthy lifestyles, the Department of Wellness & Human Performance will promote lifelong learning, motivate participation, and develop leadership with a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, diverse curriculum and responsive service to the region."

Emphasis of the Program

The emphasis of the Exercise Science concentration is designed to give students a scientific understanding of the body's response to exercise and the ability to analyze the efficiency of human movement. Graduates in Exercise Science will have the knowledge to prescribe exercise to a wide variety of populations and instruct the proper mechanics and techniques of movement. Students explore exercise and motor behavior form an interdisciplinary perspective both from within the Wellness and Human Performance Department and across campus with courses in Anatomical Kinesiology, Biomechanics of Human Motion, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Sport Psychology, and Motor Learning. Practical application of the curriculum is enhanced through the Lab assignments, field work, and internship experiences.


Majors in the Wellness and Human Performance Department are encouraged to gain additional experience through work-study jobs in aquatics, athletic events, intramurals, the weight room, and the SMSU Fitness Center. Our Wellness and Human Performance Club hosts conferences, and regional/national speakers. Students may also participate in state and national conventions, student research projects, and faculty-student mentorship.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in Exercise Science will have a wide variety of opportunities in exercise prescription including cardiac rehab, personal training, exercise specialist, fitness coordinator, and strength and conditioning coach. The curriculum also provides excellent preparation for many fields requiring advanced degrees in professional and graduate schools. Recent graduates have pursued careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, physician assistant, and other health-related professions. Graduates also seek advanced degrees in the field of kinesiology.

Scholarship Opportunities

Incoming students may be eligible for a number of academic and leadership scholarships through the Office of Admission. These scholarships are awarded based on a student’s past academic performance including ACT score, GPA, class rank, and leadership activities. The WHP department also offers an annual scholarship to a returning student who has demonstrated good academic performance, leadership ability, and participation in the major’s club.

Facilities and Technology

Exercise Science students will develop skills in analyzing, assessing, and enhancing the aspects of human performance. In the biomechanics’ lab, students learn about movement by using motion analysis software to record and store video sequences of human movement. The computer then allows students to view the movement and analyze body positions frame-by-frame in addition to calculating specific joint angles and time-space relationships within the sequence. This technology greatly enhances the students’ understanding of the laws of physics applied to the human body and the teaching implication to improve peak performance. In the exercise physiology labs students will gain valuable insight to the body’s response to exercise using treadmills, bicycle ergometers, and metabolic gas exchange technology. The Human Performance Lab focuses on cardiorespiratory assessments such as maxVO2 resting metabolic rate, and blood lactate response to intense exercise. These experiences will provide students with the knowledge to design effective training programs in strength, explosive power, cardiovascular endurance, and anaerobic capacity.

Facilities available to students include: computer labs, a dance studio, indoor tennis courts, weight room, fitness center, wrestling room, Olympic size pool, diving well, racquetball courts, volleyball and basketball courts, indoor running track, field house, multi-event center, and a human performance lab. Outdoor fields include football, softball, soccer, intramurals, and a nature trail for running, walking, cross-country skiing.

About SMSU

Founded in 1963, Southwest Minnesota State University has earned a reputation for excellence. Located on a beautiful interconnected and accessible campus, Southwest Minnesota offers three master’s programs in addition to over 50 undergraduate programs. The faculty and staff at Southwest Minnesota State set it apart and make it an outstanding small university offering the equivalent of a private school education at a fraction of the cost.

Bachelor of Science: Physical Education Concentration- Exercise Science (72 credits)
Core Courses:  
HLTH 110 First Aid & Safety/CPR 2
PE 101 Introduction to Health and Physical Education 2
PE 108 Basic Technology in Sport Activity, and Physical Education 3
PE 249 Physical Fitness Concepts 2
PE 285 Anatomical Kinesiology 2
PE 355 Sports Psychology 2
PE 385 Biomechanics of Human Motion 3
PE 391 Exercise Physiology 4
PE 444 Motor Learning and Development 2
PE 488 Legal Aspects of Recreation and Sport 3
PE 487 Senior Seminar 2
PE 490 Field Practicum 2
PE 499 Professional Internship 6
Total Core Credits 35
Emphasis Courses:  
HLTH 232 Nutrition 3
HLTH 410 Human Growth and Development 2
PE 480 Measurement and Evaluation 3
PE 491 Exercise Physiology 4
PE 492 Exercise Physiology II Lab Seminar 2
CHEM 121 Basic Chemistry 4
CHEM 122 Introductory Organic/Biochemistry 4
BIOL 200 Cell Biology (Prereq. CHEM 121 or 131) 4
BIOL 305 Human Anatomy & Physiology I w/lab  4
BIOL 306 Human Anatomy & Physiology II w/lab  4
MATH 200 Introduction to Statistics   3
Total Concentration Credits 37
Total Credits for BS in Physical Education: Exercise Science Concentration 72


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We are an affirmative action / equal opportunity university.
Southwest Minnesota State University is a member of the Minnesota State system.