Physical Education/Physical… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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School of Education
Physical Education/Physical Education and Health
Student athlete working with a trainer.
School of Education

Physical Education/Physical Education and Health

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Undergraduate

138 credits

required for program

138 credits

138 credits

required for program

Learn from Christian faculty about body mechanics and health to keep youth engaged in sports and help them lead an active lifestyle. The physical education degree equips you to teach fitness to children in grades K-12 within a public or private school setting. This degree also prepares you for further graduate study.

Why study physical education at Northwestern?

You will gain an understanding of the human body and what is needed to stay healthy in today’s world. You can also add a licensure in health to your degree with additional credits. Here you will grow in your faith by working with experienced faculty who have learned to integrate faith and leadership into their classrooms.

The School of Education offers you the opportunity to travel to Haiti for one week to learn how education is different outside the U.S. This will equip you to teach in diverse communities. You can also study abroad in China over spring break or participate in a Civil Rights Pilgrimage spring break trip with other education majors. You can gain even more experience by participating in our international student teaching program.

Northwestern’s School of Education provides you with four levels of classroom practicum experience. The first allows you to find your personal "fit" within the teaching profession. The second level focuses on developing theory and skills related to diversity. The third level engages you to apply methodologies within your chosen field by creating, teaching, and evaluating lessons in a school classroom. The final level is full time student teaching in a chosen licensure field.

The School of Education provides teacher education programs approved by the MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board and as a result meet the state standards adopted for licensure programs as defined in state rule 8710.2000 through 8710.8080. All licensure programs are aligned with INTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards and the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice.

The School of Education has hosted Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) events, and is a member of CEAI.

The School of Education attends the Compass Educator Breakfast each fall (through Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN).

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving education system.

If you enjoy fitness, are eager to serve, passionate about teaching, and are interested in a career in education, this might be the right degree for you.

What will you learn?

You will learn to listen, think critically, and be able to teach physical education to children in grades K-12. Some classes include:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Biomechanics
  • Coaching Theory
  • First Aid and Personal Safety
  • Adapted Physical Education

In addition to the courses required for the Physical Education major, the following courses are required for licensure in Health Education.

  • School Health Education Methods
  • Sexuality Education
  • Personal and Community Health
  • Human Nutrition
  • Health Behavior: Theory and Program Planning
  • Health Education Curriculum and Instruction
Start strong your freshman year; don’t dig yourself a hole academically. Listen and learn from your professors, they are outstanding. You are fortunate enough to go to a school where your instructors and coaches care about you personally—embrace that.
Josh Thurow

Careers in physical education

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in physical education.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Teaching in your area of specialty
  • Creating/directing educational programs
  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional design (technology training may be required)
  • Textbook editing
  • Student life/student affairs
  • Adapted physical educator
  • Athletic director or trainer
  • Camp counselor
  • Exercise or fitness specialist
  • Industrial wellness programming
  • Recreation programming/directing
  • Sports store manager
  • Umpire/referee

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Schools of all kinds-public, private, charter, international, government, residential
  • Day care and nursery school
  • Parks and Recreation departments
  • Educational testing companies
  • Curriculum/educational publishers
  • School district offices
  • Educational research firms
  • Industries related to your subject area
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Universities and colleges
  • Employee training programs
View Career Guide

of seniors feel prepared to integrate their faith with their academic field


meets licensure requirements for the Minnesota Board of Teaching


of Northwestern’s education graduates felt professionally prepared

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Requirements for certification/licensure vary by state. Multiple certifications will increase employability. A master’s degree will increase earning potential.
  • Be willing to work hard at finding a job and to go where the jobs are.
  • Obtain part-time, summer, internship, or volunteer experience with the age group you intend to work with in various settings: pre-schools, daycares, camps, community agencies, adult centers, YMCA’s, etc.
  • Participate in co-curricular activities and related organizations to broaden skills, interests, and opportunities.
  • Identify transferable skills learned in teaching that are applicable to other careers: written and verbal communication, teaching and instruction, program planning, organization and record keeping, working under pressure and meeting deadlines, motivational skills, creativity, working autonomously, decision-making, problem solving.

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