Background Information

The University of Physical Education in Krakow (commonly known as AWF – say Ah Voo Eff – from the initial of its Polish name) originated in 1893, as a department of the Jagiellonian University. In 1951, it became an independent institution of higher education, and now it occupies its own campus. There is ample classroom and laboratory space, and an enormous sports hall – 4,026 square meters. AWF also boasts its own stadium, three dormitories housing 900 students and teachers quarters. There is also a cafeteria, as well as several snack bars, coffee shops, etc.

The total enrolment at AWF is almost 5,000. There are three major fields of study: Physical Education, Physiotherapy (more often referred to in Poland as Rehabilitation) and Tourism and Leisure.

The research facilities are good, especially for physiological and psycho-motor research. There are 2 laboratories equipped with over 56 computers.


1. Physical Education

Graduates of this programme are qualified PE teachers; specialisations are available in sports education and coaching. Those who specialise in sports education acquire basic knowledge of psychology, sociology and pedagogy, so as to be able to provide the best possible instruction to their students and understand their problems and challenges. This programme also includes human physiology, principles of human motion, anthropology (physical anthropology and anthropometrics), biomechanics and hygiene, and prepares graduates to communicate this knowledge to their students. There are also numerous practical courses, such as swimming, lifesaving, gymnastics, sports, athletics, skating, skiing, and many others.

Those who successfully complete this programme are able to work at various kinds of schools as Physical Education teachers. They can also be employed by sports clubs as instructors and coaches in various sports disciplines, or work at schools and other institutions as therapeutic gymnastics instructors for children with posture defects. Their professional training also equips them for work with adults in sports and leisure centres.

2. Physiotherapy (Rehabilitation)

Students in this programme learn functional anatomy, biomechanics and basic physiology, so as to be able to carry out therapeutic procedures with patients suffering from orthopaedic and neurological disorders; in addition they study the pathophysiology of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Coursework also includes the methods applied in kinesitheraphy and physical therapy, the basic principles of therapeutic massage, and the principles of organisation of therapeutic rehabilitation. Basic knowledge of psychology and sociology will facilitate the graduates’ contact with patients, helping them to understand their patients’ frame of mind and attitudes often altered by injury and suffering.

Graduates are qualified to conduct the motor rehabilitation of children, adults and elderly patients suffering from disorders of the musculoskeletal system, internal organs, and/or the nervous system. Specialisations involving additional coursework are available in:

  • biological regeneration 
  • therapeutic swimming for adults and children
  • music therapy and dance therapy 
  • rehabilitation in posture defects
  • manual therapy

Those who complete this programme are qualified to work in hospitals and clinics, to give sports and therapeutic massage, and to supervise compensatory gymnastics in various school settings.

3. Leisure 

AWF graduates who have specialised in Leisure boast the following skills:

  • organisational and teaching skills enabling them to promote the culture of leisure and to plan, and carry out various kinds of recreational activities (especially motor activities) with people of different age, gender, educational level, etc.
  • physiological and medical skills (psychosomatic recuperation, prophylactic physiotherapy in recreation), enabling them to utilise psychotherapeutic means in the process of restoring strength and preventing the so-called civilization-related diseases
  • organisational and business management skills (economics, marketing, leisure management, etc.), necessary for planning and rendering services in the leisure business. 

4. Tourism

The curriculum in Tourism at AWF is based on the following principles:

  • holistic approach to tourism as a social phenomenon;
  • broadly based professional education intended to provide its graduates with deep professional knowledge and practical skills.

The aim of this programme is to prepare its graduates for careers in various fields of tourism in positions requiring university-level preparation. Those who successfully complete the course are capable of creative and critical thinking and acting in various new situations. They are qualified to work in various settings:

  •  tourist agencies of all kinds, departments of tourist services (domestic and international) , especially in small tourist agencies
  • hotels and inns, at the reception desk, in hotel administration (as managers or department directors), or in programme preparation
  • group holidays, summer camps for children, leisure organisation
  • central and local government administration, tourist information.


Doctoral Courses 

AWF’s three faculties employ 53 full professors and 167 professors holding a second level doctorate. AWF boasts the right to confer the doctorate in the following fields:

  • Natural Foundations of Physical Culture: 
    • Exercise Physiology
    • Anthropology
    • Kinesiology
    • Environmental Protection
  • Humanistic Foundations of Physical Culture: 
    • History and Sociology of Physical Culture
    • Theory of Physical Education
    • Sports Psychology and Pedagogy
  • Theory and Practice of Medical Rehabilitation 
  • Theory of Sport
  • Economics of Tourist Services

Publications and Research

AWF boasts a Publications Department which produces annuals, fascicles, monographs and textbooks. 

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