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Physical Education School and Public Health

Graduate Studies FAQs

Why should I enroll in CWU's Masters Degree On-line?
If you are looking for a top quality online masters degree focused on an area of professional interest this program is for you. Central Washington University offers one of the few online degree programs in the country with specializations either in Health and Physical Education, or Athletic Administration. Offered on a convenient schedule, delivered right to your home by one of the most respected teacher education institutions in Washington State, CWU gives you the opportunity to earn a degree that you will be proud of, and will enhance your professional career.

When do the programs begin?
We currently start a new group of students in our program every other year. The most recent group in Athletic Administration began summer 2012. The next group will begin summer 2013. We are currently accepting applications for students interested in our Health and Physical Education specialization to begin summer 2014.

How long will the degree take?
These are 45-credit graduate programs leading the award of a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education. The programs take approximately two years to complete. Students who begin summer 2014 should graduate spring quarter 2016. Students are permitted to substitute up to 9 credits of previously completed graduate level work with the approval of their advisor and committee.

Will the MS degree in Health and Physical Education also meet the requirements for a Health & Fitness Teaching Endorsement?
No. Students who apply for and are accepted in our MS online program in Health and Physical Education should already have physical education teaching certification and experience teaching physical education. The classes in this degree extend on the classes already taken as part of an undergraduate professional preparation program and on the physical educator's prior practical experience. The classes required for the teaching endorsement are different from those included in the graduate program.

Do I need to currently be a Physical Education or Health Education teacher to apply for the Health and Physical Education degree?
Preference will be given to current K-12 health and physical education teachers and those with an undergraduate degree in physical education. The program is focused on K-12 physical education teaching. Many assignments require students to have access to teaching situations. Students who are not currently teaching will need to establish opportunities within K-12 settings to complete these assignments.

Will the entire program be taken online or will I need to come to Ellensburg, Washington?
Participants in this program will be required to spend two weeks on the CWU campus in the first and second summers of their programs. During the first summer, students meet others enrolled in the program and learn about the technology involved in the online delivery of this program. During the second year, students have time to begin planning the culminating project for their degree. These intensive two-week sessions allow faculty and students time to interact face-to-face and become acquainted. Because of the practical focus of this program these on-campus sessions also allow time for the discussion and planning of relevant in-school projects. Students will receive information about on-campus housing opportunities. Any out-of-state participants will also receive travel information.

Where is Ellensburg, Washington?
Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, Ellensburg is a small rural town of approximately 15,000 inhabitants - including about 9000 students who attend Central Washington University. The closest major city is Seattle located approximately two hours west of Ellensburg. The closest airport is in Yakima, about a 45-minute drive from Ellensburg. Unlike Seattle, because of the mountain range separating the two communities, Ellensburg enjoys a dry and mostly sunny climate. It is a wonderful location for all types of outdoor activities and participants attending the summer classes should plan some time (before or after the 2-weeks of classes) to enjoy the local environment.

How will I take the online classes?
You will be able to take these classes using a home or school based computer that is linked to the web. As with most online experiences a faster connection will enhance this interactive experience. Central Washington University uses an instructional program called "Blackboard" for its online courses. Blackboard is widely used nationwide and has established itself as a user-friendly interface between faculty and students. Participants in the program will use Blackboard and email to complete course assignments and to communicate with classmates and faculty. You will also be expected to have the suite of Microsoft Office programs on your computer (Word, Powerpoint, & Excel). During the academic year you may wish to have a camcorder on your computer so that you can communicate with colleagues and faculty using a program such as Skype.

What will I be expected to do in these classes?
The online degrees offered through CWU have been designed to focus on the types of knowledge and skills that will enhance candidates' effectiveness in teaching, coaching, or administering athletics. Students should anticipate readings and assignments directed toward application in their local teaching and coaching environments. Wherever possible students will have the opportunity to explore issues and design projects relevant to their instructional setting.

Will I learn as much in an online MS program as in a regular program?
There has been much debate and investigation on this topic. Current opinion seems to support the conclusion that online learning can be just as effective as regular classroom instruction. Researchers point out that in classroom settings students are able to avoid participation and let others interact. In contrast, with online instruction there is nowhere to hide! The learning experience requires constant interaction between instructors and students and students and their peers. Online instruction is not for everyone but for the motivated learner who is comfortable with using technology, online instruction can be equal to or even more effective than traditional classroom teaching.

