An accelerated online Master’s in Sports Medicine is the ideal advanced degree for individuals who wish to work in this specialized field of healthcare. The sports medicine industry requires in-depth knowledge of how medicine, sports, and exercise interact with each other, meaning that all professionals should consider earning a minimum of a graduate degree before pursuing a career in the sector. While some people believe that a bachelor’s degree is sufficient education to practice sports medicine, a master’s degree in sports medicine is necessary. It ensures that all pre-service professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the field and are therefore more likely to achieve success as compassionate, ethical sports medicine leaders.
However, a traditional graduate program may not be an option for many who are already employed in the field of sports medicine. These individuals require affordable, flexible programs that they may complete on their own schedule. Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive, accelerated online Master’s in Sports Medicine degrees that cater to these students. This ranking lists the top 20 most affordable accelerated master’s degrees in sports medicine.
This ranking was developed using information found using the College Navigator database on the National Center for Education Statistics website. We conducted a search for the terms “Master’s in Sports Medicine degree online,” “Master’s in Kinesiology degree online,” and “Master’s in Exercise Science degree online.” Out of an initial pool of 25 schools, the final 20 were chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rates based on the total program tuition. We have listed them below in order from most expensive to least expensive to help you choose a program that best meets your goals, needs, and budget.
Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Sports Medicine
20. University of Western States
Online Master of Science in Sports Medicine
Formerly known as Western States Chiropractic College, the University of Western States is an integrated health sciences university that offers a number of wellness and health degrees. Founded in 1904, UWS is the second-oldest chiropractic university in the world, enrolling 1,000 students in both on-campus and online programs in Portland, Oregon. The school offers a hybrid Master of Science in Sports Medicine that is best-suited for those who reside in Oregon and who wish to advance in the field. Although most classes are offered online, students must meet certain residency requirements in order to graduate. All graduates must complete practicums in their own area of residency. Other requirements include a comprehensive oral and written exam, a capstone project, and 60 quarter-credit hours of coursework. Sample courses include Advanced Sports Medicine, Sports Performance Enhancement, and Extremity Muscle Testing.
19. Ashland University
Online M.S. in Applied Exercise Science
Established in 1878 as Ashland College, Ashland University consists of a 135-acre main campus in Ashland, Ohio. The school is affiliated with the Brethren Church and offers nine pre-professional programs and 70 undergraduate majors throughout its four colleges. The online Master of Science in Applied Exercise Science focuses on conditioning and strength. To earn this degree, students take courses in scientific foundations of nutrition in sport and sports medicine principles. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for certifications such as the American College of Sports Medicine Health/Fitness Instructor and the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Online learners utilize the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative, which provides asynchronous and synchronous assistance in fields such as accounting, writing, physiology, and anatomy. Students may complete the program in as few as 15 months.
18. A.T. Still University
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology
A.T. Still University was founded in 1892 as the original school for osteopathic healthcare and holds a Gold Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. A.T. Still is known for providing one of the best sports medicine online degree programs in the country. The Master of Science in Kinesiology requires 42 credits to complete, 12 of which are taken in specialization tracks in subfields such as corrective exercise and orthopedic rehabilitation, geriatric exercise science, exercise and sports psychology, and sports conditioning. Students are limited to no more than two specializations. All tracks are required to take courses in functional anatomy, advanced fitness nutrition, and motor control. The curriculum helps professionals understand the behavioral and physical concepts of exercise so that they may develop high-quality exercise plans.
17. Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Online M.S. in Kinesiology
Texas A&M University at Kingsville, chartered in 1917, is the oldest continuously operating public institution of higher learning in South Texas. The school operates five academic colleges and enrolls more than 9,200 students per year in on-campus and online programs. The Master of Science in Kinesiology aims to prepare students for doctoral study, to pursue other career goals, or to become leaders or administrators in sports medicine. Students may earn the entire degree only, but they must pay special attention and follow the coursework-only track to ensure they complete the requirements. The program is asynchronous and structured so that students may finish in four semesters of full-time study. Students are required to complete a comprehensive written and oral exam and 36 credits in courses such as Statistical Analysis of Research Data, Physiology of Exercise, and Research in Kinesiology.
16. University of the Southwest
Hobbs, New Mexico
Online MSE Exercise Science
Founded in 1956 as Hobbs Baptist College, the University of the Southwest grants degrees in 15 graduate programs and more than 50 undergraduate programs throughout its three academic schools: the School of Business & Professional Studies, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Education. Students pursuing the online Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in exercise science must complete 33 credits of coursework. The curriculum includes labs, internships, and lectures on topics that include health and human behavior, group dynamics, diagnostic tests and measurements, issues in sports law, research methods, and the physiological basis of human performance. Students gain real-world experience working with people of diverse weights, ages, and health issues such as diabetes and cardiac problems.
