Earning an online sports psychology master’s degree is a great way to gain the professional knowledge and skills needed to help athletes reach their full potential. Professionals that practice sport psychology work closely with athletes to enhance their mental health, overcome injuries, and achieve success. Sports psychology graduates work with athletes at all levels including those playing in rec leagues, those on professional sports teams, and those in the military. Some professionals may even work towards a career in clinical sports psychology so that they can practice sports medicine. These sports psychologists prescribe medication and have often earned a doctoral degree.
The field of sport psychology is booming. Colleges and universities are adding sport psychology staff to work within their athletic departments because they see how psychological knowledge greatly increases the athletic performance of sports participants. It does this by improving their mental health and self confidence. Many athletes have been known to suffer with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. For some sports participants, giving an optimal performance may include meeting with sports psychologists to learn cognitive and behavioral strategies to teach mental toughness.
Schools and sport organizations recognize the importance of the mental health component in athletics and are taking the extra step to help their athletes reach their full potential. Sport participation, team building success, sports performance are deeply intertwined with the work of sports psychologists. A sports psychologist understands that training for performance enhancement can be a psychological activity.
Earning a master’s degree can be expensive, so we created this list of the 15 most affordable sport psychology programs online. Online programs can provide working students with the flexibility to complete their studies while holding down a full-time job. Schools selected for this list are nationally accredited and offer a master’s degree in sport psychology, sports medicine, or a closely related area. Schools are ranked using graduate tuition rates published on College Navigator.
15. A. T. Still University of Health Sciences – Kirksville, Missouri
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology-Exercise and Sports Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $36,336/year
A. T. Still University offers an online master’s in kinesiology focused on exercise and sports psychology. This 42-credit hour program includes online coursework and a week-long conference at the ATSU Human Movement Institute. Exercise and sport psychology courses include:
- Principles of Adherence and Motivation
- Applied Sports Psychology
- Physical Activity and Health
Between the first and second program year, students come to Mesa to participate in lecture and lab situations while engaging with faculty and peers. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and at least two years of professional training or experience.
14. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
MS in Sport Coaching Leadership Online
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $36,234/year
Drexel University offers a sport coaching online master’s degree for students who want to help athletes overcome challenges on and off the field. This branch of sports psychology helps students create a custom-designed concentration or choose a sport-specific concentration in either lacrosse or rowing. Required courses include:
- Development and Fundraising
- Sport Performance and Energy Systems
- Athletic Recruiting
Courses are taught by full-time faculty who are dedicated to the success of their students. Students seeking full admission should have completed their bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
13. California Southern University – Costa Mesa, California
Master of Science in Psychology-Sport Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $22,890/year
The cost-effective online sport psychology master’s program from California Southern University emphasizes scientific research and practical experience in non-clinical settings. The 42-credit hour program takes two to three years to complete. Course offerings include:
- Current Issues in Sport Psychology
- Psychology of Coaching
- Enhancing Performance
Faculty members are experienced educators who work closely with students to help them reach their goals by teaching skills training for performance. Students complete a master’s thesis to complete their degree.
12. University of the Southwest – Hobbs, New Mexico
Master of Science in Sport Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $22,500/year
University of the Southwest features a top value master’s in sports psychology online that prepares students for a variety of professional outcomes. The program is delivered 100% online so students can complete their degree on their own schedule. Students take courses focused on the theories and principles around psychology and the physical experience of sport. Financial aid opportunities are available through military aid, corporate sponsorship, and assistance for educators. Graduates are ready for a variety of roles including coach and mentor.
11. Holy Names University – Oakland, California
Master of Arts in Applied Sport and Performance Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $18,054/year
The high-quality online master’s in sport psychology from Holy Names University includes hands-on training combined with current theory. Students can choose to complete their degree online, with a two-week residency on-campus, or in a hybrid format. Online courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats that supports real-time engagement and flexibility. Courses are taught by highly skilled, internationally recognized faculty with experience in the field. Students can attend masterclasses and participate in professional development workshops with sport psychology professionals.
10. Northcentral University – La Jolla, California
Master of Science in Sport Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$16,983/year
Northcentral University offers a top online master’s in sport psychology that focuses on improving mental health and well-being in athletes. Coursework has been deemed appropriate by the Certification Council of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. This 36-credit hour program takes 18 to 21 months to complete. Course offerings include:
- Professional Ethics in Sport Psychology
- Psychopathology in Sport
Students can complete internship placements to gain valuable hands-on experience.
9. St. Francis College – Brooklyn Heights, New York
Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Science-Sport Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$16,000/year
The affordable online master’s in sport psychology from St. Francis College uses theory, applied research, and practice to teach students how to enhance athletic performance and overall health and fitness. The convenient 24/7 online learning platform allows students to earn their degree while meeting other obligations. The curriculum includes courses in:
- Sport in Society
- Psychological Aspects of Sport and Exercise
- Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport
All students complete a practicum experience and capstone course. Students can save money by transferring in up to six credit hours. Students in the military can save additional money with reduced tuition.
