Working hard and putting in extra time can earn enterprising students both undergraduate and advanced degrees within four years. That’s the plan of a newly developed Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Program in physical education teacher education at West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.

This unique program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work toward both a BS and MS degree simultaneously. The accelerated approach makes graduate study more cost effective, and with the addition of two summer sessions, students can earn both degrees within four years.

“The bachelor’s in PETE program is nationally accredited. Students have posted a 97 percent first-time passing rate on PRAXIS II during the past five years with more than 160 students taking the test,” explained Sean Bulger, associate professor, physical education teacher education at CPASS.

One obvious benefit of the advanced program for undergraduate students includes frequent opportunities to collaborate with more experienced teachers as members of a dynamic learning community. The focus of these interactions includes improved professional knowledge, practice and leadership.

Additional advantages include hands-on clinical experience in elementary and secondary schools. Students have the opportunity to learn from faculty who provide meaningful research opportunities along with the chance to participate in national and statewide conferences.

Bulger says that the reasons why students will benefit are impressive.

“Students enrolled in the ABM program experience significant tuition savings. They have improved personal marketability, enhanced networking opportunities and the potential for higher starting salary,” he added.

When including two summers of course work, the advanced program leads to the completion of both degrees in four years.

“You can’t find that option beyond our campus. We’re offering a cost effective program for highly qualified undergraduate students, while giving them the opportunity to work toward two degrees simultaneously,” he said.

Bulger says that students learn how to teach effectively and motivate learners to be active for life. This accelerated approach allows students to earn both degrees in fewer credits and semesters than in a traditional format.

Undergraduate course work incorporates curriculum and instruction, teaching methods, adapted physical education and instructional technology use in PK-12 settings. Students complete two teaching placements in physical education and are mentored throughout that process by an experienced cooperating teaching and university supervisor.

At the graduate level, these learning experiences are extended to include comprehensive school physical activity programming, school-community leadership and various opportunities for self-study.




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