Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physical Education Degree

Bachelor of Science in Physical EducationInitial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Physical Education Bachelor Degree Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree program offered by Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a collaborative initiative from the College of Education and the College of Natural Sciences. The BS in Physical Education degree attracts teacher candidates who possess an enduring love of sports, physical fitness and wellness. Physical education (PE) teachers can serve as powerful role models and motivators for the next generation as they strive to make healthy choices and reach their full potential in the PK-12 grade school setting.

Benefits of Earning Your BS in Physical Education From GCU

GCU’s major in physical education for bachelor level students offers a modern curriculum that is fully aligned with Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) principles. All coursework adheres to the national standards for Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) as established by SHAPE America, which is the national organization for physical educators.

This physical education bachelor’s degree enables teacher candidates to develop these core competencies:

  • Create a safe, positive learning environment
  • Meet the diverse needs of students with varying abilities
  • Empower students to thrive physically, and stay active in and out of school

While you earn your bachelor’s degree in physical education at GCU, some of the topics you study may include:

  • Human development and function
  • Fitness development and assessment
  • Biomedical principles
  • Techniques and best practices for safe movement
  • Physical education for students with disabilities
  • Instructional technology
  • Teaching methods for individual and team sports
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All teacher candidates working on a physical education degree are required to complete a student teaching experience. Under the supervision of a certified, experienced physical education teacher, our bachelor of physical education candidates will apply their knowledge to the classroom by completing a total of 105 practicum/field experience hours. In addition, in their final semester, each candidate will dedicate two 8-week sessions to supervised student teaching where each session focuses on teaching in a different setting, such as teaching elementary education and teaching secondary education.

By successfully completing this program, including the built-in practicum and student teaching experiences, physical education teacher candidates are eligible for a K-12 education teaching credential in the state of Arizona.

Develop Your Skills With a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education

Physical education teachers fulfill several roles within a school system. They assess and guide the physical development of students, provide nutritional guidance and inspire an enthusiasm for healthy exercise. Many physical education teachers also coach one or more school sports teams.

Some of the responsibilities of a physical education teacher may include:

  • Developing a well-rounded curriculum
  • Organizing activities
  • Preparing and maintaining gym equipment
  • Teaching students how to play sports and other physically active games

Additionally, a major in physical education can allow you to guide the socio-emotional development and ethical awareness of your students. Through your connection with students, instilling values such as good sportsmanship and teamwork is at the heart of your teachings. As a physical education instructor, you can help your students work toward a love of healthy competition, tempered by the humility to gracefully accept a loss.

Career Opportunities for BS in Physical Education Degree Graduates

As a bachelor’s degree in physical education candidate, you can learn how to turn your passion for fitness and sports into a career with hopes of inspiring students. Graduates of the BS in physical education degree program may pursue job opportunities as instructors in elementary, middle or high school PE programs or direct physical activity programs.

The Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree program at GCU leads to initial teacher licensure. A major in physical education gives candidates the opportunity to pursue all necessary certifications required by the state in which they wish to teach.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for high school teachers to increase by about 5% from 2021 to 2031, as fast as average, accounting for an estimated increase of 48,700 jobs in the field.1

BS in Physical Education Degree Program FAQs

If you’re considering a physical education degree, we’ve gathered answers to your most frequently asked questions below.

The BS in Physical Education degree at GCU takes 120 credits for completion, and the majority of courses for this program are 15 weeks.

This depends on your personal goals and interests. If you are someone who enjoys sports, health and wellness and physical challenges, you may be on the right path. If you thrive on inspiring others to love the challenge of competition and to be team players and good sports, then choosing to major in physical education may be the right choice for you. Great PE teachers are fascinated with kinesiology and learning about the connection between the physical and the psychological. If this sounds like you, you may find the BS in Physical Education degree worth your time and effort.

For those who wish to teach physical education in the public sector, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required. In addition, all public school PE teachers must have a state-issued license accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in order to teach physical education.

Those who have a physical education degree are typically interested in educating young minds on the importance of good physical health and well-being. A physical education degree may provide you with valuable skills and knowledge that can positively impact the lives of future generations.