8. National University – La Jolla, California
Master of Arts in Sport Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$15,480/year
The cost-effective sport psychology online master’s from National University was created for students who want to help athletes and competitive organizations overcome obstacles and be at their best. Students complete four internships, giving them professional work experience while earning their degree. Faculty are pioneers in the field and provide students with support and guidance throughout the program. There are no on-campus residency requirements. Students planning to pursue a career in clinical sport psychology can enroll in the dual Master of Arts in Sport Psychology/Doctor of Clinical Psychology program.
7. Capella University – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Online Sport Psychology Specialization-Master of Science in Psychology
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$14,767/year
Capella University, a leader in online education, features a best-value online sport psychology master’s degree program. Students gain professionally useful knowledge through a competency-based education. Coursework focuses on the fundamentals of human behavior to study the issues affecting athletic performance. Courses include:
- Performance Enhancement in Sports
- Applied Sport Psychology
- Principles of Sport Psychology
Capella offers two flexible online learning formats. Students who benefit from a structured learning format can choose the GuidedPath approach, while the self-paced FlexPath approach is a great fit for students who want to control their own pace.
6. University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri
M.Ed. in Positive Coaching and Athletic Leadership Online
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$9,478/year in-state and $25,946/year out-of-state
The innovative online master’s in positive coaching and athletic leadership offered by the University of Missouri was developed with input from the Department of Athletics. This 30-credit hour program can be completed in just one year by full-time online students. Courses are held in short, eight-week sessions. Core courses include:
- Coaching for Inclusive Excellence
- Sport and Applied Coaching Psychology
- Positive Leadership in Sport
All students complete a capstone project in their final class. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0. GRE is not required for admission consideration.
5. University of Western States – Portland, Oregon
MS Sport and Performance Psychology Online
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$9,450/year
The University of Western States features a low-cost sport psychology master’s program online with a concentration in positive coaching. Courses are taught by experienced faculty who have extensive teaching and working in professional practice. The applied focus helps students learn relevant information using a hands-on approach. Students can pursue mentorship experiences in their own community to apply their skills in real world settings. Most students can complete their degree in just 18 months of study.
4. Ohio University – Athens, Ohio
Online Master of Coaching Education
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$9,444/year in-state and $17,436/year out-of-state
Ohio University offers a high value online master’s in an area of sport psychology for coaches at all levels. Students will learn how to use coaching and team building to directly impact an athlete’s performance. The program was restructured in 2020 and follows the national standards for sport coaches. Required courses include:
- Psychology of Coaching
- Analysis of Sport Performance for Coaches
- Management and Leadership in Sport
Students can complete their degree in less than two years while continuing to meet personal and professional obligations. There are no on-campus residency requirements, making this a great choice for working professionals.
3. California University of Pennsylvania – California, Pennsylvania
Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion: Sport Psychology Online
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$9,288/year in-state and $13,932/year out-of-state
The innovative online sport psychology master’s degree program at California University of Pennsylvania helps students builds skills and gain knowledge in this top field. Students can choose to complete the 36-credit hour sport psychology concentration or add a second concentration area and create a 48 dual concentration program. Additional concentration offerings include:
- Applied Sport Science
- Rehabilitation Science
- Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention
Students can earn their degree in just 12 months of full-time study. Part-time students can complete their master’s in 17 months.
2. Lock Haven University – Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Master of Science Sport and Exercise Psychology Track
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$9,288/year in-state and $13,932/year out-of-state
Lock Haven University offers a low cost online master’s in sport psychology with a fully online curriculum. This 30-credit hour program can be completed in just one year by full time students. The sport and exercise psychology track studies the psychological factors that impact sport performance and the interaction between sport and psychological well-being. Course offerings include:
- Sport and Exercise Psychology for Performance Enhancement
- Psychology of Athletic Injury/Recovery
- Stress Management for the Physically Active
Graduates are prepared for a variety of professional roles in both sport and non-sport settings.
1. American Military University – Charles Town, West Virginia
Master of Science in Sports and Health Sciences
Average Graduate Student Tuition:$6,660/year
Our top choice for an online master’s in sport psychology is offered by American Military University, a member of the American Public University System. AMU’s online master’s in sports and health sciences with concentrations in:
- Exercise Science and Human Performance
- Health and Wellness Management
Students will gain an understanding of relationships between psychological behaviors that impact athletic performance including motivation and stress. Core required courses include:
- Sport Psychology
- Advanced Exercise and Sport Psychology
- Critical Thinking in the Sports and Health Industries
All students complete a culminating research project that showcases the students’ understanding of concepts and applications covered in the program. New courses start monthly and there are no on-campus residency requirements.
- 5 Careers in Sports Psychology
- 5 Characteristics of a Sports Psychologist
- 5 Functions of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
- 5 TED Talks on Sports Psychology
- 5 Ways a Certified Mental Performance Consultant Can Help Your Child with Sports
- 5 Ways a Sports Psychologist Can Improve Team Cohesion
- How Can I Become an NFL Sports Psychologist?
- How Do You Become a Sports Psychologist?
- What are the Prerequisites for a Master’s in Sport Psychology?
- What Careers are in Sports Psychology?
- What Does a Sports Psychologist Performance Coach Do?
- What is a Clinical Sports Psychologist?