Human Performance and Fitness

Maybe you want to work with elementary students, helping them discover the joys of fitness and accomplishment. Or, help an elite marathon runner increase athletic performance.

Or, perhaps you want to own and operate a fitness center, guiding your community of members to a healthier life. St. Ambrose has a program to help you be successful in any, or all, of your goals.

Our graduates work at Quad Cities Acceleration, Feldman Performance, Unity Point Health, Pleasant Valley High School, and many more.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Faculty Experts
  • Real World Experience
  • Excellent Fitness Facilities

students working out

professor and student on treadmill

Breathing test on treadmill

The human performance and fitness major at St. Ambrose provides you with a solid understanding and knowledge of the benefits of physical fitness, and you get to apply your skills now, not later. Be a personal trainer or step into a fitness leadership role while you're still a student. That's how we prepare you to be a professional.

See Our Human Performance and Fitness Program Fact Sheet (pdf)

Learn in our New Fitness Labs

SAUtv Report

SAU students share how the new Wellness and Recreation Center already has enhanced their St. Ambrose experience.

Click here to see what's inside

More Information on the Human Performance and Fitness Program

What Will I learn?

Courses cover the gamut (because we want to cover all the bases!):

  • marketing, planning, and management of sport facilities,
  • group fitness leadership,
  • prevention and care of athletic injuries,
  • personal training methods,
  • exercise and sport psychology,
  • strength and conditioning,
  • exercise testing,
  • and law in sport, PE, exercise science, and leisure.

Our Kinesiology professors represent diverse fields of expertise and research and focus on giving you a well-rounded education. Students must be willing to engage in their learning and take advantage of many service and participation opportunities.

Seniors participate in a semester-long internship as an important component of your education and development. The position, location, and duties you take on during this experience will allow you to connect your classroom learning with real-world situations. Don't worry: your professors will follow your progress during the internship, and as always, will be a resource you can call on if needed. You will also complete a project during the internship, and at the end of the semester, you will present it to a panel of industry professionals and educators.

All SAU Kinesiology program graduates are expected to be knowledgeable and adaptable and able to:

  • compete successfully in graduate programs
  • teach and lead competently in school, business, and community-based programs
  • seek and obtain appropriate certification
  • perform competitively in the work environment
  • exemplify the values and ethics of the allied professions
What are some potential career outcomes?

Common career tracks for human performance and fitness majors include personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, employee fitness director, group exercise instructor, recreation program director, and health and fitness club manager.

There is a growing focus on fitness and recreation by individuals, and more employers and insurance companies are encouraging physical activity and prevention. This gives you so many additional career opportunities.

Career information from ACSM and NSCA.

Where will I learn?

As a Human Performance and Fitness major, you get the amazing opportunity to take classes, and apply what you learn, in our new state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center. This massive, 80,000 square-foot building just opened in September 2017 and holds exercise physiology and biomechanics laboratories, classrooms, research-quality equipment, and a group exercise room. The building was specifically designed and equipped to give you a top-quality education and personal fitness opportunities.

The Quad Cities is a noted a leader in healthcare, wellness and fitness, making it a great community to prepare for, or even start, your career. The SAU College of Health and Human Services has deep, established relationships with major hospitals and healthcare providers, all who need highly trained health specialists. St. Ambrose students have a wide range of internship and clinical placement options without leaving the area. Organizations from the YMCA to the Rock Island Fitness & Activity Center offer a variety of opportunities for experts in wellness and fitness.

Study Abroad

You've heard people say it before: "College will be the greatest time of your life!" With Study Abroad, you can add even more to your college years.

You can study in another country – without paying extra tuition – in a semester-long or short-term study abroad program (with a few offered during spring and winterim breaks). No matter the duration, these trips deepen your professional education while earning credit toward graduation.

There are also opportunities through an exchange program, an overseas internship, or volunteering. The limits for Study Abroad are only ones you set for yourself! SAU students have studied in Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, United Kingdom, Spain, Ecuador, Japan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Croatia, Belize, Canada, Chile, and more.

SAU students returning from their Study Abroad locations talk about their time away as life-changing - personally, emotionally, culturally, and academically. Click here to search our Study Abroad programs, and for general information click here.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • Dusty Feldman '08 owns Feldman Performance Gym in West Liberty, Iowa; is a strength and conditioning coach at West Liberty High School; and a personal trainer director for the North Dodge Athletic Club in Iowa City.
  • Kaitlyn Kielsmeier '13 continued her education and earned a Master of Kinesiology from Bowling Green State University, where she also worked as a research assistant and a teaching assistant in sport conditioning. Today she is a Health and Wellness Coordinator at Oregon Park District in Oregon, Ill.
  • Zachary Hild '16 is a Trainer at Quad Cities Acceleration.
Kinesiology Faculty and Staff

Sandy Lund, Assoc. Professor and Chair
Sarah Eikleberry, Asst. Professor and Assistant Chair
Rhiannon Seneli, Asst. Professor, MSEP Director

Darla Baumgarten, Assoc. Professor
Kyle Bohnert, Asst. Professor
Michael Dahlinghaus, Asst. Professor
David Lantis, Asst. Professor
Bo Li, Asst. Professor
Erica Thomas, Asst. Clinical Professor
Jason Vorwerk, Clinical Asst. Professor
Suzanne Wiese, Administrative Assistant

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Human Performance and Fitness (57-59 credits)

Grade of C or better required for BIOL 205 and all KIN courses 200-level or above required for this major.

