Sports, for many people, is a form of recreation and a fun way to stay active and fit. Then, some others indulge in group sports with friends and family to bring in a touch of competitiveness and seriousness. But the ultimate use of sport is in making it a profession, to make a living out of it, and unleash the full potential one may have in competitive sport.

Master’s in Sports Psychology online program involves studying individual mechanisms that influence motivation, efficacy, and anxiety or stress, along with social factors such as team participation, coaching, and effectiveness in leadership. Sports Psychology Master’s programs also investigate how playing sports affects people mentally and emotionally, what makes some people push themselves to their limits and beyond, and why others want to play competitive sports rather than recreational sports.

Masters in Sports Psychology Online

In a nutshell, Sports Psychology is a field of psychology that studies how people are influenced by playing sports and how to change a person’s mentality to succeed and excel at sports through a deeper understanding of how the mind and body must be healthy to do so. Sports Psychologists typically help athletes with psychological treatments to reduce anxiety before performances.

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Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

The best Master’s in Sports Psychology online programs must cover a broader spectrum of courses that will enable students to tap into various career options, apart from the default world of performance sports. Treating or counseling people in high-stress, high-competitive professions, such as business people, performers, and politicians, fall under alternatives to careers oriented around professional athletes. Other factors such as the experience and quality of faculty, sports infrastructure, the efficacy of instruction delivery, and cost should form the basis for a program to qualify as the best.

Keeping in line with all of these factors and more, here are some of the best Sports Psychology programs that have made it to our list:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Missouri, Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
University of Florida
341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611
University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80208
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Rider University
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648
Capella University
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Ohio University
020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
A T Still University of Health Sciences
800 W Jefferson, Kirksville, Missouri 63501
Concordia University
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
Vanguard University of Southern California
55 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, California 92626
University of Western States, Portland
8000 NE Tillamook Street, Portland, Oregon 97213
Lock Haven University
401 North Fairview Street, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania 17745
California University of Pennsylvania
250 University Ave, California, Pennsylvania 15419
American Military University
111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414
University of West Alabama
Station One, Livingston, Alabama 35470
Barry University
11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33161
Medaille College
18 Agassiz Circle, Buffalo, New York 14214
Adams State University
208 Edgemont Blvd, Alamosa, Colorado 81101
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
University of Southwest
6610 North Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, New Mexico 88240

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Sports Psychology Master’s programs largely rest on the three pillars of psychology, kinesiology and physiology. This program is predominantly meant for students who want to learn about the relationship between psychological, behavioral, and physiological factors that influence athletic participation and success. Students also investigate psychological and social factors that affect participation in sport and physical activity by studying human thinking, emotion, physical ability, and the actions and reactions in recreational and competitive sports.

Within the field of sports psychology, there are three types of psychology, which can be looked at as tracks:

  1. Academic Sport Psychology: academic-oriented and involves teaching at schools, colleges, and universities and/or conducting research.
  2. Clinical Sport Psychology: clinical oriented and blends psychotherapy with behavioral-training techniques to help people dealing with mental illnesses.
  3. Applied Sport Psychology: field-oriented and involves developing strategies and teaching skills to enhance athletic performance.

Masters in Sports Psychology Online Degree Types

Depending on an individual’s personal and professional goals, they can choose a type of degree that serves them best. There are three ways of pursuing a Master’s in Sports Psychology online, each with its unique approach and catering to specific personal and professional needs.

MA in Sports Psychology

The Master of Arts or MA in Sports Psychology blends subjects from multiple disciplines such as psychology, sociology, wellness, and humanities, and applies them in sport, to understand how they affect performance and influence athletes and society as a whole.

MS in Sports Psychology

The Master of Science or MS in Sports Psychology relies more on scientific methodology and approaches in understanding the psychology of a sportsperson on and off the field. This program also explores performance enhancement and intervention methods and the study of injury, rehabilitation, and recovery from a technical viewpoint.

M.Psych Degree

The Master of Psychology or M.Psych. Degree (sometimes also abbreviated as Psy.M.) is a Master’s degree in pure Psychology. This program covers the fundamentals of Psychology and better prepare students for a Ph.D. or specializations. To major in sports, students will have to opt for electives or courses that cover Sports Psychology.

