Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

//Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019
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Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019 2020-01-08T21:52:49+00:00

Online Psychology Degrees - Top Graduate Degree Programs-01The best graduate sports psychology degree programs recognize that the world of sports is a mainstay around the world and in American culture. If you are looking to pursue a career in the field of sports, there will always be a need for professionals of all kinds. Among the most important professions is a sports psychologist — someone who is responsible for tending to the needs of athletes, keeping them healthy in body and mind. An online graduate degree in sports psychology can open numerous doors, ranging from athletic consultant to counselor to coach.

Methodology

The following ranking represents our choices for the top 25 graduate sports psychology degree programs that were selected through research and data analysis. To begin, we generated a list of schools from the College Navigator database using the search term “graduate sports psychology degree programs.” We then narrowed down the initial pool of 30 programs before finding the top 25 based on the following methodology.

Average Annual Cost of Attendance

The average annual cost of attendance is one of the first things prospective students look for when considering graduate degrees in sports psychology. We gathered current tuition information from each institution as well as the College Navigator database and awarded additional points to the more affordable programs based on the following tuition ranges.

Points:
Under $15,000: 3 points
$15,001 to $25,000: 2 points
$25,001 or more: 1 point

College Ranking

When considering a graduate program in sports psychology, it’s important to consider how the program compares to other similar degrees offered by institutions across the country. We took ranking data from U.S. News & World Report and assigned points for criteria such as follows:

Points:
U.S. News & World Report: Best National University, Best Psychology Graduate Program Ranking:
Top 50: 3 points
Top 100: 2 points
Top 150: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Best Regional University, Best Value School, Top Public School Ranking:
Top 25: 3 points
Top 50: 2 points
Top 100: 1 point

Number of Available Degree Options or Areas of Specialization:

Whether you are certain of the specialization you will be pursuing or you are still exploring your options, it is important for schools to offer numerous degrees and concentration areas. Although it was a given that any school on this list would offer at least one program, we awarded additional points to those offering several.

Points:
Two Degree or Specialization Options: 2 points
Three or More Degree or Specialization Options: 3 points

Accreditation

Finally, it is important to pursue a degree from an accredited school or university. Accreditation indicates that an institution has adhered to high standards of quality set by the accrediting organization. For this ranking, we awarded points not only for regional recognition but also for programs that earned programmatic accreditation from the APA.

Points:
American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation: 2 points
Regional accreditation: 1 point

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs

25. Barry University

Miami Shores, Florida

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The MS in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology can be completed in two years of study.

Points: 4
Program Website

Founded in 1940 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Barry University is a private, Catholic university located in Miami Shores, Florida. The school’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences confers an M.S. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, and degree preparation includes advanced coursework in the sport sciences as well as in counseling and psychology. Students may follow either an applied track, which includes topics in professional practice, service delivery, and performance enhancement of psychology, or they may follow the thesis track, which includes topics in qualitative methodology and/or advanced statistics, a thesis proposal, and a thesis defense. Both tracks consist of 36 credits and can be completed in two years.

Average Program Cost: $17,820
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
SACSCOC

24. University of Western States

Portland, Oregon

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The MS in Sport and Performance Psychology requires 53 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 5
Program Website

Founded in 1904 and formerly known as Western States Chiropractic College, the University of Western States is an integrated health sciences university that offers a variety of wellness and health degrees. Students may pursue either an M.S. or an Ed.D. in Sport and Performance Psychology. Both programs cover a variety of sport and performance psychology topics, and master’s degree students may be eligible to become a certified sport psychology consultant via the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Those pursuing the doctoral degree may be eligible for both certification and licensure. The M.S. consists of 53 credits and can be completed in under two years, while the Ed.D. consists of 86 credits and can be completed in two to three years.

Average Program Cost: $16,200
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sport and Performance Psychology
Ed.D. in Sport and Performance Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
NWCCU

23. Removed by the editor

22. Capella University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.S. in Psychology in Sport Psychology requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 5
Program Website

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Capella University is an online, for-profit institution of higher learning. Capella’s Harold Abel School of Psychology provides an M.S. in Psychology program with a specialization in sport psychology. The degree is available entirely online and consists of four core courses, seven specialization courses, and one integrative project for a total of 60 credits of study. Throughout the curriculum, students learn how psychology influences athletic performance and sports, and areas of focus include applied sport psychology, performance enhancement, principles of sport psychology, learning theories in psychology, and current issues in sport psychology.

