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Sports Psychology Requirements

by Jen Saunders

If you love sports and psychology, you may want to explore the requirements to becoming a sports psychologist. Sports psychology is a field that draws from multiple disciplines, including psychology, sports science and physical fitness. Students pursuing this degree can choose from a variety of educational pathways based on the career they are interested in. With a degree in sports psychology you could be sitting in the dugout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, teaching, or working in the clinical sector or as a researcher. Most entry-level positions for licensed sports psychologists require a master’s or doctorate degree in sports psychology. Few schools offer full sports programs at the undergraduate level. Knowing the requirements for various graduate degree programs will help you make the best decision for your educational future.

Departmental Requirements

Once you have your sights locked onto a university that offers a degree in sports psychology, you will want to check the departmental requirements. Various colleges have different requirements and before applying you want to make sure you meet them. For the Ph.D. in sports psychology Florida State University requires applicants to have an upper-division cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. They also demand a GRE verbal score of at least 400 and a quantitative score of 400. If international applicants apply they must satisfy an English language score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL exam, or an 80 on the internet-based version.

Requirements for Clinical and Non-Clinical Joint Degrees

Some individuals want the flexibility and career options to work as a sports psychologist and work in a clinical setting. Schools like JFK University offer a program that allows students to work toward earning the Master of Arts in Sports Psychology and a doctor of psychology degree at the same time. This innovative degree requires students to work with both athletes and clinical clients and apply the knowledge and skills learned from both fields. Both degrees can be acquired within five years. The master of arts portion of the degree requires 42 units in the sports psychology program and 35 units in the doctor of psychology program, followed by written and oral examinations.

Master’s in Sports and Performance Psychology Requirements

University of Denver’s Master of Arts in Sports and Performance Psychology requires students to take classes that cover a wide range of disciplines. These include coaching and leadership for performance, applied motor learning, counseling methods and practices, sports in American society, movement principals for performance, ethical and legal issues, clinical issues, motivation/ emotion/learning, team & organizational dynamics, psychophysiology and biofeedback, scholarly writing, multicultural issues, human growth and development, and many more areas vital to the arsenal of knowledge a sports psychologist requires. Students also participate in seminars that touch upon these topics and many more.

Doctorate of Sport Psychology Requirements

Ph.D. programs typically require a major adviser and a supervisory committee to oversee dissertation work. Students will also have clinics and an arsenal of classes they must complete. Florida State University’s list of core courses range from PET 5216 (sports psychology) through PET 6297 (seminar in sport/exercise psychology). They also require 10 education classes that include subjects such as cognitive processes in sport psychology and many more. Other classes include psychology courses like social psychology and abnormal psychology. There are also counseling courses like group counseling: theory and practice. All courses coincide with seminars and will help provide a basis of knowledge for the dissertation.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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