Health and Physical Activity, Ed.D.

The Health and Physical Activity specialization provides a unique opportunity for individuals who are interested in health and physical activity pedagogy to advance their knowledge and scholarly skills to teach or administer programs within community, organizations, and educational settings.

Physical Education and Health - specialty image, HLS Facility

Program Description

The Health and Physical Activity Doctor of Education degree is intended for experienced professionals in the fields of health, fitness, K-12 teacher education, and sport who are seeking advanced training in leadership and administrative positions in:

  • health agencies and non-profit organizations
  • health and fitness higher education preparation
  • K-12 administration
  • health care services
  • community-based health promotion
  • worksite wellness programs

The HPA specialization places emphasis on preparing graduates to: 

  1. lead health programs and organizations;
  2. teach undergraduate/graduate courses in colleges or universities;
  3. plan, design, manage, and assess health promotion initiatives; 
  4. conduct quality research in health, physical activity, and education professions;
  5. collaborate with health, physical activity, and education professionals on translational research and service projects;
  6. write and publish research in high profile journals;

Professional Core

The 27 semester hours in the professional core required for an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction will provide you with the foundational knowledge for planning, developing, and evaluating research–based health and physical activity programs. You will study the psychological and philosophical foundations of education, examine critical issues in education, and learn how to conduct educational research. You will also learn statistics, a critical skill for program planning and evaluation.

Specialization Hours

In addition to the professional core, the Health and Physical Activity Specialization requires 18 semester hours of coursework in the specialization.

You will study leadership, and the development, and administration of health and physical activity programs; policy, advocacy, and evidenced-based practice promoting physical activity for youth and adults; advanced social and behavior science theory related to health and physical activity; and health and physical activity research methodology that includes processes for systematic observation and supervision of program activities.


The final step in achieving your doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a Health & Physical Activity Specialization involves planning, conducting, and documenting a research study focused on an administrative issue for your dissertation. The dissertation process is a major effort involving 18 semester hours, during which time you will work independently under the guidance of your dissertation committee.

Department Contact

Christopher Wirth
Assistant Professor
Exercise Science and Community Health
Building 72, Room 241

Catalog Description
Department's Website

Specialization Student Learning Outcomes

Specialization SLOs must address each of the following five domains:


Design and evaluate curriculum and instructional practices and theories for use in real-world health related situations.

Evaluate the knowledge base related to physical education and health theory and practice in application and research.

Apply content and practices central to the areas of physical education and health in real-world situations.

Synthesize the knowledge base to develop a theoretical conceptual framework for physical education and health.

Critical Thinking

Evaluate educational, organizational, or public policy in real-world situations.

Create curriculum and instruction frameworks or protocols for real-world health related situations.

Conduct applied research projects the reflect real-world needs.


Communicate research findings in oral and written form.

Use technology to communicate with public, peers, students, health professionals, researchers, and supervisors.

Present research and application findings.


Engage in behavior that illustrates compliance with professional ethics.

Design and conduct research that is based upon a theoretical and philosophical framework as it pertains to human health.

Propagate research ethics and integrity in the workplace

Develop strategies to manage educational and organization change.

Admissions Requirements

In addition to the University graduate admission requirementsdescribed in the Graduate Admissions section of the catalog, the department bases decisions for regular admission on a holistic review of credentials in which the criteria listed below are used to assess the potential success of each applicant.

University Requirements*
• Submission of Graduate Application and Processing Fee 
• Submission of official transcripts 
*International students may have additional requirements.

Departmental Requirements
• Submission of official test scores - GRE, MAT or GMAT* 
• Master's GPA (A master’s GPA below 3.5 requires competitive GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores)
• Submission of a resume 
• Submission of three professional reference forms where at least two references are able to speak to your academic work, writing skills and sustainability for rigorous doctoral academic work. (Professional Reference Form)
• Overall fit with the program 
• Submission of letter of intent responding to the following questions/prompts:

a. What personal and professional goals do you hope to meet through earning a doctorate, and why do you think the UWF Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction is a good fit for your goals?

b. What special knowledge, skills, and experiences would you bring to the chosen specialization and how are these aligned with the mission of the doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction as a whole? If you have had experiences that may have affected your academic performance, please provide explanatory context.

c. Be careful to clearly articulate how your skill set and experiences align with goals of the selected specialization, and show how these will impact your career trajectory.

Note: Your responses to the three questions should not be less than six double spaced pages, 12 fonts size Times New Roman.

* Review your eligibility for an admission test score waiver.

Application Deadlines

  • calendardates_Fall
  • calendardates_Spring
  • calendardates_Summer

Certain graduate programs have earlier application deadlines. Check with the graduate department for departmental specific deadlines.

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