Graduate Academic Programs

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)

Human Performance Major, Emphasis: Adapted Physical Education

Description of Program

The degree in adapted physical education prepares individuals to design and adapt movement and activity experiences for people with disabilities. Students enrolled in the program gain knowledge in motor assessment, activity modification, behavior management, curriculum design and adaptations, medical aspects of disabling conditions, fitness programming, and other topics related to enhancing movement and activity in those with disabilities across the life span.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for this degree are prescribed by an advisory committee for each individual student. Common requirement components include:

  • Research Skills – Typically 9 credits of course work providing required skills to conduct research, such as statistical analysis.  These credits to not count toward the 90 credits required in the major, minor, electives, and dissertation portions of the degree.
  • Major – 30 credits minimum
  • Minor – 12 to 15 credits
  • Electives –  0 to 28credits (may include second major or minor)
  • Dissertation – 20 to 30 credits
Special Opportunities

Students have opportunities to engage in a wide variety of research experiments in laboratories, and to participate in programs that provide experience and benefit people with disabilities. Students admitted to the program assist with administering the IU Adapted Physical Education Program, which provides activity services to youth with disabilities ages 3 to 21.


The exit criterion for non-thesis master's degree recipients is successful completion of the Adapted Physical Education National Standards exam. This, combined with a physical education teaching license, will prepare students for adapted physical education specialist positions across the United States. Students receiving a master's degree with a thesis will be prepared for advanced graduate work. The Ph.D. degree prepares individuals to conduct cutting-edge research in the areas of physical activity or motor behavior in regard to people with disabilities. Employment opportunities consist primarily of faculty teaching and research positions at universities.

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