Specializations in Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Specializations allow students to add some extra weight to their Master’s in Sports Psychology online degree. They dive deeper into specific areas within Sports Psychology and present better career prospects while also addressing one’s professional goals. Some colleges also offer different tracks in Sports Psychology, such as Psychology, Fitness Consulting, and Counseling. Some examples of specializations and concentrations in Sports Psychology are:

  • Applied Sport Psychology
  • Applied Sport Science
  • Exercise Psychology Master’s Programs
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Sport and Performance Psychology
  • Sports and Exercise Psychology Master’s Programs
  • Sports & Performance Psychology as a Business
  • Performance Enhancement & Injury Prevention
  • Advanced Performance Enhancement: Core Mind-Body Practices
  • Advanced Performance Enhancement: Integrative Mind-Body Practices
  • Advanced Performance Enhancement: The Psychology of Peak Experience
  • Nutrition
  • Rehabilitation in Sports & Performance
  • Wellness and Fitness
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Advanced Psychomotor Development & Kinesiology
  • Advanced Group Dynamics in Sports & Performance Settings
  • Sport Law
  • Professional Athlete Development
  • Group Fitness Leadership

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

The curriculum of the Master’s program containing online Sports Psychology courses generally includes the learning of the fundamentals of Sports Psychology and clinical work, as well as subjects related to dealing with athletes and other forms of performers. The theories and principles of psychological and physical effects of playing sports are focused on, with a multi-disciplinary approach to quite some extent. Although curriculum varies by program and college, a Master’s in Sports Psychology online program can include the following courses:

  • Sport and Society
  • Sports Psychology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Sport Management
  • Applied Sport Psychology
  • Leadership in Sport Administration
  • Sports Science and Coaching
  • Applied Mental Skills Training
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Social Psychology
  • Principles of Adherence and Motivation
  • Military Psychology
  • Fitness Testing
  • Psychology of Performance Excellence
  • Sports Performance Enhancement
  • Advanced Exercise Physiology
  • Critical Thinking in the Sports and Health Industries
  • Assessment in Sport Psychology
  • Psychology of Human Performance
  • Exercise and Mental Health
  • Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention
  • Introduction to Mental Skills Training
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Diversity and Equity in Sport
  • Psychological Aspects of Health and Fitness Programming
  • Essentials of Human Performance and Exercise Science
  • Introduction to Applied Sport and Performance Psychology
  • Ethics and Professional Identity
  • Ethics and Diversity in Athletic Coaching
  • Student-Athlete Development and Leadership
  • Goal Setting
  • Stress Management for the Physically Active
  • Psychology of Coaching
  • Psychological Preparation and Mental Skills Training
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology for Performance Enhancement
  • Social-Psychology of the Body, Health and Performance
  • Psychology and Sociology of Human Performance
  • Recruiting & Budgeting in Sport
  • Psychology of Athletic Performance
  • Motivational Processes
  • Stress in Sport and Exercise
  • Mental Strength and Conditioning
  • Psychology of Coaching
  • Coaching Theory
  • Clinical Sport Psychology
  • Performance and Conditioning for Athletic Coaches
  • Psych of Athletic Injury/Recovery
  • Ethics and Sport
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Advanced Cognitive Psychology
  • Sociocultural Aspects of Sport Coaching
  • Advanced Kinesiology
  • Psychology of Athletic Injury
  • Sports in American Culture
  • Business and Entrepreneurship in the Fitness Industry
  • Industrial, Clinical, and Corporate Wellness
  • Advanced Topics in SAQ and Endurance Training
  • Exercise Physiology: Assessment and Exercise Prescription

Graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology amass a wide skill set, and by the end of their programs, Sports Psychologists will typically be able to help athletes:

  • set goals and improve their performance;
  • overcome mental and emotional barriers;
  • recover faster from sports injuries;
  • devise strategies for endurance;
  • build resilience, strength, and stamina for enhanced performance;
  • analyze and interpret testing results;
  • learn and use various assessment devices and methods;
  • develop and implement customized and specialized plans that enhance performance.

Apart from these, Sports Psychologists will also be able to:

  • identify psychological theories that explain why people participate in and do well in sports and physical activities;
  • explain sport as a social phenomenon involving community dynamics, coaching, and the efficacy of leadership;
  • assess athletes’ psychological needs and develop effective approaches to improve the performance, personal development, and experience of physical activity of sportspersons.