BIOL 205 Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology (4 credits)
+STAT 213 Applied Statistical Reasoning for the Sciences (3 credits)
KIN 101 Foundations of Kinesiology (2 credits)
KIN 216 Exercise and Sport Psychology (2 credits)
KIN 258 Principles and Methods in Personal Training (2 credits)
KIN 282 Exercise and Aging (3 credits)
KIN 340 Nutrition Concepts (3 credits)
KIN 350 Scientific Principles of Strength and Conditioning (3 credits)
KIN 361 Functional and Structural Kinesiology (3 credits)
KIN 363 The Law in Sport, PE, Exercise Science, and Leisure (3 credits)
KIN 366 Applied Exercise Physiology (4 credits)
KIN 392 Exercise Testing for Healthy and Special Populations (2 credits)
KIN 406 Practical Application in Program Design (3 credits)
KIN 418 Internship in Human Performace and Fitness (6-8 credits)

Choose three credit hours from the following three Advanced Topics:
KIN 409 Exercise Pharmacology (3 credits)
KIN 410 Biomechanics (3 credits)
KIN 412 Sports Nutrition (3 credits)

Choose one:
+BIOL 101 Principles of Biology (4 credits)
+BIOL 199 General Biology I (4 credits)
BIOL 112 Humans and Disease (4 credits)Choose one:
MGMT 310 Principles of Management (3 credits)
MKTG 209 Principles of Marketing (3 credits)
KIN 307 Planning and Management of Sport Facilities and Events (3 credits)

Choose one:
KIN 275 Methods in Group Fitness Leadership (2 credits)
KIN 217 Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries (2 credits)

+satisfies General Education requirement

Click here to read course descriptions for Kinesiology

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested course of study to graduate in four years with a major in Human Performance and Fitness.

First Year

Fall SemesterCreditsFall SemesterCredits
+ENGL 101 Composition 3 +Humanities elective 3
+BIOL 101, 199 OR 112 4 +PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology 3
+MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 +COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, or 329 3
Elective 2-3 PHIL 101, 201, 207, 210, 217 3
KIN 101 Foundations of Kinesiology 2 IL 101 Information Literacy 3
+KIN 149 Activity 1
TOTAL 14-15 credits TOTAL 14 credits

Sophomore Year

Fall SemesterCreditsFall SemesterCredits
KIN 275 Methods in Group Fitness Leadership OR KIN 217 Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries 3 +Humanities Elective 3
BIOL 205 Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology 3 KIN 340 (must take at SAU) Nutrition Concepts 3
KIN 282 Exercise and Aging 3 STAT 213 3
Elective 3 KIN 216 Exercise and Sport Physiology 3
+Foreign Language or Elective 3 +Foreign Language or Elective 3
+Elective 3
TOTAL 15 credits TOTAL 18 credits

Junior Year

Fall SemesterCreditsFall SemesterCredits
KIN 366 (must take at SAU) 4 +THEO 101, 102, 103, 107, 110, 120, 130, 132, or 160 3
KIN 258 Principles and Methods in Personal Training 3 KIN 350 Scientific Principles of Strength and Conditioning 3
KIN 361 Functional and Structural Kinesiology 3 Elective 3
PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 3 +Humanities Elective 3
Elective 3 +Creative Arts elective 2-3
+KIN Physical Activity Course 1
TOTAL 16 credits TOTAL 15-16 credits

Senior Year

Fall SemesterCreditsFall SemesterCredits
KIN 392 Exercise Testing and Prescription 3 KIN 418 Internship 6-8
KIN 409, 410, OR 412 3 KIN 406 Exercise Prescription and Program Design 3
KIN 363 The Law in Sport, PE, Exercise Science, and Leisure 3 +PHIL/THEO/Catholic Studies Elective 3
MGMT 310, MKTG 209, OR KIN 307 3
Elective 3
TOTAL 15 TOTAL 12-14

+=satisfies general education requirement

Scholarships and Grants


For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria, although some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full-tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Scholarships (2018-19)

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Menke Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation form (pdf) to be completed by your pastor.

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year.

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Institutional Aid

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award

Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Criteria: Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership
Award: $12,500/year for new transfer students, renewable each year up to eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Out-of-State Grant

Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000/year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship

Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000/year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Award

Criteria: accepted diverse student
Award: $1,000/year on-campus; $500/year off-campus

Athletics Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability
Marching band scholarships also available
Award varies

Fine Arts Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability in art, music, theatre
Audition or portfolio required
Award varies

Dual Admission Scholarship

Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 maximum

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant

Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $5,920 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study Award

Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant

Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: @{Iowa-Tuition-Grant}

Carver Scholarship

Criteria: Iowa resident and entering junior, visit for eligibility details, deadline April 1.
Award: $7,600 maximum

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Apply Visit Info


Sandra Lund

Kinesiology Department
Hayes Hall 229
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
Fax 563-333-6488

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!