Sports Physician Degree Programs and Colleges

Read on to learn more about what a sports physician does and what the educational requirements are to enter this field. Learn about the professional training required of sports physicians and certification options for this career. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

To work as a sports physician, you must hold a doctorate in general medicine or osteopathic medicine. To practice in your state, you will need to pass the corresponding exam pertaining to your degree to become licensed.

Degree Options Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Sports Medicine (SM) master's degree
Courses Osteopathic manual medicine, hematology, pharmacology, evidence-based medicine, preventative medicine, neuroanatomy, clinical reasoning, clinical assessment
Training Completion of a residency, typically lasting a minimum of 3 years, required to gain specialized skills in sport medicine

What Is a Sports Physician?

Sports physicians are medically trained doctors who focus on treating physical fitness or sports injuries and problems. Many sports physicians work for athletic teams, ranging from collegiate to professional, or for athletic medical centers that help patients with muscular-skeletal impairment.

What Are the Prerequisites to Becoming a Sports Physician?

You typically must complete a 4-year undergraduate program before applying to medical school. Your undergraduate education should include two academic years of organic chemistry and one year each of English, physics and biology. Meeting these requirements allows you to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in order to enroll in medical school.

What Professional Training Programs Will I Need?

After medical school, you must enroll in a residency program, in which you are given further hands-on training. There are two residency routes you can take for sports medicine: primary care or orthopedic surgery. Primary care covers a wide range of specialties, from family practice to internal medicine. A residency program in these two fields should take at least three years, according to the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (

Once the residency is complete, most doctors interested in sports medicine complete a fellowship. For orthopedics, fellowship opportunities are found through surgical sports medicine programs. These fellowships typically last two years.

Primary care physicians may complete a certification exam after their fellowships. The certification exams are provided by two organizations: the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (AOA). The ABMS provides board certification in sports medicine under the primary care specialty ( The AOA has similar prerequisites as the ABMS but provides board certification for D.O.s. (

Are Online Programs Available?

Although some medical schools offer certain courses online, aspiring physicians can earn neither an M.D. nor a D.O. degree completely online. This is due to the hands-on training and nature of a medical school. You might find sports physician degree programs at the following schools:

  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Pennsylvania State College (University Park)
  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

What Will I Learn in Medical School?

Medical school takes four years to complete. The first two years are spent taking lecture courses. The next two years might include supervised work in hospitals or medical centers, helping patients with medications, therapy and medical diagnostics and learning how to treat patients in person. After completing medical school, D.O.s must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination and M.D.s must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination to become licensed to practice. Here are some of the courses you might be covering in your degree program:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Ethics
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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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