Sports psychology focuses on the psychological and mental aspects of athletic performance, developing mental skills to enhance said performance. Sports psychologists work with athletes, teams, and coaches to help them understand and improve their mental and emotional well-being, motivation, and consistency.

Obtaining a psychology degree is a requirement if you want to start a career in sports psychology, and a degree in sports psychology will set you up for success when applying for jobs.

Choosing the Right Online Sports Psychology Degree Program

Becoming a licensed sports psychologist requires a minimum of a master’s degree, but some may choose to earn a doctorate. Either degree requires a bachelor's first.

It’s crucial to ensure that any online program you enroll in is accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Psychological Association or the National Association of Sport and Physical Education. These organizations set standards for quality education in the field of psychology, ensuring that you receive quality training and preparation for a successful career.

Bachelor’s Degree

An online bachelor’s degree in sports psychology can prepare you for entry-level positions in the field, but you won't be licensed. Assuming you intend to eventually pursue a master's, a bachelor's in sports psychology or in psychology would be good preparation.

An online bachelor’s degree in sports psychology will cover the basic courses required for a bachelor’s degree, and delve into topics such as exercise psychology, performance enhancement, and mental health in sports. Completing a bachelor’s takes four years.

Master's Degree

An online master's degree in sports psychology is necessary to work in this field as a licensed psychologist. Many schools offer accredited sports psychology master's programs.

These programs involve one to two years of study, which includes both classroom work and practical experience in the form of a practicum. The coursework builds on what a bachelor's covers, delving into topics such as exercise and sports psychology, performance enhancement, and mental training.

Graduate Certificate

An online graduate certificate in sports psychology is most useful if your degree is in another field of psychology. The certificate affords an opportunity to specialize in sports psychology, without enrolling in a full degree program again.

Certificate programs are six months to one year long. They include a selection of courses from a master's degree program. A practicum may or may not be included.


An online doctorate degree in sports psychology can qualify you for the most competitive jobs, such as those at division one college sports teams and professional teams.

One doctorate degree option is a Ph.D. This degree could be in sports psychology, or in kinesiology with a sports psychology focus. Either degree would have an intensive research component and require four to six years to complete.

You can alternatively pursue a Psy.D. degree. This is a much more clinically focused degree and involves extensive practicum experience. It would require three years to complete if studying full-time.

Which Sports Psychology Degree is Right for Me?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertificatePhD or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in sports psychologyx
I want to get started in my sports psychology career before I pursue more educationx
I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in sports psychologyxx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche sports psychology specialtyxx
I already have a sports psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to conduct research in sports psychologyxx
I want to become a licensed sports psychologist and treat patientsx
I want to work in academiax

Sports Psychology Degree Program Curriculum

Sports psychology degree programs include a combination of sports topics and psychology topics at every level. The classes will become more narrowly focused as you advance in your degree. For instance, you might take the following classes during your academic career:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: ~120 credits; Introduction to Sport and Performance Psychology, Theories of Motivation and Performance, Group Interventions in Sport Psychology
  • Master’s Degree: ~30-60 credits; Co-Occurring Issues in Athletics, Diagnostics, Assessment, and Intervention, Counseling in Sport and Performance Psychology
  • Graduate Certificate: ~12-20 credits; Co-Occurring Issues in Athletics, Assessment, and Intervention in Sport Psychology, Ethics in Sport Psychology
  • Doctorate Degree: ~80-120 credits; Sport and Exercise Psychology, Advanced Techniques in Sport and Performance Enhancement, Theoretical and Philosophical Foundations of Sport Psychology

Sports Psychology Degree Program Clinical Requirements

Master’s and Psy.D. students in sports psychology are required to complete practical placements or internships as part of their degree program. The practical component is referred to as a “practicum.”

Accredited master’s programs typically require at least 600 hours of practical work, while Psy.D. programs typically require 1,500 hours. The bulk of this time should be spent working with teams and athletes.

Because sports psychology positions are somewhat hard to find, students should rely on their faculty for recommendations of practicum opportunities. Faculty will have extensive networks within the field and know how to best position students as strong practicum/internship applicants. Because you’ll be enrolled in an online program, you’ll likely given the opportunity to perform these practicum hours in your own community.

List of Online Sports Psychology Degree Programs

Looking for an online sports psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings


5345 Atlanta Hwy
Montgomery, AL 36109-3390
(334) 272-5820


Graduate Certificate Programs
3300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017


8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(877) 228-3615

3500 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619-1699
(510) 436-1000


2199 S. University Blvd
Denver, CO 80208
(303) 871-2000


225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3389
(866) 808-4080


8000 NE Tillamook Street
Portland, OR 97213
(800) 641-5641


250 University Ave
California, PA 15419
(724) 938-4000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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