Sports Psychology PHD Programs in the U.S.A.

Sponsored school(s).


Resource:   Ultimate Online Guide to Becoming a Sports Psychologist (Mini-Course)

If you are interested in pursuing a degree that will deliver the latest mental training strategies for enhancing athletic performance at all sport levels, the following are the top doctoral programs that are available in sports psychology in the United States today. We present them in alphabetical order.

Boston University

Graduate school of education.

With a total headcount of over 33,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate level, Boston University is one of the nation’s largest private non-profit research institutions. BU sits on a 133-acre urban campus along the Charles River in New England’s largest city. As an elite member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it is no surprise that BU is ranked as the 41st best college and 14th top up-and-coming school in the United States by the U.S. News and World Report. As the country’s 51st best education school, the Graduate School of Education is also acclaimed for having the 46th best graduate psychology programs.

Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology: Concentration in Sport/Performance Psychology

Built with a traditional scientist-practitioner model for the development of counseling practice abilities along with psychological theory, the Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology offers a unique concentration on the contributions of Sport/Performance Psychology to human wellness. While there is a non-licensure track offered, the majority of doctoral students follow the licensure track to seek state licensure as a psychologist through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards in Massachusetts. With a curriculum that generally takes five academic years full-time beyond completion of psychology master’s programs, the program prepares graduates to work primarily in academic settings to assist athletes, performing artists, teams, and sports organizations at all educational levels realize their optimal performance.


  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Contact Information

Two Silber Way Boston, MA 02215 (617) 358-4766 [email protected] Program Website

Florida State University

College of education.

First established in 1851 as a major selective public institution of higher learning with a world-class reputation for cutting-edge research, Florida State University is located on a 448-acre sprawling urban campus in the heart of the state’s capital city of Tallahassee with more than 30,000 students. Despite being the oldest continuous university in the state, FSU is still highly regarded nationwide for being the 91st best college and 40th top public school by the U.S. News and World Report. As the 39th best education school in the United States, the College of Education also is home to the 60th best psychology doctoral programs.

Doctorate in Sport Psychology

Designed to provide a foundational knowledge in sport psychology theory and research as a Track II program, the Doctorate in Sport Psychology program prepares qualified graduate students for assuming academic teaching and/or research positions at the university level in accordance with the scientist-practitioner model of training. Due to the specific emphasis on the psychological theories involved in athletics, some graduates may also wish to pursue careers as coaching educators or consulting professionals with amateur and professional athletes through various sports organizations. As a three year full-time program beyond the master’s degree, the curriculum requires the successful completion of advanced courses, disciplinary specialization electives, a comprehensive examination, original dissertation research, and an oral dissertation defense for graduation with a Ph.D. in Sport Psychology.

  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

1114 West Call Street Tallahassee, FL 32306 (850) 644-8786 [email protected] Program Website

John F. Kennedy University

College of graduate and professional studies.

Based on a suburban campus in the town of Pleasant Hill and overlooking the San Francisco Bay with satellite locations in San Jose and Berkeley, John F. Kennedy University was founded in 1964 as an accredited independent non-profit institution within the National University System. In particular, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies offers a broad variety of flexible program options that have been designed to prepare students for enriching their educational experiences to meet career leadership goals in a supportive and transformative environment.

M.A in Sport Psychology – Clinical Psy.D. Dual Degree

For graduate students who are interested in working within a clinical mental health setting while using clinical skills to work with amateur or professional athletes, there is an innovative program available that allows individuals to work towards earning a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sport Psychology along with a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology concurrently. Rooted in the valuable opportunity to work with both clinical patients and athletes to build the knowledge needed for both fields, the program is specifically designed to produce practitioners rather than researchers. After earning both degrees within five years of rigorous full-time studies, students are able to pursue certification through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) as well as earn licensure in California.

  • American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

100 Ellinwood Way Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 969-3414 [email protected] Program Website

Oregon State University

College of public health and human sciences.

Situated on a beautiful 422-acre suburban campus in the town of Corvallis within just an hour’s drive from the sparkling coastline of the Pacific Ocean, Oregon State University is the state’s largest four-year comprehensive public land-grant and sea-grant research institution with a diverse community of over 26,000 students. Not only has Corvallis been consistently named among the safest cities to live in the United States, but OSU has also been ranked as the 142nd best college and 73rd top public school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Furthermore, the College of Public Health and Human Services is home to some of the 101st best graduate psychology programs in the country.

Ph.D. Program in Sport and Exercise Psychology

With a research-oriented emphasis on the social psychology of physical activity, the Ph.D. Program in Sport and Exercise Psychology is designed to address how social and psychological factors influence human participation as well as performance in exercise activities. As a full-time program that requires at least four years of full-time study beyond an accredited master’s degree, the Ph.D. curriculum covers topics in motivation, self-perception, group dynamics, leadership, behavior change, human movement, physical disabilities, epidemiology, and other principles of sport psychology. Through a theory-to-practice approach, the program aims to enable students to learn about current research and conduct original research that can be applied to practical situations in the field of sport or exercise psychology.

  • Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

123 Women’s Building Corvallis, OR 97331 (541) 737-3220 [email protected] Program Website

Purdue University

Department of health and kinesiology.

Headquartered on a vast 2,468-acre urban flagship campus in the city of West Lafayette, with four satellite locations scattered throughout the state of Indiana in the university system, Purdue University is one of the nation’s major comprehensive public land-grant research institutions, with more than 200 areas of study. With many of its programs consistently ranking among the best in the United States, Purdue is currently ranked as the 68th best college and 24th top public school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Moreover, the Department of Health and Kinesiology is renowned for offering two of the country’s 46th best graduate psychology programs.

Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Structured with a research emphasis on studying social relationships, emotional processes, self-perceptions, and adaptation to adversity in relation to physical activity, the Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology program requires the completion of at least four years of full-time advanced graduate studies beyond the master’s degree. With the goal of training graduate students to pursue employment in academic and research settings, the program enables students to customize their coursework in collaboration with an experienced faculty member who shares similar research interests. That being said, students can expect to take courses in the areas of human lifespan development, social psychology, communications, sociology, research methodologies, kinesiology, health assessment, stress/coping, and motivational processes in sport and exercise.

