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College of Education


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Physical Education

Physical literacy is critical to a well-rounded education for its contributions to other academic outcomes as well as providing health benefits. As a pre-service physical education teacher in our B.S.P.E. and M.A.T. degree programs, you will learn to support people with and without disabilities in their journey toward physical literacy. Our doctoral students receive state-of-the-art training and go on to be leaders in research and teacher education.

Are you passionate about the education, health and overall wellbeing of youth? Do you want to inspire children and adolescents to get and stay engaged in meaningful physical activity to enrich their quality of life, both now and in the future?

Quality physical education is a gateway to the lifetime pursuit of individual excellence. Physical education provides a foundation to ensure today’s children grow up to become tomorrow’s role models for healthy and active lifestyles. Our bachelor’s and master’s degree students develop a broad range of competencies, including developing confidence, motivation and self-management in students, and working with school leadership to create physically active school climates.

As a doctoral student, you will learn firsthand about training teachers by playing a critical role in preparing our pre-service teachers. You will also support and have opportunities to lead research programs in exciting and innovative areas of study.

Your course work

All our programs incorporate an apprenticeship model of education, where you will engage in hands-on, authentic learning experiences alongside professionals in the field. Over the course of several practicums and a student teaching internship while working on your bachelor’s or master’s degree, you will teach physical education lessons in elementary and secondary schools to students with and without disabilities. You will also promote physical literacy in a wide range of other school and community contexts. As a doctoral student, you will teach and supervise pre-service teachers, conduct your own research and have opportunities to publish and present your work. Additionally, you will write grants, review for academic journals, and provide professional development for teachers.

As a bachelor’s or master’s degree student, you will study effective professional practice in physical education. Some examples include physical education curriculum and instruction, adapted physical education, sports coaching techniques, motor behavior, and the psychology, philosophy, and history of physical education. At the doctoral level, you will have advanced studies in topics like physical education theory and research, teacher education, developmental sport psychology, curriculum, and motor behavior (learning, development, and control).

Your career

The field of physical education has a wide array of possibilities. Our undergraduate and master’s degree programs can help you become certified to teach in elementary and secondary schools. You might decide to explore a career in physical education teaching, adapted physical education teaching, sports coaching, or school- and community-wide physical activity programming.  

After completing your doctorate, you will be well prepared to work in higher education to serve the field in numerous ways. You will be able to train future physical education teachers (general and adapted) and athletics coaches. If you choose to work at a research university, you may also train doctoral students to become future teacher educators and researchers, and conduct your own research program. Additional career paths include leadership positions in K-12 schools, the fitness industry, public health, and other related areas.