Psychology Best master’s degrees in sports psychology

Best master’s degrees in sports psychology

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    Why get a master’s degree in sports psychology?

    A master’s degree in sports psychology allows you a detailed exploration of these 2 disciplines. You’ll look at psychological theories and approaches to gain an extensive understanding about how fitness, nutrition, and motivation can affect performance. The two subjects combine to examine issues including overcoming anxiety in sport, recovering from injury, and improving one’s mindset to influence training and competition.

    The graduate programs teach you a number of transferable skills that can be applied in several environments. You’ll understand the behaviors, processes, and attitudes that lead to success, as well as those that help with stress and high-pressure situations. While a passion for sports and exercise is essential, a desire to support, communicate, and challenge those you are coaching is also critical.

    A master’s degree in sports psychology can set you on the path to earn a doctorate and become a certified sports psychologist. Alternatively, you might choose to become a senior coach or consultant. Your first step is to identify your area of interest and select a university and program that suits your needs. Read on to discover our selection of the top schools offering a master’s degree in sports psychology.

    Top programs for a master’s in sports psychology

    #1 in Sports Psychology | #1 in Psychology

    California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, California

    Economic score: 0.13

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $82,103

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $46,278

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $24,256

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.30

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    The College of Health and Human Services at CSU offers an M.S. in kinesiology with a concentration in sport and exercise psychology. Coursework includes applied sport psychology, sport in U.S. culture, and psychological aspects of sport injury. Graduate teaching and research assistantships are available.

    The M.S. in kinesiology comes with the following concentration options:

    • Coaching and student athlete development
    • Sport management
    • Individualized studies
    • Exercise physiology and nutrition
    • Exercise science
    • Sport and exercise psychology

    For students who have completed coursework at another institution but haven’t earned their degree, CSU accepts and recognizes transfer credits. The program is taught in person at the Long Beach campus.

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    #2 in Sports Psychology | #6 in Psychology

    California State University-Fresno

    Fresno, California

    Economic score: 0.17

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $77,418

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $41,593

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $28,375

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.37

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    The Kinesiology Department of Fresno State offers an M.A. in Sports Psychology. The department also has similar degrees in Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Sport Administration.

    Sports Psychology graduates go on to work as coaches, sports medicine professionals, fitness instructors, or performance enhancement consultants. The program also prepares participants to become AASP Certified Consultants.

    Courses include statistics, research methods, psychobiology, mental training, talent development, and more. Typically, students also complete a research project, for which funding is available.

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    #3 in Sports Psychology | #7 in Psychology

    Minnesota State University-Mankato

    Mankato, Minnesota

    Economic score: 0.17

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $68,175

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $29,501

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $20,486

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.30

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    This public university in Mankato, Minnesota offers an M.S. in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. The program’s commitment to hands-on learning prepares students to work professionally with athletes or pursue doctoral studies.

    Graduate assistantships are available at the Center for Sport and Performance Psychology and throughout the university. To earn their degree, students must complete a capstone project.

    The curriculum covers sports psychology, ethics, research techniques, motor development, coaching psychology, behavior change theory, and more.

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    #4 in Sports Psychology | #16 in Psychology

    Louisiana Tech University

    Ruston, Louisiana

    Economic score: 0.26

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $52,107

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $21,275

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $22,955

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.44

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    Louisiana Tech is a public research university in Ruston, Louisiana. It offers an M.S. degree program in Kinesiology with a Sport and Exercises Psychology Concentration.

    M.S. students examine how psychological factors can affect motor performance, as well as the influence of physical activity on mental health. The degree is appropriate for students who wish to go on to pursue doctoral studies and for those who intend to work in coaching or community health.

    Participants study sports and exercise psychology, research methods, data analysis, psychophysiology, cognitive kinesiology, and more. To graduate, students must choose between an internship, directed research, or research and a thesis.

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    #5 in Sports Psychology | #30 in Psychology

    Florida State University

    Tallahassee, Florida

    Economic score: 0.30

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $65,740

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $32,733

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $39,890

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.61

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    The College of Education at FSU delivers a sports psychology graduate program through the department of educational psychology and learning systems. Coursework for the M.S. in sport psychology includes stress and performance, group dynamics in sport, and cognitive sport psychology.

    The program includes supervised practical work with athletes, which is essential for those wishing to pursue certification. There’s a coursework-only option with an exam or a thesis track. FSU accepts transfer students and credits from accredited institutions after evaluation. The program is taught in person at the Tallahassee campus.

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    #6 in Sports Psychology | #39 in Psychology

    Baylor University

    Waco, Texas

    Economic score: 0.35

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $50,439

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $15,571

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $25,267

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.50

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    Baylor is a private research university in Waco, Texas. It is affiliated with the Baptist Church. Baylor offers a Master’s Degree in Sport Pedagogy that prepares students to teach P.E. or become coaches. Program participants can also specialize in strength and conditioning or sports psychology.

    Students can get a teacher’s certification as part of the degree.

    Besides research methods and statistics, grad students learn about motor skill learning and performance, sports pedagogy, speed and agility training, biomechanics, sports psychology, and more. To graduate, students must complete either a thesis or an internship.

