Moray House School of Education

Physical Education (MA Hons)

Moray House School of Education offers a programme in Physical Education.

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Entry requirements
Physical education aims
Why study physical education at Edinburgh?
Programme structure
Teaching and assessment / Careers
Example of dance performance
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Programme in physical education 

If you have a desire to work with children and adolescents and want to help shape their learning experiences in physical education, school sport and physical activity then this programme will provide an excellent foundation for a very rewarding career.

You will gain a well-developed understanding of scientific knowledge and historical and contemporary issues, enabling you to make informed decisions about the education of pupils in schools and other educational settings.


Entry requirements

Entry requirements and detailed programme structure can be found in the degree finder


Physical education aims

Physical education aims to provide children and young people with learning experiences that enable them to gain the knowledge, motivation and competence to live a physically active life.

It also enables them to develop physically, morally, intellectually and socially within an educational context where pupils are valued and cared for.

The role of physical education in primary and secondary schools
Physical Education forms part of the core curriculum and is also offered as national qualifications.
It offers a range of physical activities within, and beyond, the curriculum to engage children and young people in purposeful, worthwhile, enjoyable and enriching learning experiences.
It addresses a broad range of educational objectives through well planned and developmentally appropriate physical education programmes.


Why study physical education at Edinburgh?

The University of Edinburgh is the largest provider of teacher education in PE in the UK, allowing students to work and learn with tutors who are engaged in conducting and publishing research that is of international significance.

We work in partnership with schools and other agencies involved with the promotion of physical activity and sport to provide the best educational experiences for students preparing to be teachers of physical education.

Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences

As a student on the MA (Hons) Physical Education programme, you’ll be based in Moray House School of Education’s Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences.

Here we offer comprehensively-equipped laboratories for: human performance, exercise physiology, biomechanics, sports psychology, and motor skills. You will also have access to FASIC - the University’s Fitness Assessment and Sports Injury Clinic.

These facilities are equidistant from Meadowbank International Athletics Arena and the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

Centre for Sport & Exercise

The Institute is also connected to the University’s Centre for Sport and Exercise where we offer specialist gymnasia, sports halls, a swimming pool and fitness suites. Our Peffermill playing fields also offer some of the finest sports pitches in Scotland.

The excellence of our facilities, together with the availability of ‘Woodlands’ and ‘Firbush’ - the University’s two outdoor centres at Kingussie and Loch Tay respectively - provide a quality infrastructure to support an effective and efficient programme delivery.


Programme structure

The programme comprises four elements:

Professional Development and Leadership
Students engage in the practical teaching of Physical Education through placements in schools in each year of the programme.
Physical Education Curriculum and Pedagogy
Courses focus on the development of theoretical and practical knowledge in relation to the physical activities which comprise the main content of the physical education curriculum in schools.
Physical Education Perspectives
Courses seek to develop knowledge and understanding from the perspective of three forms of systematic and disciplined enquiry: aesthetic, scientific and sociocultural perspectives.
Educational Studies
Courses seek to engage students from across the University in the analysis of educational issues and debate.

School placements

In Year 1, you will spend 4 weeks on pre-school and primary school placements and visits. In Year 2, you will spend 6 weeks on placement in early secondary school.

There are extended placements in years 3 and 4. In Year 3, you will spend 10 weeks on a secondary school placement and a further 11 weeks in Year 4.


Teaching and assessment

The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops.

Course assessment is mostly by examination and/or assignments and there is a major project in the final year. There is also a requirement to maintain a professional portfolio during all four years of the programme and to engage in professional learning to address areas of development.


Example of dance performance

As part of the interview and selection process for the programme, you will be asked to perform a set dance. An outline of this dance will be sent to you in a written document along with guidance about the other practical elements of the interview.

To give you a good idea of the detail, pattern, and performance requirements of the dance, we have produced the following videos.

Demonstrated by our first year students, these show a complete demonstration of the interview dance and a slow motion version.


And below is the demonstration in slow motion.



Graduates of the programme are eligible for the Teacher Induction Scheme organised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). This Scheme offers a guaranteed one-year training post as graduates work towards the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) with the GTCS.

Once teachers attain the SFR they can seek employment in Scottish schools or apply for posts in other parts of the world. Former graduates are employed as teachers of physical education across the globe and many in promoted posts.


Further information

The contact for further information and admissions advice is:

Janette Grant

  • The Undergraduate Office (Education)
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • The University of Edinburgh

Contact details



57 George Sq

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