A Master's Degree for Physical Education & Physical Activity Leadership

Advanced Practice & School-Based Physical Activity Leadership

The Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership Master of Arts in Teaching degree is one of the first in the nation to prepare educators to assume the role of a physical activity leader within schools. The program is offered primarily online, with just one two-week visit to the beautiful UNC campus in the Summer, making it convenient for school professionals.

There has been a dramatic shift in how K-12 schools are incorporating physical activity; schools have been charged with implementing comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP). In this school-wide approach, educators are being asked to take on a broader role in leading physical activity and health promotion efforts within and beyond the school day. This degree will qualify you to fulfill this highly valued and emerging role.

Active Kids Learn Better infographic from Active Living Research
Infographic courtesy of Active Living Research

Program Outcomes

In addition to advanced knowledge in physical education, you will learn how to design, coordinate and champion comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP) that...

  • Promote school-wide physical activity
  • Advance physical activity opportunities before, during and after school
  • Increase staff, family and community involvement

Addressing a Critical Need

17% of youth aged 2-19 are classified as obese and only 27% of high school students meet national recommendations for physical activity (CDC, 2013; Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2012). School-wide approaches to physical activity promotion are designed to address this concern.

Career Opportunities In the changing world of K-12 Physical Activity

You will be prepared to thrive as a leader of physical activity at the school or district level, implementing comprehensive plans for physical activity, fitness and health promotion. This growing role reflects the nationwide Active Schools initiative for the development of CSPAPs.

Join the premier educators in the Colorado CSPAP movement! UNC faculty have been chosen by the Colorado Health Foundation to help create a statewide system to support health and wellness for Colorado children.

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This is a 30-credit-hour Master of Arts in Teaching degree that can be completed in less than two years (five academic terms). This program is designed for working educators.

  • Fall and Spring semester courses are delivered completely online.
  • Summer courses will involve a two-week experience on our Greeley, Colorado, campus plus some online work before and after your on-campus experience. You will meet your instructors and fellow students in an extended-workshop environment.

Comprehensive physical activity program diagram


Required Courses (30 Credit Hours)

To see a typical list of courses by term, visit an example Current Students page for this program.

* The SES 603 course is tied to a capstone portfolio that you will develop and complete as a graduation requirement.


For full details, see the official program listing in the UNC Graduate Catalog.

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