About The Program
As a human performance and fitness major, you’ll be part of a growing program that will help you build a strong sports science foundation through courses such as anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, and exercise physiology.
Choose from two emphases:
- Health Promotion
- Exercise for Special Populations
You'll also have the unique opportunity to work with professors in our Nora Staael Evert Human Performance Lab, fully equipped to enhance teaching and training in the clinical and applied aspects of exercise physiology and biomechanics!
Students who major in human performance and fitness at Northern can plan for a career as a physical therapist through our pre-physical therapy program! Learn more at Pre-Physical Therapy.
Lab Expansion Planned
Northern's sports science lab will be upgraded in a state-of-the art expansion that will include a motion capture camera system and force plates for biomechanical analysis. Read more!
This program will be a good fit if you are:
- Interested in exercise, sports, science and math
- Driven and committed, wanting to pass knowledge along and stay on top of latest research
- Personable, with good communication skills; a lot of daily contact
- Adaptable and dependable
- Invested in helping others and seeing them succeed
- Caring, compassionate and empathetic; people that are in it for the long-term wellbeing of others are needed in these positions
- Hands-on, and skilled at monitoring/assessing
With a degree in human performance and fitness, you could work as an:
- Athletic trainer
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Exercise physiologist
- Sports biomechanist
- Human performance lab tech
- Strength and conditioning coach
- Orthopedic sales rep
- Cardiac rehabilitation specialist
- Personal trainer
At Northern, getting out of the classroom and into a real-world workplace setting is a critical part of your education. We offer two ways to explore potential career fields and gain experience working directly with professionals:
- PE 395: A field experience where you'll explore a possible career field for 150 hours
- PE 496: You'll work directly with professionals in the field for 150 hours
Our designated internship coordinator will work with you to find the internship opportunity that's right for you. Please contact our internship coordinator, Dr. Kelsie Roberts, to learn more!
“I am originally from Edmonton Alberta, Canada. When I was a sophomore in high school, however, I had the opportunity to attend a high school in South Dakota with a program through my church. I ended up touring Northern with one of my friends who was a senior at the time. After touring campus, I decided that I wanted to come back to the States to continue my education at NSU. I am currently majoring in human performance and fitness with an emphasis in pre-physical therapy. I am also very active with extracurriculars on campus. For example, I am currently an RA in Wolves Memorial. I am also a member of the environmental club, RHA and the Fit Club that started earlier this year. One of my biggest commitments this year has been serving as the student chair/president of the Gypsy Day committee. We started planning Gypsy Day in January, and from there we assembled the executive team and the committee. This year’s Gypsy Day committee is very strong. There is so much to be excited about during Gypsy Week from the theme, to the parade, to the football game! I hope everyone else is as excited for it as I am.” – Abigail Ashton #beNORTHERN #unleashYOURpotential #NorthernStateU #GypsyDays
Experience the world while earning your degree through NSU Study Abroad! With hundreds of opportunities available around the globe, Northern can make your study abroad dream become a reality. Learn more at Study Abroad!
At Northern, you'll have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research that can have real-world impacts - while still an undergraduate student. Now with our brand new, state-of-the-art Jewett Regional Science Education Center, and Nora Staael Evert Human Performance Lab, the sky is truly the limit. Learn more at Undergraduate Research!
Ready to take the next step? Contact us today:
- Human performance and fitness academic advisor: Tim Moffett, 605-626-2272 or email@example.com.
I am the academic advisor for health and physical education and psychology and business administration at Northern. Since 2015, I have greatly enjoyed working with Northern students. Before moving to South Dakota, I worked and lived in Minnesota, Illinois, Wyoming, South Korea, and Wisconsin. I graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Eureka College (Illinois) and a master's of science in counseling (K-12 and higher education) from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Jessica Talmage, who joined Northern's faculty in fall 2021, earned a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology in 2017 from East Carolina University. She then obtained a master's degree in 2018 and doctorate degree in 2021 in exercise science with a concentration in biomechanics from Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
My research focuses on biomechanical analysis of athletes for injury prevention and performance enhancement. Specifically, I focus primarily on baseball/softball athletes and have published multiple papers on the topic.