Career Pathways

What is sport and performance psychology?

Sport and performance psychology encompasses the positive and applied sport psychology needed to enhance performance and maximize human potential. The field involves understanding the process of success, creating and leading highly effective teams, utilizing positive motivation and communication techniques, and setting and achieving high goals.

Sport and Performance Psychology vs. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Our specialized sport and performance psychology EdD program is a blend of a research-oriented PhD (doctor of philosophy) and a Psy-D (psychology doctorate), which allows students to meet their specific career goals and educational needs. For those who are interested in counseling, UWS offers both an MS and an EdD degree program in clinical mental health counseling, in which sport and performance psychology content is integrated into the curriculum. Learn more about the clinical mental health counseling program. While these degree programs are similar due to course content, the career outcomes can differ. Trying to decide which program is right for you? Check out this valuable resource that can aid in directing you toward the right educational path!

Specialize at UWS

MS Positive Coaching Concentration
This concentration focuses on strategic leadership and coaching used to enhance both physical and mental performance. It reaches beyond coaching on the sidelines and includes how to perform optimally as the coach and leader. Topics covered in this concentration will build on sports performance-based knowledge and focus on the importance of positive coaching, leadership and communication to help your team, business or organization reach full potential.

EdD Positive Leadership and Administration Concentration
Positive leadership applies the principles of positive psychology to the challenges in competitive work and sport environments. This concentration is designed to help leaders and their organizations succeed through gaining understandings of human motivation and behavior (emphasizing strengths rather than limitations) to achieve extraordinary results.

EdD Individual Studies Concentration
This option is designed to help people complete all of the AASP coursework requirements and for those who are interested in multiple areas including coaching, positive leadership, athletic administration, wellness, counseling, and sports nutrition. This is also a good option for students who already have a master’s degree in counseling.

Applied Sport Psychology Graduate Certificate
This program addresses each of the eight AASP coursework competency areas to prepare students to become experts in the field of sport psychology.

Positive Leadership and Administration Graduate Certificate
Positive leadership applies the principles of positive psychology to the challenges in competitive sport environments and in the workplace.

Sports Nutrition Graduate Certificate
This certificate is designed to prepare students to become certified sports nutritionists (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).

Transfer Credit Evaluation

A student may request up to 16 transfer credits of coursework successfully completed at another accredited university. Transfer credit requests are reviewed by the program director for applicability to the UWS program.

Qualified Exams

Coursework options offered within the program are consistent with the knowledge and skills assessed by the:

  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) toward the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC®)

*Note on licensure

It is the responsibility of the individual student to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. UWS makes no representations or guarantee that completion of UWS coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure.


Approved by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), the program’s comprehensive curriculum was specifically designed to help students complete the specialized coursework requirements to become certified consultants (CMPC®). This structure allows our students to select coursework to meet their individual job and certification needs.


Sport and performance psychology professionals typically serve as leaders in sport, coaching, exercise and wellness disciplines. Graduates of the SPP program can seek careers including:

  • certified consultant (CMPC®)
  • positive leadership administrator
  • coach
  • professor