Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE)

The Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) master’s program is designed for success-oriented professional learners who aspire to further their career advancement. You can start this 30-credit hour program in any term. The fully online format is ideal for teachers and coaches who need to balance their demanding schedules with other priorities including family, work, and continuing education. In alignment with our institutional commitment to quality and affordable graduate education, all students in our online programs pay the equivalent of in-state tuition. The value of a degree from West Virginia University is supported by the Center for World University Rankings (2017) which places us among the top 1.5% of universities in the world. 

The MS in PETE offers a unique combination of professional courses and advanced labs. During those labs, you will collaborate with faculty to immediately apply critical concepts learned in your own K-12 classroom. Please note that despite its emphasis on practical application, this is not an initial licensure program in physical education. Individual states and districts, however, may provide an endorsement for certified teachers upon completion. We highly encourage you to discuss this option with your employer before enrolling.

Student Spotlight
Kaitlin Ulicny

Portrait of Kaitlin Ulciny

We asked Kaitlin Ulicny how the CPASS Physical Education Teacher Education graduate program enhances her career goals. Ulicny feels confident that her decision to add to her degree portfolio by enrolling at WVU will give her the competitive edge for success. 


What you'll study

Enhance your professional readiness as an emerging leader in school and community physical education and activity.

The PETE curriculum is aligned with the advanced teaching standards (Professional Knowledge, Practice and Leadership) from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). 

The program develops advanced teacher candidates in three areas: Professional Knowledge, Practice, and Leadership. The four guiding principles that underlie these standards include (1) Focus on learning rather than teaching; (2) Development of integrated knowledge base; (3) Importance of systematic inquiry; and (4) Role of teachers as leaders in schools. 

The fully online courses are generally 8-weeks, letting you focus on one content area at a time. Professional courses are followed by applied lab experiences allowing for timely application in K-12 school settings. In this program, you will evaluate your own teaching effectiveness using research-informed methods to extend your understanding of school physical activity and physical education. The ultimate measure of your learning remains its positive impact on youth in your schools and communities.

Professional courses

We have adopted an issues-based approach to curriculum development that is focused around the professional challenges and opportunities that confront teachers in today’s schools. This unique approach is reflected in our course content which includes the principles of effective teaching, models-based curriculum and instruction, standards-based assessment, school physical activity, instructional technology use, differentiated instruction, program supervision, and advocacy. This approach represents a departure from more traditional PETE programs which place a greater emphasis on foundational disciplines like anatomy, exercise physiology, motor learning, motor control, and so forth.

Advanced Labs

As a Carnegie-classified Community Engaged Institution, our faculty remains committed to the improvement of school physical education at the national, state, and local levels. We have collaborated on federal and non-federal grants totaling more than $3.5 million to support increased physical activity in school and community-based settings. These school-community-university partnerships help to inform our teaching and reinforce the critical importance of practical application during teacher development. Across your plan of study, you will actively engage in several advanced labs that require the actual use of content learned as our program’s defining feature.

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

  • Taliaferro

    Andrea Taliaferro

    Professional Highlights

    • Research interests include minimizing health disparities for individuals with disabilities through the improvement of inclusive physical activity opportunities in school- and community-based settings. 
    • West Virginia University 2019 Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching 
    • APENS Certified Adapted Physical Educator, National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities 
    • Vice President - National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (2019-2021) 
  • elliot 

    Eloise Elliott

    Professional Highlights

    • Ware Distinguished Professor in the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences since 2009
    • Co-Author of the book, Teaching Children and Adolescents Physical Education (Graham, Elliott, Palmer, 2016) 
    • Recent Honors: Research Fellow, Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America (2017), Outstanding WVU CPASS Grantsperson Award (2019), Chair, U.S. President’s Council for Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition Science Board (2017) 
  • Emi Tsuda portrait

    Emi Tsuda

    Professional Highlights

    • Research emphasis on teachers' content knowledge, motor skills and physical activity engagement, and policy in physical education.
    • Teaches classes in introductory of pedagogy and elementary and early childhood physical education methods.
    • Has conducted 35 international and national presentations.
  • James Wyant

    James Wyant

    Professional Highlights

    • Teacher of the Year Award, WVU, CPASS award for excellence in teaching for the 2018-2019 academic year. 
    • WV Department of Education Teacher Credentials: Physical Education PreK-Adult, Health Education grades 5-12. 
    • Coordinator of the physical education teacher education student teaching capstone experience. 
  • Portrait of Jeremy Yeats

