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2021 Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education

Approximately 62,056 health and physical education degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education ranking analyzed 394 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools for Health & Physical Education students.

Choosing a Great Health & Physical Education School

Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education Your choice of health and physical education school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 26% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 15%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 239 to 46 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

Health & Physical Education graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average health and physical education bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $27,962, graduates of colleges on this list average $33,376.

Starting Salary  ( 27703 to 36496 )
$0
$45,600

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Health & Physical Education students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other health and physical education students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized health and physical education related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Health & Physical Education students.

Best Schools to Study Health & Physical Education in United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities in the U.S. for a Health & Physical Education degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 394 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Phys Ed Colleges

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is among your top options if you want to study health and physical education. U of Michigan is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of 38 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means U of Michigan is a great school overall.

With 289 undergrads, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is one of most popular colleges to study phys ed in United States. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor health and physical education graduates make $5,624 more than the typical phys ed student.

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Southern Methodist University is one of the finest schools in the United States for health and physical education. SMU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Dallas. A Best Colleges rank of 114 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means SMU is a great college overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, SMU offers a Master's Degree in health and physical education. Southern Methodist University health and physical education majors receive $12,224 more than the typical phys ed graduate.

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Texas A&M University - College Station is among your best bets if you're planning on studying health and physical education. Located in the midsize city College Station, Texas A&M is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 102 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Texas A&M is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Texas A&M also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the phys ed program earn an average of $33,000 for their early career.

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#4

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida is among your best bets if you want to study health and physical education. Located in the midsize city Gainesville, U of F is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 85 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means U of F is a great college overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, U of F offers a Master's Degree in health and physical education. University of Florida health and physical education graduates receive $4,524 more than the standard phys ed graduate.

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UMass Amherst is a very large public school located in the large suburb of Amherst. A Best Colleges rank of 118 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UMass Amherst is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UMass Amherst also offers a Master's Degree in health and physical education. Students from the health and physical education degree program at University of Massachusetts Amherst make $5,624 above the standard graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#6

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

U of U is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Salt Lake City. This school ranks 180th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Utah.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the phys ed program earn about $35,300 in their early career salary.

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#7

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

Located in the medium-sized city Athens, UGA is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 143rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

For those interested in something more advanced, UGA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the phys ed program earn an average of $31,400 for their early career.

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#8

Rice University

Houston, TX

Located in the city Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great college overall.

A preferred major for health and physical education undergraduates, there are about 102 individuals enrolled in this degree at Rice. Rice University health and physical education students make $3,924 more than the typical phys ed grad.

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Located in the small city Champaign, UIUC is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 92 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UIUC also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates of the phys ed program earn an average of $32,000 for their early career.

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Located in the midsize city Charleston, The Citadel is a public college with a small student population. This school ranks 279th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of South Carolina.

Citadel Military College of South Carolina is one of the most popular school to study phys ed in United States with more than 59 graduates last year. Citadel Military College of South Carolina health and physical education majors receive $5,624 more than the standard phys ed graduate.

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Located in the suburb College Park, UMCP is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 117 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UMCP is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMCP also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who complete this program report average early career wages of $33,600.

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Carolina is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Columbia. This college ranks 224th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of South Carolina.

There are about 221 health and physical education undergraduates studying this program at Carolina. Graduates from the health and physical education major at University of South Carolina - Columbia make $2,524 more than the standard college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Located in the large city Phoenix, ASU - Downtown Phoenix is a public college with a large student population. This school ranks 365th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

For those interested in something more advanced, ASU - Downtown Phoenix also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the phys ed program make around $27,900 for their early career.

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Located in the city Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 141 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means IU Bloomington is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, IU Bloomington also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this program report average early career income of $28,700.

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UT Austin is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Austin. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UT Austin is a great school overall.

The University of Texas at Austin is a fairly popular college to study phys ed in United States with more than 210 graduations last year. Graduates of the phys ed program make an average of $31,800 for their early career.

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Ohio State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Columbus. This college ranks 175th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

A popular choice for health and physical education undergrads, there are roughly 246 learners studying this program at Ohio State. After getting their bachelor's degree, phys ed students typically earn around $31,900 in their early careers.

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#17

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State is a very large public school located in the small city of East Lansing. A Best Colleges rank of 107 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Michigan State is a great college overall.

There are approximately 406 health and physical education undergrads studying this program at Michigan State. Grads of the phys ed program report average early career earnings of $28,200.

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#18

Springfield College

Springfield, MA

Springfield College is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Springfield. This college ranks 439th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

A favorite choice for health and physical education undergraduates, there are approximately 97 students enrolled in this degree at Springfield College. After getting their bachelor's degree, phys ed students usually make around $33,500 at the beginning of their careers.

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#19

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Located in the small city Iowa City, Iowa is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 190th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Iowa offers a Master's Degree in health and physical education. Students who graduate from the phys ed program make around $30,700 in the first couple years of their career.

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Iowa State is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Ames. This school ranks 213th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

For those interested in something more advanced, Iowa State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the phys ed program earn around $32,100 for their early career.

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#21

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA

Temple is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Philadelphia. This college ranks 290th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

For those interested in something more advanced, Temple also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this degree report average early career wages of $29,800.

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#22

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Located in the midsize city Tallahassee, Florida State is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 160th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There are roughly 191 health and physical education undergraduates studying this degree at Florida State. Soon after graduating, phys ed students generally make about $29,300 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the large city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 124 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UMN Twin Cities is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UMN Twin Cities also offers a Master's Degree in health and physical education. Graduates of the phys ed program state that they receive average early career wages of $33,600.

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#24

Baylor University

Waco, TX

Baylor is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Waco. This school ranks 153rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, Baylor also offers 2 different higher degree levels in health and physical education, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the phys ed program make around $27,100 in the first couple years of their career.

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#25

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

JMU is a fairly large public school located in the city of Harrisonburg. This school ranks 194th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There are approximately 268 health and physical education undergrads enrolled in this degree at JMU. Students who complete this program state that they receive average early career wages of $30,800.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education

#26

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#32

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY
#34

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
#35

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
#36

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR
#38

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
#39

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR
#40

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA
#41

Gustavus Adolphus College

Saint Peter, MN
#42

University of Houston

Houston, TX
#44

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#45

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#46

Endicott College

Beverly, MA
#47

Elon University

Elon, NC
#50

Simpson College

Indianola, IA

Additional Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 394 different United States health and physical education schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
52 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX
53 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
54 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
55 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga, CA
56 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
57 Washington State University Pullman, WA
58 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
59 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Phys Ed students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education award.

Rank College Location
60 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
61 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
62 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
63 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
64 Ohio University - Main Campus Athens, OH
65 Calvin University Grand Rapids, MI
66 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
67 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
68 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
69 University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston, MA
70 Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO
71 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
72 Winona State University Winona, MN
73 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
74 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
75 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
76 Towson University Towson, MD
77 Ball State University Muncie, IN
78 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL

Health & Physical Education by Region

View the Best Colleges for Health & Physical Education for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 4 majors within the Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies area of study, Health & Physical Education has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Recreation Administration 3,676
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3,561
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 227
Outdoor Education 216

View All Phys Ed Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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