Adapted Physical Activity Graduate Certificate

Step 1: Learn more about the Adapted Physical Activity (APA) Graduate Certificate program below.

Step 2: Reach out with any questions to

Step 3: Apply Today!

The focus of the Adapted Physical Activity Graduate Certificate is using a disability-affirming approach to enhance skilled practice and reflexive learning. Focused on understanding disability within a larger context of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), students in this graduate certificate program will advance critical thinking skills, reflect on taken-for-granted practices and assumptions, and explore practice-oriented tools and knowledge.

By fostering attitudes that are welcoming, affirming, and supporting, this APA Certificate is about reducing barriers, inhibitors, and constraints, and advocating access to active lifestyles and sport, by supporting facilitators and affordances that will promote innovative and cooperative service delivery, provide support as needed, and empower individuals.

This certificate is a graduate certificate and may be applied to a course-based master's degree in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. Courses are delivered online, there is no in-class component.

This program will begin in Fall 2022. Applications are now open. Students can begin in Fall, Winter, or Spring. Application deadlines are:

  • Fall: August 1
  • Winter: December 1
  • Spring: April 15

Apply Today!

Please see the FAQ section below for information on courses, tuition and program requirements.

How it Works

How it Works

Courses are instructor-led and delivered online. They combine the best aspects of real time (synchronous) learning guided by your instructor and independent self-directed (asynchronous) study which can be accomplished according to your schedule.

Please note: there may be scheduled times in which students are expected to attend live online sessions.


Students are required to complete four courses, each worth 3 credits, for a total of 12 credits. There are eight courses to choose from. Courses are offered online only and students will have up to four years to complete the certificate.

The nature and number of courses offered in a calendar year will vary. All eight courses will not be offered each year.

  • Critical survey of key topics in Adapted Physical Activity
  • Program Evaluation and Assessment
  • Being a Reflexive Practitioner
  • Accessible Design for APA
  • Instructional Approaches & Programming Models
  • Coaching Athletes Experiencing Disability
  • Integrating Disability Perspectives into APA Practices
  • Trauma-informed practice

Courses and details listed below:

KSR 717 Critical Survey of Key Topics in Adapted Physical Activity

This course will involve a critical survey of topics and issues that are foundational to research, theory, and practice within adapted physical activity. Students will explore a range of topics that may include models of disability, social justice and intersectionality, and constraints and affordances that influence participation in physical activity and leisure by persons with impairments.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast how models of disability influence practice in adapted physical activity settings
  • Plan & develop strategies to utilize a disability affirming approach within adapted physical activity
  • Differentiate between constraints and affordances, and illustrate how they impact participation in adapted physical activity
  • Describe intersectionality and explain why it is important to adapted physical activity
  • Acknowledge the influence of assumptions, experiences, and attitudes on professional practice

Course Instructor: Dr. Jen Leo - Director, The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement

With over 15 years of research and community-based experience, Jennifer has focused on understanding experiences of access, inclusion, and participation in adapted physical activity settings. Jennifer is passionate about working with people, which includes engaging with members of the disability community, collaborating with researchers as a member of the Sport & Exercise Team in the Canadian Disability Participation Project, and connecting with organizations through the Inclusive Sport and Recreation Collective in Alberta.

KSR 718 Program Evaluation and Assessment

An examination of strategies approaches, and practices for assessing programs, and their impacts, within adapted physical activity and other related settings (e.g., rehabilitation).

Quantitative, qualitative, mixed, and alternative (e.g., arts-based) assessment methods will be introduced and critically analyzed, with an emphasis on disability-affirming approaches to each. This course will explore how to conduct various types of program evaluation (e.g., formative, summative, accountability-based) in a way that meaningfully engages stakeholders and shares learnings in an accessible, inclusive, and impactful way. 


KSR 719 Being a Reflexive Practitioner
A reflexivity-centered approach to supporting students in making complex, ethical and theoretical decisions in practice settings. In this course, students will look at assumptions that are often taken for granted in current practices in APA and explore practice-oriented tools and pieces of knowledge.
KSR 720 Accessible Design for APA

An overview of key concepts, issues related to accessible and universal design, as well as specific, actionable tools for assessing and creating more accessible physical spaces, online spaces, physical activity programs, media and communications, and well as learning experiences.  This course will engage with access issues faced by a wide range of people, and be applied to contexts most relevant to course participants. They will also learn how to develop key organizational policies to support the creation of more accessible, inclusive, and equitable spaces.