Average Program Cost: $13,095
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Psychology in Sport Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
HLC

21. Adler University

Chicago, Illinois

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The Master of Arts in Counseling: Sport and Health students develop a comprehensive foundation in clinical mental health counseling as well as training in mental skills.

Points: 5

Formerly The Adler School of Professional Psychology, Adler University operates two campuses and provides online classes for more than 1,400 students in doctoral and master’s degree programs. The school’s Master of Arts in Counseling with a specialization in sport and health prepares graduates to utilize the sport platform to promote social justice, help clients achieve peak performance, and assist those struggling with issues such as chronic mental illnesses, anxiety disorders, and depression. Through the curriculum, students develop a comprehensive foundation in clinical mental health counseling as well as training in mental skills. Graduates are prepared for licensure in Illinois as Licensed Professional Counselors and for certification as National Certified Counselors.

Average Program Cost: $11,880
Degree Specializations:
Master of Arts in Counseling: Sport and Health
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
HLC

20. Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.S. in Kinesiology requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 5
Program Website

Located in Statesboro, Georgia, Georgia Southern University is a public research university that offers more than 140 academic majors at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology in the Waters College of Health Professions confers an M.S. in Kinesiology with a concentration in sport and exercise psychology. The program consists of 36 semester credit hours and includes courses in ethics, current issues and trends, team dynamics, interventions for mental skills training, data analysis, research methods, and the psychological aspects of elite performance. In addition to the practicum, all graduate students must complete an applied internship experience or a research-based thesis.

Average Program Cost: $7,078
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Kinesiology, Sport and Exercise Psychology Concentration
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
SACSCOC

19. John F. Kennedy University

Pleasant Hill, California

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The Dual M.A. Sport Psychology and Psy.D. can be completed in six years of study.

Points: 6
Program Website

Founded in 1965, John F. Kennedy University is a private, nonprofit university in Pleasant Hill, California that focuses on providing continuing opportunities for non-traditional higher education. The school offers both an M.A. in Sport Psychology as well as a dual M.A./Psy.D. in Sport Psychology. The M.A. is a 77-unit program that can be completed in two years of full-time study, while the dual M.A./Psy.D. is a 222-unit program that can be completed in six years of full-time study. Students are required to complete professional development seminars, and master’s students must participate in hands-on, real-world internships in diverse environments.

Average Program Cost: $12,240
Degree Specializations:
M.A. Sport Psychology
Dual M.A. Sport Psychology and Psy.D.
U.S. News & World Report Ranking: N/A
Accreditations:
WSCUC

18. Removed by editor.

17. Minnesota State University

Mankato, Minnesota

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.S. in Sports and Exercise Psychology requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8

Established as the Second State Normal School in 1858, Minnesota State University is the second-oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and the second-largest public university in the state. The school confers an M.S. in Sports and Exercise Psychology degree that is designed to help students develop a theoretical base in the discipline. It also aims to better prepare consultants, coaches, and students to apply what they have learned to performance enhancement issues associated with competitive exercise and athletic settings. Students complete 36 credit hours of coursework in areas such as statistical methods, techniques of research, interpersonal helping skills, sport in American culture, and applied sport and exercise psychology. Students must complete an alternate plan paper, manuscript, or internship as part of the capstone project requirement.

Average Program Cost: $8,628
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sports and Exercise Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#32 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#111 (tie) in Regional Universities Midwest
Accreditations:
HLC

16. University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The University of North Texas confers three degrees in sports psychology.

Points: 9
Program Website

Located in Denton, Texas, the University of North Texas is comprised of a library system, two schools, 11 colleges, and an early admissions math and science academy for high-school-age students. The school confers three programs in sport psychology, each with its own benefits and course offerings. Regardless of whether students choose the M.S. in Kinesiology, the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology or the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with concentrations in sport psychology and the psychosocial aspects of sport and exercise, all students have a competitive edge due to access to the Center for Sports Psychology. This is where students can gain hands-on, real-world experience by working with athletes throughout their training.