  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)

800 West Stadium Avenue West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 496-9483 [email protected] Program Website

San Diego University for Integrative Studies

Department of psychology.

First established in 1999 on an urban campus in the heart of Old Town in San Diego with a complementary distance learning program online from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, San Diego University for Integrative Studies is a small private unaccredited institution that offers programs focused on the relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. Within the Department of Psychology, students have the freedom to choose programs focused on sport psychology, posture therapy, expressive arts therapy, transpersonal psychology, psychobiomechanics, and even Tibetan Buddhist studies.

Ph.D. in Psychology: Specialization in Sport Counseling

In an effort to prepare well-qualified graduates for consulting with individual athletes, sports teams, athletic organizations, committees, and national governing bodies, the Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Sport Psychology program is designed to provide the advanced knowledge base needed to effectively teach and coach in programs tailored to meet the unique needs of this population. Through a combination of advanced seminars with intensive research and internship experiences, the program enhances students’ professional skills to enhance their capabilities for better serving others. After completing a minimum of 85 quarter units in the licensing track at the graduate level, graduates will qualify for pursuing licensure as a psychologist to practice within California.

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) – Candidacy

3900 Harney Street San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 297-1999 [email protected] Program Website

Temple University

Department of kinesiology.

Positioned on a 330-acre metropolitan campus in the downtown hub of Philadelphia with a community of over 39,000 students, Temple University is a major leading public research institution. With the distinction of being the fourth largest provider of professional education in the United States, Temple is currently ranked as the 121st best college, 60th top public school, and 24th best university for veterans in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the College of Health Professions, the Department of Kinesiology is home to one of the doctoral psychology programs that have been ranked as the 52nd best in the country.

Ph.D. in Kinesiology with Concentration in Psychology of Human Movement

Ideal for graduate students who are seeking a program with a specific focus on the scientific research study of human behavior in relation to exercise, sports, and other forms of human physical activities, the Ph.D. in Kinesiology offers a concentration in Psychology of Human Movement. Through a combination of theory, research, and clinical practice in diverse areas of the field, the program aims to prepare graduates for teaching and/or research positions at Carnegie Research I institutions across the nation. Depending on specialized interests, students will learn more about performance enhancement, time management, athletic injury, substance abuse and eating disorders, motivation, gender issues, and sport psychology.

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

1316 West Ontario Street Philadelphia, PA 19122 (215) 204-8718 [email protected] Program Website

University of Missouri

As the only university in the state to participate in Division I-A intercollegiate college athletics, the University of Missouri is a large comprehensive four-year public research institution of more than 34,000 students based on a 1,262-acre urban campus in Columbia surrounded by botanical gardens. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Mizzou is ranked as the 97th best college, 44th top public school, and 12th best university for veterans in the nation. Furthermore, the College of Education has been declared the 55th best education school with the 52nd top graduate psychology programs in the United States.

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with Subspecialty in Sport Psychology

With the mission of qualifying graduates to become licensed counseling psychologists in Missouri, as well as certified consultants through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a subspecialty in Sport Psychology is offered to eligible graduate students with a master’s degree who have a strong interest in learning more about human behavior associated with sports and/or exercise. Founded with a unique partnership with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Comprehensive Integrated Sport Psychology Service Delivery Program, the program is designed to provide students with strong preparation in psychological principles, as well as hands-on field experience in applied practice settings. Applicants must have achieved a combined GRE score of 1000 or higher and have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better for admissions.

118 Hill Hall Columbia, MO 65211 (573) 882-0699 [email protected] Program Website

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

First founded in 1891 as an elite student-centered public research institution focused on fostering intellectual inquiry, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is located on a 210-acre urban campus in the central region of the state at the midway point between the major metropolitan areas of Washington, DC and Atlanta. Home to more than 14,800 students, UNCG is ranked as the 190th best college and 108th top public school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. Even more importantly, the Department of Kinesiology is acclaimed for offering one of the 92nd best graduate psychology degree programs in the U.S.

Established with the goal of enhancing human functioning by acquiring cutting-edge knowledge on the study of cognitive, psychological, physiological, social, and emotional factors that influence exercise behaviors, the Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology program features a seamless integration of theory with research and practice in the effects of physical activity. As a four-year full-time advanced professional program, graduate students should pursue this degree if they are interested in pursuing career options as professors, researchers, coaches, exercise leaders, or sport psychology consultants with a wide variety of athletic organizations.

1400 Spring Garden Street Greensboro, NC 27402 (336) 334-5573 [email protected] Program Website

University of North Texas

Well-known for being the country’s 25th largest student-focused public research institution with a total headcount of over 36,000 students, the University of North Texas is based on a 875-acre urban campus in the city of Denton within a close distance to the booming Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Within one of the nation’s most diverse universities, the Department of Psychology is highly regarded for offering the 141st best psychology doctoral programs in the entire United States by the U.S. News and World Report.

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Sport Psychology

Offered through a unique elective cluster within a doctoral program that has been fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) for excellence, the Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology combined program is structured to provide an in-depth training to graduate students seeking to become independent licensed psychologists for working with athletic organizations. Within the scientist-practitioner model, the program provides students extensive applied learning experiences through sport psychology practicum to work directly with athletes, coaches, teams, and whole sport agencies. While students with an accredited master’s degree can finish in four to five years, those with only an undergraduate degree are also welcomed for completion in at least six years.

1611 West Mulberry Street Denton, TX 76203 (940) 369-7767 [email protected] Program Website

West Virginia University

College of physical activity and sport sciences.

Situated on an immense 2,737-acre suburban campus in the small city of Morgantown, West Virginia University is an elite comprehensive public land-grant research institution with more than 23,000 students. As home to the nation’s 14th most affordable out-of-state tuition rates, WVU is ranked as the 170th best college, 94th top public school, and 41st best university for veterans in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences is also home to one of the 78th best graduate psychology degree programs in the country.

