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.

What our alumni have to say:

  • Portrait of Dan Stratford

    “The Masters program here I would 100% advise you to take. I think that the most beneficial portion, or the part that again makes it attainable, is the relationships that I formed not only with my cohort but with my professors as well.”

    Dan S.

    M.S. PETE, 2015
  • Kelly Lamb

    “My coursework at WVU and classroom experience have enabled me to acquire and be committed to fundamental qualities of teaching and learning, as well as an ability to collaborate and lead.”

    Kelly L.

    M.S. PETE, 2012
  • Ryan Gordy

    "The classes I took and the professors I had without question have helped shape my mindset for what a quality Wellness program should look like. My Wellness program has benefited greatly from the ideas that I have been able to incorporate from those classes and professors.”

    Ryan G.

    M.S. PETE, 2012

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 the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in physical activity with an emphasis on physical educator/instructor preparation and self-efficacy toward teaching students with disabilities, adapted aquatics, motor skill assessment, and community based physical activity. 
    • NCPERID Nationally certified adapted physical educator (CAPE)
    • Director of the Friday Adapted Physical Education Program
    • Teaches courses related to adapted physical education, motor development, and effective teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • elliot 

    Eloise Elliott

    Professional Highlights

    • Ware Distinguished Professor in the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences since 2009
    • Appointed member of the President’s Council on Youth Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (2015-2018)
    • Chair of the Active2015: The WV Physical Activity Plan
    • Director of Interventions for the WV Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project
    • Develops web-delivered instructional modules for school children, and web-delivered teacher resources to provide physical activity opportunities in the elementary classroom
  • Emi Tsuda portrait

    Emi Tsuda

    Professional Highlights

    • Research focuses are in (a) examining a role of motor skills to facilitate physical activity engagement in early to middle childhood and (b) investigating a role of content knowledge of teachers to develop their task selection and instruction skills. 
    • Teaches classes in elementary and early childhood physical education methods. 
    • Has done 20 international and national presentations. 
  • James Wyant

    James Wyant

    Professional Highlights

    • Research interests include integration of technology into physical education teacher education.
    • Recent grant-funded project regarding state-level accountability systems in physical education.
    • Coordination of student teaching experiences in K-12 settings. 
  • Portrait of Jeremy Yeats

    Jeremy Yeats

    Professional Highlights

    • Six years of experience as an assistant professor
    • Two years of experience as a graduate coordinator for an online M.A. program
    • Several active lines of inquiry
  • bulgerBulger

    Sean Bulger

    Professional Highlights

    • Fitness education and physical activity promotion for school-aged children
    • Introductory and capstone courses in physical education and related fields 
    • Physical activity programming for children and adolescents
    • Field placements, internships, and experiential learning
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.

Commonly sought research 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

Applications must be submitted online to the WVU Admissions and Records Office along with your official undergraduate transcripts. Apply online at the WVU Admissions and Records website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale)
  • Current resume highlighting professional background and qualifications
  • Professional goal statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission
  • No GRE scores required

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.

During the admission process, 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 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.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements .

The previously listed materials are submitted online as part of the WVU Graduate Admission application. Applicants must submit their official copies of transcripts and test scores directly to the WVU Office of Admissions, PO Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506.

All graduate students must achieve and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better (4-point scale) prior to graduation.

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Lindsay Augustine
Student Services Specialist
Sean Bulger
Director of Online Learning and Professor

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