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Graduate Programs

The graduate program in physical education at SUNY Cortland educates specialists in Adapted Physical Education (APE), Coaching Pedagogy (COA) or Physical Education Leadership (LEA)  who will be both leaders and advocates of positive change in their fields.

The program emphasizes academic excellence, the pursuit of knowledge, the development of students' critical and analytical abilities, and the application of theory into practice so that the students will assume positions of leadership within the profession.  The program is dedicated to a scholarly environment where students will be able to derive an appreciation of, and an experience in scholarship and service.  Through such an environment, students realize the link between theory, practice, and service.

The Graduate Faculty is dedicated to the delivery of high quality course work informed by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), Adaptive Physical Education National Standards (APENS), and the New York State Learning Standards in Physical Education.  Through the infusion of technology in instruction and the promotion of an academic culture appreciative of diversity and the value of physical well being, faculty seek to prepare individuals who will be on the cutting edge of professional practice.  In addition, it is expected that students will develop the skills necessary to become innovators and change agents for the advancement of the field of physical education.  Finally, the program encourages the development of individuals who value a lifelong love of learning and the process of scholarly inquiry.

Physical Education [PEC] M.S.Ed. (Graduate)

Physical Education Department
Lynn E. Couturier, chair and graduate coordinator
Park Center, Room 1126
Fax: 607-753-5957


Inspire today's youth to enjoy the benefits of an active and healthy life. Be a positive role model for people of all ages. Share your love of physical activity and fitness with upcoming generations. Become a leader and advocate for constructive change in the physical education profession by studying for the M.S.Ed. in physical education at SUNY Cortland. Your graduate-level course work is informed by the highest standards, including those of the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS) and the New York State Learning Standards in Physical Education.

Choose from the following concentrations:

  • Adapted Physical Education
  • Coaching Pedagogy
  • Physical Education Leadership

Program Highlights

Beyond the graduate-level core courses in physical education, you'll explore topics that are specific to each concentration.

Adapted Physical Education  [ADPE]

This concentration offers graduate-level study in adapted physical education, instructional strategies and curriculum and measurement in adapted physical education, as well as course work in inclusive outdoor education, positive behavior management and discipline in physical education and preschool movement programs.

Coaching Pedagogy [COAP] 

This concentration provides knowledge and skills that apply to both coaching and teaching physical education with an emphasis on teaching, research methodologies and applications of current technology. This is a hybrid program that combines online and on-campus course work over three consecutive summers. Topics include lifespan motor development, digital video analysis, sport skill analysis, sports conditioning, principles of coaching, behavior in sport and inclusive coaching methods and programs.

Physical Education Leadership [LEA] 

This concentration is an intensive one-year program of study that prepares you to take a leadership role in developing and implementing progressive physical education curricula and advocating for quality physical education programs. You will study research on teaching effectiveness, curriculum models, fitness programming, technology, and leadership techniques and apply them in school-based field experiences that will include working with diverse populations and applying various technologies to enhance student learning.

Culminating Experience

When you select the concentration in adapted physical education, you may choose to sit for a comprehensive examination or waive the examination requirement and complete a culminating master's thesis. The concentration in coaching pedagogy requires you to sit for a comprehensive examination. The concentration in physical education leadership requires you to complete an action-based research project that will be embedded in your field experiences.

Environmental Facilities

Take advantage of SUNY Cortland's exceptional outdoor education resources for research, workshops and classes at our Outdoor Education Center at Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks. This unique learning environment includes Huntington Memorial Camp, the only National Historic Landmark in the SUNY system.

Career Potential

When you achieve the M.S.Ed. in physical education from SUNY Cortland, you'll be well prepared for a career as a physical education teacher or a coach or for positions that combine the two responsibilities.

Graduate Admission

Evaluation Policy

At the State University of New York College at Cortland we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. Our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

Required Materials

  1. Completed online Graduate School Application - Apply Now
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended to be forwarded directly to the SUNY Cortland Graduate Admissions Office
    Note: candidates for admission must present evidence of bachelor's degree conferral prior to the start of their academic program.
  3. A resume, which must include the contact information for three references. One of those contacts must be a public school employee (submitted online with the application)
  4. Letter of application indicating why you are interested in the program (submitted online with the application)
  5. Documentation of initial certification in physical education within six months of starting classes.

 Admissions Criteria

A minimum 2.5 overall undergraduate grade point average.


Fall semester applications: July 1
Spring semester applications: Dec. 1
Summer semester applications: April 1

Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a space availability basis.
Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 607-753-4800 to check availability.

Program Details for Physical Education [PEC] M.S.Ed.


Adapted Physical Education

The purpose of this concentration is to prepare physical education teachers to be specialists in working with individuals with disabilities and their families in a variety of educational and community settings. The program offers comprehensive educational experiences with a primary focus on excellence in assessment, teaching, and understanding of movement principles of individuals who demonstrate cognitive, physical, sensory, or emotional disabilities. Coursework emphasizes mastery of content knowledge specific to Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS), as well as the ability to address New York State Learning Standards in Physical Education as they pertain to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Contact the Adapted PE program advisor, Diane Craft, at (607) 753-4908.

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Coaching Pedagogy

The purpose of this concentration is to enhance the teaching/coaching abilities of physical educators. This concentration builds on the M.S. Ed. in Physical Education core with concepts from advanced study in the areas of motor development, diversity, exercise science, sport psychology, and coaching philosophy and principles. Students will leave the program with the tools to enhance their teaching and coaching abilities through technology and research, including use of Dartfish, a digital video analysis software package. The curriculum utilizes the resources of various recreational and sport activities of the campus and community, blends technology with observation analysis, and incorporates these experiences with student research interests.

This concentration if offered over three summer sessions as a residency-based online program that includes 1 online course, 2 hybrid courses (online and on-campus), and one completely on-campus course.

Contact the Coaching Pedagogy program advisor, Gary Babjack, at (607)753-4999.

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Physical Education Leadership

The purpose of this concentration is to prepare physical educators to be leaders of, and advocates for, quality physical education programs. The program is designed to meet the NAPSE Advanced Standards for Physical Education Teacher Education through professional knowledge, professional practice and professional leadership. Students will work closely with Directors of Physical Education in public schools to enhance their curricula and program offerings.

This concentration is offered as a one-year program of study. Each student cohort will begin the program in the summer of each academic year.

Contact the PE Leadership program advisor, JoEllen Bailey, at (607) 758-5300.

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Be sure to download the Graduate PE Manual.