LaGarian S., Class of 2018 Military Servicemember

Master of Arts
in Sport and Performance


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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 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. one of the two following tracks.

Specialization in Applied Mental Performance

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 in Theoretical Mental Performance

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.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Course Listing

Core Requirements

  • 15 courses; 67.5 quarter units

Course Name

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.

An in-depth study of various types of organizational structures, both formal and informal, with special emphasis on behavior of people within those structures.

An examination of the adult stages of human biological, psychological and social development. Discusses classical as well as contemporary theories.

An exploration of the role of culture in concepts of 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 world view to diverse populations are explored.

This course is designed to provide a knowledge base for applying principles of performance excellence in performance areas other than traditional athletics. Topics include foundational skills for performance consulting, required domain specific knowledge, understanding the specific performance context, and how these factors impact effective strategies for working within those systems

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.

PrerequisitePSY 602 and PSY 603

Students will integrate their theoretical approach to consultation, knowledge of intervention strategies, and personal philosophy of performance enhancement in order to design and present appropriate performance psychology programs. Opportunities to develop both individual and group interventions for diverse populations are provided. An emphasis is placed on the students’ professional development, experience as consultants, learners, and peer mentors, as well as the necessity of reflective practice. This is a 2-month course.

Behavioral research is a way to examine and understand individual and social behavior through measurement and interpretation. This course investigates the theoretical principles that underlie behavioral research and the application of current research techniques. The course forms the foundation for practical application of behavioral science and continued study in the human behavior and is essential to completing the capstone course in the program (Integrative Project in Human Behavior, HUB 680).

A survey of social psychological theories of behavior change and resistance to change.

This course examines how the principles of performance psychology can be applied to corporate settings. Themes include proper employee selection, training and development, guided change, leadership, morale, organizational behavior, and work/family issues.

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.

This course explores relevant theory and research on the etiology and treatment of psychological disorders. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the role of neurobiology, culture, and social context in the evaluation of mental disorders.

Focuses on the development and production of a completed business plan for the purpose of starting a consulting business practice. Students will examine relevant issues such as vision, mission, marketing, profitability, technology, legal, and operational management. Covers ideas and tangible tools to develop a successful practice in today’s business world.

PrerequisiteSuccessful completion of all core requirements

The fieldwork experience or internship provides practical application of performance psychology principles in a professional setting. A thesis consisting of the written report of an investigation or of a successful fieldwork project is required. This project must be initiated, executed, and reported by the student under the supervision of the faculty. The student must consult the lead faculty prior to beginning the fieldwork experience.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Arts in 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

The Master of Arts in 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:

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.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements in a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

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