Available for qualified graduate students who are entering with either an undergraduate degree or master’s degree in a related human service field, the Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology program has been created to prepare individuals for obtaining certification through the Association of Applied Sports Psychology (AASP) through a diverse curriculum covering topics in sports, exercise, injury, and counseling. For completion of the program in the scientist-practitioner model of psychology, students must successfully complete a minimum of 65 credits in advanced major coursework along with intensive internship and practicum experiences throughout the state.

P.O. Box 6116 Morgantown, WV 26506 (304) 293-3393 [email protected] Program Website

Although many individuals mistakenly believe that sports psychology is solely focused on professional athletic organizations, this specialized field area actually offers a broad range of applied practice options with athletes and non-athletes seeking to improve their performance. Sports psychologists may be interested in teaching at the university level, conducting research, coaching youth sports, or consulting with athletic organizations. Regardless of your professional goals in the growing field, be sure to check out these doctoral programs in sports psychology in the United States to acquire exceptional experiences in sports performance.

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Sports Psychology PhD Programs Guide Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated December 15, 2022 · 4 Min Read

sport psychology phd is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

With the number of college athletes at a historically high level and as professional athletics continues to grow, the need for qualified sports psychologists will also continue to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for psychologists to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028, making right now a great time to pursue an advanced degree in the field.

A doctoral degree in sports psychology provides students with the skills, knowledge, and credentials necessary to practice in advanced careers in psychology. Keep reading to learn more about earning your Ph.D. in sports psychology.

Earning a Ph.D. vs. a Master’s

A master’s in sports psychology provides the foundation you need to pursue a doctoral degree in the field. However, each degree prepares graduates for different careers, with the doctoral degree opening pathways to more advanced roles in psychology practice. Depending on your career goals, you may wish to pursue one over the other.

The curriculum in a master’s in sports psychology program encompasses topics in general psychology, kinesiology, and clinical psychology. Generally, these programs require between 36 and 48 credits and take about two years to complete. Some master’s in sports psychology programs offer a dual degree option, allowing students to earn a master’s and Ph.D. in an accelerated format.

Sports psychology Ph.D. programs often prepare graduates for clinical practice. Offered less commonly than the master’s in sports psychology, this degree also prepares graduates to work in academia and teach college-level courses in the field. A master’s in sports psychology serves as the general requirement for entry-level positions, and a Ph.D. provides opportunities for advancement and clinical practice.

Degree Snapshot

Typical Admission Requirements: 3.5 GPA, GRE scores, master’s degree in sports psychology or a closely related field

Time to Completion: 3-4 years

Average Salary: $75,000

More information on sports psychology degrees

Online Psychology PhD Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Why Get a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology?

Pursuing a Ph.D. in sports psychology offers many personal and professional benefits, including advanced career options and the opportunity to pursue research in the field.

  • Sports psychologists can work with clients in exciting and unique settings.
  • A Ph.D. offers students and graduates the opportunity to pursue research and contribute to scholarship in the field.
  • Earning a doctoral degree allows graduates to pursue clinical practice in sports psychology.
  • Sports psychologists also pursue careers as coaches, mentors, and athletics directors, making it a diverse career field.
  • Graduate studies in sports psychology offer students more time and opportunity to explore the field and deepen their knowledge and skill set.

Example Curriculum

Curriculum requirements vary depending on the program. However, most Ph.D. in sports psychology programs require the following elements.


What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology?

Although most graduates of sports psychology Ph.D. programs become sports psychologists and researchers in the field, some go on to pursue careers like coaching, mentoring, working as athletic directors, and teaching at colleges and universities. Graduates may also go on to practice general psychology or a variety of other career paths .

Salary: $75,000

Where Do Sports Psychologists Work?

To practice sports psychology clinically, states require a license in psychology. Each state’s licensure requirements vary, so students wanting to pursue careers as sports psychologists should understand the requirements in the state they wish to practice in. These requirements typically include a minimum degree level, supervised practice hours, and passing an exam.

Most states require at least a master’s degree to earn psychology licensure. However, to practice clinically, a Ph.D. serves as the common requirement. Most sports psychology Ph.D. programs prepare students to meet licensure requirements. However, programs may specifically operate as non-licensure tracks, so students seeking licensure should select a program accordingly.

Every state requires a licensing fee, which can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the state. Generally, professionals renew their clinical psychology license every 2-3 years, and renewal often incurs a fee.

Professional Organizations

  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology An international association with thousands of members, AASP offers members graduate training, professional development, and certifications. Members can also access awards and publications.
  • Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology A division of APA, this society offers members scholarly publications in the sports psychology field, award opportunities, and student resources.
  • International Society of Sport Psychology ISSP publishes a scholarly journal in sports psychology and offers ongoing workshops, trainings, and webinars for professional development. This international association also holds a conference every four years.

Take the Next Step

Graduate Application Guide

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College of Applied Human Sciences: School of Sport Sciences

Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, -->PhD -->

The PhD program in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology at WVU is recognized as one of the premier training programs in the world.

It provides students with a comprehensive curriculum delivered by highly qualified faculty. The program combines academic rigor, extensive research experiences and applied consulting opportunities to train highly competent, well-rounded future sport, exercise and performance psychology professionals.

Students initiate their own line of research, work with faculty to produce publishable manuscripts, and complete three research benchmarks in addition to their dissertation. Furthermore, students take part in supervised applied experiences working within a range of different sport, exercise and performance settings, including Division I, II and III athletic programs.

This PhD program, which includes a concurrent master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling , allows individuals to sit for counseling licensure upon graduation. With this combination of research and applied aspects of sport, exercise and performance psychology, the program prepares students for careers as sport psychology consultants, researchers and future faculty members. Students may also apply for a science track with more emphasis on research, which does not include the master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Many students work 20 hours a week during the semester as a graduate assistant, either teaching, providing service or conducting research. In return for these contributions, graduate assistants receive a tuition waiver and stipend.

