Earning an accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology is a great choice for professionals who are interested in improving athletic performance in both an academic or professional sports setting. The field is definitely in need of them because as the industry learns more about the impact psychology can play on athletic performance, the more athletes are searching for professionals who can help them with their mental training. That’s why so many sports psychologists go back to school to earn a master’s degree.
Sports psychology programs that are available online are the best choice for those who are already established in the field. Flexible and accommodating, the programs can be completed whenever a student has time, enabling them to take care of their personal and professional obligations while continuing their education. And, in the case of this ranking, all of these programs can be completed in two years or less, making them even more interesting to the professionals in the field.
The research conducted for this ranking was done on the National Center for Education Statistics website and its publicly available College Navigator database. The initial pool of 25 schools was built just by searching for online master’s degree in sports psychology. The programs were then compared to each other based on factors such as tuition rates and plan of study timelines. The final 10 schools, which are listed below, were chosen for this ranking based on their total in-state tuition cost for the program.
Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Sports Psychology
10. Barry University
Miami Shores, Florida
Master of Science in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Online
Students at Barry University who are interested in becoming a mental coach or psychologist will be glad to find that the accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology at this school can be completed in just two years. Students can also opt to also earn a Master of Business Administration with their degree and add just one more year to their schooling. All of this is offered online and students will complete just a few residencies in order to graduate. This degree can lead to eligibility to sit for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology provisional status certification. All courses can be completed online through the school’s learning management system and courses are held in asynchronous or synchronous sessions that last 16 weeks. This degree requires a practicum; students will be responsible for ensuring that they find a field placement that the department will approve of that is located in their community. Other requirements include a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Qualitative Analysis in Biomechanics, Behavior Modification, and Professional Ethics in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology.
9. Medaille College
Rochester, New York
Online Master of Arts in Psychology, Concentration in Sports Psychology
Medaille College confers a one-year Master’s in Sports Psychology online degree that is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements. This degree’s concentration in sports psychology is a recent addition to the program and is perfect for students who are interested in becoming performance psychologists for major sports teams or universities. The curriculum can be found entirely online through the school’s virtual portal, where courses are held in seven-week terms and are delivered asynchronously or synchronously for the student’s convenience. The curriculum was built to be taken as either a full-time or part-time plan of study; students who complete just two courses every term can complete this degree in less than one year. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, a practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information can be found on the program requirements and course offerings by talking to a graduate admissions advisor.
8. The University of the Rockies
MA in Psychology, Concentration in Sport and Performance Psychology Online
Students at the University of the Rockies can earn an accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology that takes just two years to complete. This program will not lead to certification or licensure in the field. As a 100 percent online course of study, there are no residency requirements, practicums, or internships necessary for graduation. Students will complete all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system. Courses are offered as lectures or skills labs and are delivered in both the asynchronous and synchronous delivery formats. Sessions last for 16 weeks, meaning that students who take three courses every term and take advantage of the summer term will be able to graduate within two years. Students will be expected to complete 39 credit hours of coursework, the Psychology of Personality capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Enhancing Health and Well-Being in Sports and Performance Settings, Introduction to Applied and Professional Psychology, and Learning Theory and Behavioral Applications.
7. National University
San Diego, California
Online Master of Arts in Performance Psychology
National University delivers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology that was designed to be completed within two years. It was designed to prepare students to sit for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology certification exam. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. All coursework will be completed online through the school’s virtual portal, a platform on which students will attend asynchronous and synchronous lectures as well as turn in their assignments. The only degree requirement that cannot be completed online is the fieldwork experience. This will take place in a student’s community under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Students who take three courses for every 16-week session will graduate within two years. This degree requires 67.5 quarter credit units for coursework, a fieldwork experience, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Performance Consulting Skills, Ethics in Performance Psychology, and Multicultural Issues in Performance Consultation.
6. The University of Western States
Online Master of Science in Sport and Performance Psychology
Students interested in the affordable accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology degree at the University of Western States will be provided with an excellent curriculum and a degree plan that will take two years to finish. This program is offered 100 percent online and does not require any campus residencies. Since this program will not lead to licensure or certification, there are also no fieldwork experience requirements. This degree offers four concentrations: Positive Coaching, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Positive Leadership and Administration, and Individual Studies. All of these concentrations will come in handy for students who are interested in working in the professional sports world. All courses for this degree take place online through the use of asynchronous and synchronous sessions that run in 16-week sessions during the academic year and vary in length during the summer. This degree will provide all of the necessary information to advance a psychologist’s understanding of how mental performance can inform an athlete’s career. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 53 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam.
5. California Southern University
Online Master of Science in Psychology, Concentration in Sports Psychology
California Southern University is home to an affordable accelerated online master’s that can provide students with a chance to advance in the world of sports psychology or give them a pathway into doctoral work. This is a 100 percent online program that does not require that students attend campus for residency purposes. As the sports psychology concentration is only found online, students will be able to complete all of their required coursework through the school’s virtual portal. Courses are offered mostly asynchronously in order to accommodate working professionals. The sessions last 16 weeks and students who complete two or three courses every term will be able to graduate within two years. The curriculum for the concentration was developed by specialists currently working in the field, making it a current addition to the psychology department. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, an applied sports psychology capstone, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Psychology of Coaching, Current Issues in Sports Psychology, and Enhancing Performance: Preparation and Motivation.
4. Lock Haven University
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Online Master of Science in Sport Science, Sport and Exercise Psychology Track
The one-year online Master’s in Sports Psychology degree from Lock Haven University is offered 100 percent online and is meant to be completed as a part-time plan of study. This is a degree that will enable students to work as sports psychologists if they already have a license to practice psychology or advance their understanding of the sports field in which they are already established. This comes with two concentrations: Sport Administration or Sport and Exercise Psychology. This degree has no residency requirements and is completed through the school’s learning management system; courses are asynchronous and run for seven weeks. Students who take just two courses every term that is available will be eligible to graduate within one year. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Stress Management for the Physically Active, and Psychology of Athletic Injury and Recovery.
3. California University of Pennsylvania
Online Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Concentration in Sport Psychology
The California University of Pennsylvania offers students the chance to complete a one-year online Master’s in Sports Psychology degree that can expand their career options. Available in both part-time and full-time degree study plans, students who choose to attend class full-time will complete the degree in one year while part-time students will complete the degree in 17 months. There are five concentrations: Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation Science, Wellness Coaching, and Wellness and Fitness. Students can opt to complete two concentrations and complete their degree in 18 months. The curriculum for this program can be found entirely online through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered asynchronously and synchronously in eight-week sessions. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a research capstone project, and a comprehensive oral exit exam. Sample courses include Nutrition for Peak Performance, Current Topics in Performance Enhancement, and Exercise Physiology: Assessment and Exercise Prescription.
2. The University of West Alabama
MS in Experimental Psychology, Concentration in Health and Sports Psychology Online
Students at the University of West Alabama can earn a 12-month online Master’s in Sports Psychology degree wholly online, allowing them to continue on with their personal and professional obligations while reaching new heights in their education. This degree has no residency requirements and does not offer a pathway towards licensure. Students will complete this degree entirely online through the use of the school’s virtual portal, where courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously and in eight-week sessions. This program is comprehensive and requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, a master’s thesis, and a comprehensive oral exit exam. Sample courses include Psychology and Sociology of Human Performance, Professional Orientation and Ethics, and Exercise Psychology.
1. Adams State University
Online Master of Arts in Applied Sport Psychology
Adams State University confers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Sports Psychology that was designed to be completed within two years. This program prepares students to sit for the Certified Consultant exam that is administered by the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. This program is taken 100 percent online with no residency requirements; the only requirement that a student will be required to complete in their community is the internship, which must be supervised by an approved preceptor. This degree is found online through the school’s learning management system and is delivered through asynchronous and synchronous sessions that last for 16 weeks. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, an internship, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Statistical Methods and Human Performance, Mental Strength and Conditioning, and Case Studies in Applied Sport Psychology.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Accelerated Online Master’s in Sports Psychology Degree?
- Applied Sports Psychologist
- University Team Coach
- Sports Psychology Professor
- Clinical Sports Psychologist
- Sports Research Specialist
- College Team Psychologist
- Sports Rehabilitation Therapist
- High School Coach
- Sport-Specific Personal Coaching
- Performance Psychologist
- Academic Sports Psychologist
- Cognitive Performance Specialist
- Contract Educational Psychologist
- Director of Sports Psychology
- Behavioral Sports Psychologist
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The median salary range for sports psychology professionals is between $42,000 to $72,000. However, when all positions that require a degree in sports psychology are considered, the range is between $40,000 to $150,000. This range takes into account professionals who work in public and private settings, at schools, for national sports teams or work with high-profile athletes.
While the median range in this field is actually quite high, professionals who complete a master’s degree in this field and continue to improve their training and education will find that they can earn six figures or more. This is generally reserved for professionals who work in the professional sports world; sports psychologists are in high demand by both notable athletes and championship teams. It is possible to get here, but it takes hard work and dedication to the craft.
What are the Various Disciplines of Sports Psychology?
There are several disciplines involved with sports psychology. First and foremost, however, it is a field that deals with the relationship between psychology, sport, and the human body. This means that professionals will need to have a strong understanding of both natural and social sciences.
Professionals will work mostly with the sub-discipline of performance psychology, which is sometimes referred to as mental training. They also focus on human anatomy, kinesiology, human behavior, dietetics, personal training, health, medicine, chemistry, biology, and more in order to help their clients reach their performance goals. They will also have to learn how to use soft skills when in sessions with their clients; these include interpersonal and communication skills.
Athletes from all sports and athletic levels benefit from sports psychology. Whether they’re trying to get faster on the track or trying to swim their best lap ever, the field breaks through mental barriers and helps prove to the world what the human body is actually capable of. When professionals in the field are ready to advance their career, all they have to do is take into consideration one of the accelerated online master’s in sports psychology degrees above to get started on the journey.
Do all Online Graduate Sports Psychology Programs Lead to Licensure or Certification?
Many graduate online sports psychology programs do not lead to licensure or certification. The programs merely provide the education necessary to be able to understand psychology in sports settings. For online programs, making the decision to have certification or endorsements available isn’t up to the school but rather the American Psychological Association and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.
Sport psychology licensure is generally only conferred at the doctoral level; the only endorsement a professional can receive at the graduate level is the Certified Consultant certification from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. This certification requires an internship and a practicum as well as the completion of certain courses approved by the association.
Not all schools on this ranking, or in the country in general, have been approved by the Association for Applied Sports Psychology to prepare students for the exam. This limits the number of online programs that can offer this to their graduates.
Another thing to keep in mind is that online psychology programs need to be flexible and accommodating. Many professionals in this field take a master’s degree in order to advance their position but not actually work as sports psychology professionals. This means that online schools can choose to cut practicum and internship requirements from their programs, allowing these professionals to not have to worry about taking on a second job while completing their Master’s in Sports Psychology degree.