Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

Sport and Exercise Psychology: Applied Sport Psychology Concentration

Sport and Exercise Psychology: Applied Sport Psychology Concentration

Applied Sport Psychology Concentration

Applied sport psychology employs a combination of evidence-based performance enhancement techniques, sport science, and counseling skills to help clients maximize their potential and obtain optimal enjoyment from their sport and performance experiences. Graduate students in this concentration typically come from Kinesiology or Psychology undergraduate programs and choose UNCG to learn how to enhance human development and functioning by acquiring cutting edge knowledge in the area of SEP.

Applied Sport Psychology Experiences

This curriculum was designed specifically to help students meet the coursework and field experience requirements for certification as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC), the gold standard designation for practice developed by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Students in this concentration will have the opportunity to work with Division I student-athletes under the direct mentorship of an AASP-approved CMPC.  Also, through established partnerships, there will be opportunities to work with other local sport, exercise, and performance organizations.

Goals and Objectives


This concentration is designed to develop a theoretical base in the discipline of sport and exercise psychology, and to prepare students, coaches, and consultants to apply such knowledge to performance enhancement issues associated with competitive athletics, exercise, and performance settings.


  1. Students will learn theory, research, and application in the area of sport and exercise psychology.
  2. Students will understand professional ethics and multicultural factors related to the profession of applied sport psychology.
  3. Students will gain practical experience working with athletes, coaches, and/or exercisers to facilitate their involvement, performance, and enjoyment.
  4. Students will gain an understanding of the breadth of the field of kinesiology and the specificity of their competencies.

Plan of Study

Students in this concentration area progress through the program as a cohort with most courses required based upon the requirements for CMPC certification. Because this is a cohort model, students may only begin the program in the Fall semester. The program of study is as follows:

KIN 630 Sport and Society: Social Inequalities KIN 645 Exercise Psychology or KIN 649 Principles of Physical Activity Behavior Change SWK 624 Human Diversity HHS 654 Ethics in Practice, Teaching and Research
KIN 644 Sport & Exercise Psychology  KIN 744 Applied Sport Psychology KIN 743 Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury KIN 601 Application of Research
CED 613 Helping Relationships KIN 746 Practicum I KIN 746 Practicum II KIN 746 Practicum III

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m unsure about choosing between the thesis, applied, or coursework only options. How is the applied program different?

It is only in the applied SEP program that you will:

  • Learn how to consult with athletes, exercisers, and performers to improve their mental skills.
  • Gain practical experience with individuals, teams, and groups both on and off campus
  • Prepare to practice in dynamic, professional organizations
  • Accumulate supervised/mentored hours in preparation for becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

The coursework only program is best suited for individuals who do not want to be sport psychologists per se, but who want to learn sport psychology theory and skills to apply to other settings (e.g., fitness professionals, military applications, health settings, coaching).

The thesis option is designed for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies to become a professor who focuses primarily on research and teaching. Opportunities for practical, applied experience are not available in this program.

Are there opportunities to do research as part of the applied program?

Outside of your coursework, there are no formal opportunities or requirements for research in the program. However, if you have an interest in research you can certainly look to connect with one of our faculty members in the Department of Kinesiology and volunteer on research projects as your time allows.

Does this program provide opportunities for licensure as a sport psychologist or mental health professional?

No. This program will not result in clinical licensure. Instead, the program focuses on education and applied training to prepare individuals for the CMPC certification. Many students who are interested in clinical mental health work with athletes and performers will choose to go on for additional schooling in counseling, social work, counseling or clinical psychology (i.e. they will pursue an additional graduate degree in a different program).

According to AASP, the “CMPC® demonstrates to clients, employers, colleagues, and the public at large that an individual has met the highest standards of professional practice, including completing a combination of educational and work requirements, successfully passing a certification exam, agreeing to adhere to ethical principles and standards, and committing to ongoing professional development. The CMPC® certification program is also accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)” Further, obtaining certification can impact future job opportunities.

What jobs do graduates have after graduation?

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue the following career opportunities:

  • Performance specialists within the military
  • Mental training interns at sports academies
  • Mental performance group and/or private practice
  • Collegiate coaching positions
  • Life skills coordinators in university athletic departments
  • Academic advisors in student-athlete services
  • Weight management and exercise behavior consultants in fitness facilities
What practicum opportunities are there?
  • Individual and team consultations with collegiate athletic programs (DI and Division III levels)
  • High school athletic consultations
  • Youth sport club consultations
  • School of Music consultations
  • Educational programming for Military Affiliated Services
  • Exercise and weight management behavioral consultations
How many students are admitted into the program?

10-12 students are admitted each year, for a total of 20-24 students in the program.

How long does the program take to complete?

The 36 credit hour program is designed to be completed in two academic years. The program consists of fall and spring semesters for the first and second years. Students have an option of registering for additional practicum hours during the summer between the first and second year of the program.

Are there any prerequisite courses?

Completion of prerequisite coursework may be suggested if a degree major or minor is not in psychology or kinesiology/exercise science. For CMPC certification, we do not offer courses for the K4 or K7 requirements. Many students have taken these courses as an undergraduate, but if not, there are opportunities to take courses in these areas through the Psychology department at UNCG. Many students choose to take these courses in addition to their coursework during the program.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for Fall consideration is January 15. The program only admits for the Fall term of each year. All applicants must start in the Fall semester.  The program is highly competitive; thus, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a complete application as soon as possible, but by the application deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that all application materials are received by the Graduate School’s Admissions Office by the final deadline. Be sure to select the Applied Sport Psychology concentration when submitting your application to ensure that your application is considered for the correct program.

Is an interview required?

A phone, video-based, or in-person interview with the program director may be requested for some candidates after an initial review of submitted applications.

When will final decisions be made?

We strive to make final offers of admission by the middle of March. All admissions decisions for Fall consideration will be made by April 1st. Admitted applicants have until April 15th to inform us of their admission decision and to submit the non-refundable $250 admission deposit to confirm their place in the program. The $250 admission deposit will be credited towards the student’s first semester’s tuition.

Concentration Faculty

*Dr. Jen Farrell ( is the director of the applied sport psychology program and should be your point of contact for questions related to the program.