Physical Education


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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.

 EDUC 410 - K-12 Student Teaching (3 cred.)

Student teaching in a K-12 school setting on the average of 24 hours per week, over the course of the academic year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course must be repeated twice for credit. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.

 ESS 181 - Foundations of Exercise and Sport Science (3 cred.)

An introduction to the field of exercise and sport science. An overview of philosophical, historical, and scientific foundations, current trends and issues, professional opportunities, and skills and competencies required for careers in a wide variety of physical activity settings.

 ESS 185 - Lifetime Wellness (3 cred.)

Provides conceptual and experiential components designed as a basis for developing a healthier lifestyle.

 ESS 201 - Essentials Human Anatomy and Physiology (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

An introduction to basic anatomy and physiology of all human systems. Lab and lecture are integrated. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

 ESS 275 - Motor Development and Learning (3 cred.)

An application of the knowledge of motor development and learning to physical activity across the lifespan. This class introduces the physiological, perceptual, and cognitive, as well as the affective changes that occur in motor development and learning across the lifespan. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of "C-" or above.

 ESS 290 - Curriculum Development and the Learning Environment (3 cred.)

A comprehensive overview of materials, suggested teaching methods, procedures, techniques, well-directed and well-selected activities, and ways of evaluating physical education in K-12 schools.

 ESS 320 - Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (3 cred.)

A variety of issues and research areas in the psychology of sport and physical activity are addressed. Topics covered include an overview of the development of sport and exercise psychology, personality theories, exercise and mood, exercise adherence, goal setting, motivation, psychological interventions for athletes, and cohesion theories. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing.

 ESS 330 - Exercise Physiology (3 cred.)

An emphasis on the theory and principles of exercise physiology to health, physical fitness, and athletic performance in diverse populations. Prerequisites: ESS 201 or both BIOL 372 and BIOL 373; minimum Junior standing.

 ESS 331 - Exercise Physiology Laboratory (1 cred.)

Basic laboratory techniques of exercise physiology correlating with ESS 330. Laboratory experiences include aerobic and anaerobic exercise, body composition, strength, flexibility, and body composition and other indicators of exercise. Prerequisites: completion of the College Mathematics course requirement; Corequisite: ESS 330.

 ESS 350 - Assessment and Technology in Physical Education (2 cred.)

Planning, administering, and evaluating standards-based accountability systems in physical education. Multiple assessment strategies for psychomotor, cognitive, and affective learning objectives, using current technologies, are presented. Students evaluate, select and/or construct assessment tools to match specific learning outcomes in the K-12 physical education curriculum. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 290, and completion of the University Mathematics course requirement.

 ESS 353 - Coordinated School Health and Physical Activity Programs (2 cred.)

Overview of coordinated school health programs with a heavy focus on local wellness policy, comprehensive school health education and the role of physical activity and physical education in schools. Includes 6-8 hours of required field experience. Prerequisites: EDUC 000 and junior standing.

 ESS 363 - Inclusive Physical Activity (3 cred.)

Students develop knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals having diverse needs in physical education, recreation, sport, fitness, or rehabilitation settings. Content includes planning, instructional design, assessment, coordination of resources, and advocacy in physical activity settings. Prerequisites: ESS 275 and minimum junior standing.

 ESS 380 - Biomechanics (3 cred.)

Investigation and analysis of human movement. Basic mechanical principles of force, motion, and aerodynamics as related to fundamental physical skills and their application to exercise, sport, and physical activity. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185, ESS 201 or BIOL 372, completion of the University Mathematics course requirement.

 ESS 392 - Methods of Secondary Activities (3 cred.)

For students planning to obtain licensure in physical education. A variety of curriculum models (e.g., tactical, sport education, social responsibility) are used to present individual, dual and team sport activities. Lesson and unit plans are developed, implemented and assessed in keeping with Colorado and NASPE standards as they relate to secondary physical education. Prerequisites: 2 of the following: ESS 210, 211, 212, 213; ESS 290, minimum junior standing; Prerequisite or corequisite: ESS 350

 ESS 395 - Methods of Elementary Activities (3 cred.)

Units covered may include apparatus and tumbling, dance, and games. Each unit breaks down into sub-units, and progressions are emphasized. Lesson and unit plans are developed, implemented, and assessed in keeping with national standards and as they relate to elementary physical education. Competencies in the basic skills of each unit are also tested. Prerequisites: two of the following: ESS 210, 211, 212, 213; ESS 290; and minimum junior standing; Prerequisite or corequisite: ESS 350.

 ESS 396 - Methods of Alternative Physical Education (3 cred.)

Units covered may be: Nordic skiing, rock climbing, orienteering, camping, mountain biking, and adventure activities. Lesson and unit plans are developed, implemented, and assessed in keeping with national standards as they relate to secondary physical education. Prerequisites: ESS 290 and minimum junior standing.

 ESS 410 - Assessment and Exercise Prescription (3 cred.)

Students work with assessment formats, appraisal techniques, and metabolic calculations to gain information needed to construct exercise prescriptions designed to meet individual needs for different segments of the population. Prerequisites: ESS 331and ESS 298 or instructor permission.

 ESS 490 - Sociology of Sport and Physical Activity (3 cred.)

A focus on the social organization of sport and physical activity and their relationship to the institutional structure, cultural patterns, and dynamics of American society. Students use different sociological approaches/theories to analyze sport and physical activity and to analyze current issues and problems in sport and physical activity settings. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing.

 ESS 495 - Senior Seminar in Exercise and Sport Science (3 cred.)

A capstone course required for all ESS majors addressing issues, ethical considerations, problem-solving and decision-making, leadership and communication in the discipline. Students integrate content from their course of study, write and speak in discipline-specific formats, and complete a comprehensive self-assessment in preparation for graduate school, internship, or entry-level job. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185, senior standing. Students are encouraged to take this course during their final semester.

 ESS 498 - Internship in Exercise and Sport Science (3 cred.)

An opportunity for in-depth work at a professional site in an area of exercise and sport science. The internship must meet standards of the department and the University, including completion of a pre-internship checklist. Prerequisites: Satisfactory grade in ESS 405, overall GPA of 2.750, department advisor permission, and senior standing.

Faculty & Staff


Kathleen M. Kinkema, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
Phone: 970.943.7133
Office Location: Paul Wright Gym 233
Brett Miramon, MAT headshot
Lecturer in Exercise & Sport Science, Physical Education
Phone: 970.943.2251
Office Location: Paul Wright Gym 226


Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

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.

Tuition Discount Programs

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.

Western Merit Scholarship

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 to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

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

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • 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 reseach 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.

The K-12 Physical Education emphasis is designed for Exercise & Sport Science students who aspire to teach physical education in the school setting. Students will learn and develop pedagogical best practices through research-based instruction and experiential learning, all while developing their expertise in exercise science. In collaboration with Western’s Education program, students will complete a yearlong student teaching internship and sit for the K-12 physical education teacher licensure exam.

The Physical Education minor enhances any degree by developing a student’s teaching skills as pertinent to health and physical activity, without requiring a student teaching internship or teacher licensure exam.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Lecturer in Exercise & Sport Science, Physical Education
Office Location: 
Paul Wright Gym 226

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