Average Program Cost: $21,646
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Kinesiology With Emphasis in Psychosocial Aspects of Sport and Exercise
Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology With Specialization in Sport Psychology
Ph.D. in Educational Psychology With Specialization in Psychosocial Aspects of Sports and Exercise
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#181 (tie) in Psychology
Accreditations:
APA
SACSCOC

15. Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The MA or MS in Kinesiology in Sport and Exercise Psychology requires 33 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 9
Program Website

Ball State University is a public coeducational research university in Muncie, Indiana. Students may pursue either an M.A. or an M.S. in Kinesiology with a specialization in sport and exercise psychology (SEP). The SEP focus outfits students with real-world experiences, research knowledge, and theoretical foundations related to the psychology of exercise behavior and sport performance. The 33-credit program also covers the sociology of sport, group dynamics, and sport psychology, and active participation and membership in related professional organizations are strongly encouraged to enhance students’ professional exploration and education.

Average Program Cost: $9,626
Degree Specializations:
M.A. in Kinesiology With a Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP) Specialization
M.S. in Kinesiology With a Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP) Specialization
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#91 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#171 (tie) in National Universities
#202 (tie) in Psychology
Accreditations:
HLC

14. University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.A. Sport & Performance Psychology requires 72 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 10
Program Website

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado is the oldest independent private university in the Rocky Mountain region. The school’s M.A. in Sport and Performance Psychology is unique in that is designed specifically for sport and performance psychology rather than a psychology program with specialization courses in sport psychology. Courses offered include topics in human diversity, individual behavior, helping relationships, statistics and research methodology, and intervention procedures. Beyond the classroom, students are required to apply their skills in the “real world” via practicum opportunities throughout Denver. Students must complete a total of 72 credits in order to earn their degree.

Average Program Cost: $49,695
Degree Specializations:
M.A. Sport & Performance Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#58 in Best Value Schools
#81 (tie) in Psychology
#96 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
APA
HLC

13. West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The Ph.D. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology combines real-life practice and academic rigor.

Points: 10
Program Website

West Virginia University is a public research-intensive, space-grant, land-grant university in Morgantown, West Virginia. Through the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, students may pursue a Ph.D. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology. This program combines real-life practice and academic rigor to train future sport psychology professionals, and the comprehensive curriculum follows the science-practice model of psychology. Students complete coursework as well as three research benchmarks, and they are required to participate in multiple supervised internships. The Ph.D. program also includes a concurrent master’s degree in community counseling. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to sit for licensure.

Average Program Cost: $10,404
Degree Specializations:
Ph.D. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#112 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#131 (tie) in Psychology
#205 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
APA
HLC

12. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah

The M.S. in Applied Sports Psychology has a thesis and non-thesis option.

Points: 10
Program Website

The University of Utah is a public research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the flagship university of the state, offering more than 90 graduate degree programs and more than 100 undergraduate majors. Students looking to pursue a master’s degree that will prepare them to practice sport psychology with athletes are encouraged to apply for the specialization in applied sport psychology within the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. Similarly, those interested in the M.S. non-thesis option in sport psychology should be aware that this program is also now a specialization within the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree.

Average Program Cost: $8,722
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Applied Sports Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#56 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#75 (tie) in Psychology
#119 (tie) in National Universities
#133 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
NWCCU

11. Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

Oregon State University offers both a MS and Ph.D in Kinesiology in Sport Psychology.

Points: 10
Program Website

Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon is the largest university in the state, offering doctoral and graduate degrees as well as more than 200 undergraduate programs to more than 28,000 students. Students looking for a graduate degree in sports psychology can choose from either an M.S. in Kinesiology with a sport psychology concentration or a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a sport psychology specialization. The M.S. requires two years of full-time study, while full-time doctoral students can complete the Ph.D. program in four years. At both levels, formal coursework is supplemented with individual or small group reading sessions, and all graduate students are trained to conduct independent research.

