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Tackle chronic disease. Champion fitness. Study the science of human movement and prepare for a career that improves lives.

Physical Education Teacher Licensure

The mission of faculty in the Pedagogical Kinesiology program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is to engage in research that provides significant new knowledge about teaching, teacher education, and curriculum; to disseminate knowledge through publications, professional presentations, and course instruction; to teach by using effective instructional behaviors and active learning techniques; to mentor, educate, and inspire future professionals; and to provide leadership and service in a wide variety of forms at the local, state, national, and international levels. This mission is reflected in both the undergraduate teacher licensure program and the graduate research program.

Degree Programs

Since 1895, faculty and students from the University of Illinois have been leading the way in the critical study of human movement. Internationally recognized for research and teaching, the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health (KCH) is consistently ranked in the top five research institutions by professional organizations in the field. With an emphasis on physical activity throughout the lifespan, the Department of KCH is committed to seeking answers and disseminating knowledge on topics that range from cell to society.

Three programmatic tracks are offered to students enrolled in Pedagogical Kinesiology. First, undergraduate students who are seeking a B.S. degree from the Department of KCH can become certified to teach in grades K-12. Second, graduate students can pursue a M.S. degree with or without a thesis option. There is also an option for master’s students to pursue teacher licensure through an expedited teacher education program experience. Third, advanced graduate students interested in research and a desire to work in higher education may complete a Ph.D. degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in pedagogical studies.

Bachelor of Science

Undergraduate students seeking a B.S. degree in the teacher licensure concentration are offered an exceptional program of courses and experiences designed to prepare future teachers with skills and knowledge necessary to effectively educate the next generation. Students are generally accepted into thelicensure program at the end of their sophomore year, after completing general education coursework and courses from within the Department core (e.g. exercise physiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, and motor learning).

Undergraduate students in Pedagogical Kinesiology are admitted as a cohort and typically spend four semesters enrolled in courses and progressive practicum experiences (including student teaching) that lead to licensure in grades K-12. Emphasis is placed on providing students with ample practicum experiences that require students to integrate what they are learning in the university classroom with what they are learning about children participating in K-12 physical education classes in local schools.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Physical Education Teacher Licensure program has determined that our curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the state of Illinois. We are unable to determine if the curriculum meets the educational requirements for any of the remaining U.S. states and jurisdictions. Please follow this link to find your state’s requirements, resources and contact information.

You are encouraged to contact the appropriate licensing agency for your location or wherever you desire to be licensed or certified to seek information and additional guidance. Please be aware that there may be licensure or certification requirements in addition to an academic program’s curriculum.

Note: This disclosure is being made in compliance with federal regulation 34 CFR §668.43 and the State Authorization and Reciprocity Agreements Manual.

Professional education course requirements include:

Pedagogical Kinesiology

Code Course
KIN 260: Teaching Activities I

Hours: 3

KIN 261: Teaching Activities II

Hours: 2

KIN 352: Bioenergetics of Movement

Hours: 3

KIN 360: Adapted Physical Education

Hours: 3

KIN 361: Curriculum in Grades K-6

Hours: 3

KIN 362: Curriculum in Grades 7-12

Hours: 3

KIN 363: Instructional Strategies in PE

Hours: 3

KIN 364: Experience in the Common School

Hours: 3

KIN 401: Measurement & Evaluation in Kinesiology

Hours: 3

KIN 460: Technology & Pedagogical Kinesiology

Hours: 3

EPSY 201: Educational Psychology

Hours: 3

CI 473: Disciplinary Literacy

Hours: 2

Master’s of Science

Admission to this degree program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (A= 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and any graduate work completed, the results of the Graduate Record Examination, and three letters of recommendation. A student may either choose to write a thesis, or select the non-thesis option and engage in an independent research project. Individuals working toward a master’s degree include teachers who are interested in improving their instructional knowledge and effectiveness, or those who are interested in research and intend to pursue a Ph.D. at a later date. Whenever possible, teaching and research assistantships are offered to qualified students which typically provide a tuition waiver and salary stipend.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission to this degree program requires a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, completion of a thesis or equivalent research experience, a grade-point average of 3.5 (A= 4.0) for all graduate work, the results of the Graduate Record Examination, and three letters of recommendation. Doctor of Philosophy degree candidates pursue an advanced program of study and research in preparation for careers in research and teaching in higher education. Doctoral candidates who have graduated from the program have been heavily sought after for professional positions in a variety of colleges and universities throughout the nation. Many of these individuals are now leading scholars in the field. Usually, teaching and/or research assistantships are offered to qualified students. The graduate program provides candidates with the flexibility to select coursework that fulfills requirements from various departments across campus.

Doctor of Philosophy Curriculum for Pedagogical Kinesiology

Code Course
KIN 460: Technology & Pedagogical Kinesiology

Hours: 3

KIN 501: Kinesiology Research Methods

Hours: 4

KIN 540: Health Behavior Theory

Hours: 4

KIN 560: Research on Teacher Education

Hours: 4

KIN 564: Qualitative Research Methods

Hours: 4

KIN 594: Research on Teaching

Hours: 1-4

Program Features

Field Experiences

Undergraduate students participate in extensive field experiences that commence during the first semester of enrollment in the teacher education program. Experiences begin with prospective candidates teaching relatively small groups of students with a partner and gradually progress to the terminal student teaching experience. All practicum opportunities are supervised by program faculty.


