Welcome! The Sport & Exercise Psychology graduate program at the University of Utah has a research and applied emphasis focus. Guided by a research/practitioner model we emphasize two areas of study − sport and exercise psychology and sport sociology. Our research focuses on motivational processes, caring climates, injury rehabilitation, and determinants of physical activity involvement. Students also have the opportunity to gain applied opportunities, supervision, and AASP certification. Our overall mission is to develop scholars and practitioners who excel in teaching, conducting research, working with athletes in performance enhancement settings, and serving as leaders in sport and physical activity organizations. Recent graduates have obtained faculty positions in Colleges/Universities, positions in the military, and in some instances consulting with amateur and professional sports teams.


Required Undergraduate Courses

  • Psychology
  • Motor learning
  • Sport and exercise psychology

Recommended Undergraduate Courses

  • Statistics
  • Kinesiology
  • Sport sociology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise programming or prescription


A MS degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport & Exercise Psychology can be pursued in preparation for a PhD (thesis option) or as a terminal degree (non-thesis option). The non-thesis degree option is typically utilized to supplement existing degrees and knowledge and is focused on the application of psychosocial aspects of sport in the real world. For example,

  • Coaches, physical educators, and personal trainers may wish to attain a MS in order to learn more about skill acquisition and motor control, motivation, eating disorders, mental skills, the culture of sport, etc.
  • Physical therapists and athletic trainers may pursue a MS to learn more about the psychological impact of injury, effective mental skills for the injured, how to foster the motivation of their clients, how individuals coordinate and control movements, and how the values inherent in the sporting world impact injury rates.
  • Those with counseling degrees may wish to augment their skills with foundational knowledge and techniques that are unique to movement and the exercise sciences.
  • Youth sport administrators may wish to learn about the psychological impact of participation for youngsters and the fascinating subculture of youth sport in America today.
  • Due to incredibly pervasive and influential nature of sport, parents of athletes may benefit from learning about the psychological impact of sport psychology and sociology.

Please note that if you are interested in applying for the Kinesiology M.S. non-thesis option in Sport Psychology, beginning Fall 2018 this program will become a specialization within the Department of Educational Psychology’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s program.  Accepted students will enter into a 3-year program leading to a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology, licensure as a clinical mental health counselor (CMHC) in the state of Utah, and certification as a mental performance consultant (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Please click HERE for application instructions.  The application is due by March 15th. Please note the following:

- Those interested in the M.S. thesis and Ph.D. degrees in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport and Exercise Psychology should still apply to Kinesiology.

- Those who are not interested in the 3-year M.Ed. program, but remain interested in a 2-year non-thesis M.S. in Kinesiology may apply to the Coaching Wellness Program –


The 2-year Coaching Wellness program allows the flexibility for students to take coursework in sport psychology, but without gaining any supervised experience in the field of sport psychology.

Please contact Dr. Nick Galli, Sport Psychology Internship Coordinator, at nick.galli@hsc.utah.edu or Dr. Uma Dorn, Director of the CMHC Program, at uma.dorn@utah.edu for further information.


A PhD in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport & Exercise Psychology is an intensive course of study in close collaboration with a mentor. Coursework and experiences developed for the student focus on fulfilling the following objectives:

  • In-depth content area knowledge.
  • In-depth knowledge of the scientific process.
  • In-depth knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research designs.
  • In-depth knowledge of statistical analyses.

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