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    #7 in Sports Psychology | #41 in Psychology

    Montclair State University

    Montclair, New Jersey

    Economic score: 0.35

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

    View school
    Earnings: $58,616

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $19,025

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $30,750

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.52

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    Montclair is a top-tier public research university in New Jersey. It has an M.S. in Exercise Science and Sports Studies. The program has two tracks:

    • Exercise Science – students focus on exercise physiology and biomechanics. Coursework covers sport psychology, cardiac rehabilitation, physiology, coaching techniques, and more. Graduates go on to work in health, fitness, and clinical physiology.
    • Sport administration – students hone the skills necessary to work in the sports industry as coaches or managers. There is more of a focus on business.

    Classes are mostly held in the evening, and they combine distance learning and in-person meetings. To graduate, students must complete either an internship or a research project. Financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships is available.

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    #8 in Sports Psychology | #50 in Psychology

    University of Kentucky

    Lexington, Kentucky

    Economic score: 0.39

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $47,689

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $16,449

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $28,055

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.59

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    UK is a public research university in Lexington, Kentucky. It offers an M.S. with a Concentration in Sport and Exercise Psychology through the College of Education’s Kinesiology & Health Promotion Department.

    Students of this interdisciplinary degree program explore the psychological factors that influence sports and physical activity, integrating theory-based research and applied concepts. Students choose between two tracks:

    • Applied – helps students to attain CMPC certification and become coaches, performance consultants, resilience trainers, etc. Students must complete an internship and take written and oral exams.
    • Research – prepares students for a career in academia. Students must complete and defend a master’s thesis.

    Courses include psychology of sports, group dynamics, health promotion and behavior change, sports medicine, leadership, group counselling, and more.

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    #9 in Sports Psychology | #72 in Psychology

    University of North Texas

    Denton, Texas

    Economic score: 0.46

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $50,186

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $15,318

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $33,423

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.67

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    Check out UNT’s sports psychology program from the department of kinesiology, health promotion, and recreation. It delivers an M.S. in kinesiology with an emphasis in psychosocial aspects of sport and exercise.

    The coursework includes motor behavior, sport and exercise psychology, and social psychology of sport. There’s an option to complete a thesis; non-thesis students can sit an exam, choose additional electives, and conclude with a capstone project. UNT accepts transfer admissions and all master’s degree students need to meet the Toulouse Graduate School requirements. The program is taught in person at the campus in Denton.

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    #10 in Sports Psychology | #109 in Psychology

    Ball State University

    Muncie, Indiana

    Economic score: 0.60

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $44,777

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $12,284

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $37,093

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.83

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    The School of Kinesiology at Ball State University delivers several programs:

    • M.A. in sport and exercise psychology
    • M.S. in sport and exercise psychology
    • M.S. in clinical exercise physiology
    • M.A. in sports performance

    Depending on your chosen career path, you might want to focus on the performance aspect for coaching or psychology if you aim to become a consultant or sports psychologist.

    The coursework for the psychology concentration includes sport sociology, psychology of injury rehabilitation, and a sports psychology practicum. Students completing a thesis will earn an M.S., whereas those who choose a project or research paper will earn an M.A. Ball State University will consider accepting transfer credits where a C grade or higher was obtained. The program is taught in person at the campus in Muncie.

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    #11 in Sports Psychology | #138 in Psychology

    University of Houston–Victoria

    Victoria, Texas

    Economic score: 0.67

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $42,682

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $7,814

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $35,146

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 0.82

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    UHV is a public university in Texas with an M.S. in Sport Management degree, which is offered through the College of Education and Health Professions. Psychological aspects of kinesiology are one of the core components of the degree program, along with ethics and leadership. Students also learn about sports marketing, finance, HR, and organizational behavior.

    To graduate, students must pass multiple exams. The program prepares participants for management positions in the sports industry.

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    #12 in Sports Psychology

    Boston University

    Boston, Massachusetts

    Economic score: 1.45

    Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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    Earnings: $43,808

    Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

    EarningsPlus: + $3,487

    Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

    Debt: $69,181

    The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

    Debt to earnings: 1.58

    Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

    The Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at BU offers a masters of education degree (EdM) with a concentration in sports psychology. The program has a strong foundation in mental health concepts, which makes it ideal for those wanting to become a licensed counselor or sports psychologist.

    Coursework includes performance enhancement, a sports psychology practicum, and 700 training experience hours. Transfer students need to meet the same admission requirements as other students. Any credits that have been earned at another institution but haven’t been used towards a degree will be evaluated for transfer. The program is taught in-person at Wheelock College in Boston.

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    Financial support

    When it comes to financial support for your degree, you’ll have a few choices. They include grants, scholarships, financial aid, or a federal loan. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine your eligibility for federal aid.

    Alternatively, you might consider an award, scholarship, or grant for graduate students studying sports psychology. For example, the American Psychological Foundation (APF) provides graduate scholarships for those conducting research and intending to continue their education to earn a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.).

    Careers

    Many people who study sports psychology wish to pursue a career as a sports psychologist. The average annual salary for that position is $75,076. This role requires a doctoral degree, which means you’ll need to continue your education.

    However, there are other options for master’s degree holders. With certification from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), you could become a certified mental performance consultant, with an average annual salary of $53,513. Other options include a sports coach, with an average annual salary of $44,158, or a post-secondary teacher, with an average annual salary of $80,560.

    Additional resources

    Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

    A professional organization that oversees certification opportunities for members and promotes best practice in the field.

    American Board of Sports Psychology (ABSP)

    An organization that aims to advance education and best practice for sports psychologists. It also offers competency and certification opportunities.

    American Psychological Association (APA)

    A professional membership organization aimed at psychologists and has a dedicated section for sports psychologists.