Reserved seats are available in the department’s M.S.Ed. in Kinesiology and Physical Education and M.S. in Sport Management degrees. The upcoming master’s program in Athletic Training, which involves a strict vetting process and a specific set of prerequisite courses for admission, is not part of the deal.
Although it’s assumed that students interested in careers related to fitness, human performance or sports are most likely to take advantage of the new benefit, Honors students graduating from any bachelor’s program are welcome.
“Chad McEvoy and Steve Howell reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, we heard what you started with Political Science, and we’d really like to get in on that as well,” says Gilson, who also is on the faculty of KNPE.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Gilson adds. “Honors students can come to NIU, work on their University Honors requirements and know that when they want to advance their career – to take that next step – that it’s already locked in for them. The department then can get that better quality of students.”
Howell, associate professor of Sport Management and director of Graduate Studies, says that he and McEvoy, chair of the department, are eager to harness such potential.
“We thought it would be a good idea to incentivize Honors students to attract high-quality, top-notch students into our master’s programs,” Howell says.
“And this is not only to attract those highly qualified students but freshmen and sophomores who are looking ahead a couple years and seeing that automatic feed,” he adds. “More students need to look into these avenues as they want to make themselves marketable.”
NIU’s M.S.Ed. in Kinesiology and Physical Education prepares students to work in the exercise science or Physical Education-Teacher Education communities. Specialties are offered in Adapted Physical Education; Exercise Physiology and Fitness Leadership; Pedagogy and Curriculum Development; and Sport and Exercise Psychology.
The M.S. in Sport Management equips graduates for a variety of careers, including professional sports, college athletics, campus recreation and parks departments.
Honors students who pursue these degrees through the direct admissions program will become pioneers of sorts, Gilson says.
“It’s very uncommon,” he says. “We (Honors) have benchmarked 131 institutions – peer institutions to NIU, a lot of the flagship schools, directional state schools – and only two offer programs like this. I think it says that we’re thinking forward.”
Gilson also hopes that Honors students realize what an advantage the program offers.
“College degrees become harder to acquire as adult life begins, but when you’re still a student and you know how to do it, go and do it,” he adds. “This is not for your first job, but for your third job.”
Interested students are encouraged to contact their Honors advisors or the KNPE department at firstname.lastname@example.org.