KSR 721 Instructional Approaches & Programming Models

An exploration of the various instructional approaches and programming models that are used within adapted physical activity settings, to promote innovative and cooperative service delivery. This course will include opportunities to apply theory in a real-life setting, which may involve acquiring practice-oriented tools to provide supports as needed and empower individuals. This course can either be fulfilled through an on-campus learning environment at the University of Alberta’s Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement, or through a pre-approved practice context negotiated by the course participant.

KSR 722 Coaching Athletes Experiencing Disability
An examination of current topics relating to coaching athletes experiencing disability across the stages of Long Term Development (LTD). The course will cover a range of sports for various different impairment groups, and will discuss structural, inter-relational, and individual consideration.
KSR 723 Integrating Disability Perspectives into APA Practice

Disability-affirming practice requires engaging with thinkers and leaders who experience disability, as well as those with diverse disability experiences. Students will learn about how scholars, activists, and self-advocacy leaders who self-identify as Deaf, disabled, Mad, sick, and neurodivergent conceptualize their own bodies, minds, lives, and meaningful physical activities. Emphasis will be placed on how disabled and neurodivergent people’s lives are always impacted by equity issues relating to culture, religion, Indigeneity, race, gender, sexuality, newcomer status, class, and caste.

KSR 724 Trauma Informed Practice
Linking trauma-informed pedagogy with strength-based instructional approaches promotes a safer and more relational instructional context - one that minimizes actions that may trigger or retraumatize learners. With the aim of acknowledging and supporting learner resilience, choice, control over one’s body and mind, and autonomy, course participants will learn the meaning and applications of trauma-informed pedagogy and practice, using instructional strategies typical of adapted physical activity as points for critical reflexion.


What skills will I gain
Upon successful completion of the certificate, students will be able to:
  • Have a working knowledge of how to manage sport and recreation organizations effectively in the public, non-profit/voluntary and commercial sectors, including facility and event management.
  • Access, critique, and apply research to practice in order to foster ongoing professional growth. 
  • Apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to issues within adapted physical activity settings (i.e. sport, recreation, education, health, wellness, and fitness programming). 
  • Apply knowledge and skills to facilitate inclusion of individuals in a variety of movement settings
  • Develop and demonstrate  effective professional oral, written, and visual communication skills in the context of a leadership role. 
  • Reflect about and anticipate the impact of strategic decisions on adapted physical activity organizations and their stakeholders, including community members experiencing disability, caregivers, families, staff, and volunteers. 
  • Identify and problematize barriers/inhibitors/constraints, policies, ideas, and practices that marginalize or exclude people who experience disability.
  • Apply equity, diversity, and inclusion lenses to policies, practices, and programs in order to support meaningful access for a broad range of participants.
Who is this certificate for

This program will be of interest to:

  • Individuals experiencing a disability or living with someone experiencing a disability
  • Recreation and Leisure Professionals
  • Tourism Professionals
  • Provincial and National Sport Organizations
  • Community Non-Profit Organizations
  • Community Development Professionals
  • Health Professionals
  • Physical Educators
  • Event Management
  • Recreation Facilities Operators
  • Fitness and Well-Being Professionals
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Individuals working in Sport (including athletes and coaches)
  • Community Service Professionals
What are the requirements
  • Eligible students will have an Undergraduate Degree, with a GPA of 3.0 (if you do not meet this, please contact the Manager, International and Community Education @
  • A current curriculum vitae/resume.
  • A letter of intent.
  • One professional letter of reference
How do I apply
Applications for the Adapted Physical Activity Graduate Certificate are now open. Once you are admitted, you can begin taking courses in the next semester in which one is offered.
Click here to apply.
What is the cost
Tuition is $6,400.00 to complete all four courses in the certificate, plus non-instructional fees. Each course is approximately $1,600.00 plus non-instructional fees.
Can I use this certificate for a course-based Master of Arts Degree
This certificate can be laddered into a course-based Master of Arts degree or a course based Master of Arts Recreation and Leisure Studies degree in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. Completion of one or two Graduate Certificates does not guarantee admission into a Master or other graduate programs. Prospective students will be required to apply and meet admission requirements of the specific Master program to which they are applying.
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FAQ One-Sheet (PDF)
Step by Step on How to Apply