This program is delivered in-person and requires full-time residency in Morgantown for the majority of the 3-4 year program.

Your Degree Plan

Aerial view of Martin and Woodburn Halls

The PhD program in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology combines academic rigor, extensive research experiences and applied consulting opportunities to train highly competent, well-rounded sport, exercise and performance psychology professionals.

  • Plan of Study

The program combines academic rigor, extensive research experiences and applied consulting opportunities to train highly competent, well-rounded future sport, exercise and performance psychology professionals. The comprehensive curriculum represents the science-practice model of psychology.

Foundational Courses Students complete 65-75 credit hours that cover traditional SEP coursework, professional practice courses and research methods. They will have individual plan of studies meetings to finalize their doctoral curriculum with all courses needed to complete the requirements for the SEP doctoral degree.

Dissertation Throughout the program students select a line of research that coincides with their area of interest. The SEP doctoral degree program culminates with a dissertation research project, exploring an important topic in the field of sport, exercise and performance psychology. The dissertation will be in the form of two or three publishable papers researching the chosen topic, which will be presented in a public forum. The dissertation committee must approve of the dissertation to be fully accepted.

Earn a Dual Degree in Counseling Once admitted into this program, students can opt to dual enroll in the master's degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling . Courses for these two programs are completed simultaneously. Upon completion students are eligible to sit for licensure as a licensed professional counselor in most states.

Register now for a webinar this fall

Learn more about the unique features of the program, core faculty and their research interests, and the application process in these 60-minute virtual sessions.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • 100% of program graduates are employed in the area of their choice.
  • Students teach undergraduate classes in sport, exercise and performance psychology.
  • Students are expected to produce publishable manuscripts.
  • Graduates will be license-eligible and may pursue a counseling or consulting career with full-time applied work.
  • Students consult with NCAA Division I, II and III athletic programs, high school and youth sport teams, exercise/health settings and other performance domains.
  • Admitted students can dual enroll in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and complete both simultaneously.
  • The WVU School of Sport Sciences was recognized as one of the best in the country by Newsweek .

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

Research and Academic Opportunities

Applied Experiences Students have the opportunity to gain applied experience working with a range of performers, including student-athletes of Division I, II and III athletic programs. As a result, most students accrue more than 400 hours of supervised service provision allowing them to meet the requirements for AASP certification (CMPC). In addition, the dual enrollment in a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling allows individuals to sit for counseling licensure upon graduation.

Research The program boasts seven faculty members trained in sport, exercise and performance psychology. These faculty members have different training backgrounds and research specialties (see faculty profiles) allowing them to supervise students with various research interests. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with those faculty members and are expected to produce publishable manuscripts. In their research, students are encouraged to identify topics that align with their own interests and will help them reach their professional goals.

Student Organizations

Connect with other students who share your academic interests as a member of:

  • Sport and Exercise Psychology Graduate Student Club

View all of the student organizations you can join.

Professional Organizations

Network with professionals in your field as a student member of:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology
  • European Federation of Sport Psychology
  • International Society of Sport Psychology
  • North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine


Graduate Teaching Assistantships

  • Basic Instruction Program (BIP)

Graduate Service Assistantships

  • WVU Student Recreation Center
  • WVU Athletics

Graduate Service/Teaching Assistantships

  • University Advising Center

What Skills You'll Take Away With You

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology major will give you the following skills:

  • Analytical skills
  • Research skills

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

  • Career Profiles
  • How We Prepare You

Education Administrators, Postsecondary

Plan, direct or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges and junior and community colleges.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $99,940

Possible job titles include: Academic Dean, Dean, Provost, Registrar.

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Assess, diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $90,130

Possible job titles include: Clinical Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist, Applied Behavior Science Specialist, Child Psychologist, Clinical Therapist, Counseling Psychologist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Psychotherapist, Pediatric Psychologist.

Mental Health Counselors

Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

Median Salary: $49,710

Possible job titles include: Clinician, Counselor, Mental Health Counselor, Therapist.

Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses in psychology, such as child, clinical, and developmental psychology and psychological counseling. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Median Salary: $78,810

Possible job titles include: Instructor, Professor, Psychology Instructor, Psychology Professor.

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses in health specialties, in fields such as dentistry, laboratory technology, medicine, pharmacy, public health, therapy and veterinary medicine.

Median Salary: $102,720

Possible job titles include: Assistant Professor, Clinical Professor, Physical Therapy Professor, Professor.

Where our grads are working

Graduates leave the program with advanced skills in the areas of research, practice and teaching. WVU boasts one of the largest SEP alumni networks in the nation with former students working in most areas of the sport, exercise and performance psychology profession. Alumni take a genuine interest in current students and their future success. Graduates work in a variety of roles which include sport psychology consultants, researchers and faculty members.

Common career areas:

  • Research based faculty positions in sport sciences
  • Teaching based faculty positions in sport sciences
  • Private practice consulting
  • Military consulting
  • Public Health

Example employers and job titles of graduates:

  • Ian Connole, private practitioner, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Peak Performance, Dartmouth College
  • Paul Downey, Associate Athletic Director for Academics, University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Adrian Ferrera, practitioner with special forces soldiers, Fort Bragg
  • Aaron Goodson, Assistant Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology, Mississippi State University
  • Brandon Harris, Associate Professor, Georgia Southern University
  • Jesse Michel, Head Mental Skills Coordinator, Houston Astros
  • Raymond Prior, private practitioner, Chicago, Illinois
  • Rebecca Zakrajsek, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee

Meet Your Community

The Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology family will inspire and support you.

  • Program Faculty
  • Alumni Network

A smiling man with glasses with fitness equipment in the background. He is wearing a light-colored shirt and dark tie.

Peter Giacobbi Jr.