15. University of Louisiana-Monroe
Online Master of Science in Exercise Science With a Concentration in Sport Management
Founded as Ouachita Parish Junior College in 1931, the University of Louisiana at Monroe reports an enrollment of 8,800 students per year. U.S. News & World Report ranks UL Monroe among the best Tier 2 schools in the region. ULM’s 33-credit online Master of Science in Exercise Science features a sports management concentration. Core requirements include courses in statistical methods and research methods in exercise science, governance and ethics in sport, and sports sociology. Students can further customize their degree via built-in elective coursework in wellness and nutrition, leadership and nutrition, sports medicine, advanced strength and conditioning, or safety and risk management in sport.
13. Concordia University-St. Paul (Tie)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Online Master of Science in Exercise Science
The St. Paul branch of Concordia University is one of 10 schools affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and has a history that dates back to 1893. Concordia St. Paul provides students with 25 graduate degree options, including an online Master of Science in Exercise Science. Students must complete a thesis or capstone project, an exam, and earn 33 to 36 credits in courses such as nutrition and metabolism, biomechanics in exercise, and clinical exercise testing in order to obtain this research-heavy degree. Projects and courses build students’ understanding of rehabilitation, safety, and exercise as a means of staying healthy. Graduates are prepared to become leaders in the exercise field, equipped with the knowledge and skills required for positions as trainers, therapists, nutritionists, and coaches.
13. Logan University (Tie)
Online Master of Science in Sports Science and Rehabilitation
A private university that focuses specifically on chiropractic education and the health sciences, Logan University is located in Chesterfield, Missouri. The school offers three degrees at the master’s level, two of which are available entirely online. The online Master of Science in Sports Science and Rehabilitation is designed for chiropractic students who are pursuing careers that involve working with athletes. The program is also suitable for students looking to work in teaching or research. Some courses offered in this degree include Active and Passive Extremity Rehabilitation, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Sports Emergency Care, and Exercise Science Principles. Students are required to complete 38 to 40 hours of coursework, including a clinical internship, and there are a number of certification options available after graduation.
12. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online Master in Athletic Training
Indiana Wesleyan University is aligned with the evangelical Christian Church. A liberal arts school in Marion, Indiana, IWU is the largest private university in the state. IWU offers a well-established online Master in Athletic Training, complete with online resources and personal academic advisors. It is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Aside from two required on-campus courses in Marion, the entire 33-credit-hour degree can be completed online. Students can expect to take coursework in areas such as health information technology and informatics in athletic training, leadership and management in athletic training, nutritional and pharmacological aspects of sports performance, and clinical anatomy.
11. Fresno Pacific University
Online Master of Athletic Training
Founded in 1944, Fresno Pacific University enrolls more than 3,700 students per year, including students from 31 religious denominations, 31 countries, and a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds. The school is ranked among the top 45 colleges and universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report, and each program emphasizes a strong ethical foundation and solid academic preparation. Students can complete the 30-credit online Master of Athletic Training program in as few as 13 months or five semesters. Core requirements include several evidence-based courses as well as areas such as professional standards, athletic training administration, legal aspects of kinesiology and sport, and advanced therapeutic exercise. All students must pass a comprehensive exam to demonstrate mastery of the material they have covered.
10. University of Texas-El Paso
El Paso, Texas
Online M.S. in Kinesiology
The University of Texas at El Paso opened in 1914 and was one of the first schools in the University of Texas System. The school has earned a Carnegie Classification of “Doctoral/Research University” and educates more than 20,000 learners in on-campus and online degree programs each year. The Master of Science in Kinesiology program requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a comprehensive oral and written exam, and a capstone project. Two concentrations are available: Pedagogy of Physical Activities and Exercise Science. Students can expect courses such as Effective Instruction in Physical Education, Measurement Technology in Biomechanical Analysis, and Educational Research and Statistics. Courses are delivered either as synchronous or asynchronous, and they are taught by the same on-campus instructors and professors that lead the traditional degree programs.
9. University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
Online Kinesiology (MS)
The Rio Grande Valley campus is a branch campus of the University of Texas System. The school is known for its research initiatives and contributions, particularly in the fields of the hard sciences, medicine, and health. Approximately 30,000 students attend UTRGV each year. The Master of Science in Kinesiology degree is a fully online program that can be completed in two years of full-time study. The majority of the credit requirements depends on the student’s choice of electives, making it a highly customizable degree. Program requirements include 33 to 36 hours of coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a capstone project or thesis. Students will be exposed to areas of the industry such as the advanced scientific principles of strength training and conditioning, motor learning and control, and the determinants and perspectives of health and illnesses.
