Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Physical Education Teacher Education

Committee Chair

Valerie Wayda

Committee Co-Chair

Sean Bulger

Committee Member

John Oughton

Committee Member

Andrea Taliaferro

Committee Member

Emily Jones


Background: This study provided a descriptive analysis of PETE master’s degree programs in the United States. Program demographics and curriculum alignment with SHAPE America’s three advanced teaching standards and four guiding principles were the focus of this research.

Methods: This research utilized a non-experimental, cross-sectional descriptive research design and a two-phase approach to collect data. The quantitative survey component analyzed the demographics of programs (n=13) using descriptive analysis. Phone-based semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from program affiliates (n=4) concerning program adherence to three advanced PETE standards and four guiding principles.

Results: Public universities granting masters and doctoral degrees predominantly offer PETE masters programs as opposed to private liberal arts colleges. Primarily Caucasian faculty with earned terminal degrees and K-12 teaching experience instruct in the majority of programs. The method of instructional delivery contained some online component offered at all universities. All participating universities indicated high priority or essential focus on the components comprising the advanced standards. Programs’ direct alignment with SHAPE America's advanced standards varied. Reasons for this variation link directly to programs offering initial certification versus training practicing teachers, and enrollment management. Four themes emerged from the qualitative data including leadership development, curriculum mapping, inquiry-based learning, and enrollment management. Within inquiry-based learning, interviewees indicated a strong focus on teaching effectiveness through a data-driven approach to analyzing teacher behaviors. Additionally, primary emphasis was placed on leadership. Enrollment management presented itself as an integral focal point for program maintenance, as participants indicated a need to tailor programs to masters students unique needs to recruit and retain students.

Conclusions: Many PETE masters programs participating in this research have not been designed intentionally around SHAPE America’s advanced standards. None of the programs required teaching experience for admission; however, some required initial licensure for admission, which means that masters level programs offering initial certification should base their curriculum around SHAPE America’s initial teaching standards as opposed to advanced. The enrollment management focus is directly tied to the lack of adherence to SHAPE America’s advanced standards, as programs have altered admission requirements admit students without initial licensure to maximize enrollment potential. Additionally, a full to partial online component to PETE master’s degree programs is quickly becoming widespread from an enrollment management standpoint.