Professional highlights:

  • Research focus on chronic disease risk reduction using digital and other delivery technologies
  • Expert in the use of guided imagery in sport and exercise settings, overall well-being and managing health behavior
  • Current Google Scholar H-index of 33, Scopus H-index of 23

Smiling woman standing in Stewart Hall. She has long dark hair and wears a black suit jacket.

Dana Voelker

  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology
  • Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant, 2019
  • WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teachers, 2018
  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology Dorothy V. Harris Memorial Award, 2018

Photo of smiling man wearing glasses, a light shirt and patterned tie.

  • Twice recognized as Most Outstanding Teacher at WVU CPASS, and has mentored over 30 PhD students through degree completion
  • Serves as the Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor to focus efforts on the health and wellness of WV citizens
  • Published one of the first books on self-awareness in sport, Being Mindful in Sport and Exercise Psychology (2017), with friend and colleague Mark Andersen
  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

The SEP faculty helped me develop holistically as a scholar and person, with high expectations and a strong desire to achieve.

sport psychology phd

My success is a direct result of the training and guidance I received while a student in the SEP program.

Professional portrait of John Lubker.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission into a graduate program at WVU an applicant must submit official, bachelor's degree transcripts from a regionally accredited institution and hold a GPA of at least 2.75. WVU operates decentralized admissions. Decentralized admissions allows each graduate program to set its own application requirements in addition to the University requirements.

To be eligible for admission into the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology graduate program an applicant must submit the following documentation:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation - Two

Application Requirements

Applicants can seek admission to the doctoral program in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology with either a baccalaureate degree or master's degree. To be considered for admission, applicants must upload the following documentation within the graduate application :

  • Résumé or CV
  • Transcripts from all previous institutions
  • Official GRE scores
  • Personal statement (1-2 written pages on professional background, goals and reasons for pursuing doctoral degree at WVU, and rationale for potential faculty advisor)
  • Two (2) Letters of recommendation

You will not be able to submit your application until the above documents are uploaded. Once the application is submitted and (unofficial/official) transcripts are received, your application will be reviewed for an admission decision. International applicants will not be reviewed with unofficial transcripts.

Prospective students should NOT apply to the dual master's program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at this time. If accepted into the PhD program, admission fees will be waived.

Please contact the Office of Student Success at 304-293-4800 for more information about the application process.

Additional Application Considerations

Admission application form deadline: December 1. Admission is limited to fall start only.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application with unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Submitting unofficial transcripts speeds up the application review process as most graduate programs make admission decisions using unofficial transcripts.

If you are offered acceptance, you are required to submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to be fully admitted into your intended graduate program. You will not be able to register for classes until the official transcripts are received. The preferred method to submit your official transcripts is through a secure online service, such as eScript, The National Clearing House or Parchment, to [email protected] .

Alternatively, if you are unable to submit an electronic version of your official transcript, the physical, sealed, un-tampered with documents can be mailed to:

WVU Graduate Admissions, PO Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26501

WVU Graduate Admissions, 1 Waterfront Place, 2nd Floor, Morgantown, WV 26505

  • Applications that are incomplete or are submitted after the deadline may be reviewed if openings remain.
  • International applicants must also submit required materials for international applicants .

Review process

Following the application deadline, program faculty will evaluate applicant credentials based on the materials submitted. After that initial review, a limited number of applicants will be invited to personal online and/or on-campus interviews with the program faculty and current students prior to a final admission decision.

Program Contact

If you have any questions about this graduate program, please contact Sam Zizzi at [email protected] .

Application Deadlines

Each graduate program sets their own terms for admission and application deadlines. Applicants can only apply for admission for the terms displayed below. Any questions regarding the application deadline should be directed to the graduate program representative.

  • Fall: December 1

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Want to know more about Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology at WVU? Fill out our request form to receive more information.

​​Experiencing campus is the best way to see if WVU is the right fit. Choose from in-person and virtual options.

Your first step to becoming a Mountaineer is applying for admission using our convenient online application.

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Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health

sport psychology phd

  • Graduate Education

PhD in Counseling Psychology

Through the UNT Department of Psychology's APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program, graduate students are able to pursue a Ph.D. in counseling psychology with a specialized elective cluster in sport and performance psychology. Through this doctoral program and elective cluster specialization, graduates obtain a broad education as a mental health professional while also receiving specific training in working with athletes, coaches, and sport teams. Upon completion of their pre-doctoral clinical internship, graduates will be able to pursue licensure as a psychologist in any state in the U.S. and seek Certification as a Mental Performance Counsultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. This training model, a sport psychology specialization embedded in an APA-accredited counseling psychology program, is unique and one of the many reasons that students from all over the U.S. and internationally come to UNT.

Ph.D. Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in Sport Psychology A specialization in sport psychology is offered through an elective cluster within the Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology . The Counseling Psychology program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association, and this combined program trains students to be independent, licensed psychologists who also have the knowledge, skills, and experience to work with athletes, coaches, teams, and sport organizations. In addition, through the sport psychology elective cluster, students may elect to take additional coursework to meet the certification or requirements of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant.

A. Philosophy and Objectives - The counseling psychology program and sport psychology elective cluster provides training to graduate students within the broad context of the scientist-practitioner model. This training is accomplished through prescribed coursework in general psychology, counseling psychology, and sport psychology and the sport sciences. In addition, students gain applied experience through separate individual, group, and sport psychology practica that are done throughout their 4-6 years in the program.

It is very important for students to know that their training in counseling psychology is the primary focus of the program and is conducted by the program's faculty in the Psychology Department. If you are NOT fully invested in being trained as a counseling psychologist (in addition to the sport psychology specialization), then the UNT program would NOT be a good fit for you. Students' sport psychology training is conducted, in part, through the UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health, which is a multidisciplinary center devoted to offering sport psychology interventions, research, and training. Through the Center (and its associated practicum), students complete all their applied sport psychology training and conduct scientific research in the field. In addition, students have opportunities for professional development in sport psychology through attending and presenting at professional conferences, developing and leading workshops, developing and writing grant proposals, and writing articles for publication.

