IMAPA is a 2 year (120 credits) Master's programme in partnership between the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium), the University of Olomouc (UP, Czech Republic), and a number of associate partners across the world. The programme aims at educating students in both a professional orientation (students can choose between education and active lifestyle), and a disciplinary specialization (students choose between biomechanics & exercise physiology, integrity and (dis)ability in sport and motor control-learning & psychology).
IMAPA aims to provide state-of-the-art research and teaching methodology in adapted physical activity (APA) and the social, pedagogical and technical aspects of physical activity adapted to the needs of persons with a disability. The programme combines the expertise of a number of universities throughout the EU and the world, and offers students comprehensive training and expert knowledge in the many aspects of adapted physical activity.
Each year, international expert academics and professionals are invited to conduct teaching and research assignments. The programme promotes the exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners from around the world. The multicultural aspects of the Master's programme are a great asset to the programme itself and to the field of adapted physical activity in general.
The first academic year takes place at KU Leuven (Belgium), in the second year the students will follow the first semester at the Palacky University of Olomouc (Czech Republic). The second semester of the second year will be completed at a partner university based on both the interests and specialization areas of the student. As such, IMAPA promotes the international exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners in Europe and from around the world, and therefore guarantees a flexible, custom made programme fine-tuned to the interest(s) of every individual student.
IMAPA is a flexible programme, allowing students to custom design the content of their curriculum depending on the competences they wish to acquire. Students can follow the entire programme as KU Leuven students, or fit a number of selected courses within their home university programme, while remaining registered at their home university.
The International Master Programme of Adapted Physical Activity (IMAPA) aims to provide state-of-the-art research and teaching methodology in adapted physical activity (APA) and the social, pedagogical, and technical aspects of physical activity adapted to the needs of persons with a disability. The programme combines the expertise of a number of universities throughout the EU and the world, and offers students comprehensive training and expert knowledge in the many aspects of adapted physical activity. The programme promotes the exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners from around the world.
The professional aim of the programme is to educate competent and critical professionals, who are able to design and evaluate adapted physical activity programmes using an evidence-based approach for people with a disability across the life span. Adapted physical activity is a developing field and graduates will be considered as having the key abilities to advance and develop its scope. To address the wide application of the field, IMAPA offers generic tools to use exercise as an intervention, which can be translated into different contexts. To achieve this professional aim, the programme provides specialization options to emphasize the competence to work in educational or active lifestyle settings, catering for students' special professional interest and potential work outflow.
The disciplinary aim of IMAPA is to educate people to conduct research in order to advance the field of APA. In addition, the programme offers scientific discipline specific specialization (Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Motor Control/Learning, Integrity and Dis/ability in Sport). As such, IMAPA provides basic scientific skills that will enable graduates to pursue an academic career or undertake further research or doctoral studies.
The global approach to the studies will ensure a critical outlook at national facilities for people with a disability. Given the multidisciplinary nature of adapted physical activity, students will have gained general problem-solving skills rather than those pertaining to a traditional profession.
Graduates who successfully completed the course will have acquired the scientific knowledge and critical insights to develop and bring the field of adapted physical activity forward in different national settings. Graduates will have the professional competence to work in a variety of contexts, where they will be able to set up appropriate adapted physical activity programmes and assess the requirements for exercise screening.
Given the wide area of adapted physical activity, as applied in the various countries, graduates will obtain the broad tools to implement and evaluate health, sports and leisure enhancing programs for people with disability.
The most important of these general tools is an evidence-based approach to intervention. Graduates of the IMAPA programme will also have gained sufficient research competence to work in research settings. They will have developed the skills to design innovative research questions in adapted physical activity and to report on scientific findings. Graduates will have gained the analytical ability to highlight the needs of people with a disability in different countries and identify current barriers for implementation of adapted physical activity. Furthermore, they will ensure appropriate intervention programmes and policy statements in the area of exercise and health for people with a disability. Overall, they will have an internationally-oriented spirit and seek out multicultural collaboration. IMAPA graduates will understand the role and meaning of interdisciplinary collaboration and stimulate a multi-professional input in the field. Graduates will be aware of the need of a professional structure and certification in adapted physical activity and have gained the skills to become leaders in their field and take this agenda forward.
Students specialized in adapted physical activity at the Master's level often work with persons with an impairment in career domains such as education, coaching, personal training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine or other health care professions. Some seek a research career by acquiring knowledge and expertise in both adapted physical activity and another discipline within kinesiology, and pursue a doctoral degree.