MEd in Physical Education (PE15)

EDCP This program is offered by the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy.
Learn more about EDCP programs.

Reconceptualizing Physical Education through Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU)

This master’s program is offered to physical educators who are ready to move up a gear by refining and expanding their ideas of knowing, learning, and teaching. Using Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) as a catalyst for thinking about ontological and epistemological issues in physical education, teachers will start to explore constructivist, student-centered and holistic approaches as possibilities for their own practice.

They will also examine their position on continuums of belief from inclusion to elitism, transaction to transmission, integration to dualism, tactical understanding to skill acquisition, discovery to representation, concepts to techniques and finally between demonstration and creation of understanding rather than mastery.

Teaching Games for Understanding

It has long been argued that research by teachers about their own classroom and school practices functions as a powerful mechanism for professional change, as it generates new ways of thinking about practice. The first cohort (2009-2011) focused on Teaching Games for Understanding research and published an edited book titled ‘Reconceptualizing Physical Education through Teaching Games for Understanding’ (2012) made up of condensed versions of their final graduating projects.

This research has started a change that should generate health and sustainable programs of teacher research, distributed across schools, teacher groups, school-university partnerships and regional and national forums. The third cohort in this master’s program focusing on physical education begins in July 2015.

Our internationally known program instructors have built upon the practical ideas, shared research, and reflections that presenters brought to the 2008 International TGfU Conference at UBC. Courses and texts will examine current teaching perspectives, constructs of ability, and curriculums, move into analyzing TGfU from pedagogical and learning theory perspectives, and finally, consider, define, and implement developmentally appropriate TGfU activities.

Monday, November 24 | Vancouver

Vancouver School Board | Room 102 A&B (ground floor)
4:00-5:00 p.m.
1580 West Broadway | Map

Dr. Joy Butler and colleagues will answer your questions about the program, and applying to become a UBC graduate student.

Tuesday, November 25 | Coquitlam

Pinetree Secondary School Gymnasium
3000 Pinewood Avenue | Map

We’d like to invite you to an interactive practical demonstration, followed by an information session. If you’re pressed for time, please feel free to join us for the information session only.

4:00-4:45 | Teaching Games for Understanding Demonstration

Join graduates of this program – Stephen McGinley, George Kanovas, and Brent Jackson – for a quick, hands-on introduction to the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach, in an invasion-game setting. Make sure to bring your running shoes, and dress to move around!

4:55-5:30 | MEd in Physical Education Information Session

Dr. Joy Butler and colleagues will answer your questions about the program, and applying to become a UBC graduate student.


Meet the program advisor and learn more about applying to become a graduate student. View a previously recorded information session.

Proposed Schedule

Please note: Schedule is subject to change.

July 2015 Summer Institute: Curriculum Innovation in Physical Education++
September 2015 Introduction to Curriculum Issues and Theories (online)
January 2016 Research Designs in Education*
May 2016 Review of Research in Curriculum and Pedagogy: Teaching Games for Understanding*
July 2016 Seminar in Curriculum & Pedagogy: Physical Education – Early Years++
Seminar in Curriculum & Pedagogy: Physical Education – Beyond Early Years++
September 2016 Knowing, Learning, and Teaching (online)
January 2017 Case-Study Research and Cross-Case Analysis*+
April 2017 Review of Research in Curriculum & Pedagogy: Writing Educational Research**
Graduating Project+
  • *These courses are offered face-to-face, in the community for participants of this cohort program, and may include a tutorial component.
  • **This course is offered in a blended online and face-to-face format.
  • +These courses involve a tutorial component.
  • ++These courses are offered at the UBC Vancouver campus.

Applicant Requirements
All students must meet the admission and application requirements of both the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the program, which include:

  • Normally two years’ teaching experience or other relevant professional experience.
  • A 4-year undergraduate degree with an average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in all senior-level courses.
  • A resumé and 600-word statement of intent clearly outlining your experiences and interests in physical education, physical education teaching, and physical education research.
  • Statements of support from three referees who can speak to your engagement with physical education teaching, including, whenever possible, professors familiar with your academic work.

The application deadline for this program has passed. Please contact us if you wish to apply.

We must receive your completed online application, and all supporting documents by this date.

Application Process

Carefully read the following instructions before beginning your application. Please print this page and refer to it while completing your online application.

1. Online Application
  • Navigate to
  • When you are ready to apply, click “Apply Online”.
  • Read the instructions, and click “Create Your Account”.
    (Note: If you have already begun your application, simply log in).
  • Once you have created your account, choose “New Application”.
  • Click “Start a Completely New Application”.
  • Under “Degree” choose “Master of Education” from the drop-down menu.
  • Under “Program” you choose “Physical Education – Reconceptualizing Physical Education through Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) – PE15

Important: You must select the precise program name listed above.

If you select the wrong program name, you will need to re-apply and pay an additional application fee. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will not refund your application fee, or transfer or cancel your application.

  • Proceed with your application as instructed.
  • References: You are strongly encouraged to submit electronic letters of reference. Simply fill in the email addresses of your three referees when completing the online application.

Once you submit and pay for your online application, your referees will automatically receive an email with a link and instructions for completing the electronic reference form.

Despite the apparent size of the text box, referees may type as much as they want.

  • If you know that a referee is unable to submit an online reference, please leave the email address blank on the application.

See “Supporting Documents” below for information on submitting letters of reference by mail.

  • When finished entering your information, you must click “Submit” in order to save your application.
  • You will automatically receive an email acknowledgement, with instructions on documentation and deadlines.
2. Supporting Documents

In addition to your online application, please forward:

  • Two official (sealed) transcripts from all post-secondary institutions

Your application requires two (2) sealed transcripts from every post-secondary institution you attended (except UBC), even institutions where you did not complete a program.

If you are a UBC alumnus, please provide your student number so we may access your transcript.

  • An electronic copy of an up-to-date resumé.
  • In cases where referees are unable to submit an electronic reference, sealed and endorsed reference letters may be sent by mail. The form is available here.

A letter can take the place of the reference form as long as it addresses the questions posed in the reference form.

The reference form is designed to be completed by professors; if your referee is not a professor, please ask him or her to write about your ability to successfully complete a graduate degree in this particular focus.

Important: Letters of reference will only be considered valid if the referee’s signature appears across the sealed flap of the envelope.


  • If you have unofficial copies of your transcripts, we can adjudicate your eligibility before your official transcripts arrive; you may send these by mail, fax (604.822.2015) or email.

Please note that this adjudication is not official until we have received your sealed transcripts, and your eligibility for the program is based on your application as a whole.

  • Send everything to the attention of:

Yvette Kharoubeh
Professional Development & Community Engagement
UBC Faculty of Education
1304-2125 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4

The most common delay in admissions is caused by the search for documents that are at other locations on this huge campus.

Please contact Yvette Kharoubeh (604.827.5662) if you require any assistance with the application process.

The total fee for this program is $13,444.84, plus applicable student fees. Program fees will be paid in seven (7) installments of $1,920.69, payable in January, May, and September of each year. These figures account for a 2% increase as of May 2013.

Tuition fees are in Canadian dollars, are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors, and are subject to change. Historically, this change has been a 2% increase per year (beginning in May).

Read the published work of former students:
Reconceptualizing Physical Education through Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU).