Online Master's Degree Programs in Sports Science

Online master's degree programs in sports science or exercise science could prepare you for a career as a trainer, coach or sports agent. Learn about the classes offered and career opportunities. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Prerequisites for Sports Science Programs?

Some master's degree programs in sports science require you to hold prior work experience as a health, fitness or exercise science professional before applying to the program. Other schools only require that you hold a bachelor's degree in a science-related major. After applying to a program and meeting the qualifications, you might need to attend an interview with a university representative.

Admission RequirementsBachelor's degree in related field, work experience and an interview may be required
Common Course TopicsExercise science, coaching theories, nutrition for athletes, sports psychology, current health and wellness issues
Technology RequirementsInternet access, computer, sound card, graphics card, speakers, headphones
Career PossibilitiesPersonal trainer, athletic trainer, coach

What Can I Expect During a Program?

Sports science is an interdisciplinary field that combines science and athletics with education and leadership skills. Master's degree programs in sports science or exercise science often allow you to select an emphasis within the subject, such as coaching, sports psychology, sports management or rehabilitation. Master's degree programs usually take 1-3 years to complete. Common sports science topics that you'll explore can include:

  • Current health and wellness issues
  • Nutrition for athletes
  • Injury prevention and treatment
  • Sports marketing and fundraising
  • Exercise science
  • Behavioral health
  • Coaching theories

During a program, you'll usually write a number of research and reflective papers, examining different training methods, health trends and wellness issues. Coursework also might include an internship or clinical portion, during which you might work with an individual athlete or an entire sports team. Some programs culminate in a final thesis, while others end with a paper detailing your experiences spent interning or researching.

How Do I Earn the Degree Online?

Online master's degree programs in sports science or exercise science usually allow you to communicate asynchronously with your classmates through e-mail and discussion boards. You can also enroll in a hybrid master's degree program that contains online courses, but requires you to meet on campus for laboratory work.

To participate in an online program, you usually need a high-speed Internet connection, a sound card, a graphics card, speakers and headphones. You also might be required to attend an online orientation before starting your classes.

What Jobs Are Available?

With your sports science or exercise science master's degree, you can work as a fitness or personal trainer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that fitness trainers and aerobics instructors made an average annual salary of $40,970 in May 2015 (

You can also become an athletic trainer. The BLS notes that certification is recommended before entering this field. The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) reported that you must graduate from a university program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education and pass the BOC exam to gain certification ( According to the BLS, athletic trainers' mean salary was around $46,940 in May 2015.

A master's degree in sports science also prepares you for a career in coaching. The BLS stated that coaches and scouts made an average of $40,050 per year in May 2015. If you're more interested in the business aspects of sports and fitness, you can apply for work as a sports agent with your master's degree. According to the BLS, agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes earned a mean salary of $95,810 in May 2015.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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