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College of Applied Human Sciences: School of Sport Sciences

Sport and Exercise Psychology, BS

Sport and exercise psychology (SEP) professionals have recently been highlighted in television and film, bringing the academic field of sport and exercise psychology into new light. The goal of our program is to help students combine a passion for sports with an evidence-based approach to psychology.

To practice in the field, graduate-level training in SEP is needed. Although some students find employment in a sports-related field (e.g., coaching, recreation and fitness) after graduating from the SEP bachelor's degree program, most students who wish to pursue a career in SEP go on to graduate school.

Through coursework in sport psychology, sport sciences and professional development, our graduates are well prepared for the academic field. They consistently gain entry into a variety of graduate programs, such as counseling, public health, business, law and physical or occupational therapy, among many others.

Graduates of master's, doctoral or professional degree programs find jobs working with performers in a variety of settings, including college and professional sports, the military, performing arts, public health and counseling.

Or, if you want to broaden your sport science focus and expand your career opportunities, consider a second degree in sport management. Unique to WVU, we offer an accelerated bachelor's to master's (ABM) program where students complete a bachelor's degree in sport and exercise psychology and an accelerated master's degree in sport management which are both completed in 4 years. Save time and money — and boost your credentials — with our four-year Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Program.

Your Degree Plan


Aerial view of Martin and Woodburn Halls

Combine your passion for sports with an evidence-based approach to psychology. You’ll learn about the theory and practice behind working with athletes, exercisers and performers from all backgrounds and domains.

This program balances core training and professional development that guides students along their path in a dynamic field.

Build your foundation
Students admitted into the program are required to complete a number of introductory/benchmark courses. The benchmark courses allow students to gain an understanding of sport and exercise psychology by introducing them to coursework in basic psychology, sociology, kinesiology, exercise physiology and science concepts.

Develop your passion
Once benchmark courses have been completed, students take a variety of specialized sport and exercise psychology courses in areas such as exercise psychology, social psychology, psychological aspects of sport injury, physical activity promotion and performance enhancement. The senior capstone class challenges students to pursue an independent research project in their area of interest.

Find your path
Along with the core SEP curriculum, this program offers a series of professional issues courses to prepare students for graduate school and/or the workforce upon graduation. Students can expect to have a high degree of interaction with faculty who will help to guide their professional development.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Early College Program

    Get a head start (and save money) in our High School ACCESS program for high school students. Choose from online, on-campus or dual credit courses that fulfill requirements for general education or Sport and Exercise Psychology. Online courses to consider for this major include:

    • PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
    • PSYC 241: Introduction to Human Development
    • PSYC 251: Introduction to Social Psychology
    • PSYC 281: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
    • ACE 256: Principles and Problems of Coaching
    • SOCA 101: Introduction to Sociology
  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • One of the few programs in the nation that allows students to specialize in sport and exercise psychology.
  • Largest and most established Sport and Exercise Psychology program in the U.S.
  • Lab opportunities to use course material in real work settings.
  • Students will undergo an active learning, capstone experience that integrates and applies their gained knowledge.
  • Study abroad opportunities available almost every year.
  • Several courses in the curriculum can be used to meet requirements of the University’s General Education Foundations program.
  • Gain unique social and professional experiences outside of the classroom through our major’s club.
  • Peer advising program pairs upper-level students with newer students.
  • Opportunities to travel to professional conferences.
  • Faculty includes 7 trained in sport, 6 certified consultants and 2 licensed psychologists.
  • Comprehensive curriculum specific to sport.
  • Biofeedback technology available in College's computer lab and as a portable unit.
  • Extensive library of field-specific books and journals.
  • Accelerated bachelor's to master's option (earn both degrees in four years).
  • The WVU School of Sport Sciences was recognized as one of the best in the country by Newsweek.
  • The GOAL (Gaining Opportunity for Athletic Leadership) Living Learning Community allows students to live with others who share their interest in sports and sport management.

90% of WVU freshmen receive grants or scholarships (2020-2021).