Are the CWU online degrees in Health and Physical Education or Athletic Administration easier than other degrees?
If you are looking for any easy way to earn a masters degree and jump up the pay scale these programs are not for you. There are much easier ways to receive graduate degrees, although these are typically outside of the health, physical education, and athletic fields of study. We are proud of the quality of our programs and our graduates. As noted elsewhere, our program graduates include many of today's leaders in our professional field. The summer sessions are intense and demanding. Some years ago, two students showed up with golf clubs apparently expecting a couple of recreational weeks in our program. They didn't come back the second day! You should also keep in mind that the 6-credits taken each quarter online is considered a half-time study load. In other words, if you have a full time job and then enroll in our program you are taking on significant additional work. We strongly advise against attempting to continue other high-pressure commitments while enrolled in these degrees. This is even more important for those who have family roles.

How do I apply? If you are interested in participating in this program you must first complete a CWU Graduate School application. With this letter of application please include an additional letter explaining your interest in this degree, your professional goals, and your past and present teaching experience. Once the complete application has been received it will be submitted to the Department of PESPH for full consideration. The CWU Admissions Office will not forward applications to our department until they are 100% complete! At this time a decision will be made on acceptance into the online program. It is our intent to limit participation in these degrees to approximately 10 people. You are urged to submit your application fall quarter preceding the starting date of the degree you wish to take. All applicants will receive notification regarding their status by May or earlier.

Is this degree the same as a “sports management” degree? No, this degree prepares students for careers as athletic directors in public and private interscholastic and intercollegiate institutions. However, many of the principles of leadership and management will apply to careers in professional and public sports management organizations.

Will I be able to attain a job as an athletic director with this degree? This program prepares students for careers as athletic directors. However, institutions and organizations often require certain levels of experience and certification for prospective candidates. This degree will prepare you to move along the athletic administration career path from the point at which you begin. It also can assist you in acquiring positions such as an assistant athletic administrator or events manager, or activities coordinator in interscholastic or intercollegiate programs.

I am currently a “recreation supervisor” for a city park and recreation department. Will your degree be beneficial to my career in parks and recreation? Though our program prepares students to become high-school and college athletic administrators, many of the principles of leadership and management apply to careers in public sports and recreational management.

Where can I find out more about the program? Visit the CWU/PESPH Website: http://www.cwu.edu/pe-health/

Can I finish this program in less than two years? No, the curriculum is designed in an optimal sequence for acquiring and applying knowledge and understanding to various roles and projects each student will participate in and complete. Each quarter’s courses are followed in logical sequence by the next course in the sequence. The program will take two years to complete.

Can I begin this program any quarter? Yes and No: No for off-campus students. The program cohorts begin every two years during an initial summer session. Yes for on-campus graduate assistants. We do permit a small number of graduate assistants to begin the program during the second summer of a cohort. In the future we anticipate beginning a new cohort each year.

Will I have to pay out-of-state tuition? All students in the program, regardless of where they live, pay the in-state tuition rate.

What if I want to change my graduate major? Can I apply my current coursework to the CWU AA Program? The CWU Graduate School allows graduate students to transfer up to six credits into a current graduate program. Transfer credits are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and determination is made regarding the course content and program requirements.

How much will books cost each quarter? At this time, course texts are averaging approximately $90 per quarter.

When can I begin my cooperative experience? Most cooperative experiences are scheduled for winter quarter of the second year of the cohort. However, to meet special needs and considerations, and with proper planning, we can accommodate a cooperative experience any quarter during the second year.

If I am currently an athletic administrator, how does the cooperative experience work? The cooperative experience for the practicing AD or school administrator consists of designing and completing an “action research project” or “action plan” that addresses a current issue in your program. This plan or project must be a “new” action you have decided to take to address a current issue in your program. The project or plan will be verified by your building or district supervisor.

Are graduate assistantships available? Yes. Each year a small number of assistantships are available. Application for an assistantship is required prior to the graduate-school application deadline. Graduate assistantships are chosen in the spring quarter prior to the first summer of the program. Please contact us for further information. If you have questions about the program contact the PESPH Graduate Program Director.