Undergraduate Minor in Adapted Physical Education Teaching

Undergraduate students in the Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) major may pursue a teaching minor in adapted physical education (APE).  Students who successfully complete all required coursework and clinical experiences in the program are eligible for the Wisconsin Adapted Physical Education Teaching licensure (WI #860 Early Childhood-Adolescence).

Refer to the Adapted Physical Education Teaching Minor FAQ for more specific information.

Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum GPA = 2.75/4.0 scale
  2. Minimum BC grade in ESS 231, Introduction to Adapted Physical Education (or equivalent)
  3. Admission to Physical Education Teacher Education (or in process)

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Admission Packet

Students must complete and submit the following:

  1. Application form.
  2. Recommendation form.

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Admission Process

Undergraduate students who are accepted into the Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program are encouraged to apply to the Adapted Physical Education Teaching minor.  There are three application deadlines each academic year.  Admission applications are due approximately October 31st  for Spring entry/acceptance and approximately March 30th and July 15th for Fall entry/acceptance.

All applications are reviewed and verified for accuracy by the undergraduate Adapted Physical Education Coordinator within one week after the application deadline.  Students will then be notified of application status no more than 10 days after the application deadline.

Students may apply to the minor and be provisionally accepted while concurrently enrolled in ESS 231 Introduction to Adapted Physical Education or during the semester in which they apply to the Physical Education Teacher Education Program.  In this case, formal admission to the APE program will be contingent only upon satisfactory completion in ESS 231 (BC or better) and admission to the Physical Education Teacher Education Program.

Admittance to the APE Teaching minor is competitive.  Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.  Approximately 12 students per semester are admitted to the minor.  Preference will be given to students who:

  • Submit all application materials by the deadline,
  • Meet all admission requirements,
  • Are already admitted to the PETE program,
  • Can fully and sequentially complete the minor in the semester prior to student teaching, and
  • Have demonstrated an interest through volunteer or other experiences with persons with disabilities.

The undergraduate APE Coordinator retains the right to deny admission to any applicant.  Reasons for denied admission will be provided in writing to the applicant.

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Adapted Physical Education Academic Program
The APE Teaching minor is designed for those seeking additional knowledge, skills, and practical experiences to provide appropriate physical education instruction to students with disabilities in PK-12 schools.  This nationally recognized program prepares highly qualified APE teachers to: provide direct teaching services for early childhood through high school students; assess physical and motor development; design, implement, and evaluate physical education programming for individualized education programs (IEPs); provide instruction in a variety of physical education placements such as inclusive, small group, and individualized teaching; and collaborate/consult with other education and related services professionals in special and general education settings.  Successful completion of all program requirements leads to Wisconsin teaching certification in adapted physical education (and possible eligibility for similar teaching licenses in other states).  Highlights of the APE Teaching minor include:

  • Extensive service learning opportunities through numerous university and community-based physical education, sport, aquatic, and fitness programs for persons with disabilities.
  • Comprehensive interdisciplinary coursework and hands-on practicum experiences specifically aligned with state teaching standards and national APE standards.
  • Three full-time faculty members with doctoral level preparation in adapted physical education who are actively involved in state, national, and international professional organizations.
  • Financial assistance available from the variety of scholarships, grants, and awards, including Fellowship stipends funded through a grant received from the U.S. Department of Education – Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services to prepare adapted physical education teachers.

Service-learning is a method of teaching that helps future teachers to learn and develop by participating in service activities that meet real needs in their community. It is integrated with students' academic work and connects real life with the classroom, helps foster civic responsibility, and provides time for college students to reflect on the service experiences.  The APE Teaching minor emphasizes participation in a variety of service-learning experiences through coursework and clinicals.  Coursework and clinical requirements include:


  1. ESS 231: Introduction to Adapted Physical Education (3 credits)

  2. ESS 233:  Teaching Methods in Adapted Aquatics (2 credits)

  3. ESS 430:  Disability and Physical Activity Implications (4 credits)

  4. ESS 436:  Assessment and Program Evaluation in Adapted Physical Education (3 credits)

  5. ESS 437: Teaching and Service Delivery Models in Adapted Physical Education (3 credits)

  6. ESS 439:  Teaching Methods and Internship in Adapted Physical Education (3 credits)

  7. SPE 424: Classroom Management and Positive Behavior Practices (3 credits)


  1. Each student will serve as a staff coordinator in the Motor  Development Program for one semester.  This requirement will be met through successful completion of ESS 439.

  2. Each student will serve as a staff instructor in the Adult Therapeutic Physical Fitness Program for any one semester during their enrollment in the APE Teaching minor.

  3. Other practicum experiences will be included in the program as part of required coursework.

  4. For Physical Education Teaching majors who wish to obtain WI#860 Adapted Physical Education licensure from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, approximately 25-35% of physical education student teaching (or internship) must be completed in adapted physical education (CI 403).

APE courses are offered according to a standardized student cohort schedule. Once a student is admitted to the minor, group advising is provided to assist with course registration. The APE Teaching minor can be started in either the fall or spring semester.

Adapted Physical Education Teaching Minor Course Sequence

  Fall Semester Entry 
  Fall   Spring   Summer   Fall    Spring
Cohort A  ESS 233
ESS 430
ESS 437  ESS 436 ESS 439  
Cohort B  ESS 430
ESS 437
ESS 436  ESS 233 ESS 439  
Spring Semester Entry 
Cohort A    ESS 437 ESS 436 ESS 233
ESS 430
ESS 439
Cohort B    ESS 436  ESS 233 ESS 430
ESS 437
ESS 439

NOTE:  ESS 439 can only be taken after all other APE coursework is completed.  The Adult Therapeutic Physical Fitness Clinical may be completed during any semester of enrollment in the minor. SPE 424 may be taken in either the fall or spring semester, but may not be taken in the same semester as ESS 439.

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Retention in the APE Teaching Minor

To be retained in the APE Teaching minor, the following retention criteria must be met each semester:

  1. All grades in APE minor coursework must be a C or higher.
  2. If a student receives a grade less than a C, the student must repeat the course within 12 months.
  3. If a student receives a grade less than a C in a course for a second consecutive time, the student will be dismissed immediately from the APE Teaching minor.
  4. In order to enroll in ESS 439, the student must have a 3.0 average or higher in all APE minor coursework.

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