8. Concordia University-Chicago
River Forest, Illinois
Online MS Applied Exercise Science: Human Movement Science
Founded in 1864, Concordia University at Chicago enrolls 5,300 students per year, many of whom are graduate students. The school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and boasts a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Master of Science in Human Movement Science is an accelerated, 30-credit program that prepares students for work in workplace safety, research, coaching, and more. Students learn how to help patients correct faulty movement patterns and improve functional capacity, and they gain the skills necessary to develop injury prevention programs. The 33 to 36 credit hours of required coursework are provided in 10 eight-week sessions, and the program is organized into a cohort model. Students must also pass an exam and complete a thesis or capstone project in order to graduate. Students can earn their degree in as few as 18 months.
7. Sam Houston State University
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology With an Emphasis in Sport and Human Performance
Sam Houston State University is one of the oldest purpose-built institutions for the instruction of teachers west of the Mississippi River and the first of this type of institution in Texas. Founded in 1879, it is the oldest public school of higher learning in the state, and it is located approximately 72 miles north of downtown Houston in Huntsville, Texas. The school enrolls more than 20,000 students in on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Master of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and human performance consists of 30 to 36 credit hours and is designed to advance students’ understanding of the relationships among skills exercise, and movement that occurs in the contexts of training, rehabilitation, learning, and development. Although the program is available online, students are required to attend one or two on-campus lab days during each semester they are taking Sport and Human Performance courses.
6. University of Texas-Tyler
Online Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology
Founded in 1971, the University of Texas at Tyler is ranked among the top 35 public schools in the region and the top 90 universities and colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report. Total enrollment hovers just under 9,000 students, and the 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a collaborative, vibrant learning community. The 36-credit-hour online Master of Science in Kinesiology degree includes core courses in biomechanics, exercise physiology, motor learning, biometric methods, and research design. Students complete 12 elective hours to further focus the program as well as six credits of an internship or thesis.
5. Southern Utah University
Cedar City, Utah
Online Master of Science in Sports Conditioning and Performance
Known as “The Coaching Factory” due to its success producing championship-winning coaches, Southern Utah University is located in Cedar City, Utah and provides nearly 100 degree programs. SUU is organized into two schools and four colleges and reports a total enrollment of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The online sports medicine master’s degree focuses on sports conditioning, coaching, and more. Although most courses are available online, students must complete a summer residency each year they are in the program. Degree requirements include a comprehensive exam, a thesis, and 30 credit hours of coursework in areas such as athletic training and sports medicine, sports science and research statistics, and foundations of sports conditioning.
4. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
Online Kinesiology, MS
Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi was established in 1947. Today, the school enrolls more than 12,000 students and boasts accolades from the White House for its College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The online Master of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and exercise science focuses on disciplines such as exercise physiology, sport performance assessments, and biomechanics. It is available either as a hybrid program or entirely online, and students have the opportunity to choose from a research project, capstone project, applied electives, or a thesis for their final project. Students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework in areas such as program design for resistance training, principles of strength and conditioning, and assessments and evaluations of athletic performance.
3. McNeese State University
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance – Exercise Physiology Concentration
Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, McNeese State University is a member institution of the University of Louisiana System. The school is organized into a graduate school and six colleges as well as its online global network. More than 7,500 combined graduate and undergraduate students attend McNeese each year. The online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in exercise physiology requires 33 credit hours of coursework as well as an internship that students must complete in their own communities. Students may choose from three concentrations: Health Promotion, Nutrition and Wellness, and Physiology. All concentrations require courses in areas such as research methods, physiology, problems in health and human performance, and measurements in health and physical education.
2. Texas A&M University-Commerce
Online MS in Health, Kinesiology & Sport Studies
Texas A&M University at Commerce is a public university and the third-largest campus in the Texas A&M System. The school enrolls more than 12,000 students each year and offers fully online graduate programs in engineering, education, the arts and sciences, business, and health. Students pursuing the online Master of Science in Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies can choose from four concentrations in exercise science, physical education pedagogy, health promotion, and athletic administration. Online students can finish the 30-credit program in as few as 12 months and have the opportunity to complete an internship as part of their coursework to gain additional hands-on, real-world experience.
1. Sul Ross State University
Online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance
Founded in 1917, Sul Ross State University is located in Alpine, Texas and enrolls more than 3,000 students per year. The school’s 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows it to operate on two levels: as a small liberal arts school with one-on-one learning and personalized instruction and as a larger research university with collaborative, vibrant classrooms. SRSU offers both on-campus and online degrees, including an online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance. This degree follows an applied practice education model and is available entirely online. Students complete coursework in group dynamics, diagnostic tests, research methods, health and human performance, neurological basis for motor learning and control, and the physiological basis of human behavior prior to completing an internship or practicum. Students may opt for the accelerated one-year master’s in sports medicine track via eight-week course blocks or finish within two years with part-time study.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Degree?
