M.S., Sport Leadership and Management

Program Focus and Targeted Careers

The Sport Leadership program focuses on the study of psychological and social factors that influence sport and physical activity participation. Core coursework offers sport psychology, sport sociology, sport developmental, and motor learning classes. Sport psychology involves the study of human thought, emotion, and behavior in recreational and competitive sport. This includes the study of individual processes such as motivational orientations, self-efficacy, and stress/anxiety, as well as social factors such as group processes, coaching, and leadership effectiveness. Sport psychology researchers and practitioners attempt to understand how to enhance the performance of sport participants, as well as their personal development and experience of physical activity. Sport sociology focuses on sport as a social phenomenon, and on the social and cultural structures, patterns, and organizations or groups engaged in sport. Sociology of sport also considers social inequality, social mobility, and social justice in sport.

Developmental aspects of children’s participation in sport is another focus of the program, based on key issues such as children’s readiness for sport skill development and the specialization and professionalization of children’s sport. Finally, study of the control of human movement is offered, which focuses on the biopsychosocial factors that determine the proficiency of skilled motor performance.

Career positions targeted by the Sport Leadership program include consulting, teaching, coaching, research, management, and programming across a variety of sport contexts. Examples include collegiate coaching positions, academic coordinators in university athletic departments, academic coaching and life skill development, recreational sport coordinators, university professors, sport psychology consultants within sport medicine or national organizations, and athletic administrators.

Requirements for Degree Completion

Students must complete all KNH requirements for the M.S. in Kinesiology and Health, including a minimum of 36 credits, KNH 621 Research Foundations, area of concentration coursework, capstone experience, and successful completion of a final certifying examination. The exact program of study is specified in an individual program plan approved by the student’s guidance committee. Required coursework for this area of concentration is listed below.

Research Core (6 credits)

KNH 621 Research Foundations In Kinesiology and Health (3)
KNH 623 Qualitative inquiry and analysis (3) or EHS 667 or 668 Quantitative statistics I or II (3)

Capstone Experience Options (0-6 credits)

One of these:

KNH 700 Thesis research (oral defense of completed written thesis) (6)
KNH 620 Research experience (oral defense of research and oral exam over coursework) (4)
KNH 630 Practicum (oral defense of practicum project and oral exam over coursework) (4)
Coursework only (0 credits) Capstone is written comprehensive exam over coursework

Sport Leadership Core Courses (12 credits)

Four of these:

KNH 632 Psychological Foundations of Sport (3)
KNH 633 Psychological Interventions in Sport (3)
KNH 676 Sociocultural Perspectives on Sport (3)
KNH 634 Group and Social processes in Sport (3)
KNH 673 Developmental Aspects of Children’s Sport Participation (3)
KNH 681 Human Motor Control and Learning (3)

Example Electives to fulfill program plans*:

KNH 553C Sport and exercise psychology seminar A (1), B (1)
KNH 553 Counseling Theories and Practice (3)
KNH 575 Gender and Sport (3)
KNH 571 Sport, Leisure and Aging (3)
KNH 572 Sport in Schools and Colleges (3)
KNH 611 Behavioral Approaches to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (3)
KNH 612 Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion and Education (3)
KNH 654 Exercise Psychology (3)
EDL 677 Student Development Theory I (3)
PSY 630 Seminar in Social Psychology (3)
KNH 568 Exercise Physiology (3)

*Students in this concentration often complete courses in psychology, sociology, women’s studies, educational leadership, educational psychology, and other concentration areas in KNH (Exercise Science and/or Health Promotion).

  • Curricular guides with recommended courses will be given to students who are considering careers in: sport psychology academic, sport psychology consulting, coaching, student-athlete development, athletic administration, or sport sociology academic.
  • Students will meet with an advisor to plan their curricular focus, as well as a guidance committee to approve their program plan. Each student’s program plan should be focused toward the type of career they are pursuing (e.g., doctoral work in a specific discipline, student-athlete academic counseling, coaching, etc.).
  • The option will be available for students interested in sport psychology to pursue AASP certification by taking coursework to fulfill certification areas (e.g., biophysical course, counseling course, etc.).