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Earn a Degree in Exercise Science

Exercise Science

Exercise Science

About the Program

The emphasis of the exercise science program 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 individuals on proper body mechanics and techniques of movement. Students explore exercise and motor behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective both from within the Exercise Science Program and across campus with courses in Innersole, Impedances of Human Motion, Exercise Physiology, Motor Learning, Exercise Prescription, Training and Conditioning, Nutrition, Chemistry, and Biology. Practical application of the curriculum is enhanced through lab assignments, an on-campus “Service Learning Program” and internship experiences.

SMSU is proud to partner with Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Normandale Community College, and North Hennepin Community College to extend the learning opportunities of our students. Click here to learn more about our Twin Cities Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science.

See the Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for Exercise Science.

Exercise Science Club

The Exercise Science Club’s principal objectives are to provide professional development and educational opportunities for students through conferences, speakers, community service, and networking. Students in the Club participate in state, regional, and national conferences, tutoring/volunteering opportunities, and enhanced faculty-student relationships.

Visit Club Website

Undergraduate Research Conference

The Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) was established in 2006 for science majors to engage in a professional exchange of scientific ideas, as well as a means to showcase and celebrate their hard work and accomplishments. The URC is held annually on campus to include all disciplines across campus and continues to grow each year as we celebrate the intellectual achievements of our students.

SMSU Faculty Mentorship Program

The goal of the Faculty Mentorship program is to connect outstanding students with a faculty member in their academic major so the two may work together on a project or research topic of mutual interest.This type of mentorship not only enhances the students learning experiences, but it also strengthens one’s resume for job opportunities or graduate and professional school application.

Mentorship Scholarship

Cutting Edge Technology

Exercise Science students will develop skills in analyzing, assessing, and enhancing aspects of human movement. In the Impedances Labs students learn about movement by using motion analysis software to capture, store, and critique video sequences of human motion. This technology greatly enhances the students' understanding of the laws of physics applied to the human body and the teaching implications to improve peak performance. In Innersole lab, students will focus on the anatomical perspective of human movement and exercise, primarily the musculo skeletal system and the development, injury prevention, rehab, and performance enhancement of this system. The lab experiences are designed to develop students as effective exercise instructors. In Exercise Physiology Labs, students will gain valuable insight to the body's response to exercise using treadmills, bicycle ergometers, and metabolic gas exchange technology. These experiences will provide students with the knowledge to design effective training programs in strength, explosive power, cardiovascular endurance, and anaerobic capacity.


Service Learning Program & The Wellness and Human Performance Center

The mission of the Wellness and Human Performance Center at SMSU is to provide scientifically sound exercise assessment, prescription, and training for health, fitness, and enhanced athletic performance. The Wellness and Human Performance Center will also provide strong service learning skills for Exercise Science majors, allowing students to perform hands-on applications of classroom and laboratory learning

Rehab Services

Rehabilitative Services

  • Opportunity to work with a certified Physical Therapist in our P.T. Lab gaining valuable experience
  • Exposure to many aspects of rehabilitation
  • Participation in the delivery of care with supervision of a Doctor of Physical Therapy when appropriate

Employee Wellness

Employee Wellness Program

  • SMSU students gain practical experience as “Fitness Instructors” assessing fitness levels, consulting clients, and designing and prescribing individualized exercise prescriptions for community members
  • The Exercise Science program utilizes their own Fitness center on campus, allowing students and clients to have access to fitness equipment exclusively for the Wellness and Human Performance center program

Athletic Enhancement

Athletic Enhancement

  • Students will have the opportunity to analyze the mechanical efficiency of human movement and apply the principles of training specificity in order to improve athletic performance

Placement Opportunities

Graduates in Exercise Science will have a wide variety of opportunities in exercise prescription. The curriculum provides excellent preparation for many fields requiring advanced degrees in professional and graduate schools.

Graduates of SMSU's Exercise Science degree pursue careers in...

  • Exercise Specialist
  • Cardiac Rehab
  • Health & Fitness Specialist
  • Strength & Conditioning
  • Personal Training
  • Assisted Living Facilities

Graduates who proceed to graduate school...

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Physician Assistant
  • Speech Pathology
  • Athletic Training
  • Exercise Science Graduate School
  • Kinesiology

Contact Information

Exercise Science Program

SM 178
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street * Marshall, MN 56258

In the News

Jacob Fike

Jacob Fike: Finding His Path at SMSU

Read Article

SMSU Exercise Science Program Receives Accreditation

SMSU Exercise Science Program Receives Accreditation

Read Article


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

Schedule Your Visit Today!


  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

Last Modified: 5/5/23 10:45 AM | Website Feedback