Health Promotion and Physical Education

Related Programs

Ithaca College also offers graduate degrees in adolescence education and childhood education.

  • Education Programs Information

Major Adviser: Deborah Wuest, Chair of Graduate Program and Professor,

The Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education offers graduate programs leading to the master of science degree in physical education and the master of science degree in health education. Students can choose either the thesis or non-thesis option, allowing them to match their program of study to their professional interests and career aspirations.

Both programs are geared toward a professional teaching certificate in education. Students with initial certification in physical education or health education are eligible for admission into the respective program. Successful completion will fulfill the educational requirements for professional certification in the State of New York. Students without an initial teaching certification, but with a degree in community health, wellness, health promotion, or a closely related degree can apply to the master of science in health education to obtain an advanced degree in the field. Applicants may require additional coursework before admission to the health education program.

The master’s programs require just 30 credit hours of graduate coursework. The entire graduate program can be completed in as little as two semesters and one summer.

The master of science program with thesis serves a two-fold purpose: it can be a step toward advanced study in the field, and it challenges those individuals who wish to contribute to the knowledge base of their field. The thesis is based on the student’s independent research -- both theoretical and applied -- and is guided by a thesis committee. The thesis option requires each student to successfully pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis. To be eligible for that exam, students must have completed all required courses and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher for all graduate courses completed as part of the program. The completed thesis must receive the approval of both the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education graduate chair and the dean of graduate and professional studies.

The non-thesis option is designed for students whose major objective in graduate study is to enhance their professional background in physical education or health education. Upon completion of all required courses, students must pass a written comprehensive examination covering knowledge within the discipline, and research and statistical methods. To be eligible for that exam, the student must have completed all the required courses and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the graduate program is granted based on the candidate’s cumulative undergraduate coursework, grade point average, and letters of recommendation. GREs are NOT required. Preference for admission and assistantship awards will be given to applications received by April 1 for the following fall semester. Students who choose to begin their program of study in January should apply by December 1.

To expedite the admissions and assistantship award process, it is recommended that applicants request letters of recommendation in a sealed, signed envelope. When the applicant has received all the required letters of recommendation, the applicant should place the letters in an envelope and submit it to the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ithaca College. Applicants may also submit their letters of recommendation as a packet from the career services office of their respective institution.

Applications are reviewed on an individual basis, taking into account such factors as previous academic accomplishments, record of professional experience, and special personal circumstances. Students with questions regarding their eligibility for admission are encouraged to contact the chair of the program, Deborah A. Wuest, at 607-274-3108 or