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Department of Kinesiology

Sport psychology professor speaking to students

Sport Psychology Graduate Program

As listed in the Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology, our graduate program is based on the certification guidelines prepared by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Our curriculum is designed to prepare graduate students to pursue (a) careers in coaching, teaching, sports medicine, athletic training, health and fitness, or performance enhancement consulting, (b) doctoral degrees in sport psychology or related field such as kinesiology, education, or social psychology, and/or (c) certification in sport psychology consulting as an AASP Certified Consultant.

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology or a related field may be required to complete nine or more units of prerequisite coursework. In many cases, this coursework may be completed concurrently with enrollment in the graduate program.

The faculty and students in the Graduate Sport Psychology Option have a strong record of earning awards, recognitions, grants, and contracts. Since our program was created in 2000, we have either directly received or collaborated on efforts that have resulted in over $690,000 in funding support for student and faculty creative activity. View a complete list of our program accolades here.


Learn about our curriculum

Our program consists of 30 credit units. Unlike 1 year programs designed to rush you through as quickly as possible, in our Sport Psychology program, you receive 24 months of intensive training.  

Course Course Title  Units
KINES 230 Statistical Interference in Kinesiology 3
KINES 231 Research Methods in Kinesiology 3

Course Course Title Units
KINES 262 Social Implications of Sport 3
KINES 263 Psychology of Sport: Mental Training 3
KINES 264 Psychology of Coaching: Talent Development 3
KINES 265 Psychobiology of Sport and Exercise 3
KINES 266 Psychology of Injury in Sport and Physical Activity 3

KINES 298 (Project) or KINES 299 (Thesis)
Comprehensive examination, plus any two KINES 200-level or approved outside area courses



Sport Psychology faculty and students are very active in a wide range of applied research projects. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one applied research project while enrolled in the program. Funding support is typically available as many of these research projects are supported by grants and awards. Faculty and students have conducted research with a diverse array of participants including high school and college student-athletes, youth sport and college coaches, university athletic directors, physical education teachers, and public school students.

UNIFORM - Psychological skills training program that has been taught to high school student-athletes. Four articles have been published on the UNIFORM program (Lead investigator: Dr. Jenelle N. Gilbert).

Coach Development – A multiple site action research project in youth sport settings using learning communities (Gilbert, Gallimore, & Trudel, 2009) as a form of ongoing professional development (Lead investigator: Dr. Wade Gilbert).

Coaching Effectiveness – Multiple case studies using a grounded theory collaborative action research approach with elite level coaches, using the integrated definition of coaching effectiveness (Côté & Gilbert, 2009) as a conceptual framework. (Lead investigators: Dr. Wade Gilbert & Mr. Tim Hamel).

Validation of Three Quantitative Measures of the Sport Injury Domain: The Coaches' Perspective - The purposes of this study are to (1) modify the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1980) to include a sport injury-specific subscale and determine its validity, (2) modify the Causal Dimension Scale II (CDSII; McAuley, Duncan, & Russell, 1992) to reflect the suggestions of Biddle & Hanrahan (1998) and Lewis (2004) and determine its concurrent validity, and (3) evaluate the factorial validity of the Coaches' Perception of Sport Injury Questionnaire (CPSIQ; Lewis & Ewing, no date). The addition of valid psychometric tools specific to the study of sport injury can increase researchers' ability to examine the coach-injured athlete dyad with greater accuracy and robust interpretation of research findings (Lead investigator: Dr. Dawn Lewis).

Theses and Projects

46 theses and projects have been completed as culminating experience by sport psychology graduate students. Graduate students typically present the results of this work at regional and national conferences, and often this work is also submitted for publication to scholarly journals. Download a listing of all sport psychology theses and projects here.


Hear from our alumni

Sport Psychology graduate students typically apply their knowledge and skills to careers in teaching, coaching, and athletic training. Our alumni have earned positions as university and community college instructors, head college coaches, physical education teachers and coaches in K-12 schools, and athletic trainers in college and community settings. Our students have also gained entrance into leading sport psychology doctoral programs at schools such as Boston University, Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Ottawa.

The diversity, and success, of our students is highlighted in profiles of some of our alumni:

  • David Barton is as a physical education teacher student-athlete advisor at Edison High School in Fresno, CA.
  • Alisa Ward (Boon) is an adjunct professor and assistant soccer/track & field coach at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA.
  • Tom Brandstater is a quarterback with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.
  • Erik Farfan is the head women’s soccer coach at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, CA.
  • Brittany Glynn is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
  • Jeff Grady is an assistant coach (passing game/quarterback coordinator) with the California State University, Fresno football team.
  • Chris Hall is head men’s golf coach at California State University, Sacramento.
  • Dr. Coreen Harada is a senior researcher with the Army Center for Enhanced Performance at West Point Military Academy in West Point, NY.
  • Sarah Hawkins (McCord) is the Assistant Aquatics Director at Quince Orchard Swim & Tennis Club in Gaithersburg, MD.
  • Crystal Johnson is a lecturer and PEAK Performance consultant in the Department of Physical Education & Kinesiology at California State University, Bakersfield.
  • Sharon Kerr is a golf professional and mental training coach in Fresno, CA.
  • Dr. Nicole Kulikov-Hagobian is a part-time instructor at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, CA.
  • Brittany Loney is enrolled as a doctoral student in Educational Psychology with a major in Sport Psychology at Florida State University. She is also employed by the Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP).
  • Kristen Mattox is in a tenure-track position teaching health, physical education, and sport psychology at State Center Community College in Madera, CA.
  • Amy McRae is a physical education teacher and girls' volleyball coach at Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, CA.
  • Dave Neer is the head men's and women's golf coach and an instructor at West Hills Community College - Lemoore.
  • Allyson Niino is the Athletics/Activities Director at Washington Academic Middle School in Sanger, CA.
  • Sandrine Rangeon is completing a doctoral program at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
  • Stephanie Reeves is the co-head Coach for the Equestrian program at California State University, Fresno.
  • Adam Smith, adjunct faculty at the State Center Community College in Fresno, is currently completing a doctoral program in Psychology, Research and Evaluation at Walden University.
  • Costas Tsouloupas is completing a doctoral program at Louisiana State University.
  • Mary-tyler Wahl is the Director of Sports Ministry at Mountain View Community Church in Fresno, CA.
  • Kelly Wilson is co-founder of Director of Instruction for the 3D Sports Complex in Yorktown, VA.

Contact Information:

Jenelle N. Gilbert, Ph.D., CMPC
Program Coordinator and Professor
South Gym 112