Accreditation for Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Accreditation is a crucial aspect of any Master’s Degree. An accredited Master’s in Sports Psychology online is required for licensure and practice, which is why students should ensure that a recognized body endorses the college they are applying to or the program. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) is one such organization that accredits Sports Psychology programs. Regional Accreditation from agencies such as Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CSS)Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)Accrediting Commission for Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), etc., are also of immense value and importance. The Accreditation Guide throws ample light on how and why Accreditation is necessary and why students must always opt for accredited programs or universities that offer Sports Psychology.

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

In almost all cases, an online Master’s in Sports Psychology online program is of a duration of 1 year if taken up full-time. Part-timers can complete their program from anywhere between 18 months and 48 months, depending on the courses taken, any practicum involved, and the number of credits.

Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs Admission Requirements

A graduate program such as the Master’s in Sports Psychology online usually requires a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in psychology, or at least a Bachelor’s Degree with a certain amount of credits in psychology coursework and/or kinesiology or other sports-related courses. Other Sports Psychologist education requirements may include:

  • An Application Form with its requisite Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • Personal Statement and/or Professional Resume, citing experience in athletics, coaching, psychology research, or other related environments
  • At least 2 to 3 References

A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (failing which a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Score may be required)

Note: Each college may have its independent and specific admission requirements. Therefore, it is always wise to check with the college’s admissions office or read the program guide for more and exact requirements.

Online Masters in Sports Psychology No GRE Programs

No-GRE Sports Psychology Master’s programs are becoming increasingly common, especially among students who want to finish their studies and start working sooner. Fortunately, most Master’s in Sports Psychology programs do not entail submitting a Standardized Test Score such as the GRE or GMAT. However, if a student’s cumulative undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) is less than 3.0, colleges are likely to request a GRE ranking.

1-Year Online Masters in Sports Psychology Programs

1 year Sports Psychology Master’s programs are ideal for students who want to complete their studies as quickly as possible and jump right into a career. Most Master’s in Sports Psychology programs are for one year that requires full-time attendance and summer studies.

Free Online Sports Psychology Courses

Although free online Sports Psychology courses do not culminate in the award of a Master’s Degree, they help students explore the field of Sports Psychology and further their knowledge on specific topics. At best, such free courses are only tools – far from a full-fledged Master’s program. Here are a few places online that offer some free courses:

  1. OpenLearn
    Produced by The Open University, OpenLearn is an open and distance learning portal that offers at least 21 free courses at different levels on health, sports, and Psychology.
  2. The United States Sports Academy
    The United States Sports Academy offers free sample courses to help individuals increase their knowledge and skill in sport, as well as for entertainment and enrichment. Sample courses include Introduction to Coaching, Sports-Related Concussions, and Maternity Wellness.
  3. Class Central
    Class Central has courses from the Wageningen University, Duke University, University of Michigan, University of California, and other top universities and instructors around the world, on a wide range of topics, such as The Science of Training Young Athletes, Sports and Society, Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, and more.
  4. Alison
    Alison provides free online courses in Sports Psychology and related subjects like health, motivation, coaching, fitness, etc.

How to Pay for Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Paying for Tuition is increasingly a challenge. ‘U.S. News reports that the average Tuition and Fees at private National Universities have jumped 144%, showing no signs of receding in the foreseeable future. Add to that, living expenses for Students have also steadily been on the rise. 69% of College Students who took out Student Loans graduated in 2024 with an average debt of $29,900, necessitating a closer look and wiser decision when picking a College for MFA Programs.

 To ease the burden of paying for Tuition, these are some of the ways one could consider while budgeting for an MFA Program:


Usually merit-based, scholarships offer financial assistance to eligible students and do not require repayment. Most Universities offer in-house scholarships, but private agencies, individuals, alumni, research organizations, and foundations offer them based on academic achievement, community service, cultural heritage, religious affiliation, and other such criteria. Some scholarships are purpose-specific, such as  Disability ScholarshipsAfrican American Scholarships, and Scholarships for Women. (Note: Learn who not to get entangled in online Scholarship Scams.)


