The Department of Physical Education aims to develop in the student an awareness and an intelligent understanding of the need for and effects of healthy physical activity. The instructional program offers opportunities for the student to acquire lifetime sport and movement skills that will enhance her overall quality of life, both now and in the future.

Four physical education units are required of all students, except transfer students. All transfer students shall complete two physical education units.  Students who do not feel safe in deep water are encouraged to take a swimming course.

Most physical education courses meet two hours a week for one semester, for 2 physical education units. Some courses, however, meet for half a semester, for 1 physical education unit.

The physical education department does not offer a physical education major program but does offer two courses for academic credit:  Women in Sport and Sport Pedagogy. Also offered is an academic independent credit option as well as an Educational Studies Minor (see below).  See the end of the physical education listings for these courses in the Physical Education chapter of the course catalog.

Courses and Requirements

See the Physical Education and Athletics chapter of the course catalog >

Educational Studies Minor in Sport Pedagogy and Coaching

A minimum of 18 credits is required and include the following courses:

  • Education 205, 220, or Educational Studies 215 (4 credits) 
  • PHYSED 275 - Sport Pedagogy. (2 credits) 
  • Education 324 or 332 (2 credits) 
  • Educational Studies 290 - a capstone type independent study (2 credits) (A paper is required for this course and can align with the field based experience, but the field based experience alone will not suffice.) 
  • Two courses (8 credits) at the 200 level or above focusing on sport pedagogy. 

The following courses are suggested, but other courses may be substituted that are relevant to the specific area of study:

Mount Holyoke College

  • PSYCH 230 Developmental Psychology 
  • PSYCH 233 Educational Psychology 
  • PSYCH 236 Adolescent Development 
  • EDUC 320J Experiences in Inclusive Education 
  • PHYSED 261 Women in Sport 

Smith College

  • ESS 215 Physiology of Exercise 
  • ESS 220 Psychology of Sport 
  • ESS 225 Education through the Physical: Youth Sports 


  • 215 Prevention and Care of Injuries 
  • 470 Exercise Physiology 
  • 380 Diet, Supplements and Athletic Performance 

Amherst College

  • 35 Sport Psychology 

*One Independent Study 395 or PHYSED 295 can be applied to the minimum minor requirements but can not be substituted for one of the designated required courses in the Educational Studies Minor.