Sport and Exercise Psychology

Master of Science, with a Concentration in Sport and Exercise Psychology

The field of sport and exercise psychology is an interdisciplinary science that explores the relationship between various psychological factors and participation in sport and/or physical activity. The two-year program in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion offers students the choice to pursue a graduate education in the field of sport and exercise psychology by either following an applied or research track. Each option integrates theory-based research and the application of key concepts associated with performance enhancement and life skill development. In this context, successful completion of this program will result in a strong understanding of the various psychosocial factors that influence sport participation and performance.

Upon admission to the program, students will be assigned a faculty advisor who will assist in course selection and planning. The exact program of study specified in an individual program plan will depend on previous coursework and/or individual goals.


Applied Track Curriculum

The applied curriculum aims to prepare students for professional certifications (e.g., CMPC) and careers (e.g., sport and performance consultant, coaching, master resilience trainer, strength and conditioning coach, academic advisor, etc.) in applied sport and exercise psychology. In addition to a 300 (minimum) hour supervised internship, students in the applied track will complete graduate coursework in various professional fields related to sport and exercise psychology, including counseling psychology, sport leadership, and exercise science. Students in the applied curriculum will be required to sit for written and oral comprehensive examinations.

Applied Curriculum

Students in the applied track will have the opportunity to choose from various approved internship sites and settings, allowing them to build a foundation in applied sport and exercise psychology/mental skills training. A certified consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (CMPC) will supervise all internships, preparing students for CMPC designation post-graduation.

Possible internship opportunities include:

  • Performance Psychology Consultant:
    • NCAA Division I, II, III schools
    • NAIA schools
    • Collegiate Club Sports
    • Kentucky High School Athletics Association
  • Life Skills Coordinator positions at major NCAA institutions
  • Performance enhancement specialist at a Military Performance Enhancement Center
  • Local community organizations (e.g., YMCA)
  • Behavioral Health Consultant – Student rec center/Wellness Program
  • Performance Enhancement Specialist at major sports facilities (e.g., IMG Academies)
  • Local coaching workshops
  • Local marathons or athletic events


Research Track Curriculum

The research curriculum is recommended for students who intend to continue their education at the doctoral level and/or pursue a career in academia. Students in the research track are encouraged to register for an upper-level research and statistics course and will complete a master’s thesis on an original topic related to the psychological aspects of sport and/or physical activity. Students following the research curriculum will be required to sit for an oral defense of their thesis project. In some cases, students in the research track may pursue limited applied experiences (e.g., co-consulting, shadowing, etc.) at the discretion of the program faculty.

Research Curriculum

Students entering the research track will complete an empirically-based thesis project that will allow students to further their knowledge in a research topic that interests them. Each thesis is expected to explore an original research idea to be submitted for conference presentation, publication in an empirical journal, and/or lead to future dissertation research topics


Admissions Criteria
  • An undergraduate degree in a field closely related to sport and exercise psychology (e.g., psychology, exercise science, health and/or wellness, health sciences, etc.).
  • A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on 4.0 scale)
  • Minimum GRE scores of: 146 verbal; 146 quantitative; 2.75 analytical.
  • Personal interview (for those invited)

Required documents to include with application

  • Official undergraduate transcipts in a sealed envelope, mailed directly to:
    Sport and Exercise Psychology Graduate Program
    Seaton Building, Room 110
    Lexington, KY, 40506-0219
  • A current CV or professional resume.
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least two must be from a person with direct knowledge of applicants academic capabilities (e.g., instructor, research supervisor, advisor, etc.).
  • A professional goal statement describing the applicants professional background, motivations for seeking a graduate education in SEP, and career/research interests.

Apply Here


Program Faculty
Marc Cormier, Ph.D., CMPC
Assistant Professor, KHP Department
Program Director
Jeff Reese, Ph.D.
Professor, EDP Department