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M.S.Ed in Physical Education

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Emphasis Areas


Health & Physical Education based areas of Study


Adapted Physical Education

This emphasis of the master's degree program is designed to further enhance students' knowledge about teaching children and youth of all abilities in physical activity settings. In addition to adapted physical education coursework, enrolled students will be offered numerous hands-on activities working with children with disabilities in real-world settings. Those completing this program, and required practicum experiences, will be eligible to sit for the Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS) exam and qualify for Certified Adapted Physical Educators (CAPE) certification. This program culminates with a master's thesis project where students conduct original research pertaining to physical activity for youth with disabilities.

Yessick, Amanda. "Scrapbook Interviewing: Exploring Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder's Experiences in Physical Education" (2018). Master of Science (MS), thesis, Human Movement Sciences, Old Dominion University

Amanda Yessick

Amanda Yessick M.S. Ed., is currently a PhD student at the University of Alabama studying Sport Pedagogy. She was named ODU's Major of the Year in 2016 for SHAPE America. She was also awarded the Undergraduate Research Award from the same organization in 2017 as well as the Major of the Year Award - Master's level in 2018. Amanda received her Bachelor's degree in 2016 and Master's degree in 2018, both from Old Dominion University.


We have a rolling application. That is, students can apply at any time, and applications will be reviewed once they are complete. Students can start at fall, spring, and summer. GRE score requirement can be waived for those with quality undergraduate GPAs.

For more information about this program including admission, assistantship, curriculum, and requirements, please view our APE webpage, the APE academic program page, or contact either Dr. Justin A. Haegele (jhaegele@odu.edu) or Dr. Xihe Zhu (x2zhu@odu.edu)


Coaching Education emphasis

The Coaching Education emphasis focuses on theories and practices that can be used to promote athletes' health, wellbeing, and performances at different levels. Most of our students in the master's program have either some playing or coaching/teaching experiences, sometimes both, which makes the class discussion resourceful and enjoyable. Research-based articles and relevant practices are commonly discussed in classes, and the students have the option to choose either conducting a thesis study or completing an internship as the culminating event.

Our courses cover the following topics:

  • Learning and coaching theories
  • Planning and administrative aspects of sport programs
  • Motor learning and development
  • Psychological and motivational issues in sports
  • Performance assessment and evaluation in sports
  • Exercise physiology and ergogenic aids
  • Nutrition for health and sport performance

Kyle Jolly

Kyle Jolly, M.S. Ed., is the Offensive Line Coach for the Football team at Concord University. He was a lineman at University of North Carolina (UNC Tar Heels) and started 38 straight games at left tackle. Later, he spent time in the NFL as a member of the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburg Steelers organizations. Kyle graduated from UNC in 2009, and received a Master's degree in Physical Education with an emphasis in Coaching Education from Old Dominion University in 2016.

Eric Potter

Eric Potter, M.S. Ed., is the Associate Director of Sports Performance at Old Dominion University. Eric played parts of two seasons with the Oakland Athletics minor league organization after being a four year starter on the University of Maryland Baseball team. He has Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from University of Maryland, and received a Master's degree in Physical Education with an emphasis in Coaching Education from Old Dominion University in 2017.


We have a rolling application. That is, students can apply at any time, and applications will be reviewed once they are complete. Students can start at fall, spring, and summer. GRE score requirement can be waived for those with quality undergraduate GPAs.

For more information about this program including admission, assistantship, curriculum, and requirements, please view the academic program page, or contact Dr. Xihe Zhu, at x2zhu@odu.edu, 757-683-3545.



Curriculum and Instruction, Initial Virginia Licensure in Health & Physical Education Optional

The Curriculum & Instruction Emphasis (M.S.Ed in Physical Education) focuses on theories and practices related to student learning and wellbeing in K-12 contexts. Students have two options for this emphasis area, either research-based to complete a thesis study at the end, or practice-based to complete a student teaching at the end to acquire a Virginia teaching licensure for health and physical education. Through advising, students have to choose to an option to meet their needs.

Our coursework cover a broad range of issues related to health and physical education in schools:

  • Instructional planning and practicum experiences
  • Personal, community health, and nutrition
  • Teaching dance, individual, and team sports
  • Curriculum development and planning
  • Motor development and learning
  • Health and fitness education
  • Adapted physical education, teaching individuals with disabilities
  • Assessment and evaluation using technology

Research-based option

Research option has no internship, designed for those interested in advancing their careers and/or with aspiration to pursue doctoral education later, no Praxis Test score needed.

Research-based articles and professional articles are commonly used in the classes. Many of our students are currently working in schools as teaching assistants or part time/fulltime teachers, which provides rich context and meaningful information through class discussions.

Practice-based option (Initial Virginia Licensure in Health & Physical Education)

Licensure option requires internship and more coursework in order to meet the Health and Physical Education teaching licensure (K-12) requirements set by Virginia Department of Education, in addition to Praxis Tests. No PE background? No problem for this option!

Davis, S. (2016). Factors influence high school students' enrollment in elective physical education: A mixed method study

Davis, S, Zhu, X, & Haegele, J.A. (2018). Factors influencing high school girls' enrolment in elective physical education: An exploratory qualitative inquiry. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education.

Leonetti, M., & Zhu, X., & Chen, S. (2017). Improving students' knowledge and values in physical education through Physical Best lessons. European Physical Education Review, 23(2), 223-236.

Brian Van der Linden

Brian Van der Linden M.S. Ed., is a Health and Physical Education teacher at Elephant's Fork Elementary School in Suffolk, VA. He received a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2011, and a Master's degree in Physical Education, emphasis on Curriculum & Instruction with initial Virginia teaching licensure in 2015. Brian is passionate about teaching children health and physical education, and outdoor sports. He is also teaching Outdoor Sports class at Old Dominion University as an adjunct.

Summer Davis

Summer Davis, M.S. Ed., CHES, is a doctoral candidate in the department of Human Movement Sciences. Summer worked as a Graduate assistant for the Health and Physical Education Program for three years. She obtained her master's degree in Health and Physical Education from Old Dominion University in 2015 and is on track to receive her PhD in Health and Sport Pedagogy in May of 2019. Her research interests include motivational and pedagogical issues in health, physical education and physical activity, specifically focusing on gender issues, fitness testing, and the experiences of those who are overweight and obese.


We have a rolling application. That is, students can apply at any time, and applications will be reviewed once they are complete. Students can start at fall, spring, and summer. GRE score requirement can be waived for those with quality undergraduate GPAs.

For more information about this program including admission, assistantship, curriculum, and requirements, please view the academic program page, or contact Dr. Justin Haegele, at jhaegele@odu.edu, 757-683-5338.