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Physical Education

The Physical Education major prepares graduates to help youth develop their motor skills, understand games, and build a lifelong commitment to personal health and physical activity.

The B.S. in Physical Education meets the academic requirements for New York State initial teacher certification in Physical Education (all grades) and students meet the requirement for a New York State temporary coaching license, which permits the coaching of school sports for grades 7-12. The program emphasizes physical education, health, wellbeing and fitness skills on a continuum of ability levels—including children with disabilities.

About the School of Education

Syracuse University’s School of Education is a national leader in enhancing educational practice. A pioneer in the inclusion movement, the School of Education continues that tradition through its work to improve urban education.

Learn more about the Physical Education program.


Core coursework emphasizes anatomy and physiology and adaptive physical education. Sample courses include:

  • Teaching Methods for Elementary and Secondary Physical Education
  • Motor Behavior Across Lifespan
  • Structural Kinesiology
  • Analysis of Human Motion
  • Adapted Physical Education

You may also take complementary classes at the University’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Dual enrollment options are available.

View official B.A. requirements.

Practical Experience

The physical education major is supported by many real-world learning opportunities.

  • Work with children in urban, suburban, and rural settings during up to nine in-classroom placements.
  • Experience inclusive education in international culture through travel to Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands.
  • Build skills through practicum experience in a community organization such as Head Start or the Syracuse City School District.

Study Abroad

  • Ranked among the top 25 international education providers in the U.S., Syracuse Abroad has more than 100 programs in 60 countries, with nearly half of all students going abroad during their four years.
  • Physical education majors most often go abroad to the Syracuse University London Center. Summer programs of interest include South Africa Immersion: A Global Health Education Experience; Mount Everest Base Camp Trek: The Human Response to High Altitude, Drug Policy and Harm Reduction in Global Perspective (Vancouver).
  • To make study abroad more affordable, apply for a Himan Brown Fellows scholarship, a scholarship exclusively for School of Education students. Explore study abroad opportunities for students in the School of Education.

Life After Syracuse University

A degree in health and physical education prepares you for a career as a/an:

  • Physical education teacher
  • Coach
  • Athletic trainer
  • Research in physical activity and wellness
  • Developing adapted instruction and pedagogy

Or pursue graduate-level education in the areas of education or public administration. Recent graduates of the program have attended some of the top graduate schools in the U.S.