Strength and Conditioning

Department Chair: Diane Burr,, (701) 845-7242
Faculty Contact: Sarah Milner,, (701) 845-7162
Department Office: 149 Gaukler Wellness Center, (701) 845-7580
Schedule a Visit:, (701) 845-7101 or (800) 532-8641, ext. 7101


The program of study in the Strength and Conditioning Specialist major is primarily designed to prepare students for careers in the strength and conditioning field. Students choosing this major will find their learning enhanced by exposure to state of the art equipment and a new exercise physiology lab housed in the Health, Wellness and Physical Education Center. The program of study in Strength and Conditioning aims to develop an understanding of the concepts and theories of program design.

Students will acquire the skills necessary to develop training and conditioning regimens for athletic and fitness populations. In addition to a curriculum led by a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), students complete field experiences where they will be mentored by professionals in the field.  Students who complete this program of study will be prepared to seek employment in the sport and fitness industry.


The Exercise Science Club provides students in the fitness, exercise science, and wellness fields opportunities to discuss current topics in the profession and provide community outreach programs. Students in this major are also encouraged to attend local conferences led by professionals who are recognized in the  area of sports performance.

“The Strength and Conditioning Concentration at VCSU is more than sitting in a classroom. The staff truly cares about the success of their students and engage with them to pursue opportunities. My opportunity came with a strength and conditioning field experience with the United States Air Force Academy football team, and after graduation I was able to secure a strength and conditioning internship at the United States Olympic Training Center. At VCSU, I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime and have gained an education that has accelerated my career for years to come.” —Phil Reuer, Kintyre, N.D; strength and conditioning intern at US Olympic Training Center and SDSU

“Valley City State University’s strength and conditioning program has provided me with the professional skills and knowledge to succeed in my field. The staff strives to see you succeed; they engage in your education. The strength and conditioning program offers hands on experience which has greatly improved my skill set and prepared me for my future career.” —Dylan Boyle, Elbow, Saskatchewan, Canada

General Education Requirements 

English Composition
Select one of the following:6
College Composition I
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition III: Persuasive Writing
Speech Communication
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Calculus I
Elementary Statistics
Lab Science
Select two of the following:8
Concepts of Biology
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Zoology
Introductory Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Introduction to Earth Science
The Earth Through Time
Concepts of Physics
Introductory Astronomy
College Physics I
College Physics II
University Physics I
University Physics II
Cognition and Brain Science
Technology, Engineering, and Design
Select one of the following:2
Concepts of Fitness and Wellness
Introduction to Stress Management
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Programming in Java
Introduction to Structured Programming I
Discovering Computing
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Film
World Literature I
World Literature II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Civilization, Thought, and Literary Heritage
Ethics and Philosophy of Science
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
2nd Year Spanish I
2nd Year Spanish II
Introduction to Theatre Arts
Acting One
Art and Music
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Fine Arts and Aesthetics
Music Appreciation
Music Fundamentals
World Music
History of Rock and Roll
Social Science
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Understanding Media and Social Change
Human Communication
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Human Geography
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Environmental History
Native American Studies
American National Government
State and Local Government
Introduction to Psychology 1
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Anthropology
Additional Humanities or Social Science
Select one additional course from Humanities or Social Science or select from the following:2
Drawing I
Ceramics I
Survey of Geography
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Concert Choir
Athletic Band
Concert Band
Planetarium Science
Theatre Practicum
Total Credits39

 Major Requirement

Required Courses
BUSI 214Business Communications3
COMM 414Social Media Management3
HPER 109Exercise Techniques and Program Design3
HPER 128Communication for Health Care Professionals3
HPER 207Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries2
HPER 208Introduction to Physical Education3
HPER 210First Aid & CPR1
HPER 212Introduction to Stress Management2
HPER 220Practical Application of Fitness Education3
HPER 258Applied Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Performance3
HPER 259Applied Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Performance3
HPER 309Sport Nutrition Concepts3
HPER 350Sport Ethics2
HPER 384Fitness Assessment and Prescription3
HPER 405Advanced Topics in Strength and Conditioning3
HPER 410Organization and Adminstration of Physical Education and Sport3
HPER 425Psychology of Coaching2
HPER 444Exercise Physiology of Peak Performances3
HPER 487Field Experience2-4
MGMT 330Principles of Management3
MRKT 305Principles of Marketing3
Directed Electives23-25
Gender Communication
Public Relations
Group Dynamics
Sports Information
Recreation and Leisure in Modern Society
Field Experience
Drug Education and Information
Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases
Therapeutic Exercise
Field Experience
Outdoor Pursuits for the Physical Educator
Evidence-Based Practice
Foundations of Leadership
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
Total Credits79-83

Total General Education 39 Hrs
Total Major Requirement  79-83 Hrs
Total Credits Needed to Graduate 120 Hrs

Plan of Study

First Year
English Composition (Gen Ed)3ENGL 125 (Gen Ed)3
HPER 100 (Gen Ed)2HPER 1283
Lab Science (Gen Ed)4HPER 2072
MATH 104, 107, or 210 (Gen Ed)3Lab Science (Gen Ed)4
Technology (Gen Ed)3Speech Communication (Gen Ed)3
UNIV 1501 
 16 15
Second Year
Art and Music (Gen Ed)3BUSI 2143
HPER 2122HPER 1093
HPER 2583HPER 2083
Literacies (Gen Ed)3HPER 2203
PSYC 111 (Gen Ed)3HPER 2593
 Social Science (Gen Ed)3
 14 18
Third Year
Directed Elective3COMM 4143
Direct Elective3Directed Elective3
HPER 3502Directed Elective3
MGMT 3303HPER 2101
MRKT 3053HPER 3093
 HPER 3843
 14 16
Fourth Year
Graduation Elective3Additional Humanities or Social Science (Gen Ed)2
Graduation Elective3Directed Elective3
HPER 4103Directed Elective3
HPER 4252HPER 405 (even years)3
HPER 4443HPER 4872-4
 14 13-15
Total Credits 120-122

Please note:  This plan is intended for general information only.  Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor each semester before registration.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to develop safety procedures in the fitness venue.
  2. Students will be able to perform fitness evaluations and exercise testing to assess physical condition.
  3. Students will design, implement and/or modify safe and effective exercise prescriptions to improve health and performance.
  4. Students will create projects that demonstrate their understanding of communication, managerial, fiscal and leadership concepts.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to relate concepts of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics to movement activities.