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The top bachelor’s degrees in sports psychology

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    Why get a BA in sports psychology

    If you want to be a sports psychologist, a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology is often the first step in your career. Those who choose this degree are often targeting jobs working with professional athletes, coaching a local team or supporting the health of a community. This interdisciplinary degree combines several fields and focuses on the interplay between body and mind.

    With an understanding of sports psychology, you gain skills and techniques that enable you to optimize athletes’ performance. You can learn how to motivate them, help them work through fears and anxiety and support them during injury and rehabilitation.

    Many sports psychology jobs require a graduate degree and a bachelor’s degree is typically a prerequisite to a master’s or doctorate. Read on to learn about the best schools for getting your bachelor’s in sports psychology.

    Best programs for a bachelor’s in sports psychology

    • Rutgers University

      Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Jersey
      Rutgers University

      The department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University delivers programs in exercise science and sport studies. The school accepts transfer credits with transfer students needing to meet the same admission requirements as non-transfers, including academic transcripts and standardized test scores.

      At Rutgers, you can choose to earn a bachelor of science (B.S.) in:

      • applied kinesiology
      • exercise science
      • exercise physiology
      • sports management

      All students start in the applied kinesiology program and can specialize an additional 3 topics if they choose. The exercise science degree includes 5 psychology modules. The program is taught in person at the New Brunswick campus.

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    • California State University

      California State University Long Beach, California
      California State University

      The College of Health and Human Services at California State University delivers programs in kinesiology. If you have completed coursework at another institution but did not earn a bachelor’s degree, CSU accepts transfer students and will recognize your credits.

      You can choose to earn a B.S. in kinesiology with the following options:

      • psychology and leadership
      • athletic training
      • exercise science
      • fitness
      • physical education – teacher education

      The psychology and leadership option is designed for those interested in a career as a sports psychologist. This program focuses on the psychological, physiological and biomechanical aspects of human movement. It is taught in person at the Long Beach campus.

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    • Ithaca College

      Ithaca College Ithaca, New York
      Ithaca College

      At Ithaca College, you can choose a major and a minor to create your own sports psychology program. If you prefer to focus on the psychological side, you could opt for a bachelor of arts (B.A.) in psychology or a B.S. in applied psychology with a minor in sport and exercise psychology. Alternatively, you could choose a B.S. in exercise science with a sport and exercise psychology minor.

      The programs are taught by the department of psychology at the school of humanities and sciences and the department of exercise and sports sciences at the school of health sciences and human performance. Ithaca College accepts transfer credits from accredited colleges where grade C or higher was obtained.

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    • National University

      National University La Jolla, California
      National University

      National University has more than 20 campus locations as well as an online learning option. The College of Letters and Sciences delivers a B.A. in sports psychology. The program is divided into 4-week long classes and there are multiple start dates.

      The coursework is split into general education modules, core requirements and upper-division electives. NU has agreements with many community colleges and institutions to transfer credits.

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    • Texas State University

      Texas State University San Marcos, Texas
      Texas State University

      The department of health and human performance collaborates with the department of psychology to deliver a minor in sports psychology. You can combine it with a wide range of majors, although you might be interested in a B.A. or B.S. in psychology or exercise and sports science.

      The university accepts transfer students and admission requirements depend on the number of credits you want to transfer. A minimum 2.0 grade point average (GPA) is required, although other elements of applications are considered. The program is taught in person at the San Marcos campus.

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    • Rice University

      Rice University Houston, Texas
      Rice University

      At the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, you can find a B.A. in sports medicine and exercise physiology from the department of kinesiology. It includes several modules that focus on sports psychology, including psychological aspects of sport and exercise and psychological aspects of sports injury and rehabilitation.

      The school accepts domestic and international transfers. You can transfer credits if you have completed more than 12 semester hours. The program is taught in person on the Houston campus.

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    • Occidental College

      Occidental College Los Angeles, California
      Occidental College

      Occidental College offers a major in kinesiology, which focuses on biomechanical factors and movement. The school operates by running a core program that provides general education modules. There is a sports and exercise psychology elective, as well as a mandatory psychology component.

      Occidental College accepts transfer students, although courses need to be approved and must come from an accredited institution. The program is taught in person at the campus in Los Angeles.

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    Financial support

    There are a number of options when it comes to financial support for your education including loans, grants and scholarships. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine your eligibility.


    Additional resources

    American Psychological Association (APA)

    A professional membership organization that’s aimed at all psychologists and has a dedicated section for sports psychologists. It has information about certification.

    Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

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

    American Board of Sports Psychology (ABSP)

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