Average Program Cost: $8,370
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Kinesiology With Concentration in Sport Psychology
Ph.D. in Kinesiology With Sport Psychology Specialization
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#70 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#116 in Best Value Schools
#140 (tie) in National Universities
#149 (tie) in Psychology
Accreditations:
NWCCU

10. Southern Illinois University –  Edwardsville

Edwardsville, Illinois

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The MS in Kinesiology in Exercise and Sport Psychology integrates practice, research, and theory into the degree.

Points: 10
Program Website

Located in Edwardsville, Illinois, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a doctoral/professional public university that offers graduate programs through its Graduate School. The Department of Applied Health in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior offers an M.S. in Kinesiology with a specialization in exercise and sport psychology that integrates practice, research, and theory. Students will study the social, psychological, emotional, and cognitive factors that influence exercise and sport behaviors as well as the effects physical activity has on these factors. Coursework is offered in areas such as physical activity promotion, the psychology of coaching, sport sociology, rehabilitation and health psychology, exercise psychology, and sport psychology.

Average Program Cost: $7,744
Degree Specializations:
Master of Science in Kinesiology With a Specialization in Exercise and Sport Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#14 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#72 in Best Value Schools
#72 (tie) in Regional Universities Midwest
Accreditations:
HLC

9. Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.Ed. in Counseling in Sports Psychology requires 400 sport psychology-focused internship hours.

Points: 11
Program Website

Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts that employs more than 3,900 faculty member and enrolls nearly 33,000 students per year. BU offers a Master of Education in Counseling with a concentration in sports psychology. Students learn through a combination of sequenced coursework and diverse, hands-on experiences in the field. Specifically, the sports psychology concentration includes classes in sport psychology research, sport science, sport theory, the psychology of coaching teams, and sport psychology skills. Students complete 400 sport psychology-focused internship hours in preparation to complete the clinical and pre-master’s academic requirements to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor as well as to become an Association of Applied Sport Psychology Certified Consultant.

Average Program Cost: $53,592
Degree Specializations:
Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Counseling in Sports Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#39 in Psychology
#42 (tie) in National Universities
#46 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
NECHE

8. Ithaca College

Ithaca, New York

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The MS in Exercise and Sport Science in Sport Psychology curriculum derived from social, experimental, educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology.

Points: 11
Program Website

Founded in 1892 as a conservatory of music, Ithaca College is now a private liberal arts college in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca’s graduate program in exercise and sport sciences features a proud heritage built on flexible curricula, practical experiences, easy faculty access, small classes, and great facilities. Students may choose from concentrations in human performance, exercise physiology and sport psychology, which focuses on applied practice and theoretical research. The curriculum is derived from social, experimental, educational, developmental, and cognitive psychology as well as from the basic understanding of the sports industry and its demands.

Average Program Cost: $13,626
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Exercise and Sport Sciences – Concentration in Sport Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#9 in Regional Universities North
#14 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
MSCHE

7. University of North Carolina Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The kinesiology department offers both the MS and Ph.D in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Points: 11
Program Website

The University of North Carolina Greensboro is a public research university that offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs to more than 20,000 students per year. The school’s Department of Kinesiology offers both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Students pursuing the master’s degree can choose from either a thesis option, designed for those who wish to attain research-related professions or a doctoral degree, or a coursework-only option, designed for those looking to enhance their position within their chosen career path. The Ph.D. is research-intensive and designed for students looking to pursue academic positions at the university level.

Average Program Cost: $7,479
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#109 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#131 (tie) in Psychology
#201 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
APA
SACSCOC

6. University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.Ed in Sport Psychology requires 48 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 11
Program Website

The University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri is a public, land-grant research institution. Founded in 1839, it is the largest university in the state, enrolling more than 30,000 students per year in more than 300 degree programs across 20 academic colleges. Mizzou offers an M.Ed. in Sports Psychology that consists of 48 credit hours of study in the fields of career counseling and sport psychology. The curriculum is based on a scientist-practitioner model of training as well as a holistic view of how personal adjustment, career choice, and sport provide one with both a personal life and a rewarding, engaging career. Graduates may be entitled to sit for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor after completing coursework and 3,000 hours of supervised counseling.

