Physical Education

P.E. classes in the Upper School offer students a variety of options to help promote lifelong health and fitness. Each student is provided with the opportunity to be successful and explore their individual preferences in fitness. Students can pursue a passion in specific courses such as Yoga or explore new activities to widen their perspective in courses such as Lifetime Activities.

The graduation requirement is three semesters of P.E., and one semester of Health. Students can take the same course multiple semesters, but are encouraged to try at least two different P.E. electives throughout their high school career.

Courses in this department:


Second semester

This class gives students a language in movement and increases their knowledge of the basic elements of dance. Styles may include modern dance, basic ballet, break dancing, hip-hop and improvisation. Class assignments involve concepts for creative expression, movement ideas, choreography, and development of a personal aesthetic. Watching videos and attending professional performances help students develop observational skills and expose students to the broad spectrum of dance as a cultural medium. Dance can be taken for either Fine Arts or PE credit. Students must notify the registrar of what type of credit they choose before class begins; credit selection cannot be changed after the add/ drop period ends.


Second semester

Golf class emphasizes the workings of the golf swing as well as learning about course management and etiquette. Students will learn proper technique of the golf swing including: grip, stance, posture, and club selection. Practice will take place at the UW driving range and Jackson Park’s short nine course. This class is open to all ability levels. Students will miss a portion of lunch six times during the semester.


First and second semester

Health is designed to give students a better understanding of how their decisions can impact their lives. Topics covered include: the five components of health (mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual), drugs and alcohol, human relationships/sexuality, nutrition, fitness, infectious diseases, self-esteem, and stress. Health is a graduation requirement usually taken in ninth grade. Students transferring to University Prep in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades without previous high school health are required to take the course as an independent study.

Individualized PE

First or second semester

IPE is a course designed for students who participate in sports at a high level. In order to be eligible for IPE, the student must be actively engaged in the sport for the duration of the semester, participate in the sport approximately between eight and ten hours a week, and demonstrate a need for flexibility in their University Prep course schedule. The course is largely online with students completing assignments on topics such as goal setting, sports nutrition, and mental training. Prerequisite: Written proposal with a semester-long activity plan that details the activity, personal supervisor, and the reason for requestingIPE. Students may not take IPE twice in one year and can only take the course a maximum of two semesters. The course is not open to freshmen.

Lifetime Activities

First or second semester

This course gives students the knowledge and experience in a number of activities that they can perform throughout their lifetime in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This course also exposes students to the outside world and gives them the knowledge and power to participate in activities outside of a school setting. The activities in this are currently popular all over the country and include those unique to Seattle. Activities may include biking, running and hiking, softball, rock climbing, volleyball, frisbee, bowling, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, and more. Students are introduced to basic nutrition concepts and the role nutrition plays in achieving a lifestyle of wellness. Students also assess their level of physical fitness and work throughout the semester to maintain or improve that level.

Racket Sports

First or second semester

The primary objective of this class is to work on skills specific to a variety of racket sports. Activities progress from basic skills to game strategy. Units may include tennis, badminton, soft tennis, pickleball, racketball and ping pong. The class is open to students of all skill levels.

Weight Training

First or second semester

This course helps students improve muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility. Students learn the main muscles of the body as well as exercises that work each muscle. Students will be able to design a personalized full-body weight program during the course. The course is open to beginning weight lifters as well as students with previous experience.


First or second semester

Emphasis is placed on the cultivation of breath control, strength, balance, flexibility and coordination while developing concentration and awareness. Students learn the basic postures and how to link the yoga poses together with the breath to create a dynamic moving meditation. The intention of the class is to develop an inward attention and awareness of the present moment that will assist in the synthesis of body and mind. The class will include an introduction to meditation and the theory of yoga, and consider how to refine the mechanics and alignment principles of the physical practice. This class will start at the beginner level and advance appropriately as the students’ abilities increase.