Physical Education B.S.

  • A group of runners standing at the starting line

    Physical Education B.S.

    Enhance the health and well-being of people and communities in Alaska and beyond through leadership in wellness, physical activity and recreation.

Explore the physical education bachelor’s degree program at the University of Alaska Anchorage

UAA’s Bachelor of Science in physical education degree program builds a strong foundation in a breadth of physical education principles, from scientific research and psychology to cultural trends and leadership development.

Physical education scholarships and financial aid
UAA’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) awards about $6,000 in scholarships to physical education majors each year. Learn more about financial aid opportunities at UAA.

Training for high-demand physical education degree jobs
Innovative coursework includes clinical and field experiences that increase your ability to compete for jobs in popular and growing fields such as exercise science, biomechanics, athletic training, worksite wellness and recreation management. Additionally, the bachelor’s in physical education degree will prepare you for further education in graduate programs in teaching, physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic medicine.

Community-engaged learning
Designated “community-engaged” learning courses provide unique opportunities for you to get involved in the community and industry. Learn from and work with professionals in different disciplines, practices and agencies. Small physical education class sizes also provide opportunities to participate in activities and develop connections with physical education faculty and staff, as well as other UAA students.

Physical education advising
Faculty advisors and classroom instructors are available to help you stay on track to earn your degree and achieve your career goals. Faculty also utilize their extensive networking resources to connect you with health, fitness and recreation industry professionals and leaders, which often leads to valuable educational and career opportunities.

Honors in physical education
Graduate with departmental honors by fulfilling GPA requirements and completing a research project through the PEP A490 research course with a grade of A.

Student clubs and activities for physical education majors
Among UAA’s 100 student clubs and activities on campus, you may be particularly interested in joining one of these:

  • American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus Club
  • Outdoor Recreation Club

Physical Education B.S.

Degree Type:

  • Baccalaureate

Concentration: Health and fitness leadership (with options in exercise and rehabilitative sciences or exercise management), outdoor leadership and administration

Program Length: Four Years

Availability:Anchorage campus

Other program options: Minors in athletic training, outdoor leadership

Did you know..

UAA’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) is recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise is Medicine Silver Level Campus and a provider of exercise science education. HPER is also recognized as a National Strength and Conditioning Association education program.

What can you do with a physical education degree from UAA?

Work in health, physical education and recreation, including clinical or hospital settings, or continue your education in graduate school.

Physical education graduate programs
Physical education majors have been accepted by prestigious schools across the country, including Rutgers University, University of Southern California, University of New Mexico and The Ohio State University, to enroll in medical and professional degree programs such as these:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Chiropractic medicine

Physical education careers
Physical education alumni work for a variety of employers, such as HH-PT, Chris Kyle Center, AK Alpine Adventures, UAA Athletics, Southcentral Foundation Health Education, IRG Physical Therapy and the Anchorage School District. With a bachelor’s degree in physical education, you could work in diverse roles, including:

  • Exercise physiologist or personal trainer
  • Administrator for a health and fitness club, camp or park
  • Clinical health program developer
  • Outdoor educator or outdoor adventure guide
  • Recreation planner
  • Tour operator
  • Recreation or activity therapist
  • Healthcare and public health researcher
  • Employee wellness coordinator

Physical education bachelor’s degree program highlights

With an emphasis on clinical and field experience, the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Bachelor of Science in physical education degree program focuses on developing physical and technical skills to prepare you for leadership roles in health, fitness and recreation.

  • Learn from faculty whose experiences are as diverse as their expertise. Program faculty hold certifications ranging from avalanche instructor, wilderness first responder and personal trainer to speed specialist, advanced cardiovascular life support, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and strength and conditioning specialist.
  • Build on your classroom learning and gain confidence with an internship. From Colorado to Costa Rica, you choose where you want to go. For example, you could gain hands-on experience working with Providence Hospital, Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute, the Equidome, Alchemy Orthotics and Prosthetic, Special Olympics, Alaska Alpine Adventures, the Student Conservation Association, Rebound Physical Therapy, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Challenge Alaska, Hope Community Resources, the Southcentral Foundation, the UAA Human Performance Lab, local schools and more.
  • Get scientific with undergraduate research in the Human Performance Lab and HPER Resource Library. The lab allows you to practice gathering and analyzing data from health, fitness and performance tests, such as body composition, lactate threshold, metabolic profile testing and V02 Max. Conducting exercise tests for students, teams, employees and the community, the Human Performance Lab was the first in Alaska to have the BOD POD®. The HPER Resource Library, with computer stations and reference materials, allows you to access Dartfish™, a movement and motion analysis software program.
A swimmer mid-stroke

A hub of activity on campus, including HPER classes, the Wells Fargo Sports Complex houses a gymnasium, swimming pool, ice rink, Olympic weight room, jogging track, exercise studios and more. HPER classes also take place at a variety of off-campus sites throughout Alaska.

Wells Fargo Sports Complex
Students standing in front of PLAAY Day banners

Join other HPER students in leading Positive Leadership for Active Alaska Youth (PLAAY Day), a 30-minute fun, choreographed exercise routine that is livestreamed to schools across Alaska and the Lower 48. More than 18,000 students in grades K–8 participated in PLAAY Day 2018.

Several of the Employee Wellness staff

Connect with UAA faculty and staff while providing hands-on facilitation of wellness breaks through a variety of courses in the UAA Employee Wellness Program.

UAA Employee Wellness Program

Physical education bachelor’s degree program curriculum

Coursework builds advanced skills in communication, math, writing and technology, while covering in-depth scientific topics such as human anatomy, physiology and movement.

  • The concentration in health and fitness leadership will prepare you to work in hospital-based health education and fitness programs, community fitness or public health programs, private health clubs or facilities, corporate wellness programs or military fitness centers. It also helps fulfill admission requirements for graduate school programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic medicine or teaching.
  • The concentration in outdoor leadership and administration will prepare you to work in youth or recreational programs, adventure tourism, guide services, camps, schools or other experiential education settings.

Top classes for physical education majors

  • Movement Theory and Motor Development
  • Cultural and Psychological Aspects of Health and Physical Activity
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation and Special Populations