ESS: Physical Education Teaching - Master of Science

This program is being offered in either the in-person format or hybrid (combination of in-person and online) format.


The in-person track meets on campus at UWL for most classes. This format provides students the opportunity to earn a master's degree throughout the school year and summer. Most coursework will take place in the afternoon/evenings.


The hybrid track is offered to practitioners who are unable to travel to UW-La Crosse for in-person coursework on a weekly basis. This format provides students the opportunity to earn a master's degree in an online synchronous setting in the afternoon/evenings. Additional electives (10 - 13) will need to be selected which may require in-person learning.

Admission Prerequisites

Prerequisites for admission or equivalents are:
  1. Undergraduate major/minor in physical education and/or sport science/management from an accredited four-year institution.
  2. Documented course work in the following areas:
    • Anatomy/physiology
    • Measurement and evaluation in physical education
    • Adapted physical education
    • Motor development/behavior/child development


33 - 36 credits depending on research option

Category A - research

  • Thesis option

ESS 730Research Methods for Exercise and Sport Science3
ESS 735Statistics for Exercise and Sport Science3
ESS 799Research: Master's Thesis6
Total Credits12
  • Non-thesis option 

ESS 730Research Methods for Exercise and Sport Science3
ESS 752Assessment of Physical Education and Athletics3
Written comprehensive exam required
Total Credits6

Category B - core requirements

ESS 725Diversity in the Physical Activity Setting2
ESS 727Planning for Effective Instruction in Physical Education2
ESS 737Curriculum Design in Physical Education2
ESS 759Analysis and Supervision of Physical Education3
ESS 765Adventure Education for Physical Educators2-3
ESS 771Current Issues in Physical Education2-3
Total Credits14

Category C - electives

Thesis option: 10 credits
Non-thesis option: 13 elective credits

Elective courses must be related to the field of teaching. A student may select a variety of courses offered in exercise and sport science, health education, and educational studies departments. All electives must be pre-approved by the program director. Up to six credits of ESS 560 Exercise Science Clinical Forum will count toward this category.

At least half of the credits in the degree must be earned in 700 level courses.

University graduate degree requirements

After being admitted to the program of one's choice, candidates for a graduate degree must:

  1. Complete any preliminary course work and deficiencies.
  2. Complete all courses and other program requirements, including residence requirements prescribed for the degree desired in the respective school or college within a seven-year period from the date of initial enrollment, with the exception of students enrolled in the Student Affairs Administration and Leadership Ed.D. (SAA Ed.D.) graduate program. SAA Ed.D. students must complete all degree requirements within ten years from the time of initial enrollment in the graduate program.
  3. Earn a minimum of 30 credits for a master's degree; 54 credits for a doctorate or post-master's degree. Earn at least one-half of the minimum number of credits required in the program in graduate-only level courses (700, 800, 900, and non-slash 600 level courses). Some UWL graduate programs require more than 30 graduate credits. Please review the individual program requirements listed in the catalog for the exact number of credits required.
  4. Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.
  5. Satisfy dissertation, thesis, seminar paper, terminal/graduate projects and internships, or comprehensive examination, where applicable. A dissertation or thesis approved by the committee must be submitted to Graduate & Extended Learning for editorial review and approval by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. The recommended initial submission date for review is two weeks before commencement. Ordinarily, a seminar paper or project report does not have to be approved by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. However, if the seminar paper or project report is to be archived in Murphy Library, the student must follow the same rules as they apply to the dissertation/thesis requiring approval from the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. For further research/dissertation/thesis guidelines, see Graduate & Extended Learning.
  6. File a completed "Intent to Graduate" form online via the WINGS Student Center immediately following registration for the final semester or summer term in residence. December graduates and winter intersession should file by May 1. May and summer graduates should file by December 1.
  7. Pay the graduation fee and remove all other indebtedness to the university. Payment of graduation fees does not imply readiness for graduation and does not take the place of applying for graduation.
  8. Complete all requirements within 30 days after the official ending date of a term in order for a degree to be awarded for that term. (See #5 above for separate deadline for written capstone experience.)