M.Ed. in Kinesiology—Adapted Physical Education

The Master’s Program in Adapted Physical Education at the University of Virginia is a one-year program which includes two summers and two semesters (fall and spring). Coursework is taught by internationally-known experts in the fields of adapted physical education, special education, and early childhood special education. The program is best known for its emphasis on practical experiences. Students serve as adapted physical education specialists in local Albemarle County Public Schools. They also have opportunities to make presentations at major conferences.

Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Master's degree applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in physical education or related discipline from an accredited college or university. Preference is given to students who are licensed to teach physical education. Students also must meet the admission standards outlined in the Curry School of Education Admission Policies, which include a high standard of achievement during their undergraduate work (minimum of 3.0 GPA) and 2 outstanding recommendations. Note that recommendations should be solicited through the online application. Students are also required to submit one of the following:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are no more than 5 years old. GRE scores for MEd, MT, EdS students admitted for the 2014-15 academic year were at or above the 150 (verbal), 145 (quantitative), and 4.0 (analytical writing).
  • For applicants enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at UVA at the time of submission: SAT or ACT scores may be substituted for the GRE score.

Application Due Date

February 1 for the first review of applications. Applications will be accepted until June 1 on a space-available basis. Applicants must select “summer” as their term of entry.

Degree Requirements

Master's students complete a program of study that consists of 36 credit hours with part of these credits including practicum hours teaching students with disabilities. Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination which is the Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS) Examination. Students who pass this exam are nationally certified as an adapted physical educator.


The Master's Program in Adapted Physical Education at the University of Virginia is best known for its emphasis on daily practical experiences. We feel that daily practical experiences, supplemented by formal coursework with internationally known faculty in physical education special education, and counseling, is the best way to prepare our students to become master teachers. Also, we feel that it is important for University students to be a part of the greater Charlottesville community and support the community with efforts to provide services to children and adults with disabilities. As such, the Master's Program provides several different practicum experiences that are tied directly with Charlottesville and Albemarle County programs. For example, through a cooperative program jointly sponsored by the University of Virginia and Albemarle County Public Schools, our students serve as part-time adapted physical education specialists in local Albemarle County Public Schools. This unique arrangement allows our students to get daily, hands-on experience working with children with disabilities, their parents, staff, and administration from local public schools. In turn, Albemarle County Schools get needed adapted physical education services at a fraction of the cost of full-time teachers. Over the past five years, students in the Adapted Physical Education Program at the University of Virginia have provided services to over 150 children with disabilities 2 to 13 years of age in 14 different Albemarle County Schools.

Another service component of our program is providing support to local sports and recreation organizations serving children and adults with disabilities. In the past several years, our students have served as coaches and provided other forms of assistance to our local Special Olympics Program in volleyball, swimming, soccer, track and field, and basketball. Also, our students served as support staff at Virginia Wheelchair Games held each year at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA. Most recently, our students have provided physical education and recreation services to the Virginia Institute on Autism (VIA). Again, these practical experiences help our students learn more about children and adults with disabilities while at the same time providing support to important community programs.

Another important teaching tool is helping our students conduct workshops, seminars, and presentations to local school districts and state/regional/national organizations. For example, each year for the past five years students from the program (with support from a faculty member) have presented information on topics such as peer tutoring, authentic assessment, working with children with autism, working with preschool children, and including students with disabilities in regular physical education at the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD) and Southern District AAHPERD Conventions. Other conferences where our students have presented include the state and national Council for Exceptional Children Conferences and the National Association for the Education for Young Children Conference. Many of these presentations have turned into publications in nationally-recognized journals. Again, researching and writing a paper for publication with a faculty member is a wonderful learning experience for our students.

Practical experiences, service to the community, taking courses with internationally-known faculty, and working closely with faculty on presentations and publications is all a part of the University of Virginia’s Master's Program in Adapted Physical Education.

Funding Opportunities

We receive funding for Master's Students from Albemarle County Public Schools which pays for part of select students’ tuition.

Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on Curry's Financial Aid webpage.

Typical Length of Study

The Master’s Program is one-year (summer, fall, spring, summer).

Full or Part Time:

We currently only offer full-time programming in the Master’s Program in Adapted Physical Education.

Course Overview

Summer I          
EDHS 5480 Qualitative Assessment in Physical Education
EDHS 5612 Achievement-Based Curriculum Design in Physical Education

EDHS 8980 Practicum in Adapted Physical Education
EDHS 7600 APE for Students with Developmental Disabilities
EDHS 8500 Field-based Seminar in Adapted Physical Education
EDIS 5041 Behavior Management (or other approved SPED course)

EDHS 7610 Physical Education for Children with Severe Disabilities
EDHS 8980 Practicum in Adapted Physical Education
EDHS 8460 APE for students with Orthopedic and Sensory Disabilities
EDHS 8500 Field-based Seminar in Adapted Physical Education        
EDHS 7444 Motor Development (or other approved course in KNES or SPED)

Summer II                    
EDHS 6610 Sport, Recreation, and Camping for Individuals with Disabilities (includes working one-week at a camp for children with disabilities)
Sample Electives (students take between 1 and 4 electives)            
EDIS 5110 Characteristics of Learning Disabilities
EDIS 5120 Characteristics of Mental Retardation
EDIS 5130 Characteristics of Severe Disabilities
EDIS 5150 Seminar in Collaborative Teamwork
EDIS 7050 Behavior Management Techniques
EDIS 7080 Consulting Techniques in Special Education
EDIS 7120 Positioning, Handling, and Self-care
EDHS 3560 Elementary Physical Education Pedagogy

Sample Jobs After Graduation

Master's students work as adapted or general physical education specialists in public or private schools. Adapted physical education specialists either work as an itinerant APE specialist for a school district or as the APE specialist at a special school for children with disabilities. Occasionally graduates of the Master's program become special education teachers (they have to take additional coursework to get certified to teach special education).

Student Spotlight

Caitlin McDaniel
MEd Candidate
Kinesiology - Adapted Physical Education

At the UVA Kinesiology Department, professors make an effort to know and mentor you. Classmates want to study, commiserate, and have fun together. Everyone here is cheering for your success.

Contact Us

Martin Block


223b Mem Gym       


Locations Offered

  • Charlottesville

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