 

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, the data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, High School Teachers, retrieved on Dec. 22, 2022.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
32-40 credits
Major:
72 credits
Open Elective Credits:
8-14 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This writing intensive course is designed to prepare future physical education teachers, fitness instructors, and recreational leaders in the skills necessary to teach physical education activities to groups. Included is the development of lesson plans and course goals/performance objectives that can be applied to the teaching of any skill or activity. Becoming aware of the place of physical education and exercise science globally and perspectives on human diversity in all areas of sport and physical activity is included.

Course Description

A study of the basic structure and function of the major systems of the human body, this course focuses on an in-depth exploration of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems for athletic training, health, and exercise science majors. This course also compares normal and abnormal function for more comprehensive understanding of the human body. Co-requisite: BIO-155L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to complement and support the principles taught in BIO-155. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to identify and describe functions, structures, and classifications of the skeletal, muscular, and organ systems along with related disorders. Co-requisite: BIO-155.

Course Description

This course is intended to provide the student with the general technical and physical skill required to teach selected sports. Students learn how to plan and organize the team sports of basketball, softball, and volleyball, and the individual/dual activities of tennis, golf, and badminton for educational settings. Students work with a variety of age and skill levels and conduct classes while ensuring participants’ health and safety. Prerequisite: PED-247.

Course Description

This course is intended to provide students with the general technical and physical skills required to teach selected sports and activities. Students learn how to plan and organize teaching activities for flag football, soccer, pickleball, golf, folk and square dancing, and rhythmic movements and tumbling. Students also learn how to conduct classes while ensuring participants’ health and safety, and work with a variety of age and skill levels. Prerequisite: PED-247.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify preventative and responsive practices related to cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Emphasis is placed on identifying appropriate times to differentiate, modify, or accommodate to support student learning. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This is an introductory course in teaching of fitness and wellness. This course provides a series of modules that encompass all of the important aspects of overall fitness and wellness by means of lecture, demonstration, and participation. Key components throughout involve instruction and application of the needs of the human body, nutritional principles and producing a personalized nutrition plan. A special emphasis is placed on instruction and practice opportunities in the theoretical and practical aspects of flexibility, aerobics, and weight training activities. Also included are assignments to create and implement lesson planning, teaching techniques, evaluation, and proficiency in fitness skills. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-247.

Course Description

This writing intensive course is a study of the effects of exercise on the body. Topics include nutrition as the basis for physical activity; how energy is produced and utilized during physical activity; the energy delivery and vital functions of the respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems during exercise; how these systems can be enhanced through training; the impact of ergogenic aids and environmental stress on performance; and the effect of exercise on body composition, weight control, aging, and disease prevention. The body’s responses and adaptations to exercise at the systemic, as well as the subcellular level, are also discussed. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340L.

Course Description

This is a course of field and laboratory experiences designed to reinforce the basic principles learned in the lecture course. Skills of measurement and evaluation, including computerized methods employed to facilitate testing, are applied to physiological and systemic principles of exercise. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340.

Course Description

In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates study how to teach a diverse population of students by examining the foundations and dimensions of social justice in education, social constructs, privilege, prejudice, and oppression with the goal of becoming culturally competent educators.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs and approaches for teaching English learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement as they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards-based instruction for English learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares students for teaching physical education to elementary grade students. The course begins with a rationale for the necessity of physical education in the schools. This is followed by a detailed overview of how to instruct elementary school children in the psychomotor domain. Methods of program implementation are then examined, including curriculum, instructional effectiveness, content area literacy, management and discipline, and assessment and evaluation. These concepts are then applied in field experiences for teaching of the objectives of physical education in the school situation and for application to learner analysis to meet the individual needs of the child. Experiential teaching and peer review are included in the course. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-247.

Course Description

This course is a survey of the Arizona constitution and government. It meets the teacher certification requirement for Arizona government.

Course Description

This course prepares students for teaching physical education to middle grade students. Concepts introduced in PED-420 will be further developed and applied to the middle grade student to enhance personal health skills, general and specialized motor skills, sports and fitness skills, and lifetime activities. Topical areas include content area literacy, curriculum, assessment, data driven instruction, teaching strategies and methods, classroom engagement and management, and learner analysis for K-12 physical education teachers. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-275.

