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MS - Graduate

Health, Physical Education, & Recreation

The Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree for students interested in advancing their education and opportunities in the areas of teaching, health promotion, and research. This unique program was the first fully accredited distance learning master’s degree program in the United States. Since its beginning in 1996 through today, this program is one of the most respected, affordable, and well-known online master's degrees in health, physical education, and recreation.

Program description

The master’s degree program offered through the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation may be completed entirely online through internet courses. All of the graduate faculty in the department have completed doctoral degrees. Many of the faculty are nationally recognized in their fields. The Department is housed in an excellent facility which includes five gymnasiums, human performance lab, and Olympic size pool.

The object of this program is to build upon a well-rounded health and/or physical education foundation and a specialized knowledge of concepts and methods in teaching and coaching, which will enable the student to pursue a productive career in teaching health or physical education and/or coaching various sports. The program also provides students, who have appropriate undergraduate preparation, the expertise for employment in wellness and fitness programs. Responsibility for a student's program is vested in an advisor charged with arranging the student's course work and supervising research activities.

Students must present an acceptable undergraduate background in health, physical education, or recreation representing a breadth of preparation comparable to that required for an undergraduate concentration in HPER at Emporia State University. Students lacking some prerequisites in their undergraduate preparation may be required to complete additional courses as prescribed by the advisor and committee.

Students take all course work through web-based classes. While students are never required to come to campus they are always welcome. This online format is a significant benefit for students who have coaching responsibilities, are raising families, or live in areas outside of an easy drive to Emporia. All courses are taught by faculty members with doctoral degrees and/or by faculty members who are nationally recognized in their fields. Students from all 50 states, as well as several foreign countries, have entered and completed this degree program.

This program is fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This master's degree does not lead to initial teacher certification, but has the potential to be used for that purpose. This is dependent upon the state requirements in which the student teaches.

Emporia State University is a regional university within the State of Kansas Regents system. Students completing this program earn a master's of science (MS) degree in health, physical education, and recreation. The degree is appropriate for those interested in advancing their education, as well as for those who need to gain additional course work for tenure or fiscal promotion.

The Master of Science in HPER from ESU is not an approved teacher preparation program and does not lead to teacher licensure in Kansas. As such, we will be unable to provide an approved program verification to any state department of education to facilitate obtaining a teaching license in that state.

Before choosing this program, ensure that your state would accept it, even though it is not a program approved for teacher licensure. Emporia State University faculty and staff are not able to make that determination.

Application Requirements

Candidates must:

  • Have a 2.5 overall GPA, as well as a 2.75 GPA in the last 60 credits of college work
  • Possess a degree in physical education or related field (i.e., health, corporate wellness, athletic training, etc.)

If the candidate does not have an undergraduate degree in physical education or related area, the candidate may be admitted on probation with at least 12 credits of undergraduate work in physical education, health, and/or coaching. These classes must be approved by the HPER Graduate Advisor.

Application Material

In order for a candidate to be considered, all application materials must be completed and received by the Graduate School at Emporia State University. A person wishing to pursue the health, physical education, and recreation master’s degree at Emporia State University is required to be admitted to the Graduate School and to the Department of HPER. The steps for applying for admission and the criteria used in determining whether, and under what conditions, a student is admitted include:

  1. The student must complete an application and send in the application fee. The applicant should complete the online application.
  2. International students must complete a different application for graduate school from ESU's Office of International Education; available here.
  3. An official copy of ALL transcripts must be sent to the Emporia State University Graduate Office at Emporia State University.
  4. A resume or vita must be submitted to the Graduate School at Emporia State University.

Application Materials

All application material should be submitted directly to the ESU Graduate School:

Emporia State University
Graduate School
1 Kellogg Circle
Campus Box 4003
Emporia, KS 66801

Application Process Help

If you are having difficulty with the application process, you can watch this video.

If you need a quick tutorial on sending references and viewing "supplementary items," watch this video.


If you have questions about this degree or program, please contact The Teachers College at 620-341-5367.