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Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching (BPEC)

Greenlit for a Degree

The Bachelor of Physical Education (BPEC) program was established in 2007. It is the SPSC department’s first-ever degree, and one of the first degrees to be offered by Douglas College.

Up until the 2000s, Douglas College was not a degree-granting institution. The College was largely geared towards university transfer, and its faculties (including Sport Science) could only grant one-year certificates or two-year diplomas – not four-year degrees. This changed in 2003, when the provincial board announced its decision allowing community colleges – such as Douglas – to offer bachelor’s degrees.

In light of this announcement, the SPSC faculty went on a retreat to assess the overall SPSC program and its future course of development. The retreat ended with several resolutions:

  • increasing labs and lab technicians to support in-depth education
  • the need of a degree program
  • updating teachers in the school system on their methods of teaching physical education.
Promotional brochure for the BPEC program, 2008

This last resolution would result in the Graduate Diploma in Physical Education (GDPE), which the faculty introduced in advance of the BPEC degree.


Development for the degree began really kicking into gear in 2005 (after the introduction of the GDPE in the same year). When planning began, it was decided the four-year degree would centre around physical education and coaching – hence, BPEC. As major academic institutions (such as UBC, SFU, UVic, and UFV) shifted into research-based streams and lab sciences (kinesiology, health etc.), areas like basic leadership and physical education became increasingly neglected. The BPEC degree, by focusing on PE and coaching training, would effectively fill this gap in the system.

This decision also made sense: the SPSC department’s strength lay in PE and coaching education, and already had a respectable reputation for its Coaching Diploma within the community – it was the best fit for the role. Advisors from the aforementioned larger research institutions also supported the decision, noting that they had lost touch with practitioner-focused areas and were happy Douglas College would be filling this gap.

“So we decided, as a College, [that] with our expertise in coaching and the people we had on staff, it would be fantastic to essentially be the leaders in the province in providing PE and coaching training for undergraduates.”

Brian Storey, on the decision behind the degree’s direction

A Collaborative Effort

The BPEC degree could not have been accomplished without the input of everyone in the SPSC faculty. As Lara Duke (former faculty member) recalls, its development was a “meeting of the minds” that constituted of everybody at the table, brainstorming and debating ideas.

“[It was a] [m]eeting of the minds: everybody [was] at the table, suggesting ideas.”

Lara, recalling the BPEC program’s development process
Article on the Team Excellence Award won by the SPSC faculty during the development of the BPEC degree
Alternative write-up, colourized

Another notable part of the degree’s development involved gaining the support of other institutions (UBC, SFU, UVic, and so on). As many BPEC students pursue further schooling after graduation,* the SPSC department communicated extensively with the educational programs at these universities to ensure a smooth transfer process that satisfied the requirements of both sides.

*For example, many BPEC students who want to become PE teachers go on to complete the Professional Development Program at SFU.

“How are we teaching a four-year degree without a research methods class?”

A quip from the faculty’s round-table discussions during degree development

All of the faculty took on various roles, individually and collaboratively, in forming the complete degree. For example: Brian oversaw the degree’s overall growth as its development coordinator from 2005 to 2006, with Ken taking on the role from 2006 to 2007; Lara and Zefo were part of the team that developed the BCRPA certification acknowledgement (the non-academic graduating requirements for the degree); Kathryn, Tim, and Brian did curricular mapping for Fieldwork; individually, faculty members developed BPEC courses fitted to their area of knowledge.

Ultimately, the takeaway is that the creation of the BPEC degree was very much a team achievement that took a considerable amount of coordination and effort. This feat is recognized in the commemorative award received by the faculty (image on left).

In addition to the PE and coaching generalists that made up the existing SPSC faculty, the development of the BPEC degree also necessitated hiring specialists to accommodate for the additional curriculum and depth the degree would offer. As a result, the department received an influx of new faculty who specialized in various subdisciplines – exercise physiology, sport psychology, sport sociology, biomechanics, and so on – over the years of 2006 and 2007. The presence of these new faculty was crucial in completing the degree’s offered curriculum.

The BPEC degree launched in 2007, with its first graduating class walking across the stage in 2009.

Specialized Streams

The BPEC degree later developed two specialized streams: Kinesiology and Health Promotion (developed a few years apart, respectively). Totaled, the program offered three graduation routes: Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and the general completion option. The kinesiology stream was an especially significant development: it allowed students a streamlined pathway into the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK), which one must be part of to become a practicing kinesiologist in the province. After graduating, BPEC students with the kinesiology specialization could directly apply to become a member of the BCAK, since the credentials they complete at Douglas satisfied the BCAK’s standards.* This direct transition into the BCAK was also much more efficient than the alternative, which involved a more convoluted, back-and-forth process of gathering and looking at various documents and course records.

*This curriculum articulation effort was led by Lara, who worked with the BCAK to ensure that the courses in the kinesiology specialization resonated with the Association’s criteria.

With the BPEC program and its kinesiology stream, Douglas became the first College to attain direct membership into the BCAK (which, at the time, was a possibility only offered by larger universities).

“[The kinesiology specialization] opened up another career; it made a clear track [for] students who wanted to become kinesiologists.”

lara, on the kinesiology stream


A defining feature of the BPEC program is Fieldwork (modeled after its predecessor, the preceptorship requirement, in the Coaching Diploma). Fitting with the learn-by-doing model, Fieldwork stresses practical application and real-life work environment immersion.

Read more about Fieldwork here.