Course Description

This course is an analysis of human movement, integrating knowledge of the skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems with the effects that gravity, friction, internal and external forces, and the laws of motion have on their functions. Topics presented include biomechanics of human bone, joint, and skeletal muscle; structure and function of the upper extremity, lower extremity, and spine; concepts of linear and angular kinematics and kinetics as applied to human motion; equilibrium and stability on land; and motion through a fluid medium of air or water. Included is the application of these factors to various types of physical skills. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335L.

Course Description

This laboratory course is designed to apply the anatomical, kinesiological, and biomechanical principles learned in the lecture course to human body movement. Movement of all of the major joints of the body is analyzed by relative and absolute joint position and muscle action, and biomechanical terms such as linear and angular kinematics, friction, work, power, energy, and torque are applied to human motion. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335.

Course Description

This course is designed to present the student with the necessary information to develop a plan for identifying, evaluating, and implementing program planning for all children with disabilities. Special topics include implications of legislation that affects children with special needs, due process and the IEP, guidelines for inclusiveness and modification of activities for inclusion, characteristics of normal and abnormal motor functioning and development and behavior management techniques. The types of special populations and their specific needs are presented, and methods and techniques are developed for teaching the exceptional child in motor activities. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-247.

Course Description

This course prepares students who desire to teach at the secondary school level. Topical areas include how students are assessed and classified, curriculum and instructional organization of classes and selection of appropriate methods, strategies, and materials. The course also examines teaching styles, techniques of effective student engagement, and implementing instructional activities that meet NASPE standards. Special topics involve use of technology in physical activity, content area literacy, data driven instruction and physical learner analysis of secondary school students. Students are encouraged to develop strategies for promoting an active lifestyle, lifetime activity, inclusiveness, responsibility, cooperation, and diversity. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-275.

Course Description

This course is a study of the methods and procedures of teaching health. Resources, aids, and agencies are studied and methods for implementing group processing skills and conducting values-based education are reviewed and practiced. Also included are assignments to create and implement lesson planning, teaching techniques, and assessment for the topics of mental health, substance abuse, sexuality and family living, environmental health, nutrition, aging spirituality and death, and personal health. Health assessment topics include an overview of statistical tools, tests and measurements in health and physical education, producing valid and reliable tests, data analysis techniques for test evaluation, test construction assessment, and interpretation of test results. Practice teaching assignments and presentations are included. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: PED-275.

Course Description

The student teaching experience includes practical/clinical classroom experiences in a school setting with elementary students, grades K-6. Teacher candidates are required to fulfill a full-time 8-week internship experience in a classroom with a certified, experienced teacher. All aspects of instruction are addressed, including effective presentation of movement, sports and fitness skills, strategies and assessments of student learning, student engagement and classroom management, integration of technology and content area literacy, curriculum and learner analysis for elementary physical education teachers. The internship includes the opportunity to utilize applicable content standards for elementary students, including Arizona Professional Teacher’s Standards, and Physical Education Teacher Education Standards of the national association Shape America, and to integrate these within the classroom. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; senior status; a 2.8 GPA; successful completion of state mandated basic skills and content area exams or Praxis I® (Basic Skills) and Praxis II® (Content Area); and approval and placement by Office of Field Experience. Arizona residents will be required to take the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) or the National Evaluation Series (NES). All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.

Course Description

The student teaching experience includes practical/clinical classroom experiences in a school setting with secondary students, grades 7-12. Teacher candidates are required to fulfill a full-time 8-week internship experience in a classroom with a certified, experienced teacher. All aspects of instruction are addressed, including effective presentation of movement, sports and fitness skills, strategies and assessments of student learning, student engagement and classroom management, integration of technology and content area literacy, curriculum, and learner analysis for secondary physical education teachers. The internship includes the opportunity to utilize applicable content standards for secondary students, including Arizona Professional Teacher’s Standards, and Physical Education Teacher Education Standards of the national association Shape America, and to integrate these within the classroom. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of PED 480A, approval and placement by Office of Field Experience.

Locations

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Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.