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Sport and Movement Studies

College of Education and Professional Studies

HPE 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 Sport and 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 cohort of students in our program every year starting during the summer quarter. We are currently accepting applications for students interested in our Health and Physical Education Master's Program to start summer 2021.

How long will the degree take?
The program consists of 47 total credits leading to a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education. The program takes approximately two years to complete. Students who begin summer 2021 should graduate spring quarter 2023. 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 & Physical Education (Health/Fitness)Teaching Endorsement? Yes. Students who apply for and are accepted into our MS online program in Health and Physical Education should already possess a teaching certification in health/physical education or any other teaching endorsement. The classes in this degree program extend on the classes already taken as part of an undergraduate education professional preparation program and on the educator's prior practical experience. The classes offered in the graduate program will provide the knowledge and skills to prepare candidates to to teach health and physical education in the state of WA and elsewhere.  In order to teach Health & Physical Education in the state of Washington, candidates must pass the WEST-E Health/Fitness examination.

Do I need to currently be a Health or Physical Education teacher to apply for the Health and Physical Education masters degree program?
Preference will be given to current K-12 health and physical education teachers and those with an undergraduate degree in health and physical education, however, current K-12 teachers and those with an undergraduate in education will be considered for admission as well . The program is focused on K-12 health & 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.

What if I don't possess an undergraduate degree in Education?

Contact the HPE graduate director for suggestions on programs or ideas on making the program work for you.

Will the entire program be taken online or will I need to come to Ellensburg, Washington?
The program is entirely online so there is no requirement to be on campus to complete coursework.  At the beginning of the program in the fall there is a New Graduate Student Orientation and Get Together and the New Student Convocation that we highly encourage our new graduate students to attend.  This event occurs the day before the first day of fall classes and is a great opportunity to meet your new cohort members and the HPE faculty in person. 

As a part of the graduation requirements, students must complete a Thesis/Project/Examination experience.  This entails a "Proposal" in the fall (2nd year) and a "Defense" in the final spring quarter.  Although these meetings are usually conducted via Zoom, candidates may choose to meet on the CWU Ellensburg campus.

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 11,500 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.

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 "Canvas" for its online courses. Canvas is widely used nationwide and has established itself as a user-friendly interface between faculty and students. Participants in the program will use Canvas 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) or Google services. During the academic year it is required to have a webcam on your computer (or have access to one) so that you can communicate with colleagues and faculty using a programs such as Zoom and Panopto.

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 environment. 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.

Is the CWU online degree in Health and Physical Education easier than other degrees?
If you are looking for any easy way to earn a masters degree and jump up the pay scale, this program is not for you. There are much easier ways to receive a graduate degree, 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 Sport and Movement Studies (SAMS) 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. 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.

Where can I find out more about the program? Visit the CWU/SAMS Website:  

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? No: Although a new cohort begins every year, all students must enroll during the initial summer session. 

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.

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 the Dr. Mark Perez, the HPE Graduate Program Coordinator if you have further questions about the program.

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