B. Admission Requirements - Doctoral applicants must meet the admission requirements of the UNT Toulouse School of Graduate Studies and be admitted to the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program.

All students who meet the counseling psychology program's admission requirements and are selected by the admission committee (see the Counseling Psychology program for details) will enter the doctoral program affiliated with an elective cluster. For the Sport Psychology elective cluster, motivation, intelligence, discipline, enthusiasm, self-awareness, and interpersonal poise, as well as communication, research, and writing skills are highly valued. Furthermore, previous or current sport and exercise experience, although not required, is considered an asset.

In the admission application, individuals must provide all requested information. In the statement of goals, applicants should describe their interest in seeking a doctoral degree in counseling psychology, career aspirations, previous academic and practical experiences, and their fit with the UNT Counseling Psychology program. In this statement, applicants also should address their interests in the sport psychology elective cluster training they can receive at UNT. However, applicants must clearly communicate to the admission committee why becoming a licensed Counseling Psychologist is their primary goal. The Admission Committee's goal is to match the applicant's interests and qualifications to the resources and objectives of the program. Information and application forms for the Counseling Psychology Program may be obtained through the Psychology Department (940-565-2671) or the Department's website.

C . Degree Requirements - This program requires a serious commitment on the part of the applicant. The general counseling psychology program requires over 100 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree, and a one-year supervised pre-doctoral internship at a location that is likely to be in a state other than Texas. For those pursuing the sport psychology elective cluster the number of semester hours will be higher, though the exact number will depend on previous graduate coursework taken and the number of additional courses needed to meet other professsional organization's certification requirements. In general, if you enter the program with a master's degree and transfer a number of graduate hours, you may be able to complete the counseling psychology program (with sport psychology elective cluster) in 5 years (which includes the one-year predoctoral internship). If you are entering the program with only an undergraduate degree, you should expect to finish in 6 years (again, including the pre-doctoral internship).

In addition to the general psychology and counseling psychology core requirements, students in the sport psychology elective cluster will engage in the following activities:

1. Coursework - students must take:

KINE 5185 or PSYC/KINE 6185 Applied Sport Psychology II* - 3 credit hours

PSYC 6200 Theory and Practice of Sport & Performance Psychology - 3 credit hours

2. Sport Psychology Practicum - students are required to take Psyc/Kine 5850 (Sport Psychology Practicum) during at least the first three years they are in the program (and elective cluster); most students enroll in the sport psychology practicum for every year they are in the program. Students receive both individual and group supervision by Center faculty for each sport psychology practicum experience.

3. AASP Certification - pursuit of this certification is not required for the elective cluster, though students are encouraged to satisfy AASP requirements so they may become certified once they have met all requirements and taken the certification exam. By completing the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. and the sport psychology elective cluster, students will have met the majority of the requirements for AASP certification. However, there are two areas in which additional coursework is needed to satisfy the certification criteria. These include:

a. Knowledge area K2 (Sport Psychology) - one additional course, in the required course area #3 (e.g., exercise osychology, psychology of injury, team dynamics, youth sport, and/ or psychology of coaching, etc.)

b. Knowledge area K3 (Sport Science)

Please check the AASP website for the most current certification requirements.

4. Research - it is recommended that students work with one of the Center Director as their research advisor. Students' professional development is fostered via presenting at conferences and publishing in refereed journals. Students are encouraged (but not required) to devote at least one of the student's two required research projects to issues within sport and/or performance psychology.

5. Internship - a full-time, one year internship is required prior to receipt of Counseling Psychology doctoral degree. The Center Director will discuss internship placements with you in the year prior to applying.

D. Financial Assistance - students may apply for departmentally funded assistantships as well as university-based fellowships. The department and Center strive to support all doctoral students throughout their tenure in the program. Upon acceptance of admission, you will be informed by the counseling psychology programs as to your funding package.

CSPAMH FACILITIES The Center offices are located in 235 Terrill Hall. The offices are designed around the missions of the Center and provide space for student research, center meetings, and individual consultations. Sport psychology consultants are welcome to use the Center's resources, including computers and video-technology, to enhance their educational experience and professional development. Although the Center's facilities are available for sport psychology interventions, most practica and consultation work is done outside of the offices within the Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Denton, TX area.



sport psychology phd

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Sport and Exercise Psychology (PhD)

Springfield College Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Kathleen Mellano works with students on the Blake Track

The PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Springfield College prepares students to be future leaders and scholars in the field. Diverse coursework with an emphasis on psychological, sociological, physiological, and motor behavioral viewpoints equips students with a sound knowledge base that informs their research and practice. Collaborative research experiences enable students to design, execute, and conduct meaningful research to advance the field. Engaging coursework and applied experiences develop our students into informed practitioners who understand the value of evidence-based practices in applied work. The robust education and personalized training students receive in this program prepare them well for their future professional goals 

Upon successful completion of the PhD program, students will be prepared for certification as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC ® ) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) , in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) . 

Program graduates will be well prepared to teach sport and exercise psychology and related disciplines at all educational levels. As the majority of doctoral students in this program enter careers in higher education, it is important they acquire the requisite skills and knowledge to be successful in this setting. As part of the doctoral degree, students will complete a sequence of courses that comprise Springfield College’s Preparing Future Faculty Series. This program exposes students to the diverse responsibilities of a career in academia, supports student development of pedagogical and scholarly writing skills, and assists in the transition from doctoral student to faculty member. 

