“Honestly,” Ashley recalls, “I didn’t consider physical education at first. I was taking classes in psychology, and the professor teaching my substance-abuse education course knew that I wanted to go into nursing. She suggested that physical education would be a good field of study for me. She said the classes offered in the program – along with the research and internship opportunities – would mesh well with my goals. It turns out, she couldn’t have been more right.”
Ashley signed up for the health promotion concentration – one of three offered in this major – and began digging in. The course she took in exercise physiology, she says, was one of the most difficult yet rewarding classes she’s had. “I definitely studied a lot. There’s also a lab component to the class, which was really interesting because it adds a hands-on aspect to your studies. We did such things as VO2 max testing and body composition assessment by hydrostatic weighing. I was one of the students who got in a tub of water and had my body fat percentage measured. Then we used other methods to calculate the same thing. Doing this work yourself rather than just reading about it in a textbook is such a better way to learn.”
To complement her coursework, Ashley looked for volunteer experiences with local hospitals. In one 12-week program she served as an assistant trainer working with overweight individuals whose doctors prescribed lifestyle changes. “That meant that we had to help these people change their diets, their activities and daily practices – all of that. My responsibility was to help motivate them. In the end, it was amazing. Their hard work paid off and they completely transformed their lifestyles. And, it was beneficial for me because of my classes and experiences at the College came into play.
So, what’s the best thing about this major? “The professors,” Ashley says. “They’re easy to get to know, they challenge you and they really support your interests. Because of that – and because of the nature of the program – I think this major has prepared me for a great future.”
Ours is one of the most successful and broad-based programs in South Carolina. Our graduates qualify for employment in a variety of areas, including hospital health promotion, physical therapy, corporate wellness, occupational therapy and school physical education.
This major also offers excellent academic training and experiences for students who opt to pursue advanced studies in medicine (physician assistant, physician), physical therapy and other allied health professions.
Physical education majors choose one of three concentrations (health promotion, exercise science or teacher education), each of which emphasizes internship experience and hands-on research.
Faculty members possess broad range of expertise from biomechanics to nutrition, exercise physiology, worksite wellness, public health and sports nutrition.
2,500-square-foot Human Performance Lab with state-of-the-art equipment.
Students regularly participate in internships or mentored research.
Charleston offers numerous opportunities for internships and volunteer experiences in the field.