The NSU physical education bachelor's degree program prepares you for a rewarding career in K-12 physical education.
    About The Program

    As a student in our B.S.Ed. Physical Education program, you’ll learn scientific and fitness principles, pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching), and curriculum development from our diverse and experienced faculty.


    Coursework within the major falls into three categories:

    • Physical education methodology
    • General teacher preparation
    • Exercise science

    Physical education methodology courses train prospective teachers to promote physical literacy and are specific to the gymnasium.

    Teacher preparation and physical education methods coursework, which are required for teacher licensure, prepare you for Praxis content exams and application for teacher licensure in South Dakota.

    Students who graduate from this program will also have the strong science background necessary to be an exceptional physical educator, including coursework in anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, and motor behavior.




    This major prepares you to for careers such as:

    • Teaching physical education in a K-12 setting - NSU teacher candidates have a 95 percent career placement rate.  
    • Employment opportunities with the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club
    • Positions at fitness centers or recreation programs.

    You’ll receive career planning assistance from your academic advisor and HPE faculty. 


    For more information on careers in your major or help choosing a major, contact Career Services.


    Physical education majors complete a semester of student teaching before graduation. We'll work closely with you and our connections to find internships and field experiences suitable to your interests.


    School of Education scholarships are available to incoming freshmen and upperclassmen. For details, please call the School of Education at 605-626-2415.

    Education Scholarships

    NSU Scholarships

    Program Success/Outcomes

    “College wasn’t initially a part of my plan when I graduated high school. As soon as I graduated, I started looking for work. None of the jobs in my area really interested me, so a previous teacher of mine helped me fill out an application to Northern on a whim—I didn’t even tell my mom that I had applied! I turned in my application to NSU in August of that summer on the week that applications were due. Receiving the acceptance letter truly changed me. Going to college was something that I dreamed about, but I never thought was a realistic option. I called my mom as soon as I found out that I was accepted and she was so thrilled for me. My mom has been a huge supporter of me, and I know that I wouldn’t have gotten here without her. Once I got here, it didn’t go as planned. I was on academic probation for my first semester, and ended up making the decision to go back home for a year after my first year at Northern. While I was at home I took classes at my local community college to try to get me GPA up, and eventually got to a place where I turned my grades around, got on the Dean’s list, and was finally able to apply to come back to Northern. Working that entire year at home was hard, but it helped straighten me out and get me on the right path. Native Americans have a 1.8 percent chance of coming back to the same university after taking a break, so to be able to beat the statistics and be a part of that 1.8 percent feels amazing.”—Keyshawn Peneaux, Rosebud #beNORTHERN #unleashYOURpotential #NorthernStateU #NAHeritage

    A post shared by Northern State University (@northernstateu) on

    Contact Information

    Ready to take the next step? Contact us today:

    Want to learn more about living and learning at Northern? Contact NSU Admissions today 605-626-2544 or!

    Still unsure of a major? We can help! Contact Career Services at 605-626-3007 or

    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.

    Ph.D., Physical Education, University of South Carolina

    At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Shortt studied physical literacy, K-12 sport and physical activity (PA) policy, and child/adolescent PA behaviors in and out of educational settings. The publication of Dr. Shortt’s dissertation, "Conceptualizing Physical Literacy for Assessment of High School Students in the United States," can be found at University of South Carolina Scholar Commons.

    Dr. Shortt is Northern's SPL graduate coordinator, chair of the Sports Sciences Department, and faculty athletic representative. She is a member of the International Physical Literacy Association and serves as a country lead. 


    Dr. Shortt is dedicated to enhancing undergraduate and graduate research and providing advanced hands-on learning opportunities at Northern.