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Health and Physical Education

Syracuse University’s Health and Physical Education major prepares students for teaching health education and physical education, all grades, in public and private schools. With specialized training in teaching methods and "in school" field experiences, the program's small class sizes allow teacher candidates to develop strong relationships with their professors and peers. Syracuse University Health and Physical Education students develop skills and knowledge of multicultural methods and practices in urban and inclusive education settings that reflect an ever-changing world.

What is Health Education?

School Health education involves teaching pre-kindergarten through grade twelve children specialized skills in sensitive areas. These skills include accessing information, analyzing influences, decision making, goal setting, interpersonal communication skills, self management and advocacy. These skills are integrated into ten content areas: community health, consumer health, environmental health, family life, mental and emotional health, injury prevention and safety, nutrition, personal health, prevention and control of disease and substance use and abuse. Health Educators at all levels are responsible for addressing these skills on a continuum of ability levels to include meeting the needs of children with disabilities.

What is Physical Education?

Physical Education involves teaching pre-kindergarten through grade twelve children the performance and understanding of basic motor skills, games, and lifelong fitness activities as well as the social and personal skills related to participating in physical activities. Physical Educators at all levels are responsible for addressing these skills on a continuum of ability levels to include meeting the needs of children with disabilities.

Why Study Health and Physical Education at Syracuse University?

  •  Students are prepared for two teaching certifications: Health Education and Physical Education
  •  Small class sizes that provide a high degree of personal support and “hands-on” teaching
  •  Experience ( 100+ hours) in schools prior to student teaching, starting spring of the first year
  •  A focus on “Success for All Children” with particular emphasis on urban, inclusive, and multicultural settings

What courses will I take?

  • Liberal Arts and Science, Humanities, Writing, Statistics, Technology
  • Methods of Teaching Health , Human Sexuality, Nutrition, Addictions, Community/Environmental Health, Personal Health & Safety
  • Structural Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Biomechanics
  • Methods of Teaching Elementary, Secondary and Adapted Physical Education
  • Assessment & Curriculum, Teaching with Technology, Perspectives in Disabilities
  • Physical Fitness, Team sports, Aquatics, Dance, Adventure, Gymnastics, Individual/Dual Sports

View the Health and Physical Education four-year plan

What can I do with a Health and Physical Education degree?

  • Students are prepared for two New York State initial certifications:  Health Education (all grades) and Physical Education (all grades)
  • Students are prepared for reciprocity with most other states
  • Teach and lead youth wellness, sports, fitness and physical activity programs
  • The New York Physical Education certification also qualifies teacher candidates to coach
  • Advanced degrees can lead to director of health and physical education, college-level coaching and teaching, community health instructors, wellness coaching.

Contact information: Dr. Luis Columna, lcolumna@syr.edu
820 Comstock Ave/ Women's Bldg. Room 201, Syracuse, NY 13244