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How to Apply


Program prerequisites

  • Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Research competency (master’s thesis or alternative)

*Students are still encouraged to apply if they do not have the prerequisites mentioned. However, students are expected to complete these prerequisites during their first year in the program.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the FREE online application :  Once your application form is processed you will receive an email with your application portal login credentials and instructions for submitting supplemental materials as listed below.
  • Essay:  In two to three double-spaced pages, please address the following: 1. Your research interests and the faculty member(s) that you would prefer as your research advisor and why; 2. Your professional goals in the field, and 3. Why you have chosen to apply to Springfield College 
  • Resume: Please include any college activities, out-of-school leadership experiences, work history, and community involvement to support your interest in or qualifications for graduate study. 
  • Three letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from a faculty member or direct supervisor: Recommenders will receive an email when you submit your application and will be able to upload your letter to your application.
  • Writing Sample: Please submit a sample of your academic writing. This could include, but is not limited to, a journal article, thesis, capstone project, or research paper.
  • GRE: This program requires the GRE, The Springfield College GRE code is 3763. You will be able to input your scores on your application, but please make sure your official scores are submitted.
  • Interview: Upon faculty request, an interview may be required.
  • Master's Degree: Completion of a master's degree is required. If your master's degree is in progress and will be completed by the end of your first year of PhD coursework, conditional acceptance may be possible.
  • Transcripts: An official transcript from each college/university you have attended is required. In order to be considered official, transcripts must be received directly from the original source, by email to [email protected] or mailed to the college address: 

Springfield College Office of Graduate Admissions 263 Alden Street Springfield, MA 01109

International Applicants

All international applicants from non-English speaking countries are required, in addition to the items listed above, to submit:

  • Proof of English language proficiency by way of the TOEFL or IELTS. Other tests may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to our language requirements for more information on acceptable tests, minimum scores, exemptions, and conditional acceptance. If your undergraduate degree was earned in the United States and you successfully completed college-level English, we will consider English language proficiency met.
  • Please note:  Transcripts must be in English. If the transcript is not in English you will be required to submit a professional credential evaluation completed by any member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) . For this we recommend  SpanTran , with its customized portal for Springfield College applicants.  World Education Services  or  Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.  are also recommended for your credential evaluations.

The staff in the Office of International Admissions can assist you with questions you may have about enrolling at Springfield College as an international student by emailing [email protected] .

Application Deadlines

Domestic Students:

  • Application and Supporting Materials Deadline: January 12

International Students:

*All applications will be reviewed following the deadline.

Fellowships & Scholarships

Student employment, employee partnerships.

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PhD Sport and Exercise Psychology

PhD Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Entry requirements

Fees and funding.

  • What's next?

Within our multidisciplinary School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, we offer research supervision in all areas of staff expertise in sports and exercise sciences and related areas.

As a research student at Essex, you’ll work at the heart of our well-connected research community. Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences offers an environment with an excellent reputation for research and teaching.

We offer supervision in all areas of staff expertise in sports and exercise psychology.

Our facilities include a wide range of ergometers and treadmills, stand alone and portable gas analysers, force plates, isokinetic dynamometers, a Vicon motion capture system, electronic timing gates, full blood gas analysers, (including pulse and co-oximeters), and a variety of EMG systems. It is also possible to study non-invasive measurements of brain function within our school and via collaborations with the cognitive neuroscience laboratory in our Department of Psychology. Methods include EEG, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

We also offer an MSc by Dissertation (MSD) and an MPhil in this subject. Both full- and part-time study can be supported.

Sport scholarships

Our Performance Sport Scholarship programme has been created for talented athletes playing at regional, national or international level, and offers a range of benefits. We want students competing in our focus sports (basketball, volleyball, tennis, football and rugby 7s), as well as other team sports and individual athletes, to contribute to our performance sport programme. Our scholarships can include fee discounts of up to 100%, offered to athletes who demonstrate sporting excellence. Athletes who are awarded the scholarship will receive a host of other benefits, including free kit, access to state-of-the-art facilities, performance coaching, the option to live in our Athlete Village (accommodation fees may vary) and a support package valued up to £1,500. These benefits are designed to help athletes focus on their training, and development, and to enable them to reach their full potential alongside their studies.

  • Our state-of-the-art Sport Arena houses the latest technology and facilities which you will have access to.
  • We’re 27th in the UK for Sports Science in the Guardian University Guide 2024
  • We are 23rd in UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).

Our expert staff

Our School has a proven track record of excellence in teaching, research and applied sports science. We are 23rd in UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021). Our research is not just about academic excellence. It has wide ranging societal impact in areas as diverse as sports performance, cardiac health and childhood wellbeing.

Within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.

The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.

Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.

Specialist facilities

The School is housed within the Essex Sport Arena. This state-of-the-art, £12 million development brings together education, rehabilitation, exercise and research, with facilities including a sports hall the size of three basketball courts, two dedicated labs for sports therapy training, a sports therapy clinic, and dedicated physiotherapy labs. Key to the success of all research and teaching within a university is sufficient resources. Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences is well equipped, centrally resourced by technical staff who provide a service to all our staff and students.

Our successful Human Performance Unit (HPU) provides educational and coaching services, health-related exercise programmes and athlete testing, as well as unique opportunities for you to further your studies and research in these areas.

We have a study room for our postgraduate research students. This has been designed in collaboration with our postgraduates, and allows our PhD students to have office space. This provides a focal point for our postgraduates, facilitating good communication and a strong sense of community.

Your future

Our graduates go on to a range of careers both in research and development, and in sales. Other careers include work in industry or teaching in schools and colleges.

UK entry requirements

International & eu entry requirements.

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

Course structure.

A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code . For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:


This module is for PhD students who are completing the research portions of their theses.

View Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Science - Research on our Module Directory

The aim of undertaking your PhD is to train as an independent researcher who can critically assess other research work, and have a comprehensive knowledge of at least one area.

Our PhD programme is usually three to four years duration and all our students are initially registered as Mphil/PhD students, then transferred to the PhD in the first half of their second year of study if they have made satisfactory progress. In your second and third years, you work towards your PhD.


You must attend two formal supervisory board meetings each year where you submit literature reviews and research reports to the Board members prior to the meeting. At these meetings, such documents are discussed with you and your progress is assessed.

Your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a maximum length of 80,000 words. Great importance is given to the completion of PhDs within a four-year period from the time of initial registration. An MPhil is usually completed in two years, with a maximum thesis length of 50,000 words. An MSc by Dissertation (MSD) is usually completed in one year, with a maximum thesis length of 30,000 words.

