George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

Our Graduate School of Education is the alma mater for one third of teachers and administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems. Each year, more than 3,000 graduate students enroll in our innovative academic programs, which include advanced study for teachers and school leaders, instructional design and technology, and a renowned PhD in Education program that is among the largest in the country.


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

Get Fit! Register for Fun Mason Fitness Courses

November 7, 2012

Oh, the pleasures of the ski slope. The magnificent views, the adrenaline rush, the great workout... and the college credits? It's true.

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty

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Anyone at George Mason University can sign up and take a myriad of exciting wellness and fitness classes to get moving and keep fit, from the traditional (like yoga, pilates, soccer, or karate) to the adventurous (like snowboarding, indoor rock climbing, or trap and skeet shooting).

The classes are available through the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (RHT) and are called Physical Activity for Lifetime Wellness (PALW) classes. The classes are open to the general university population and are geared toward beginners, so no prior experience is required.

Marsha Bonet-Savchenko teaches "PHED 107: Social Dance" at the RAC on the Fairfax campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University.

Lifetime fitness and general wellness

Dominique Banville, director of the Division of Health and Human Performance, says that these courses started as simply physical education but the more recent focus has been on fostering the goal of lifetime fitness and general wellness for all students.

“With the rise of obesity at all age levels, humans simply have to become more active than we are now,” she says. “Society is increasingly becoming sedentary — and it shows.”

The aim with the PALW courses, then, is to teach students about a specific physical activity and encourage them to embrace it now and in the future. But staying healthy doesn’t have to mean treadmills and reps. Recent course additions to the physical education classes have included Krav Maga, the Israeli system of self defense, and meditation.

(See this recent article in The Broadside called "Pistol Marksmanship Popularity Grows").

Dropping a pants size isn’t the only benefit students can expect from enrolling in one of the PALW classes, either.

“Participants in PALW courses can expect to improve general overall wellness through stress reduction and improved fitness,” says Nancy Jacobson, coordinator of the PALW program. She also points out that regular exercise has shown to have benefits in the area of academics, according to recent research. “Health is the one gift you give to yourself,” she says. “It’s the one subject that you use every day and for the rest of your life.”

The "PRLS 173: Basic Coastal Kayaking" class meets on the Potomac River. Photo by Nancy Jacobson.

It's academic

Most of the PALW courses meet for half of a semester and are 1 credit hour each. For example, downhill skiing and snowboarding — two classes offered in the spring semester — are completed by the end of February, meeting for three Sundays at a ski resort in Pennsylvania. Similarly, the backpacking course offered next semester requires four day-long excursions.

While this schedule allows students to immerse themselves into their newfound pursuit more deeply, organizers also hope it allows more flexibility for students who may have a large course load during the school week to participate, as well.

But make no mistake about it — these are academic classes with the same expectations of assessment as any other college course. “Students will be assessed on knowledge, rules, and gross motor skills,” says Banville. “Some classes require the students to journal about their experiences; it’s not just pick-up soccer.”

PALW courses are designed for everyone at Mason, explains Jacobson, including faculty and staff members. “All you need is enthusiasm and a willingness to have fun,” she says. “Whether you want to get back into an old hobby like yoga, skiing, basketball, or volleyball, or whether you want to do something new like Latin dance, trap shooting, or whitewater kayaking, try something totally different. Why not have a little fun while you earn a few credits?”

How to register

New courses are offered frequently, often at student suggestion. To register:

  • Go to the University Catalog and click on the left on Schedule of Classes.
  • Go to Search by Term and select "Spring 2013."
  • Under Class Schedule Search, select "Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies [PRLS]" and/or "Physical Education [PHED]".

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Courses offered in Spring 2013

The following are the one- and two-credit fitness and activity courses offered at George Mason University in Spring 2013.

  • PHED 105 – Aerobics/Basic Conditioning
Aquatics and Water Sports
  • PHED 255 – Basic Scuba Diving
  • PHED 110 – Beginning Swimming
  • PHED 150 – Intermediate Swimming
  • PHED 159 – Advanced Swimming
  • PHED 158 – Underwater Hockey
  • PHED 113 – Latin Dance
  • PHED 107 – Social Dance
Golf and Bowling
  • PHED 140 – Golf
  • PHED 144 – Intermediate Golf
  • PHED 162 – Intro to Bowling
  • PHED 167 – Advanced Concepts/Strategies in Bowling
Martial Arts
  • PHED 145 – Beginning Judo for Men and Women
  • PHED 138 – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • PHED 139 – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu II
  • PHED 103 – Fencing
  • PHED 179 – Intro to Krav Maga
  • PHED 163 – Karate
  • PHED 164 – Intermediate Karate
  • PHED 134 – Self Defense – Men and Women
  • PHED 135 – Self Defense – Men and Women II
  • PHED 136 – Tae Kwon Do
  • PHED 137 – Intermediate Tae Kwon Do
Other Outdoor
  • PRLS 120 – Intro to Backpacking
  • PRLS 173 – Basic Coastal Kayaking
  • PRLS 110 – Exploring Outdoor Adventures
  • PRLS 115 – Intro to Fly Fishing
  • PRLS 122 – Intro to Horsemanship
  • PRLS 117 – Rock Climbing
Racquet Sports
  • PHED 151 – Intro to Tennis
  • PHED 153 – Intermediate Tennis
  • PHED 165 – Intro to Racquetball
Skiing and Snowboarding
  • PRLS 190 – Downhill Skiing
  • PRLS 191 – Snowboarding
  • PRLS 124 – Pistol Marksmanship
  • PRLS 119 – Trap and Skeet Shooting
  • PRLS 121 – Intermediate Trap Shooting
Team Sports
  • PHED 120 – Intro to Basketball
  • PHED 176 – Intro to Cricket
  • PHED 102 – Intro Soccer
  • PHED 182 – Intermediate Soccer
  • PHED 174 – Intro to Volleyball
Weight Training
  • PHED 108 – Weight Train/Body Condition
Yoga and Pilates
  • PHED 181 – Intro to Meditation
  • PHED 131 – Intro to Pilates
  • PHED 178 – Intermediate Pilates
  • PHED 149 – Tai Chi
  • PHED 129 – Intro to Yoga
  • PHED 130 – Intermediate Yoga

About CEHD

George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) includes two schools, the Graduate School of Education, which is the largest in Virginia, and the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism. CEHD offers a comprehensive range of degrees, courses, licensures, and professional development programs on campus, online, and on site. The college is distinguished by faculty who encourage new ways of thinking and pioneering research supported by more than $75 million in funding over the past five years.

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