About the Department

Public interest in health, fitness, and sports is consistently strong. The Department of Health and Physical Education at DSU fosters the development of dedicated, enthusiastic educators who serve our region and the country in the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles in the holistic approach of educating the mind and body. We will provide you with the education and expertise you need to set yourself apart from others in the field.


To view all degrees and programs offered by this department, please visit our catalog.

New! Exercise Science – Sports Management

A bachelor's degree in exercise science professional option or sports management option prepares you to create and execute exercise programs that are both safe and effective for a variety of individuals. You will learn to promote wellness for individuals of different fitness levels and abilities, including those who are obese, pregnant or diabetic. Coursework includes topics on fitness testing, rehabilitation, injury prevention and sports performance. The program concludes with an intensive internship or research project. As a graduate you will be well-prepared for a variety of health and wellness careers, and may take the exam to become a certified fitness instructor through the American College of Sports Medicine. After graduation, you may also choose to pursue graduate education in another health-related field, such as medicine, athletic training, physical therapy or chiropractic medicine.

A bachelor's degree in exercise science with sports management option prepares you to work in a broad range of careers related to health and fitness promotion.  Some career paths may include:

  • Certified Fitness Instructor
  • Wellness program manager
  • Clinical rehabilitation supervisor
  • Exercise specialist
  • Conditioning coach
  • Personal trainer
  • Director of activities
  • Director of recreation
  • Director of intramural athletics

Ben C. Frank Human Performance Center

About the Ben C. Frank Human Performance Center

In August of 2000 the Ben C. Frank Performance Center opened with the intentions of providing: (1) a state-of-the-art training center for DSU Athletes; (2) a state-of-the-art lab for Exercise Science students at DSU to study an evolving career in Sports Performance Training; (3) unique undergraduate research experiences for DSU Exercise Science students; and (4) unique undergraduate product development testing and experiences.

The Center became reality in 2000 through the generosity of Ben C. Frank ('64). The Center has continued to grow and add technology through Frank's continued generosity and numerous research projects with outside companies. The sum of these investments in the Center has been over half-a-million dollars.

These tools include not only traditional free weights and selectorized machines but also the patented technology and scientifically researched protocols of the Frappier Acceleration Sports Training Program, now known as the Athletic Republic Acceleration Sports Training Program. This program is a proven, scientific and evidence based system for the development of speed, power, flexibility, balance and maximum speed sprinting. Dickinson State is proud to be the first university in the nation to implement acceleration technology for its athletes.

The Ben C. Frank Human Performance Center is a one-of-a-kind facility. The center is a 5,000 square foot facility that includes over 25,000 pounds of free weights (not including dumbbells and bumper plates), multiple Olympic platforms and free weight racks and stations. Along with the free weights, DSU has incorporated the equipment necessary to implement the Athletic Republic Acceleration Sports Training Programs. This equipment includes Generation II Super Treadmill (29+ mph, 40% grade), specially designed hardwood plyometric floors, and weight machines designed to target the muscles of the hip girdle, trunk, and legs.

DSU also incorporates a unique concept in strength training into its programs. During the summer of 2001, Dickinson State joined forces with Agaton Fitness of Boden Sweden and began using a piece of strength training equipment that can safely and effectively train targeted muscle groups with an eccentric overload. The machine was designed and built in Sweden and is currently being used by many Olympic caliber athletes, numerous NBA teams, and Magnus Samuelson, a Swedish strongman who holds the record for reaching the World's Strongest Man finals 10 times.

Acceleration Training Program

The Frappier Acceleration Sports Training Program is the featured training program for Dickinson State athletes. The program is introduced to the athlete's training program eight to ten weeks prior to the start of their season. The program is implemented over an intense six to eight week time frame and is designed to improve an athlete's quickness, agility, flexibility, dynamic sprint speed, muscle strength and overall confidence.

Acceleration Training is provided to DSU athletes through elective HPE classes that fall under the classification of Varsity Athletic Enhancement. All Exercise Science Majors work as Sport Performance trainers on campus. 

Research and Development Initiatives

DSU has teamed with leaders in the Sports Performance Training industry in their product and protocol development process. DSU typically conducts training studies to evaluate and validate new products and/or protocols, thus helping those companies grow their business. In return, the HPC has received training equipment as value-in-kind compensation from those companies. Results of these projects obviously benefit the development of DSU athletes, but will also benefit 50,000 to 100,000 athletes worldwide each year with improved training technology and methodology.

Research Projects

  • 3PQ (2001)
  • Agaton Fitness: Eccentric Overload Training vs Traditional Strength Training (2001-2003)
  • Implosion Power (2005)
  • inForm Timing Systems (2006)
  • Force Treadmill Validation (2007)
  • Incline Treadmill vs Ground Based Sprint Training; DSQ (2006-2008)
  • Individualization of Training Based Upon Receptiveness to Training (2009-)

The Bottom Line

The goal of our training programs is simple -- to challenge all DSU athletes to achieve their maximum potential through intense, safe, and proven methods.

Our approach is unique. But it works! PERIOD!
Take on the challenge! You won't regret your choice!

For more information contact: 

Pete Leno, Director
(701) 483-2719
1-800-279-HAWK ext. 2719