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I posted this in decisions but it was recommended I take it to the subject specific board


So finally after a long awaited process I have heard back from the schools I needed to. 

I realized that April 15th is 2 days away and I am stressing about a decision

A bit of background information,  I want to go into the field of Sports Psychology, which is a relatively new and interdisciplinary field.

I have been offered no scholarship monet

I will graduate undergrad with minimal debt, and I do plan on going on to get a PhD in either Clinical or Counseling after taking a break for 2-3 years, and with that PhD work in sports psychology.During that hiatus I would like to get a job working with collegiate level athletes (Not coaching).

For the past 2.5 years I have worked as a tutor/ Learning Assistant for Student-Athletes and would try to continue to do so at either school


Both Schools have strong Alumni Networks


Michigan State

  • Has good sports teams (and opportunities to work with NCAA division I athletes),
  • a slightly better ranked school overall,
  • a top 20 education department where Kinesiology is housed.
  • The degree would be a M.S in Kinesiology with a concentration on Psychlogical Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity, which concerns me with job oppotunities.
  • Besides it being cold, I like this campus more
  • The person who's research i'm interested in was the advisor on a professor at FSU whose research I also like 


Florida State

  • ranked slightly overall
  • has a top 40 education department.
  • This school too has good sports teams and opportunities to work with student athletes.
  • The degree would be a M.S in Educational Psychology with a concentration on Sports Psychology.
  • This school is about $5,000 more expensive per year
  • possibility for a GA
  • closer to home


I am just stuck! I've researched and people who are in the field and their backgrounds vary extremely  (meaning people have gotten their masters in kinesiology, or counseling, or educational psych)

Which masters degree do you think would help me get a job after grad school? And if you have any advice for me I would greatly appreciate it

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I don't exactly know how helpful this will be but... I was a varsity athlete at Michigan state and we worked very closely with the sports psych students my senior year. It seems like they had a lot of opportunity to work directly with athletes and quite a bit of freedom when working with us. They all seemed very happy as well and had great relationships with faculty. This very well may be the norm and FSU has a similar experience but I figured I'd give my two cents. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there, Texas:


Sport psychology is a great field, and the questions that you ask are very hot topics right now. In fact, I was fortunate to hear a keynote speaker address these very questions, at a conference this winter. I think I may be able to help, and would be happy to discuss through private message.

You are on the right track with wondering which route is the best for your intended career. As you know, PhD programs are largely focused on research and are set up for those who wish to remain in academia and continue researching. For what you want to do (applied work with collegiate athletes), the terminal master's degree is probably going to be all you need. When looking at schools/ advisors, it is an important question to ask whether or not you will be able to become AASP certified by the time you are on the job market.

Getting back into the types of programs (i.e. counseling, kinesilogy), this can be rather confusing. The advice that was given by Dr. Jeff Martin at the AASP regional conference was that this field isn't quite developed enough for applied sport psychologists to make a living off of working only with athlete clients. He went on to say that the best route is to start as a mental health counselor where you can have a large clientel base, while slowly building up your resume and athlete clientel. To do so, you will need the degree in counseling, not sport psych. Many students, including one of my current colleaques, do a dual masters program where they earn a degree in kinesiology (sport psych) as well as a degree in counseling. This takes much effort but really sets you up nicely to A- make a living, and B- have the knowledge to work with the athletes.

I am a big fan of the program at MSU, and have had great conversations with some of the faculty there. My advisor's advisor (academic grandfather?), Dr. Dan Gould, is actually my hero, so I may be a bit biased. Sport psychology is best understood as a scientist/practitioner teeter-totter, where some programs teeter more to one side or the other.  From what I can tell, the program at MSU seems to be heavy on the scientist side, and less weighted towards practitioners. All this means is that it may not be the best fit for you. I can tell you first hand that there are programs out there that are very focused on developing practitioners to go out and work in the applied setting. Don't leave any rock unturned, make sure you explore far and wide to find the best fit for what you want to do. Try to get a copy of the Sport psychology program directory book by Dr. Sachs. It's excellent.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


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