Physical Education is to be introduced as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject in a small number of schools from next September.
The Department of Education will next week invite schools to apply to be among an expected 50 who will pilot a first phase of the subject.
The new subject will have three assessment components. Students will be required to complete a physical activity project, a performance assessment and a written examination.
The department said sports psychology and skill techniques will be among the areas studied.
The subject will be available at both higher and ordinary level.
In a statement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the introduction of the subject had been a Government priority.
He said the benefits would be far-reaching, including improved health and fitness among young people, and raising awareness of physical health.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the introduction of PE as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject was in keeping with the strong emphasis the Government had placed on promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles.