LaGarian S., Class of 2018 Military Servicemember

Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology

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Home » Programs » Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology

Explore the Intersection of Performance and Psychology

The Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology program provides rigorous training to facilitate students’ growth in becoming knowledgeable, effective mental performance practitioners and professionals. Experiential training is guided by theory, evidence-based practice, ethical, and professional standards.

Students who complete this unique program can integrate the core elements of assessment, counseling skills, research methods, performance enhancement, and multicultural humility while developing their philosophy of practice across the disciplines of sport and performance psychology, business, coaching, counseling, fine arts, combat, military psychology, and sport sciences.

Following the completion of the first nine courses in the program, all students must pass the Comprehensive Written Exam (CWE). Following the successful completion of the first nine courses and passing the CWE, students will move on to the specialization requirements.

The coursework that has been identified as appropriate by the Certification Council of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).

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Course Details

Core Requirements

  • 15 courses; 67.5 quarter units

This seminar will have multiple components, including guest speakers covering a variety of topics in sport and performance domains, discussing contemporary issues in the field, as well as providing diverse training workshops.

This course examines the history, purpose, discipline, and basic techniques of sport and performance psychology. Students will examine how foundational principles in psychology were applied to performance and sport settings, and how current practices are shaped by ongoing research, inquiry, and application.

This course examines the professional laws and ethics pertaining to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy, with an emphasis on the laws and ethics pertaining to therapy and consulting with individuals and groups in a wide variety of settings. The content of various relevant legal and ethical codes will be reviewed, and the similarities and differences in ethical practice between the contexts of psychotherapy and performance psychology consulting will be explored in depth.

This course will provide a foundation of knowledge in the field of sport and performance psychology relevant to specific performance enhancement techniques.Students will examine ethical issues, explore being professional in the field, and enhance competence in performance enhancement skills and techniques for use in Sport and Performance Psychology, consulting with athletes in a variety of diverse settings. Through theoretical research of the techniques, students will create a binder of Sport and Performance Psychology- based handouts to prepare for their work with a diverse population of clients.

This course sequence is designed to present an overview of research designs and methods, including qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Additionally, ethics in research, issues of diversity and multicultural competence relevant to the research process, and an introduction to the process of publishing within journals and other outlets will be covered.

An exploration of the role of culture in concepts of sport and performance psychology consultation and intervention. Students will examine how their own cultural background frames their understanding of themselves and others. Family heritage culturally informed assessment and intervention, and the limitations of the dominant Eurocentric psychological worldview to diverse populations are explored.

This course offers an overview of major theoretical counseling orientations and techniques and their application in performance psychology settings. Emphasis is on basic interviewing, assessment, and counseling skills that facilitate the helping process through integration of various theoretical models.

The course encompasses the purpose, implementation and utility of assessment strategies within sport and performance settings. Topics include the use of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews, performing behavioral observations, theoretical foundations of assessment measures, test construction and the administration, scoring and interpretation of objective psychological measures applicable to the sport/performance setting. This course will emphasize synthesizing information gleaned from multiple methods to assist in accurate initial assessment, intervention planning, and evaluating changes in performance. The course will also highlight the importance of keeping case notes and accurate record keeping. Templates will be developed for informed consent and case notes. Finally, this course will discuss how to make referrals and how to assess for suicide in non-clinical settings.

PrerequisitePSY 614A

Counseling Skills course introduces and develops the skills needed to assess, counsel, and provide an intervention plan as a mental performance coach. This course will explore the aspects of facilitating client development in a multicultural society. Students will gain an understanding of listening skills, the key concepts and core skills of communication. Emphasis will be placed on identifying which theories should be used for different patterns of behavior, situations and cultural groups. Students will practice those skills and discuss how to handle ethical dilemmas in a counseling relationship. Students are expected to integrate skills with their personal style and theory.

This is a course that introduces the concept of mindfulness. Students will gain basic knowledge in mindfulness meditation practices. The course will focus on the historical background, define concepts, present research, and enable opportunities for students to practice a wide variety of techniques. In-class participation and assignments will foster experience and familiarity with theories, strategies, and techniques, thereby allowing students to accumulate an applied knowledge of mindfulness that can be integrated into their personal and professional practices.

PrerequisitePSY 602; PSY 607; PSY 644; PSY 648; PSY 637A; PSY 614; PSY 647; PSY 649; PSY 656

Comprehensive written examination covering material from year one, to be taken after successfully completing PSY 602, PSY 607, PSY 644, PSY 648, PSY 637A, PSY 614, PSY 647, PSY 649, and PSY 656.