Strong emphasis is placed on educating undergraduate and graduate students in technology. Students learn to effectively incorporate technology such as heart rate monitors, pedometers, and other devices that support teachers in the delivery of effective instruction in physical education. In addition, graduate students become proficient in the utilization of technology for pedagogical research, which includes physical activity measurement devices, citation software, and data management programs.

Multidisciplinary Inquiry

Faculty members in Kinesiology frequently engage in scholarship with colleagues from different areas of study within the Department and across campus. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to learn from scholars in a wide variety of disciplines and graduate students are encouraged to enroll in classes with faculty from different areas of study.

Research Apprenticeships

Undergraduate students have opportunities to engage with faculty in their labs on different research projects. Graduate students regularly apprentice with experienced researchers by collaborating on research investigations and serving as co-authors on journal publications.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

The Department of KCH provides graduate students with assistantships in the area of teaching and/or research, whenever possible. Assistantships are designed to provide work experiences similar to those that students will encounter in their professional careers. In general, assistantships provide a tuition waiver and a salary stipend.

Faculty Profiles

Dr. Kristi N. Carlson

Dr. Kristi N. Carlson is a three-time graduate of the University of Illinois and has taught in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health since 2012. Dr. Carlson specializes in physical education teacher education, teaching in the areas of physical education methods and motor development, but also teaches a number of core classes related to motor learning, movement analysis, and professional preparation. Dr. Carlson also serves as the Pedagogy Coordinator for the Department, through which she assists with program admittance, teacher licensure, and state and program requirements. Her research interests focus on teacher licensure requirements and integrating both fitness and academic concepts throughout the physical education curriculum.

Dr. Kim C. Graber

Professor Kim C. Graber is Director of the Campus Honors Program and Associate Head of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Her research focuses on teacher socialization, children's wellness, legislative policy mandates, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Graber has authored approximately 100 articles/chapters in numerous journals and books, served as editor for two special features and three monographs, and has presented at dozens of national and international conferences. She is the co-author of a book titled Physical Education & Activity for Elementary Classroom Teachers with Dr. Amelia Mays Woods. Dr. Graber is a former President of the SHAPE America Research Council and former President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). She also served as Chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Academy. She is a University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and has received the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the SHAPE America Curriculum and Instruction Honor Award, the NASPE Teacher Education Honor Award, and the SHAPE America Research Council Distinguished Service Award. She is Fellow #526 in the National Academy of Kinesiology, and a research fellow in SHAPE America.

Dr. Jamie A. O’Connor

Dr. Jamie A. O’Connor teaches physical education teacher education methods courses in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Her research interests pertain to the social ecology of the gymnasium and how peer harassment affects students. As a new faculty member, Dr. O’Connor will continue a line of inquiry regarding social-ecological factors impacting students’ perceptions of physical education. Specifically, she will explore the myriad ways in which various forms of bullying (physical, relational, etc.) affect students’ experiences in physical education settings. Her primary goal as a scholar is to contribute to the dearth of literature that currently exists regarding this important topic and to help undergraduate students, as agents of research and as future educators, apply scholarly findings to their own teaching practices.

Dr. K. Andrew R. Richards

Dr. K. Andrew R. Richards is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. His research interest addresses physical education teacher socialization, which includes emphasis on teacher recruitment, pre-service teacher education, marginalization and ongoing socialization. Dr. Richards has examined issues in stress, burnout, perceived matters, and teacher/coach role conflict. He has authored more than 70 refereed articles, numerous book chapters, a monograph, and has presented at multiple national and international conferences. He recently co-edited a book titled Teacher Socialization in Physical Education: New Perspectives. This was the first book on teacher socialization in physical education to be published in nearly 30 years. He was recently awarded with the 2017 SHAPE America Mable Lee Award and was inducted as a SHAPE America research fellow in 2018.

Dr. Amelia Mays Woods

Professor Amelia Mays Woods is Head of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the James K. and Karen S. McKechnie Professor in the College of Applied Health Sciences. A nationally recognized scholar in the area of physical activity education, Dr. Woods’ research seeks to improve school-based physical activity as well as understand and enhance the career development of elementary- and secondary-level physical education teachers. She received the 2018 Curriculum and Instruction Academy Honor Award from the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). Her research has resulted in two co-authored books, more than 100 scholarly articles and chapters, and numerous national and international invited lectures and conference presentations. She is a University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and has received the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. She is Fellow #544 in the National Academy of Kinesiology, and a research fellow in SHAPE America.

Application Instructions

Follow this link to submit your application. All information should be in sufficient detail to enable the Physical Education Area of Specialization Admissions Committee to make an informed decision about your application. The Committee is interested in how you express yourself as well as why you have elected to enter the teacher licensure program.  Therefore, your ability to communicate effectively will be evaluated as one component of your application.

Program Acceptance and Retention:

In addition to, or in support of the requirements for teacher licensure by the School Code of Illinois and the Council on Teacher Education, the Committee has adopted the criteria described on the attached pages for acceptance into and retention in the program.  These criteria include both objective and subjective measures and are described on the Common Assessment Plan checklist.

If a student is approved for admission, the Committee will so inform the student by letter.  The Committee will review student progress each semester after admissions and make a recommendation as to whether or not a student should be retained in the program.  If a student is placed on probation, or removed from the program, he/she will be informed by letter and given a 14 day period in which to appeal the decision in writing.

Contact Information:

  • Dr. Kristi N. Carlson, Program Coordinator
  • Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
  • University of Illinois
  • Louise Freer Hall
  • 906 S. Goodwin Avenue
  • Urbana, IL 61801

Undergraduate Advising: (217) 333-2461

General questions regarding graduate program: (217) 333-1083