Skip to main content


Sport and Exercise Psychology

If you would like to combine your love of sports and fitness with an interest in psychology or sociology, then you have found the perfect major. Students interested in pursuing a career in sport and exercise psychology or in sport sociology know that most jobs will require that they must first complete a graduate degree before entering the job market.

The primary mission of the undergraduate major in sport behavior is to prepare students for graduate studies in sport and exercise psychology, in sport sociology and/or in counseling. What makes the undergraduate major in sport and exercise psychology unique? First, it is the only major of its kind in the state of West Virginia, and one of the few undergraduate programs in that nation that allows students to specialize in sport and exercise psychology or sport sociology.

Second, the curriculum contains a number of exciting and innovative courses, such as the Social Psychology of Sport, Performance Enhancement, Exercise Psychology, the Psychology of Injury, and the African American in Sport. Several of the courses in the curriculum can be used to meet General Education Curriculum requirements.

Third, through our major’s club, students will interact with graduate students in our highly acclaimed doctoral program, meet leading professionals in the field, help organize conferences and participate in other student-centered professional and social activities.

Career Profile

Although sport and exercise psychology is a recent field, many exciting job opportunities exist. The media has highlighted how sport psychologists have worked with professional athletes, Olympic-level athletes or prominent college athletes. However, only a few sport psychologists can make a full-time living working with elite athletes. Some professionals in the field work in intercollegiate programs as directors of the CHAMPS/Life Skills programs mandated by the NCAA. These programs are designed to help college athletes develop good study habits, time management skills, career paths and other life skills.

Students who specialize in exercise psychology work in hospital wellness centers or physical rehabilitation centers. One area of great interest is how to motivate individuals who sustain sports-related injuries to successfully negotiate the rehabilitation process. The vast majority of professionals trained in sport and exercise psychology continue to work in academic settings where they teach, do research, and providing consultation services. The undergraduate program is geared toward training students for graduate school.

While some of our students find employment in a sports-related field (e.g., coaching, recreation and fitness) after graduating from the program, most students who wish to pursue a career in sport and exercise psychology go on to graduate school.

To practice in the field, you need graduate-level training in sport and exercise psychology, and you also may want to consider training in counseling or clinical psychology. One of the primary goals of the faculty is to ensure that our students are successfully admitted into the leading graduate programs in the nation. WVU offers master’s and doctoral degrees in Sports and Exercise Psychology.

Sample Course Schedules

Wondering what your typical day might be like? We used students’ real course schedules to create these examples.

Freshman Year

WVUE 191 First Year Seminar BIOL 102 General Biology PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology ENGL 101 Composition and Rhetoric SEP 271 Sport in American Society

Senior Year

SEP 415 Physical Activity Promotion SEP 425 Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury COUN 303 Introduction to Helping Professions SEP 373 African Americans in Sports

By the Numbers

Facts and figures that make this major unique:

English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

West Virginia University is fully accredited by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education.

Interested in talking to someone about WVU?

Contact an Admissions Counselor