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Make the Most of Your BU Education: The Benefits of PDP Courses

Why adding physical education courses to your college schedule is a stress-free win-win

By Layne Sheplee

Photo By Miranda Ceron

At a rigorous institution like Boston University, a semester can sometimes lead to exhaustion and burnout. Amidst the chaos, it’s important to build in time to relax and unwind both mentally and physically. There’s no better way to achieve this rejuvenation than by building it into your BU tuition.

The Department of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (PERD) offers a wide range of untraditional, non-academic courses, deemed Physical Development Program (PDP) classes. Most occur once a week and take place at the Fitness and Recreation Center or “FitRec.” You can crush a workout with fitness or sports classes, exercise your mind with yoga or meditation, hit the ice with skating or water with aquatics, or learn to become an EMT – the options are endless.

Beginning in the fall of 2024, PDP classes will be removed from BU academic registration and will instead be offered under the pre-existing PERD registration system. Although these classes will not be for academic credit moving forward, PDP classes will continue to be free of charge for students. The goal is to make classes easier to schedule, so students will even be permitted to attend drop-in classes. For more information regarding the new PDP system, check out the BU Fitness & Recreation Center’s page on Physical Education Classes. 

To help start your PDP search, here’s a spotlight on some Terriers’ favorite courses:

  1. Modern Dance

Molly French (Wheelock ‘25) is currently enrolled in PDP DA 140 Modern, Beginning. The class is an overview of four modern dance techniques: Graham, Horton, Release, and Limon. It’s a perfect way for students to break into the dance world or just get some movement in between classes in a supportive environment.

“I chose to take this dance PDP because I had never danced before and thought it could be a fun way to try something new and stay moving,” said French.

  1. Badminton

Bowen Supple (CAS ‘27) takes PDP GS 107 Beginning Badminton, which teaches the fundamentals and basic techniques of badminton. Beginning Badminton allows students to exercise and enjoy a sport they love without joining an overly competitive team or league.

“My favorite part about taking badminton is that it is a fixed aspect of my schedule, so it’s a time during the week where I have to go to the gym and be active,” Supple said. “Having it in my schedule helps me maintain my progress and my interest.”

  1. Yoga Meditation

Bella Galvarado (CAS ‘27) enjoys PDP MB 106 Yoga Meditation, where students learn and practice various guided meditations from the yoga tradition. This course, along with other yoga and meditation classes, gives students the perfect time to recover from a stressful week and prioritize self-care.

“I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the stress of classes, work, and extracurricular commitments,” Galvarado shared. “Having a pocket of time in the week that is completely dedicated to mindfulness and body movement drastically improves my mental health.”

Interested in trying a PDP class? Be sure to add one to your schedule the next time course selection rolls around.


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