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The Rise of Modern Sport and Physical Education

Course Code: SPSC 2381
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Sport Science
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks (or 8 weeks summer condensed)
Learning Format: Lecture, Partially Online, Field Experience
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines factors affecting the development of sport and physical education in modern times. Consideration is given to the relationship between sport and physical education development and selected societal features (leisure, education, race, gender, and politics). Particular attention is paid to the rise of sport and physical education in Canada, Europe and the United States.

Course Content

  1. Understanding sport and physical activity historical studies
    • Descriptive and interpretive historical research using primary and secondary sources.
    • Historical research concepts of change, development and progress.
    • Comparative studies in historical research.
    • Roles and appreciation of sport and physical education history.
  2. The rise of physical education and sport in Medieval and early Europe
    • Medieval society and physical education (fifth to twelfth century.)
    • Medieval sport.
    • Physical education and sport in the Renaissance and Reformation (thirteenth to sixteenth century.)
    • Seventeenth century European physical education and sport.
    • Eighteenth century European physical education and sport.
    • Nineteenth century European physical education and sport.
  3. The rise of physical education and sport in Modern Europe
    • Characteristics of modern sport:
      • Secularism
      • Equality
      • Specialization
      • Rationalization
      • Bureaucracy
      • Quantification
    • The birth of modern sport in Europe.
    • The birth of physical education.
    • Social conditions affecting the rise of modern sport and physical education (e.g. social class, religious influences.)
  4. The rise of physical education and sport in North America
    • The rise of organized sport in 1850-1906.
    • The changes to physical education at the turn of the century.
    • The meeting of sport and physical education in the twentieth century.
    • The entry of sport into the school program (1900-1930).
    • The development of physical education in Canada:
      • American, British and European influences
      • Strathcona Trust
      • Pioneer leaders
      • Post-secondary programs
      • Bill C-131
    • Historical issues in sport and physical education:
      • Sport for girls and women
      • Mandatory physical education
      • Sport governance and financing
      • Selected topics
  5. International Sport
    • International sport in the nineteenth century.
    • Rise of the modern Olympic Games.
    • Politics and power in international sport.

Methods of Instruction

A combination of lectures, group discussions, student presentations, guest speakers, online modules, online discussions, and a variety of audio-visual aids will be used, including films, slides and charts.

Means of Assessment

Assessment in this course will be consistent with Douglas College evaluation and assessment policy. The following is presented as a guideline and sample assessment strategy. Alternative forms of assessment, such as comparative studies, web-based guides, or online assessments may be used.

Mid-term exam 10-30%
Final exam 10-40%
Student presentation 15-30%
Term paper 15-30%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Be able to situate physical education and sport history studies within:
    • the fields of sport science and physical education, and
    • the broader field of historical studies
  2. Describe selected aspects of physical education and sport in Medieval and early Europe.
  3. Describe selected aspects of the rise of physical education and sport in Modern Europe.
  4. Describe selected aspects of the rise of physical education and modern sport in North America.
  5. Relate the rise of the modern Olympics and the rise of international sport.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.