    Jeremy Yeats

    Professional Highlights

    • Program Coordinator for Physical Education and Kinesiology, CPASS
    • Research emphases in education policy, the use of music in sport, physical activity breaks, and social justice
    • Seven years experience as a Teaching Assistant Professor or Assistant Professor
  • Outdoor portrait of Sean Bulger

    Sean Bulger

    Professional Highlights

    • Received the 2016 Ray O. Duncan Award from the state HPERD association for outstanding service and leadership. 
    • Co-authored more than 60 books, chapters and journal articles on physical activity promotion and best teaching practices.
    • Collaborated on over $5 million in external funding to support physical activity in school, community, and family settings. 
    • Delivered over 130 presentations at state, regional and national conferences/conventions. 
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

Actively engage in field-based research to improve teaching effectiveness and K-12 student learning in your classroom.

Action-based research

The MS in PETE is a non-thesis degree; instead, you collect, analyze, and interpret data on K-12 students to evaluate teaching effectiveness and learning in physical education. Furthermore, you will reflect on the strengths of your physical education program and opportunities for improvement. You will conduct these action-based research projects during your advanced labs in close collaboration with a faculty member.

Evidence-informed decisions

In today’s K-12 school climate of increased accountability, it is critical that physical educators document program effectiveness, make evidence-informed decisions about curriculum and instruction, and advocate to key stakeholder groups. From a continuing education standpoint, many program graduates have used the skill sets developed in this area to achieve National Board Certification or pursue further graduate study at the doctoral level.

Career Preparation

After Graduation

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2017), fewer than 10% of American adults over 25 have a master’s degree. Join that select group and expand your related career opportunities.

Common career focuses among alumni

  • Designing and implementing comprehensive school physical activity programs 
  • Using evidence-based curriculum and instructional models in physical education and sport 
  • Implementing physical activity programs for school-aged children with special needs 
  • Integrating instructional technology in the gymnasium, classroom and sports arena 
  • Organizing physical activity and youth sport opportunities

Example employers and job titles of graduates

  • Steve S., Radford University, Instructor of Health and Human Performance 
  • Christopher R., Physical Education Teacher, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School 
  • Chris A., Physical Education Teacher, South Jefferson Elementary School 
  • Brooke S., Health and Physical Education Curriculum Specialist, Texas 
  • Byron T., Appalachian State University, Instructor of Physical Education
How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

Apply online at the WVU Graduate Admissions website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants to the Master of Science in Physical Education Teacher Education program must upload the following documentation within the graduate application: 

  • Resume: highlighting professional background, experience and qualifications 
  • Personal Statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission

You will not be able to submit your application until the above documents are uploaded. Once the application is submitted and (unofficial/official) transcripts are received, your application will be reviewed for an admission decision. International applicants will not be reviewed with unofficial transcripts. No GRE required.

Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale) for regular admission. Applicants with a GPA below 2.75, may be admitted as a provisional graduate student. Once admitted provisionally, students are required to achieve a 3.0 GPA in their first 9-hours of graduate course work to be reclassified as regular status and remain in the program.

Please contact the Office of Student Success at (304) 293-4800 for more information about the application process.

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis until August 1st for a fall term start, December 15th for a spring term start, and May 1st for a summer term start.

Admission preference is given to individuals who are certified teachers or certified eligible. All students need access to groups of school-aged children on a regular basis given the applied nature of many course assignments. This program does not result in conferral of a WV teaching license. If seeking licensure, please consult with your respective state department of education before applying to determine whether or not the program meets your needs.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application with unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Submitting unofficial transcripts speeds up the application review process as most graduate programs make admission decisions using unofficial transcripts. 

If you are offered acceptance, you are required to submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to be fully admitted into your intended graduate program. You will not be able to register for classes until the official transcripts are received. The preferred method to submit your official transcripts is through a secure, online service such as eScript, The National Clearing House, or Parchment,

Alternatively, if you are unable to submit an electronic version of your official transcript, the physical, sealed, un-tampered with documents can be mailed to:

WVU Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26501


WVU Graduate Admissions,  1 Waterfront Pl, 2nd Fl Morgantown, WV 26505

Directions for submitting International, official transcripts

International applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency.  

Learn more

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Lindsay Augustine
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Sean Bulger

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