Average Program Cost: $6,617
Degree Specializations:
M.Ed. in Sport Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#45 (tie) in Psychology
#61 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#78 in Best Value Schools
#129 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
HLC

5. Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The M.S. in Sports Psychology provides a solid foundation in sport psychology research, theory, and real-life situational practice.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1851, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida is a public sea- and space-grant research university that enrolls nearly 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually. Florida State’s M.S. in Sports Psychology that provides a solid foundation in sport psychology research, theory, and real-life situational practice. In addition to completing coursework, students have many opportunities to provide sport psychology services to club and varsity teams at FSU and athletes within the Tallahassee community. Graduates expand their knowledge in the area of sport behavior, learn to assist athletes in resolving sport-related problems, and gain skills that may be applied to enhance sport skill performance.

Average Program Cost: $8,628
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sports Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#26 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#60 (tie) in Psychology
#70 (tie) in National Universities
#99 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
SACSCOC

4. Springfield College

Springfield, Massachusetts

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The Sport and Exercise Psychology programs offer ample fieldwork opportunities to prepare students for professional work.

Points: 13
Program Website

Known as the birthplace of basketball, Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts is a private, coeducational college that confers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Through Springfield’s M.S. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, students gain a theoretical understanding of sport from physiological, sociological, psychological, and philosophical viewpoints. Students can expect courses in research methods and statistics to help prepare them to complete the master’s thesis, and other topics of study include social and cultural manifestations of sport, motor learning and control, applied sport psychology, leadership, attentional focus, anxiety, and motivation. Applied fieldwork opportunities prepare students for professional work as well as for Ph.D. programs in kinesiology or sport psychology.

Average Program Cost: $22,806
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#19 in Best Value Schools
#28 (tie) in Regional Universities North
Accreditations:
APA
NECHE

3. Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The Department of Kinesiology offers both an MS and a Ph.D in Sport Psychology.

Points: 13
Program Website

Founded in 1884, Temple University is a state-related research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Public Health confers both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology. The mission of the department is to advance the understanding of, and comprehensive inquiry into, human movement in all of its implications and forms. Both master’s and doctoral students may pursue a concentration in the psychology of movement, and students may have the opportunity to learn in five research laboratories. Graduates are prepared for careers as sport psychologists, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers, curriculum developers, physical education teachers, and clinicians.

Average Program Cost: $17,172
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Kinesiology With Concentration in Psychology of Movement
Ph.D. in Kinesiology With Psychology of Movement Specialization
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#46 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#60 (tie) in Psychology
#93 in Best Value Schools
#106 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
APA
MSCHE

2. University of Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

The University of Tennessee offers both a MS and Ph.D in Kinesiology in Sport Psychology.

Points: 13
Program Website

Founded in 1794, two years before Tennessee became the 16th state, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System. Students may pursue either an M.S. or a Ph.D. in Kinesiology, both of which offer a concentration in sport psychology. Throughout the programs, graduate students study human movement, especially the role of physical activity and its impact on quality of life, society, human performance, and health. Graduates are prepared for careers related to sport psychology consulting, coaching, athletic training, sports medicine, rehabilitation, health promotion, and fitness.

Average Program Cost: $13,120
Degree Specializations:
M.S. in Kinesiology With Concentration in Sport Psychology
Ph.D. in Kinesiology With Sport Psychology Specialization
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#52 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#90 in Psychology
#100 in Best Value Schools
#115 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
APA
SACSCOC

1. Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Ranking Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs 2019

Purdue University offers multiple degrees in Sport Psychology.

Points: 18
Located in West Lafayette, Indiana and founded in 1869, Purdue University is a public research university and the flagship campus of the Purdue University System. Master’s and doctoral degrees are offered, and there are opportunities for a dual degree with the Master of Public Health program in the school’s College of Health and Human Sciences. The graduate program, as a whole, in sport and exercise psychology at Purdue features an emphasis on research, and students focus on social relationships, motivation, self-perceptions, and emotional processes as well as adaptations to adversity in physical activity, exercise, and sport settings.

Average Program Cost: $9,992
Degree Specializations:
Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Dual Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Master of Public Health
Dual Doctor of Philosophy in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Master of Public Health
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#17 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#39 (tie) in Psychology
#56 (tie) in National Universities
#90 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
APA
HLC

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for a Graduate Sports Psychology Degree?

