In June 1961, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) advertised for  interested candidates to pursue B.Sc. degree in Physical Education being the  first of its kind in Africa south of the Sahara and  west of Limopo. In September 1961 fifteen candidates were admitted for the 3-year and 4-year degree programmes as pioneer students of the Department. By 1963 seven students either dropped out of the programme or changed their academic programme. Of the remaining 8 students, three graduated with B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physical Education of the 3-year programme in 1964; the remaining 5 students in the 4-year programme graduated in 1965. All were employed in the various school systems in Nigeria while one in the name of Fidelis Agu Amuchie whom made a First Class was retained by the department as a promising academic. Consequently Mr. Fidelis Agu Amuchie proceeded to University of California where he obtained both Master Degree and Phd. He is the First Professor of Physical Education since 1987 till date.

By 1972 the department reviewed its programme to included several courses in Health Education. Consequently the Department changed its name to Health and Physical Education.

During the 1987/88 academic year the Department introduced the sandwich degree programme. The 2 year regular degree programme of the Department for NCE holders was offered as  4-year B.Sc. sandwich degree programme. The 3-year regular degree programme was offered as 5-year B.Sc. degree programme. Since then the sandwich degree programme of the department has been a success story as has been the regular programme.

During the 1991/92 session, the Department of HPE, UNN started to offer 2 separate degree options as a result of the first NUC accreditation exercise and recommendations. This gave rise to offering degree programmes as follows:

B.Sc. degree programme in Health Education

B.Sc. degree programme in Physical Education and Recreation.

In 1980 the Department introduced postgraduate programme in the areas of Health Education, physical Education, and Recreation.

Areas of Specialization

Health Education

Public Health Education

School Health Education

Occupational Health

      2.   Physical Education
     (i)   Administration of Physical Education and Sports
    (ii)   Curriculum Studies in Physical Education
    (iii)  Sociology of Sports
    (iv)  Psychology of Sports.



Since the inception of the postgraduate programme the department has graduated many students  in the various areas at both M.Ed and Ph.D levels as could be seen under the titles of postgraduates done in the department.

The department had diploma programme in Health and Physical Education from 1989/1990 academic session to 2005/2006 session.