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Sports Psychology Master's Degree Programs

Sports psychology master's degree programs study the human mind in the context of sports and exercise. Learn about how long these programs take to complete and some of the common courses you might take.

Prerequisites for Admission To a Sports Psychology Master's Program

Typically, a school will ask for an official transcript from an accredited university that verifies the applicant has a bachelor's degree and a GPA of at least a 3.0. Some programs might consider a GPA as low as 2.5, but this is not typical. Having an undergrad degree in psychology is not always required, but it is strongly encouraged. Usually, a student will also need to send some letters of recommendation. An updated resume detailing all work and academic experience is also typically requested. A GRE score may or may not be required depending on the program.

How to Earn a Sports Psychology Master's Degree

A master's degree in sports psychology usually requires two years to complete and can come in the form of a Master of Arts or a Master of Science. An MA in Sports Psychology will be for students who are more interested in the psychological counseling aspects of the field. Alternatively, the MS degree might work better for students who want to focus on the physical aspects of sports. Furthermore, there are other master's degree programs that touch on aspects covered in a sport psychology master's program but are tailored to the sports and exercise world. Some of these programs may include an emphasis on coaching, exercise, or general performance and can be found in an on-campus setting or online. Below are some of the classes one might encounter in a typical program.

Sport Psychology/Applied Sport Psychology

Sport psychology courses typically instruct students in the link between theoretical psychological concepts and sports. They will often take a look at evidence taken from research into the subject and apply it to real-world situations that will help to increase the performance, health, and overall life satisfaction of a diverse group of individuals. In particular, students in these courses might gain a deeper knowledge of how to conduct research and apply the outcomes to counseling, teaching, coaching, fitness training, and other fields.

Performance Enhancement

A course in performance enhancement will investigate athletic and sports excellence based on current research and studies. These classes might include a look at what can stand in the way of a client or patient's performance. Besides sports performance, students might also explore the situations in which the skills gained in class might apply to mental health counseling, relationships, and non-sports-related careers. Some courses in performance enhancement might include studies in performance strategies such as meditation, progressive relaxation, visualization, and hypnosis.

Ethics in Psychology/Ethics in Sport Psychology

Depending on the program, the classes may focus on the application of ethics when it comes to the field of sports but it may encompass a general survey of sports ethics or societal ethical behavior. Sport psychology ethics classes will include instruction from an experienced, professional sports psychologist combined with readings that inform students of the situations in which ethical problems can affect their methods and standards of psychological counseling in sports.

Survey of Research Methods

Research methods courses focus on the processes of gathering research using both qualitative and quantitative methods. These courses typically cover how data is collected, styles of conducting interviews with subjects, and the analysis of data taken from this research. Usually, students will also be given the opportunity to learn how these methods will have a practical application to their profession.

Biomechanics

In a biomechanics course, students will learn the ways in which people physically move and how to apply those principles to athletes, students, and other clients. Themes covered in a biomechanics class can include the factors that go into gaining a physical skill, how that skill can be adapted to a particular discipline, and how to design a program for performing those skills at a high level on a consistent basis.

Field Experience

Most sports psychology master's programs will have a component where students put their knowledge to use in the real world. This experience can take the form of an internship or another type of fieldwork supervised by an experienced professional. In some programs, this may be required over multiple semesters.

Master's degree programs in sport psychology are for those seeking greater knowledge and experience helping athletes achieve excellence in performance, physical conditioning, and mental health. They typically require two years to complete and can be found on-campus and online.