Grants are funds provided by the federal, state, or private sectors and can be used to cover the tuition fee and/or other associated student expenses, such as study materials, transport, equipment, etc. Grants are usually awarded based on financial needs rather than academic achievement.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships allow a student to assist the college or program with teaching or non-teaching work while studying simultaneously. Graduate Assistants are paid for services rendered, which can in turn fund some educational expenses.

Working on Campus

There is a possibility of being employed by the University one is studying in. A part-time job at the university is often on campus, and students can earn a reasonable salary.

Student Loans

Those who do not mind paying interest on money borrowed, loans from the federal government, banks, or private organizations, can help pay for education. However, there is a danger of increased student debt if repayments are irregular, delayed or defaulted, due to compounded interest.


Students can check if they are eligible for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, which is essentially a simple and straightforward application form. A complete guide to FAFSA is available here.

Read the best Financial Guide to know about how to finance advanced education.

Scholarships for Masters in Sports Psychology Online Students

Scholarships for an online Master’s in Sports Psychology are available at several Universities. Many individuals and private entities also provide scholarships based on merit, community, culture, faith, and ethnicity, among other factors. Here are a few Sports Psychology scholarships for students to explore and apply to:

APF Graduate Student Scholarships

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards 21 scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 every year for graduate students in Psychology. These scholarships are sponsored by several Individuals associated with APF. Application Deadline: June 30th, 2024.

Association for Applied Sport Psychology Grants

The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) provides support to early-career professionals, and students for their research endeavors, through grants of up to $17,500. Eligible students can apply for Research, Collaborative Research, or Community Research Grants, as well as the Oglesby-Snyder Grant for Equity and Cultural Diversity, among others. Application Deadlines: Vary.

Scholarships for Women

Scholarships for Women is a website that lists out the various scholarships available for women studying Psychology. Details of the sponsor, eligibility criteria, award amounts, deadlines, and direct links are provided. Application Deadlines: Vary.

Psi Chi

The International Honor Society in Psychology offers graduate students of Psychology programs several awards, grants, scholarships, and fellowships ranging from $400 to $3,000, totaling to about $400,000 every year. A direct link to each offer is provided that lists out specific details. Application Deadlines: Vary.

FAQs about Sports Psychology Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What schools offer Sports Psychology?

There is a wide selection of schools that offer Sports Psychology Master’s programs across the length and breadth of the United States. Some of the best ones are listed out in this article.

Where to study Sports Psychology?

What is Sport and Performance Psychology?

What masters can I do with a Sports Psychology degree?

How to Become a Sports Psychologist

All states require practicing Sport Psychologists to be qualified, which includes a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) or Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Psychology. Clinical practice is not the only career path for Sport Psychology; several jobs in the field can be obtained with a Master’s Degree. To become a qualified Sports Psychologist and practice, these are the steps aspirants will need to take:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or a related field.
  2. Earn a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology (optional).
  3. Get certified as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) by the AASP and begin practicing as a consultant (optional).
  4. Earn an accredited Psy.D. or Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Sports Psychology (to become licensed and/or take up research).
  5. Undergo supervised clinical experience requirements stipulated by the state of residence/practice.
  6. Undertake and pass the required exams for the particular state, including the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
  7. Apply for and receive a State’s Board of Psychology license to start practicing as a Sports Psychologist.

Note: To ensure licensure validity, practitioners will have to continue with educational and other requirements that the state’s licensing authority may necessitate from time to time.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Sports Psychology Graduates

A Master’s in Sports Psychology online can lead to opportunities such as coaching, supporting licensed psychologists, or working in the administration of recreational sports and athletics. Jobs are available in education, healthcare, wellness, and of course, sports as well. Some of the typical careers graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology take up are:

  1. Applied Sports Psychologist
    Applied Sports Psychologists work with athletes to help them enhance their performance through mental exercises.
  2. Clinical Sports Psychologist
    Clinical Sports Psychologists work with athletes to help them resolve mental health problems such as performance anxiety, depression, and eating disorders that may arise due to stress.
  3. Sports Rehabilitation Therapist
    Unlike Physical Therapists who work on rehabilitating injured muscles, Sports Rehabilitation Therapists focus on the emotional and psychological aspects of healing, such as assisting athletes in overcoming depression and frustration and preparing them mentally to return to their sport.
  4. Sports Research Specialist
    Sports Research Specialists typically perform tests in an athletic setting to learn more about stamina, motivation, and human behavior. They often work in a research laboratory, either privately or as part of a research team at an academic institution.
  5. University Team Coach
    University Team Coaches typically work as head or assistant coaches at the university sports level. Apart from coaching, they can take up administrative roles or direct Sports Psychology-related roles as well.
  6. Professional Team Coach
    Professional Team Coaches work directly in professional sports such as the NFL or NBA as Head Coaches. However, there are other roles such coaches can take up, like team therapist, motivational therapist, or assistant coach.
  7. Sports Psychology Professor
    Sports Psychology Professors teach the basics of Sports Psychology to college students. They work in a classroom environment as professors but could also double up as assistant coaches at universities.
  8. Guidance Counselor
    Guidance Counselors work at the university, high school, or elementary levels, promoting positive self-esteem while providing exercise, fitness, and health advice.
  9. Social Worker
    Social Workers with a background in Sports Psychology serve as social educators for the general public, encouraging health and wellness through community outreach services or assisting with youth fitness and sports programs.

Other careers for graduates with a Master’s in Sports Psychology to consider are:

  • Private Practice Clinical Sport Psychologist*
  • Clinical Sport Psychologist*
  • Sport Psychologist for a Performing Arts Group*
  • Sport Psychologist for a Club, College, Olympic, or Professional Team*
  • Sports Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Health Program Coordinator
  • Performance Coach
  • Athletic Coach
  • Academic Researcher*
  • Professor or Lecturer*
  • High school teacher

*may require a doctoral degree.

According to Projections Central, jobs in the field of Psychology (including clinical, counseling, sports, and other categories) are said to grow by 11.5% between 2018 and 2028. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that Psychologists (under the non-clinical ‘all other’ category) earn a mean annual wage of $100,130, with the top-paid 90% of earners taking home $133,470. Overall, the job market for Sports Psychology is promising and lucrative.

Certifications and Licensing for Sports Psychology Graduates

Depending on the region and field of practice, Sports Psychologists may be required to be certified. Although board certification is not expected of all psychologists, having a Sports Psychology certification online does reflect a high degree of clinical competence. Certification is almost always required for licensure, which is why it is recommended to become certified. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) offers specialty psychology credentials to practitioners in 13 fields of psychology, including clinical health psychology, couple and family psychology, and behavioral and cognitive psychology. Similarly, organizations like the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), and the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) grant other specialist certifications. The Council on Specialties in Professional Psychology (CSPP) has a list of specialties and recognized certification boards.

Here are a few more certifications for Sports Psychology graduates:

  1. National Council on Strength & Fitness – Certified Personal Trainer (NCSF-CPT)
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine – Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM-PES)
  3. National Academy of Sports Medicine – Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES)
  4. National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE) Certification
  5. National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC)

As for licensure, each state has its independent and specific licensing requirements, which may or may not include additional qualifications, training, or examinations. For example, in most states, graduates of an online Master’s in Sports Psychology are required to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

Additional Resources for Sports Psychology Professionals

The sporting world is a vast and competitive one. Any physical, emotional, or psychological aspect can improve or hamper performance and outcomes. To offer the best services to athletes and sports enthusiasts, graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology online program should keep up with the latest in the worlds of sports, psychology, and performance by connecting with peers and networking. Tapping into resources such as those offered by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and others will empower students and working professionals to advance their studies and careers. Here are a few such resources to consider:

  1. APA Division 47
    APA 47 is a division of the American Psychological Association (APA) that promotes and offers exercise and sport psychology practitioners services. The site has a host of resources, from books and journals to articles and training webinars.
  2. Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
    The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) provides information on careers in Sports Psychology, podcasts, webinars, publications, and more.
  3. Premier Sport Psychology
    Premier Sport Psychology is a trove of information for parents of youth athletes, professionals working with athletes, and students interested in Sport Psychology. The site offers videos, books, articles, and podcasts.
  4. International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)
    The International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) publishes the latest in the world of Sports Psychology and is a great place for up-to-date information. The site hosts events and publications and offers fellowships and awards as well.
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