A unique major now available through the West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences focuses on the importance of regular physical activity in promoting health, reducing risk for chronic disease and improving quality of life.
Students in the Physical Activity and Well-being major will complete specialized training in movement sciences, personal training and physical activity instruction. The students will choose an area of emphasis to further customize degrees in adventure and outdoor learning, aquatics, recreational sport or well-being.
“The new major is designed for students who are passionate about physical activity to channel that vocation into a career. The major allows students to customize their degree toward the instruction of specialized forms of physical activity,” explained Valerie Wayda, CPASS associate professor and chair, department of coaching and teaching studies.
“We re-packaged a sequence of existing courses in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences into this new major. It’s a unique combination of courses that can’t be replicated by any other major on WVU’s campus,” Wayda added.
The plan of study focuses holistically on the health-related outcomes associated with physical activity throughout the lifespan. The related courses and hands-on learning experiences are taught from social and behavioral perspectives, preparing graduates to work with a diverse range of clients from youth to older adults in a growing, global industry.
“We are excited to create an opportunity for students to complete a minimum of three internships for real hands-on experience in the field,” Wayda commented. Program graduates are prepared to develop and lead physical activity programs in community, recreational, campus, commercial and resort settings, added Wayda.
Students in the major may complete two degrees, a bachelor’s and a master’s, in four or five years. The three-year program involves eight semesters, including summers.
Students may seek certifications from nationally recognized agencies, such as the American Council for Exercise, National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. The new degree represents a career area where employment is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations.