Health and Physical Education Major (B.S.)

Health and Physical Education Major (B.S.)

Brendan Holt running an exercise in a Health and Physical Education class

The four-year program offers a core curriculum in health and physical education leading to certification in both areas, a variety of early teaching experiences that provide ‘hands-on” learning, numerous service opportunities to teach diverse populations.

Course codes have changed for many Kinesiology courses. Download the new course codes here.

What is health and physical education?

Health and physical education provides school-aged students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve and maintain a physically active and healthful life, not only during their time in school but for a lifetime. The program’s focus on health, physical education and adapted physical education will give you a strong foundation for teaching all students in a K-12 educational setting. Coursework includes a mix of activity-based classes such as lifetime sports and adventure education, knowledge of teaching health and physical education, and hands-on course work.

Why study health and physical education at UNH?

As a health and physical education major at UNH, you’ll engage in a variety of experiences and teach diverse populations. Our program also offers a concentration in adapted physical education that prepares you to be a leader in the school setting, promoting healthy lifestyles. You’ll enjoy small classes taught by faculty who are nationally recognized leaders in their fields. This program has been ranked in the top 9 percent of all undergraduate health and physical education programs nationwide, with a high rate of successful employment. You’ll also have the opportunity to pursue a fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

Potential careers 

  • Adapted physical education teacher 
  • Coach 
  • Community health/wellness educator  
  • Health education teacher 
  • Physical activity program coordinator  
  • Physical education teacher


Department of Kinesiology
New Hampshire Hall, 124 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2071

Curriculum & Requirements

The health and physical education (HPE) major provides a foundation for teaching through a four-year program (BS), or the UNH Department of Education fifth-year program leading to a masters of arts in teaching (MAT). Graduates become certified to teach kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) health and physical education in the state of New Hampshire. This licensure is transferable to all other states in the U.S. Extensive supervised practicum experiences that provide teaching skills, including adaptive physical education programming, offers an excellent foundation for preparing high-quality teachers. The combination of health with physical education and adaptive physical education makes graduates highly marketable.

Internal UNH undergraduate transfer candidates must have a minimum GPA of 2.67 before admission to the major. The coursework for students choosing the four-year or five-year path to teaching certification is exactly the same  until the final semester of the undergraduate program. The culminating experience for students in the four-year teaching program is student teaching (EDUC 694D/HPE 694 Supervised Teaching in Health and Physical Education). Students choosing to do the fifth-year program complete a year-long internship, in lieu of student teaching. Students also have the option of completing a concentration in adapted physical education through additional coursework designed to enhance teaching strategies and the programmatic needs of students with disabilities. 

Admission to the fifth year program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students admitted early to the masters program (required GPA of 3.2 or greater) are eligible for dual credit at the undergraduate/graduate levels for up to 12 credit hours. This enables undergraduates to begin the masters program in their junior or senior year. For questions about the program, contact the undergraduate program coordinator, Steve Wright, at (603) 862-4408, or

Recommended Major Sequencing of Courses

This list only includes major classes. Students should be registered for, and taking an average of 16 credits per semester to be ‘on track’ to graduate in 4 years. In most semesters, this means a student will be taking Discovery or elective courses to meet this 16 credit ‘load’.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
BMS 507 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
HPE 500 Introduction to Health and Physical Education 2
HPE 600 Movement and Gymnastics Exploration 4
BMS 508 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
HPE 603 Team Sports 3
NUTR 400 Nutrition in Health and Well Being 4
Second Year
HPE 610 Elementary Physical Education Pedagogy 4
HPE 648 Current Issues in Teaching Health 4
HPE 675 Motor Development and Learning 4
KIN 501 First Aid: Responding to Emergencies 1
HPE 570 Elementary Physical Education Practicum 4
HPE 601 Lifetime Sports 3
HPE 671 Health Education Pedagogy 4
PSYC 402
or SOC 402
Statistics in Psychology
or Statistics
Third Year
EXSC 620 Physiology of Exercise 4
HPE 653B Biomechanics of Human Movement 2
HPE 655 Middle School and Secondary Physical Education Pedagogy 4
HPE 702 Health Content and Youth Risk Behavior 4
HDFS 746 Human Sexuality 4
HPE 676 Adventure Activities 3
HPE 712 Health Education Practicum 4
HPE 781 Inclusion in Physical Education 4
Fourth Year
EDUC 605 Educational Perspectives in Critical Times 4
HPE 666 Middle School and Secondary Physical Education Practicum 4
EDUC 694D Supervised Teaching/Kinesiology 4
HPE 694 Supervised Teaching in Health and Physical Education 6
 Total Credits96

