California Sports Psychology Degree Programs


Sports psychology is now widely recognized as a crucial component of team, athlete, and overall success in today’s environment. Expertise in exercise and sports psychology and mental health concerns has become a highly sought-after skill set as a result of the rising awareness of mental health issues in the United States and around the world.

Although the fundamentals of exercise, psychology, and performance are covered in all graduate programs in sports psychology, not all of them place the same emphasis on these topics. You might search for schools that emphasize applied sport psychology if you hope to become a full-time sports psychology consultant. Alternatively, if you want to become a professor, look for a sports psychology school that promotes teaching and research opportunities. Of course, you should consider a PhD or PsyD degree if your goal is to offer individual therapy as a professional psychologist.

You want the sports psychology programs you apply to take your interests, whatever they may be, into consideration. If you’re interested in learning more about these exciting psychology programs, have a look at the courses offered at these accredited universities in California.

What Will I Learn in A Sports Psychology Program?

Degree Timelines

Depending on your development and if you choose to pursue a master’s or PhD degree, a sports psychology curriculum can span anywhere between 6 and 14 years.

Curriculum and Example Courses

Along with instruction in sports and psychology theory, coursework for graduate degree programs in sports psychology frequently involves applied counseling training. Additionally, professional research, publishing, and psychoanalysis will be covered. Examples of classes you might find in a sports psychology program include the following:

  • Exercise psychology
  • Motor behavior
  • Social psychology of sports
  • Psychology of coaching
  • Coaching disabled athletes
  • Biomechanics

What Are The Standard Entrance Requirements to Enroll?

Each school has its own set of admission requirements. To apply to a master’s program, you must have a bachelor’s degree, and some programs may have a minimum grade point average (GPA) for undergraduate coursework. Furthermore, certain programs may have minimal test results, like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Admission to graduate programs in sports psychology may require a CV, a personal statement detailing your interest in the program and career goals, professional reference letters, and an online application with a non-refundable processing fee. It should be noted that some graduate programs may require both a departmental application and a general graduate school application.

School NameCityStateProgram LevelProgram NameProgram URL
Cal Poly, San Luis ObispoSan Luis ObispoCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor's with a concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
California Lutheran UniversityThousand OaksCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Sports ManagementClick Here
CSU, FresnoFresnoCaliforniaBachelorsB.S. Kinesiology: Emphasis in Sport AdministrationClick Here
CSU, NorthridgeNorthridgeCaliforniaBachelorsB.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation ManagementClick Here
Concordia University IrvineIrvineCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sport ManagementClick Here
Hope International UniversityFullertonCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. Business & Management - Sports ManagementClick Here
Menlo CollegeAthertonCaliforniaBachelorsBachelor's in Management with concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
Pepperdine UniversityMalibuCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Sport AdministrationClick Here
University of PacificStocktonCaliforniaBachelorsB.A. in Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
Whittier CollegeWhittierCaliforniaBachelorsBachelors in Kinesiology and Nutrition Science with an emphasis in Sport ManagementClick Here
California Baptist UniversityRiversideCaliforniaMastersMaster of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT)Click Here
CSU, Dominguez HillsCarsonCaliforniaBachelorsOnline Certificate in Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, FresnoFresnoCaliforniaMastersM.A. Kinesiology: Sport AdministrationClick Here
CSU, Long BeachLong BeachCaliforniaMastersMA in Kinesiology: Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, Long BeachLong BeachCaliforniaMastersMaster in Sport ManagementClick Here
CSU, NorthridgeNorthridgeCaliforniaMastersM.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation ManagementClick Here
Fresno Pacific UniversityFresnoCaliforniaMastersOnline Masters in Sport AdministrationClick Here
San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoCaliforniaMastersMBA in Sport Business ManagementClick Here
San Jose State UniversitySan JoseCaliforniaMastersM.A. in Kinesiology - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here
University of PacificStocktonCaliforniaMastersM.A. Sport Sciences - Concentration in Sport ManagementClick Here

California Baptist University

Bachelor of Science in Sport and Performance Psychology

Through a multidisciplinary focus on research and application based around an empathic approach, this 49-unit degree is intended to enable students to solve the current performance mental health challenges – a competency that is highly sought after by potential performance employers. Any student who feels compelled to continue in athletics or the performance industry and wants to have a positive impact on others’ cognitive development should pursue this degree. With this degree, a student can work with performers in sports, the military, the performing arts, and business, among other fields. Examples of courses in this program include Sport and Performance Psychology Capstone, Ethics and Leadership in Performance Psychology, and Performance in the Social Environment. Official, sealed transcripts from your high school and college or university are required for admission.

