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K-12 Physical Education

Teacher Licensure, Bachelor of Science

Degree Type

Minor, Emphasis, K-12 Licensure


Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Department

Physical education is critical to the development of motor skills and reinforcing the importance of physical health. This knowledge has the potential to positively influence the lives of children, teens and adults as they make decisions about food, exercise, health and well-being.

Program Overview

Inspire students to adopt healthy lifestyles.

If you aspire to teach physical education in a school setting, the K-12 Physical Education emphasis is designed for you. In the program, you will learn and develop pedagogical best practices through research-based instruction and experiential learning, all while developing your expertise in exercise science. In collaboration with our Education program, you will complete a yearlong student teaching internship and sit for the K-12 physical education teacher licensure exam. Through community partnerships, you’ll have the opportunity to work with children and teachers in local schools and at the Gunnison Recreation Center. The Physical Education minor allows you to develop your health and physical activity teaching skills without requiring a student teaching internship or teacher licensure exam.

Teaching healthy movement

Physical Education students learn and develop pedagogical best practices through research-based instruction and experiential learning, all while developing their expertise in exercise science.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

This minor consists of 18 credits including:

ESS 185Lifetime Wellness3
ESS 290Curriculum Development and the Learning Environment3
ESS 350Assessment & Technology in Physical Education2
ESS 353Coordinated School Health and Physical Activity Programs2
ESS 363Inclusive Physical Activity3
ESS 395Methods of Elementary Activities3
Two of the following:2
ESS 210
Skill Development and Analysis: Net and Wall Games
ESS 211
Skill and Development and Analysis: Invasion Games
ESS 212
Skill Development and Analysis: Target and Fielding Games
ESS 213
Skill Development and Analysis: Dance
Total Credits18


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


The Ernest Degutis Scholarship

This scholarship is available to Exercise & Sport Science (ESS) majors with demonstrated excellence in academics and outstanding achievement in personal fields.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • ESS Major
  • Junior or senior class standing
  • 3.0 Minimum GPA
  • Demonstrated excellence in academics
  • Show outstanding achievement in four of the following:
    • Special talents
    • Leadership
    • Obstacles overcome
    • Community service
    • Unique endeavors
Application Procedures:
  • A written letter of application – please include local address
  • Unofficial transcript (may use DegreeWorks)
  • Two letters of recommendation from Western faculty or staff
    • Letters must NOT be from ESS department members
    • At least one letter must be from a faculty member
  • Essay addressing at least four of the five areas listed above

The Ernest Degutis Scholarship is Provided by:

Ernest Degutis

Amount depends on fund availability.

Scholarship Recipients Selected by:

Western Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science (RESS) Faculty.

Completed applications must be turned in to Terri in the RESS Department office in Wright Gym no later than the second Friday of April for the upcoming academic calendar year.


  • Woman Physical Education or Recreation major at Western
  • Must have completed a minimum of one year in residence at Western
  • Must be a Junior or Senior (ie., will have completed at least 64 semester hours at the completion of the spring semester in which the award is to be granted, but will not be graduated at the completion of that same semester).
  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 at time of selection.
  • Must have exhibited leadership in intramurals, the intercollegiate program or other departmental activities.
  • Must have demonstrated professional promise in the field of Physical Education or Recreation.


This award has been established in honor of Miss Hannah E. Praxl, in recognition of her long and illustrious service as a member of the Division of HPER at Western. The contributions made by Miss Praxl during her tenure at Western were many. In addi­tion to her everyday duties as professor of Physical Education and Counselor and advisor to many students, Miss Praxl contributed much time and effort in working with the Women’s Recreation Association, the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, and numerous local, state, regional and national organizations associated with the development and promotion of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Following retirement, a number of friends, faculty, and alumni have endeavored to establish a suitable award in honor of Miss Praxl, and to be known as the “Hannah E. Praxl Award.” Award for Outstanding Woman Athlete.


A list of all women students majoring in Physical Education and Recreation and whose grade point averages meet the 3.2 criteria, or are close enough that they could meet the criteria at the completion of the spring semester, will be submitted to the selection committee for consideration. This list will be given to the committee as soon after April 15 as possible, with instructions that the recipient be determined by May 1.

The selection committee shall be composed of the women Physical Education staff members, the Division Chairman, and any other Division HPER staff members, as determined by the committee.

DEADLINE DATE: April 15 of each academic year; selection by May 1

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Community Partnerships: Many classes involve working with children and teachers in local schools and working with the general population at the Gunnison Recreation Center.
  • Future Educators of America: Students in this club engage in volunteer work and professional development opportunities along with other like-minded students.
  • Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE): SHAPE is a national organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, dance, school health and sport. SHAPE promotes research and provides support and resources to professionals to further the health and well-being of the American public.
  • Association for Students of Exercise Sports Science: This club is specifically tailored to ESS majors. Outings and events provide social support, professional development and networking opportunities.

Working with the community

Many Physical Education courses involve working with children and teachers in local schools and working with the general population at the Gunnison Recreation Center.

Department Chairperson

Lance Dalleck, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science

Administrative Assistant

Terri Stinson

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Paul Wright Gym 209
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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