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Exercise Science

Exercise Science Major

The Exercise Science major is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine. This curriculum covers the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist.

The Exercise Science major is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in any of four health fitness settings: commercial, community, corporate, and clinical. Completion of the major will also act as a stepping stone to prepare the exceptional student for graduate education in exercise physiology/science, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy, sports nutrition, sports medicine, biomechanics, and other allied health professions.

The Exercise Science program includes a wide range of content from the study of physical activity and the associated acute and chronic physiological adaptations and responses to it, to health-fitness business management principles found in facilities worldwide. Majors are encouraged to select a minor in business, psychology, or other areas depending on their interests. Field experiences and a semester-long internship experience completed at the end of the Exercise Science major afford the student an opportunity to select an area of specialization in the field from sites available throughout the country.

Students are encouraged to pursue appropriate professional certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, The National Strength and Conditioning Association, or The American Council on Exercise.

Pre-Professional/Professional Emphasis

Students are admitted to the Pre-Professional emphasis in Exercise Science when declaring the major. The Pre-Professional emphasis encompasses the freshman year and fall semester of the sophomore year; transfer students are also placed in the Pre-Professional emphasis upon acceptance to the university. Entrance into the Professional Emphasis occurs during the third semester of attendance for students who entered as freshmen; for transfer students, entrance occurs after the first semester of attendance.

Application guidelines are provided during HNES 170 Introduction to Exercise Science and during advising sessions with freshmen, as well as on the Exercise Science web site. The following requirements must be met before beginning the professional course (sophomore, junior and senior level courses with prefix HNES) of study:

  1. Successful completion of HNES 170 Introduction to Exercise Science with a grade of 'B' or better
  2. Successful completion of BIOL 220 Human Anatomy and Physiology I/BIOL 220L Human Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory with a grade of 'B' or better
  3. Successful completion of MATH 103 College Algebra or MATH 104 Finite Mathematics or higher with a grade of 'B' or better
  4. Successful completion of CHEM 121 General Chemistry I/CHEM 121L General Chemistry I Laboratory with a grade if 'B' or better
  5. Minimum NDSU cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher

Retention Standards

Students must meet the following retention standards (per semester) in order to maintain their status in the Exercise Science professional phase.

  1. No more than two 'C' and no 'D' or 'F' grades may be earned in Exercise Science major classes.
  2. Maintain a NDSU cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.

Exercise Science Major/Master of Athletic Training Program

Students who wish to attend NDSU for athletic training are advised to pursue this five-year program. The students will major in Exercise Science for their undergraduate degree and apply to the Master of Athletic Training (MATrg) graduate program to complete this program. Upon completion, the graduates will be able to take the Board of Certification (BOC) exam, earn the ATC credential and pursue employment as an athletic trainer.

Major Requirements

Major: Exercise Science

Degree Type: B.S.
Required Degree Credits to Graduate: 120

General Education Requirements for Baccalaureate Degree

  • A list of approved general education courses is available here .
  • General education courses may be used to satisfy requirements for both general education and the major, minor, and program emphases, where applicable. Students should carefully review the major, minor, and program emphases requirements for minimum grade restrictions, should they apply.
Communication (C)12
College Composition I
College Composition II
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Upper Division Writing
Quantitative Reasoning (R) 3
Science and Technology (S) 10
Humanities and Fine Arts (A) 6
Social and Behavioral Sciences (B) 6
Wellness (W) 2
Cultural Diversity (D) *†
Global Perspectives (G) *†
Total Credits39

 May be satisfied by completing courses in another General Education category.

 May be satisfied with courses required in the major. Review major requirements to determine if a specific upper division writing course is required.

Major Requirements

Exercise Science Requirements
BIOL 220
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory (May satisfy general education category S) *
BIOL 221
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II Laboratory
CHEM 121
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory (May satisfy general education category S) *
CHEM 122
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory (May satisfy general education category S)
CSCI 114Microcomputer Packages (May satisfy general education category S)3
or MIS 116 Business Use of Computers
HNES 170Introduction to Exercise Science *2
HNES 250Nutrition Science (May satisfy general education category W)3
HNES 365Kinesiology3
HNES 368Biomechanics of Exercise3
HNES 370Exercise and Disease3
HNES 371Worksite Health Promotion3
HNES 374Methods in Resistance Training and Cardiovascular Conditioning3
HNES 375Research Methods and Design in Exercise Science3
HNES 465Physiology Of Exercise3
HNES 466Physiology Exercise Laboratory1
HNES 472Exercise Assessment and Prescription3
HNES 475Exercise Science Internship12
HNES 476Exercise Testing Laboratory2
HNES 491Seminar1
HNES 496Field Experience1
HNES 496Field Experience1
PHYS 211
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
PSYC 111Introduction to Psychology (May satisfy general education category B)3
PSYC 211Introduction To Behavior Modification (May satisfy general education category B)3
STAT 330Introductory Statistics (May satisfy general education category R)3
Total Credits79

Requires a grade of ‘B’ or better.

Degree Requirements and Notes

  • A cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation.  No more than two grades of ‘C’ and no grades of 'D' or 'F' may be used to satisfy Exercise Science major courses.
  • With the exception of field experiences, seminar, and internship, courses under the Exercise Science requirements may not be taken Pass/Fail.
  • Department Requirements:BIOL 220 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, BIOL 220L Human Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory, CHEM 121 General Chemistry I, PSYC 111 Introduction to Psychology and PSYC 211 Introduction To Behavior Modification, and HNES 250 Nutrition Science are listed within the General Education categories of Science & Technology, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Wellness.                                                               

Plan of Study

The following combinations of courses are suggested semester schedules that allow the student to complete his/her major/option degree program in a four year span.  The arrangement of courses is based on which semesters the course is offered, the classification and the prerequisites or co-requisites required for successful completion of the course.  The Plan of Study should be used with the curriculum guide.  Remember, this is only a guide and circumstances may change the plan.

ENGL 110 or 120Placement applies.3-4COMM 1103
HNES 1702CSCI 114 or MIS 1163
PSYC 1113Humanities/Global3
 14-15 15
** See note below BIOL 2213
BIOL 2203BIOL 221L1
BIOL 220L1CHEM 1223
CHEM 121 (pre or co-requisite: MATH 103)3CHEM 122L1
CHEM 121L1HNES 3653
PHYS 211 (pre-requisite: MATH 105)3STAT 3303
PHYS 211L1Electives3
HNES 2503 
 15 17
PSYC 2113HNES 3683
HNES 3743HNES 3703
HNES 3753HNES 3713
HNES 4961HNES 4653
Humanities/Diversity3HNES 4661
Elective1HNES 4911
 14 17
Upper Division Writing3HNES 47512
HNES 4723 
HNES 4762 
HNES 4961 
 16 12
Total Credits: 120-121

 Students apply for Exercise Science Professional Status during fall semester of sophomore year. 

 Consult your advisor for suggested electives for certain Graduate and Professional programs.