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Frequently Asked Questions

Bachelor of Science in Physical Education

Frequently Asked Questions about the Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (BSPE)

What can I do with this degree?

The Bachelor of Science in physical education (BSPE) is a broad-scoped degree that prepares students for many health, physical education and recreation-related fields. Employment opportunities will be somewhat dependent on the options the student chooses within the degree.

Students who focus on outdoor recreation may seek careers in areas such as outdoor education, guiding, camp administration, recreation planning, tour operations or park administration.

Students who focus on health and fitness may seek careers in areas of wellness, personal training, health and fitness club administration, or clinical health programs. Students who focus on health and fitness may also choose to pursue further studies in physical therapy, occupational therapy or chiropractic care.

Students who wish to teach physical education must complete the BSPE and the Masters of Arts in teaching (MAT) program. Special exams are also required. Students who complete all requirements will obtain certification to teach K-12 physical education in Alaska. For more information about the MAT and teacher certification go to Masters of Arts in teaching.

Are there jobs available in the field? What are the salaries?

The following website is an excellent resource for examining the job market for various professions. Search by profession to find information about education requirements, expected openings, salaries and more. National employment information is available as is information about each state.

How long does it take to get a degree?

The BSPE requires 120 credits. Taking an average of 15 credits per semester (fall and spring semesters) will allow completion in four years. Students who also take courses in the summer semester may complete the degree in less time. Paying close attention to the recommended course sequence chart and working closely with an advisor will increase opportunities for success.

What classes are required for the degree?

All bachelor's degree students must meet the General Education Requirements (GER) as noted in Chapter 10 of the current UAA catalog. In addition to the GER, BSPE students take a core of professional, movement and science-based courses along with courses in a specific emphasis - either Health & Fitness Leadership or Outdoor Leadership Administration. See the full list of courses in Chapter 10 of the current UAA catalog.

What can I expect from the classes? What skills will I need to do well in the program?

Many students initially think they want to be a physical education major because they like sports or other forms of activity. While physical education majors do have some activity-based courses, most of their activity takes place in their own free time. The majority of coursework in the BSPE is completed in classroom and lab settings.

All physical education related professions require knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, the ability to critically evaluate and direct human movement, and skills to communicate well with various groups of people. In order to be successful in the profession and in this degree program, students will need good science and math skills as well as strong written and interpersonal communication skills. Additionally, students will be expected to be competent in basic computer applications and have the ability to learn more complex technology.

Do I have to be a major to take the courses?

PEP 181 Introduction to Health, Physical Education & Recreation is designed for beginning physical education majors as well as those who think they might want to be a major. The course is exploratory in nature, offering an overview of physical education and related fields. Beyond that, most courses are restricted to declared physical education majors.

What course do I take first?

In general, students are advised to follow the recommended 4-year sequence plan. However, dependent on previous classes, transfer credits and other variances, each student's plan may be somewhat unique. Students are highly encouraged to make an appointment with their advisor to discuss the best sequence of courses. To make an appointment and/or to inquire about the name of your advisor, call the HPER office at 907.786.4083.

How do I become a major?

  • If you are a UAA student currently seeking a B.A. or B.S. degree either with another major or undeclared/exploratory: 
    Submit an undergraduate change of major or degree form.
  • If you are a UAA student currently seeking an associate degree:
    Students wishing to change from an associate to baccalaureate program must apply for admission to the new level even if previously admitted. Be aware that changes to degree level may impact financial aid.
  • If you are a UAA non-degree seeking student:
    Apply as a degree-seeking student and declare a B.S. Physical Education major.
  • If you are not a UAA student:
    Apply as a degree-seeking student and declare a B.S. Physical Education major.

Will you have an advisor?

Upon declaration of the physical education major you will be assigned a faculty advisor. It is recommended you visit with your advisor at least once per semester.

What is the internship?

The internship, which is taken during the final semester of the program, is an opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills and abilities gained in previous courses and activities. It offers practical hands-on experience in a closely-mentored environment - providing an important link from the role of student to the role of professional.

Internships are noted in the catalog as PEP 495 or PEP 496. Students may register for these courses only upon advisor approval after completion of required pre-intern criteria.