Master of Science in Sport and Performance Psychology

The 43-unit course prepares students to use psychological techniques to assist clients in enhancing their physical control and performance. Through a variety of psychological and kinesiological courses with a biblical foundation, students are academically prepared while also obtaining practical experience through practicum placement and mentorship. Advanced Sport and Performance Psychology, MFT Counseling Techniques, and Sports Nutrition are a few examples of courses. For unconditional admission, a bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university, official transcripts, and a 3.0 GPA are needed.


California Southern University

Master of Science in Psychology, Sport Psychology Concentration

This 42-credit degree program includes a variety of academic and professional psychology courses. This degree is best suited to those seeking a solid theoretical and research foundation in psychology that can be applied to sport psychology. Transcripts, a government-issued ID, and a personal statement are required for admission to this online program.


San Diego University for Integrative Studies

Master of Arts in Sport Counseling

This program is intended to provide students with the theoretical and practical training required to assist athletes in becoming more effective in both sports and in their personal lives. The program is designed to prepare professionals to consult with individual athletes, teams, and athletic organizations, as well as to develop and teach programs tailored to this specific population. The degree requires the completion of 90 quarter units at the graduate level. Students will complete the required Sport Counseling requirements as well as the core Psychology requirements (55 units) (30 units). Students must complete 50 hours of personal counseling and write a Master’s Thesis (5 units). It is also necessary to pass the MA Comprehensive Exam. Admission requires a statement of educational intent, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts from previous schools attended.


Fresno State University

Master of Arts in Kinesiology, Sport Psychology Option

The degree requires 30 units of advanced coursework, with a 6-unit common core. Depending on the option, 9-18 units from specified courses are chosen, along with 3-12 units of electives and a culminating experience. Graduates of this program have excelled in both professional careers and doctoral programs at prestigious universities. Among the required courses are Psychology of Sport: Mental Training, Psychology of Coaching: Talent Development, Psychobiology of Sport and Exercise, and Psychology of Injury in Sport and Physical Activity. A 3.0 GPA from your last 60 units, transcripts, GRE (150V or higher, 141Q or higher), or MAT (399 or higher), and three letters of recommendation are required for admission.


California State University, Long Beach

B.S. in Kinesiology, Option in Psychology and Leadership

The 120-unit Sport Psychology and Leadership option offers thorough instruction and exposure to the psychological components of movement and sport. One concentration is in Sport Psychology, while the other is in Leadership. With the exception of the activity courses and elective courses, the course requirements for both concentrations are the same. Students who are interested in employment in sport psychology and coaching outside of the public school system (K–12), such as coaching professional athletes, coaching youth-sport athletes, and coaching at sport academies, should consider this choice. Graduates of California high schools and other California residents with a ​2.5 GPA or more in college preparation subjects are considered for admission.

M.S. in Kinesiology, Option in Sport and Exercise Psychology

The program is intended to prepare students for careers in sport and exercise psychology, specifically as athletic performance enhancement specialists and/or as academic researchers and teachers. The Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology program consists of 36 units. Students must take core classes, elective courses, and may complete a thesis or comprehensive exam/capstone. Courses are designed to assist those seeking AASP certification, and applied opportunities for students to accumulate mentored experience hours are available. To apply, students must submit official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a resume/CV.


Career & Salary Opportunities in Sports Psychology in California

In the California entertainment and recreation market, sports are a hugely popular subset. Competitive sports and games are taken seriously in both professional and amateur settings.

You might be able to obtain employment as a sports psychologist in health facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and research organizations. If you put in a lot of effort, you might even be able to help a national or school squad.

The potential income of a sports psychologist is significantly influenced by their level of expertise and the volume of cases they have handled. In California, the average yearly pay for sports psychologists is $75,428 as of July 2022.

In addition to national teams, there are many active school, college, and university sports teams, which is excellent for the job prospects of sports psychologists. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2020 to 2030 there will be 13,500 additional new positions created in the field of psychology overall.

Here are some examples of careers related to Sport Psychology:

Academic Positions

  • Instructor of sport and exercise psychology at a university
  • Sport psychologist for a university athletic department
  • Psychologist at a counseling center and sport psychology consultant for the athletic department

Sport psychologist in private practice

  • Mental training consultant or sport psychologist for a professional sport agent
  • Mental training consultant or sport psychologist for an Olympic training center
  • Mental training consultant at a sport academy

Athlete Development

  • Academic coach
  • Athletic counselor
  • Athlete career and education advisor
  • Performance lifestyle coordinator for a national governing body
  • Life services coordinator
  • Professional sport welfare officer