Major Requirements

BMS 507Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BMS 508Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
EDUC 605Educational Perspectives in Critical Times4
EXSC 620Physiology of Exercise4
HDFS 746Human Sexuality4
HPE 500Introduction to Health and Physical Education2
HPE 570Elementary Physical Education Practicum4
HPE 600Movement and Gymnastics Exploration4
HPE 601Lifetime Sports3
HPE 603Team Sports3
HPE 610Elementary Physical Education Pedagogy4
HPE 648Current Issues in Teaching Health4
HPE 655Middle School and Secondary Physical Education Pedagogy4
HPE 666Middle School and Secondary Physical Education Practicum4
HPE 653BBiomechanics of Human Movement2
HPE 671Health Education Pedagogy4
HPE 675Motor Development and Learning4
HPE 676Adventure Activities3
HPE 702Health Content and Youth Risk Behavior4
HPE 712Health Education Practicum4
HPE 781Inclusion in Physical Education4
KIN 501First Aid: Responding to Emergencies1
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being4
PSYC 402Statistics in Psychology4
or SOC 402 Statistics
Senior Capstone Experience
EDUC 694DSupervised Teaching/Kinesiology4
HPE 694Supervised Teaching in Health and Physical Education6
Total Credits96

Explore Program Details

Adapted physical education session

The Physical Education Option with the Department of Kinesiology would like to offer an undergraduate concentration in Adapted Physical Education.

Completion of the coursework can count towards eligibility in sitting for the Adapted Physical Education National Standards examination.

Program offers

  • Overall knowledge of instruction
  • Assessment
  • Programming for students with disabilites
  • Guided practicum experiences
  • Learn to address needs of students with disabilites to become physically literate individuals
  • 19-20 credits of coursework

Required courses

  • HPE 675 - Motor Development and Learning (4 credits)
  • HPE 731- Inclusive Teaching Through Sport (4 credits)
  • HPE 781- Inclusion in Physical Education (4 credits)
  • HPE 742- PE Practicum for Students with Disabilities (4 credits)
  • HPE 696- Independent study (3-4 credits)

For more information, please contact Steve Wright at (603) 862-4408 or email

Q: What is needed to be certified to teach in NH?

  • To be certified in the state of New Hampshire you need to complete an undergraduate degree program through an accredited school such as UNH. In addition, you need to take standardized tests at the state level for teacher certification.

Q: What kind of certifications will I receive?

  • The UNH Health and Physical Education program certifies its 4-year B.S. students in both health and physical education. The 5th year Masters program also certifies its teacher candidates in both health and physical education.

Q: What can I do with the certificate?

  • With a health and physical education teaching degree you are able to teach at any level from kindergarten to grade 12 in either health or physical education. Many of our graduates receive jobs where they are able to teach in both of these areas. The degree also qualifies you to work in a recreational setting. In addition, you will have the knowledge to coach at any level, and teach students with disabilities. 

Q: What is the difference between the 4 and 5-year programs?

  • The 4-year program gives you a B.S. degree with certification to teach in health and physical education. Candidates are only required to student teach for one semester.
  • Because many states and school districts require a master’s degree to teach, the 5-year program gives you a master’s degree with certification in health and physical education. Candidates in the master’s program complete a yearlong internship.

Q: What if I only want to teach in one area - either health or physical education?

  • You can do that! What we find is that most students get the job and the teaching levels they want to work in.

Master’s in Art in Teaching (MAT)

Students who opt for the 5-year graduate program as their route to teaching certification in Health and Physical Education will apply to the UNH Graduate School for admission into the Department of Education’s MAT program.

Students must have a UNH undergraduate GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least a 3.0 out of 4.0. The application process is done online, and three letters of recommendation are required.  An outstanding benefit for high achieving students is referred to as ‘early admission’ to graduate school. If an undergraduate has a GPA of 3.2 or better at the time they apply, they will be accepted ‘early’ and can take up to three courses (12 credits) as dual listed – undergraduate and graduate level courses. This would mean that an undergraduate student early admitted to the graduate program, will be eligible to take three of the required five courses as undergraduates. Early admit students would then have only two courses left to complete their graduate program. This saves both time and money!

All graduate students, whether regular or early admitted will also be required to take a full year of student teaching (referred to as an internship), as the major component of the MAT that leads to teaching certification. This includes a 16-week placement at an elementary school and a 16-week placement at a middle or high school. Classes required include:  (700 level is undergraduate and 800 level is graduate).

Regular Admission Courses Early Admission Courses
EDUC 800 Ed Structure and Change EDUC 700/800 Ed Structure and Change
EDUC 805 Contemporary Ed Perspective EDUC 705/805 Contemporary Ed Perspective
KIN 802 Content Risk Behavior      KIN 702/802 Content Risk Behavior
KIN 910 Curricular Issues in Health   KIN 910 Curricular Issues in Health
One additional 800 level KIN course     One additional 800 level KIN course

With the additional, 5th year of study, including the internship, a student will graduate with an MAT Education Master’s degree and certification to teach Health and Physical Education, K-12 in New Hampshire. These teaching certifications will be transferable to all of the other 49 states in the U.S.  If you have further questions about this graduate program, contact Steve Wright at 603-862-4408 or

Teachers and kids in gym

Internal transfers must:

  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.67
  • A completed- application form, including an essay on why you want to teach
  • Interview with the option coordinator

Once the application is complete, contact Steve Wright for an interview.


take the next step

student posing in doorway on campus


Thompson Hall


student at Career Event