Home/UK fee

£4,712 per year

International fee

£20,700 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Masters fees and funding information

Research (e.g. PhD) fees and funding information

What's next

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, graduate employability, student support and more
  • talk to our Fees and Funding team about scholarship opportunities
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing [email protected] and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

sport psychology phd

You can apply for this postgraduate course online . Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.

We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘ how to apply ’ information.

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications . The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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Structure and teaching

Teaching and assessment, entry requirements, tuition fees.

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Sport and Exercise Psychology Prof Doc

Person running on Southsea seafront

Mode of Study

This course was the first Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). On completion of this course you will hold a doctoral degree and be eligible to apply to register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Practitioner Psychologist.

The course offers a unique blended learning opportunity for those who wish to achieve both the highest level of academic degree and vocational qualification to practice as a psychologist within the sport and exercise domain. Holding these dual qualifications is increasingly important for both career and professional development in the field of sport and exercise psychology.

Applications are welcome until the final week of May each year, after which we complete a shortlisting process and run assessment centres in June. We welcome applications from students who are currently completing one of the pre-requisite degrees for eligibility.

Health & Care Professions Council

Approved by:

This course is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of eligibility for entry to the HCPC register as a practitioner psychologist.

What you'll experience

On this course you will:.

  • Gain advanced research skills through the completion of a doctoral level programme of research
  • Be supervised by BPS Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologists, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Psychologists, and British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists (BASES), Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientists. All supervisors are experienced researcher-practitioners with extensive applied experience
  • Develop advanced ethical, communication, and consultancy competencies in applied sport and exercise psychology practice

Benefits of a Prof Doc in Sports and Exercise Psychology

Specific careers directly related to this qualification include becoming an applied practitioner, researcher, or lecturer in sport and/or exercise psychology. Applied practitioners tend to be self employed or employed by national governing bodies, sport institutes, or private sport organisations.

Researchers tend to be employed by commercial companies and academic institutions. Lecturers in this field are employed by further and higher educational establishments.

You will not only be qualified for a career in applied sport and exercise psychology, but also in sports and exercise science, and management roles within the world of sport, for example, national governing bodies. Alternatively, given the range of general employability skills developed throughout the course, you could also go on to a variety of careers in other sectors, for example, business, the police and the armed services.

This course contains three core units:

  • Publication and Dissemination (30 credits)
  • Proposal for Professional Research and Development (30 credits)
  • Professional Research and Development Project in Sport and Exercise Psychology (360 credits)

These units are made up of component parts and are assessed through portfolio work, presentation, and viva voce examination.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

You will be assigned a main supervisor who will be supported by team of up to three additional supervisors. Your supervisors will be aligned with your practice and research development needs.

You'll receive weekly individual supervision on your practice or research development and monthly group supervision. There are further opportunities to attend research seminars and workshops organised by the University's Graduate School.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Christopher Robert David Wagstaff Portrait

Professor Chris Wagstaff

Professor of Applied Psychology

[email protected]

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Richard Charles Thelwell Portrait

Professor Richard Thelwell

Head of Department

[email protected]

How you're assessed

The Professional Doctorate consists of coursework and research and is credit based. The coursework component is designed to help build on professional expertise by exposing students to challenging and innovative ideas in their field.

Assessment is by thesis submission, after which you'll deliver a presentation on your development and complete a viva voce examination. The thesis incorporates a log of hours, practice reflections, four case studies or professional practice articles, two empirical research articles, and a reflective epilogue.

Starting in 2024

An upper second-class honours degree or conversion course in Psychology or Sport and Exercise Psychology which confers Graduate Basis for Chartered status (GBC), and a BPS accredited masters degree which confers Stage I of the BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Should an applicant not have completed these prior degrees, it is possible that they could complete these pre-requisites within the department before progressing onto the Professional Doctorate. All applicants will be invited to attend an interview. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a  pre-sessional English programme  before you start your course.

  • Home/CI part-time students: £6,800
  • EU students: £6,800 (including  Transition Scholarship )
  • International part-time students: £18,100
  • Home/CI part-time students: £3,400 p/a*
  • EU students: £3,400 p/a* (including  Transition Scholarship )
  • International part-time students: £9,050 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase

This course is eligible for the  Government Doctoral Loan .

Tuition fees terms and conditions

Before you start your application, you'll need to have the following documentation ready:

  • A personal statement explaining your suitability and motivation to become a Practitioner Psychologist
  • Proof of your first degree and grades (officially certified and translated copies if not in English)
  • Proof of a relevant postgraduate degree with at least 60 credits having been completed
  • Details of 2 referees or 2 references on official headed paper, one of which should ideally be an academic reference
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
  • An up-to-date copy of your CV
  • A 5-page research proposal comprising approximately 3-pages of literature review and 2-pages outlining the design and methods for two connected empirical research studies you will undertake. Please carefully review current staff research profiles in preparation of this proposal

Then use the relevant application form below:

Apply now (3 years full-time)

Apply now (6 years part-time)

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Doctoral (PhD) Program

Type of program.

Thesis-based. Usually involves a series (3-4) of studies that are connected to a common theme/topic.

3-5 years. Students are expected to work 11 months of the year.

Before Applying

You are highly encouraged to read your potential supervisors’ website to learn about their areas of research. You must contact your potential supervisor and arrange a telephone or personal meeting with him/her.

*Contact Dr. Gordon Bloom Here

Students should be competitive to apply for and receive external funding, either provincially or nationally.

Check the following funding agencies for eligibility and fit:

(1) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada:

(2) Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR):

 Students may also be eligible for internal funding opportunities, such as entrance scholarships and research assistantships.


Seek external funding, present at conferences, publish, join professional organizations, and participate in professional development activities that contribute to the growth of sport psychology. Serve as a role model and leader for undergraduate and master’s-level students working in the lab.

Inquiries and Questions

Please contact your potential supervisor.

Complete application Procedure Guidelines

Department and University Information

Department of kinesiology and physical education (kpe).


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