A career in sports psychology is ideal for someone who has not only an interest in sports but who is also considering working in the field of psychology. Sports psychology is a specialized discipline that draws upon psychology, medicine, kinesiology, physiology, and biomechanics to help athletes maintain optimal performance and adjustment. Most positions in this field require a master’s, and many require a doctoral degree as well as licensure. Some of the most popular careers under the umbrella of sports psychology are:

  • Clinical Sports Psychologist: Clinical sports psychologists work with athletes to help them overcome mental health issues that can happen due to stress such as performance anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
  • Applied Sports Psychologist: An applied sports psychologist works with athletes to improve their performance by implementing mental techniques such as visualization.
  • Sports Research Specialist: Graduates may find work in a research laboratory, either in a private setting or as part of an academic team of researchers. They conduct experiments to find out more about endurance, motivation, and human behavior in an athletic environment.
  • Sports Rehabilitation Therapist: Whereas physical therapists work on rehabilitating injured muscles, sports rehabilitation therapists work on the psychological aspect of recovery such as helping athletes overcome depression and frustration to mentally get back into the game.
  • Professional Team Coach: Graduates pursuing careers in the NFL or NBA may seek employment as head coaches, team therapists, or assistant coaches.
  • University Team Coach: Aspiring university team coaches, whether they aim to become head or assistant coaches, will find that a degree in sports psychology can help them get ahead.
  • Sports Psychology Professor: Sports psychology professors teach the fundamentals of the field to college students, working within the classroom as a professor as well as in the university as an assistant coach.
  • Social Worker: Sports psychologists also work with the general public as social workers, promoting health and fitness in community outreach programs or helping assist with fitness campaigns for young people.
  • Guidance Counselor: Graduates may seek employment as guidance counselors at the university, high school, or elementary levels, helping to promote positive self-esteem while giving fitness and health advice.
  • High School Teacher: There is a need for qualified teachers who can educate students about the basics of psychology with a health-positive spin.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific data for the field of sports psychology. However, psychologists as a whole reported a median annual salary of $77,030 per year as of May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,520.

However, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), the salary for sports psychologists can vary significantly. Most experts working in university athletic departments may earn between $60,000 and $80,000 annually, with some yearly salaries exceeding $100,000. In addition, private practitioners can expect a varied income. Sports psychologists often cater to a specific niche of clients who pay out-of-pocket for their services, meaning that there is no ceiling or floor for the amount of income a professional can earn in this field. Therefore, sports psychologists acting as private practitioners may earn a significantly higher salary by taking on more affluent clients.

What Are the Various Disciplines of Sports Psychology?

Compared to other disciplines under the psychology umbrella, sports psychology is relatively new. Formally, it began in the 1920s when European countries started to measure the mind and body as well as the effect of sports on both. However, the discipline of sports psychology is rapidly growing in popularity as professional teams in every major sport begin to tap into psychology to help maximize their players’ health and wellness. Simply put, sports psychology focuses on using knowledge of biomechanics, kinesiology, and more to study what psychological factors impact performance — and vice versa.

A sports psychologist’s primary responsibility is to hone and train the minds of athletes to improve performance on the court or on the field. However, sports psychologists may also work with parents and coaches regarding subjects like the mental side of rehabilitation and injury, how to improve communication with athletes, and how to foster team communication. There are three types of psychologists recognized within the following disciplines of sports psychology:

  • Academic Sport Psychology: This area involves teaching at universities and colleges and/or conducting research.
  • Clinical Sport Psychology: This area combines psychotherapy with mental training strategies to assist those coping with mental issues.
  • Applied Sport Psychology: This area involves teaching skills to enhance athletic performance.

There is some debate by sports psychologists as to whether the discipline should count as counseling or psychology and how formulaic and legitimate the discipline should be. However, what is clear is that, since the early 1980s, sports psychology has taken a giant leap forward as an industry. If you are comparing the best graduate sports psychology degree programs in order to start down this exciting yet rewarding path, you can rest assured that your future is bright.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs.

By OPD Staff
July 2019