Analysis of Graduate Programs in Adapted Physical Education in the United States

Chad Nichols, Martin e. Block, Wesley J Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graduate programs in adapted physical education (APE) prepare individuals to work with students with disabilities in the physical education setting. However, these APE graduate programs vary widely throughout the country, and there has never been a systematic effort to identify and analyze these programs. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory, descriptive study is to identify all graduate APE programs in the United States, gather descriptive data about these programs, and look for commonalities and differences across programs. The study identified 40 programs in 19 different states that provide training in APE beyond the bachelor level. Basic information, such as number of students, APE courses taught, practicum experiences, and entrance and completion requirements, was collected through the use of a survey and internet searches. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Results found the structure and organization of graduate APE programs varied considerably throughout the country. The number of APE courses required to complete graduate APE programs ranged from 2–9 courses. All 39 programs contained a practicum experience, but the location of the practicum experience (e.g., classroom, community, swim & gym) and the amount of time spent working with individuals with disabilities varied considerably between programs. Data provide a basic understanding of what graduate APE programs are available and the types of courses and practica experiences offered. Suggestions for standardization of programs are presented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-57
JournalInternational Journal of Kinesiology in Higher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adapted physical education
  • graduate programs
  • teacher training


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