Any online degree in sports medicine offers choices for graduates. Although the term “sports medicine” may seem specific, in reality, there are a number of career options available. Some of these include:
- Wellness Director
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Athletic Trainer
- Massage Therapist
- Sports Psychologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Sports Nutritionist
- Exercise Physiologist
What Are the Various Disciplines of Sports Medicine?
In the past, only a doctor could work in the field of sports medicine, mainly due to the fact that sports medicine is a sub-discipline of medicine. However, as technology has advanced to the point where career paths are available that do not require a medical license and the view of sports medicine has evolved over the years, so too have the disciplines associated with this industry.
First and foremost, sports medicine is the domain of medicine. However, there are a number of other disciplines because this sub-field focuses directly on sports performance. Some of these disciplines include leadership, teamwork, performance psychology, exercise physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and biomechanics.
Since there are so many specializations within the field of sports medicine, it is common to find professionals who have focused their careers on just one area. This is evidenced by the increase of biomechanists, sports nutritionists, and exercise psychologists. Many students find that they will be able to select one concentration field once they enter into a master’s program, which will be their primary discipline.
How Much Can You Earn in This Field?
The sports medicine industry is a broad field that encompasses therapists, trainers, surgeons, psychiatrists, doctors, and more. Therefore, it can be tricky to pinpoint an average salary for this particular sector. However, a good rule of thumb is to assume a salary range between $28,000 and $125,000, depending on the professional’s specific career path.
It is also important to point out that when it comes to sports medicine, proximity to competition areas, Olympic training centers, and major sports cities is key. The closer one is to these critical spaces, the higher a salary he or she can expect. It also means that competition for jobs will be high since many professionals with similar qualifications will be vying for the same positions.
Also, keep in mind that credentialed or licensed professionals in sports medicine command higher salaries than those who have not attained a license or endorsement. Reputation and work experience also factor into how much a professional earns; if they have worked with athletes or teams in the past, they may be able to earn more money than those who have not.
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master’s Degree in Sports Medicine?
As is the case with nearly any program, sports management graduate degrees do have requirements. These conditions tend to be the same for both on-campus, traditional programs and online degrees because most schools use the same curriculum and the same faculty members for both learning formats. Let’s look at some of the most common application and admission requirements that students should consider when narrowing down prospective online sports medicine programs.
First, students must generally hold a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or a health-related major from a regionally accredited institution. Students will be asked to submit official college transcripts as well as proof of graduation. An undergraduate degree is a requirement because graduate degrees build on coursework and skills learned in the bachelor’s program. Earning a degree in an unrelated field makes it difficult for students to find their footing and keep up at the graduate level.
Second, students can expect to submit their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. Most schools will accept either score, while some are specific in their requirements. Graduate examinations are critical for online students since they provide evidence that the students are committed to earning a master’s degree. Some schools may allow students to waive this requirement, but that is up to each individual institution to implement.
Finally, online graduate students are usually asked to submit a current resume or curriculum vitae. Although this may shock some pre-service professionals, it is a requirement for these programs. A resume gives the school a solid look into the applicant’s previous volunteer, education, and work experience, and it can help the admissions office to determine whether a particular student would thrive in a sports medicine graduate program.
Are Internships Necessary for Sports Medicine Graduate Programs?
Since an online master’s degree in sports medicine is an advanced professional degree, it is designed for students already working in the field and looking to attain higher positions. It also means that students looking to increase their employment opportunities will need to have real-world experience before they graduate from any given program.
Most graduate programs require, or at the very least, strongly encourage, all students to participate in an internship or practicum. These courses benefit the students as they will learn what exactly they can expect in their new career as they move into the workforce. This, in turn, provides an actual understanding of what their responsibilities and workload will look like once they graduate so that they may plan accordingly.
Since sports medicine positions typically require an advanced professional degree in sports management, most employers prefer to see some type of work experience on a candidate’s resume. By pursuing an internship and using it as a form of work experience, students can at least indicate on their resumes that they have hands-on training in the field. Some students may also gain a position with the company for whom they interned at the end of the program.
Although many online programs do not require internships, including some on this list, they are typically listed as options. Even though a professional has chosen to pursue the degree online, he or she may not be ready to head into the workforce without any real-world experience. Consider internships as opportunities to experience the world of sports medicine before leaving graduate school.
The field of sports medicine often goes unnoticed in the media until a major issue happens at the professional level of any sport. However, it is an indispensable part of the sports world as it is the first line of defense to protect athletes from injury and aid in recovery. For any student considering a sports career, an online Master’s in Sports Medicine is one way to get started in this growing, dynamic field.