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Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity

The Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity Program provides advanced knowledge in how psychological characteristics and responses influence, and are influenced by, participation and performance in sport and physical activities. The role of scholarship is emphasized. This advanced knowledge prepares these graduates to think conceptually and analytically, and to positively impact professional practices and policies in their field. 

The psychology of sport and physical activity focuses on a theory-research-practice approach, with the ultimate goal of students understanding how to use theoretically sound and evidenced-based interventions to facilitate rewarding experiences, long-term motivation, and positive psychological and social development of sport and physical activity participants. As a culminating experience, students in this sequence will complete a thesis, independent study, or professional practice.

 In most cases, students accepted into the psychology of sport and physical activity sequence will have demonstrated a high level of academic performance in the foundation courses of exercise science, and will have been involved with basic or applied research projects. Some students will have alternative preparation for the sequence through relevant work experience (e.g., coaching, teaching) or academic training. Further, students will be selected based on future goals consistent with the focus of the sequence.

Depending on individual career aspirations, completion of this sequence prepares a student for future graduate study at the doctoral level or for employment working with athletes or physical activity participants in various settings such as a coach or personal trainer.

Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Faculty and Research Interests

Tony Amorose, Ph.D. 
Examination of factors that influence the psychological and social development of sport and physical activity participants, including an emphasis on how significant others such as parents, peers, and coaches influence athletes' motivational orientations and self-perceptions

Pete Smith, Ed.D.
Factors affecting movement skill learning. To date, this has included the order in which movement tasks are practiced (contextual interference), the role of corrective or motivational information in learning movement skills, and the role of instructions in learning movement skills

Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Curriculum

Master of Science Core Requirements - 6 hours

  • KNR 497, Introduction to Research Methods
  • KNR 445, Statistics in Applied Science and Technology

Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Sequence Core - 9 hours

  • KNR 405, Applied Motor Learning
  • KNR 406, Advanced Sport Psychology
  • KNR 416, Motivation in Sport and Exercise

Cognate Area - 6-12 hours approved by the psychology of sport and physical activity sequence coordinator

Culminating Experience - 3-6 hours approved by the psychology of sport and physical activity sequence coordinator

  • KNR 498.30, Professional Practice, 6 hours
  • KNR 499, Thesis, 6 hours
  • KNR 400, Independent Study, 3 hours

Admission to Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Program

Applications for admission to the psychology of sport and physical activity program are first sent to the University Graduate School and are then reviewed by the psychology of sport and physical activity faculty and the school graduate program coordinator. Admission to the program is competitive and admissions decisions are based on a variety of factors, including undergraduate grade point average, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, past work experiences, and future career goals.

The ideal candidate will have work experience in teaching or coaching, and will have demonstrated a high level of academic performance in a related undergraduate program. To assure fullest consideration, completed applications must be filed by March 1 for fall admission. Applications will not be considered until all materials have been received.

Questions about Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity?

Contact Dr. Tony Amorose, Sequence Coordinator.

Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity Grad Students

Career Opportunities

  • Employment working with athletes or physical activity participants in various settings such as a coach or personal trainer

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Kinesiology and Recreation
Campus Box 5120
250 McCormick Hall
Normal, Il 61790-5120
Phone: (309) 438-8661
Fax: (309) 438-5559

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