This course examines the professional laws and ethics pertaining to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy, with an emphasis on the laws and ethics pertaining to therapy and consulting with individuals and groups in a wide variety of settings. The content of various relevant legal and ethical codes will be reviewed, and the similarities and differences in ethical practice between the contexts of psychotherapy and performance psychology consulting will be explored in depth.

This course examines the role of motor and biomechanical factors in performance situations. Course content includes the biomechanics of performance, linear and angular kinetics, the role of torque and force in performance, and the risks associated with biomechanical stress.


Students taking the Applied Mental Performance Specialization will complete seven additional courses, including extensive mentored training, comprehensive oral exam, and the culminating 2-month Applied Project. The Applied Mental Performance Specialization is designed to meet the academic requirements and mentored experience hours (minimum 200 direct client contact hours) for the CMPC certification (administered by AASP – Association for Applied Sport Psychology). Enabling students to complete the 72-quarter unit program in 22 months.

Specialization Requirements (8 courses; 27 quarter units)

PSY 97 Prof Development Seminar 0.00

PSY 659 Mentored Applied Training Experience  4.50
Prerequisite: PSY 98

PSY 657 Leadership & Team Building  4.50

PSY 682 Adv Performance Enhancement  4.50
Prerequisite: PSY 659; PSY 644

PSY 658 Psychopathology Assessment  4.50

PSY 684 Advanced Sport Psychology  4.50
Prerequisite: PSY 659; PSY 602

PSY 685 Applied Project  4.50
Prerequisite: PSY 657 and PSY 682; PSY 658; PSY 684; PSY 659

PSY 99 Comprehensive Oral Exam  0.00
Prerequisite: PSY 685 

Optional Elective (1 course: 4.5 quarter units)

Students who wish to expand their knowledge of Motor Behavior should also enroll in the following course.

PSY 606 Motor Behavior 4.50

Students taking the Theoretical Mental Performance Specialization will complete four additional courses, including the culminating 2-month capstone course. The Theoretical Specialization meets the academic requirements for the CMPC certification (administered by AASP – Association for Applied Sport Psychology). Enabling students to complete the 58.5-unit program in as little as 14 months.

Total Specialization Requirements (5 courses; 18 quarter units)

PSY 97 Prof Development Seminar  0.00

PSY 657 Leadership & Team Building  4.50

PSY 658 Psychopathology Assessment  4.50

PSY 606 Motor Behavior  4.50

PSY 687 Capstone  4.50
Prerequisite: PSY 657; PSY 658; PSY 606

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology degree, students must complete at least 67.5 quarter units. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and provided the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Students should refer to the section on graduate admission procedures for specific information on admission and evaluation.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of National University’s MA in Performance Psychology program, graduates will be able to:

  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply, and critique theoretical perspectives from Sport and Performance Psychology and related fields whilst demonstrating continuous development of their philosophy of practice to inform their work.
  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply, and critique professional ethical standards in a culturally appropriate manner whilst utilizing decision-making principles in relation to ethical considerations.
  • Describe and explain potential sources of bias within themselves and clients, in addition, to synthesizing, applying, and critique concepts whilst adapting their skills to promote inclusive practice with a diverse range of populations, with an emphasis on continuing education.
  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply and critique various assessment tools whilst identifying potential clinical concerns and applying referral procedures appropriately in a continuous and evolving process to create effective action plans.
  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply and critique counseling skills to develop a working relationship with clients whilst demonstrating awareness and subsequent action of how the self may impact the client-consultant relationship.
  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply and critique performance enhancement skills with individuals and teams.
  • Describe, explain, synthesize, apply and critique established and current research from Sport and Performance Psychology and related fields whilst demonstrating continuous development of their philosophy of practice to inform their work.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

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Additional Disclosures

The Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology program is currently operating using guidelines from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC). Students seeking certification must pass additional exams and have completed approved mentor hours. Please see the CMPC website for more details.

Students who obtain a CMPC may use the letters CMPC after their name and highest university degree. It does not designate the individual as a “sport psychologist.” Requirements for providing psychological services are determined by individual state, provincial, and territorial licensing boards.

For up-to-date information on program licensure eligibility requirements for a state, please visit: Licensure Disclosures

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.