Learn more

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

Active engagement in research

  • As a senior, you'll complete a capstone project in which you will critically analyze research literature and then present a concise analysis of your topic in oral and written forms. Faculty feedback on these projects prepares you for graduate school in health and human services, or for the workforce. Common project topics usually include exercise motivation and adherence, the psychology of injury rehabilitation, and youth sport development.
  • You can get involved with faculty and graduate students on their research projects. Topics include studies with NCAA athletes on performance related issues, body image in athletes, development of mobile health applications and evaluation of health and wellness programs

Community service involvement

  • The Sport Exercise and Psychology Club regularly organizes community service events that are open to both club and non-club members. The events help students establish and build connections with the Morgantown community. Some of the community events students have participated in in the past include cooking dinner at the West Virginia Grief Center, volunteering at the Animal Friends Thrift Shoppe, assisting with Decker’s Creek Adopt a Highway and helping out at the Ronald McDonald house in Morgantown.
  • Two benchmark classes are designated as service-learning courses: SEP 210 and 312. These unique course offerings are designed to provide opportunities to use your academic background, prior coursework and individual skills in a way that allows you to experience community need and make a real difference.

Professional development

  • Two semesters of professional development courses will help you learn more about the profession of sport and exercise psychology, while also preparing to either apply to graduate school or find employment in the sport domain.
  • You can take classes and serve as a peer adviser, providing services such as academic advising, tutoring and career or graduate school preparation.

Study abroad

  • Most years the SEP program hosts a faculty-led study abroad trip to add a sport-related cross-cultural component to students’ studies. Recent faculty-led study abroad trips include destinations such as Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, South Africa and Swaziland.
  • The SEP program has a unique international partnership with Halmstad University in Halmstad, Sweden. The SEP program runs a spring break study abroad trip every other year, where WVU students have the opportunity for cross-cultural experiences in and out of the classroom at Halmstad University and around Sweden. Additionally, every fall the majors-only section of SEP 272 interacts with peers at Halmstad University via online educational platforms and assignments.

Before graduating, all undergraduates in this major complete an academic project (or "capstone") to demonstrate their research, communication and critical thinking skills. Projects in WVU's Sport and Exercise Psychology major have included:

  • An imagery intervention for field goal kickers.
  • Impact of exercise on university students suffering from anxiety.
  • Mindfulness interventions with collegiate athletes.
  • Pre-competition anxiety interventions among high school track athletes.
  • The effect of coach involvement on ACL injury rehabilitation.
  • The relationship between motivational climate and burnout in youth sport participants.
  • The relationship between resilience and anxiety/depression in US service members.

Connect with other students who share your academic interests as a member of:

View all of the student organizations you can join.

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Sport and Exercise Psychology major will give you the following skills:

  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal skills necessary for quality teaching and leadership
  • Strength and conditioning skills
  • Teaching skills

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Apply principles of psychology to human resources, administration, management, sales and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee testing and selection, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to organize the work setting to improve worker productivity.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $139,280

Possible job titles include: Consultant, Industrial Psychologist, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist (I/O Psychologist), Organizational Psychologist.

Explore Career

School Psychologists

Investigate processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $81,500

Possible job titles include: Consulting Psychologist, Early Intervention School Psychologist, Psychologist, School Psychologist.

Explore Career

Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses in psychology, such as child, clinical, and developmental psychology and psychological counseling. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $78,810

Possible job titles include: Instructor, Professor, Psychology Instructor, Psychology Professor.

Explore Career

Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to recreation, leisure and fitness studies, including exercise physiology and facilities management. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $72,650

Possible job titles include: Coach, Professor, Health and Physical Education Professor (HPE Professor), Physical Education Professor (PE Professor).

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Athletes and Sports Competitors

Compete in athletic events.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $94,270

Possible job titles include: Baseball Player, Golf Professional, Hockey Player, Race Car Driver.

Explore Career

Sports Medicine Physicians

Diagnose, treat and help prevent injuries that occur during sporting events, athletic training and physical activities.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $233,410

Possible job titles include: Director of Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Physician, Sports Medicine Physician.

Explore Career

Athletic Trainers

Evaluate and advise individuals to assist recovery from or avoid athletic-related injuries or illnesses, or maintain peak physical fitness. May provide first aid or emergency care.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $48,420

Possible job titles include: Assistant Athletic Trainer, Athletic Trainer, Certified Athletic Trainer, Head Athletic Trainer.

Explore Career

Further your education

Keep going right here at WVU. Consider these graduate programs:

Meet Your Community

The Sport and Exercise Psychology family will inspire and support you.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Sport and Exercise Psychology major, first-time freshmen must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2024-25 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Tuition and Aid

How much does Sport and Exercise Psychology at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates are available on our tuition website. Anyone who is not a current West Virginia resident, including international students, will be charged non-resident rates.

View Tuition and Fees


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Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Early College Program

Get a head start (and save money) in our High School ACCESS program for high school students. Choose from online, on-campus or dual credit courses that fulfill requirements for general education or Sport and Exercise Psychology. Online courses to consider for this major include:

  • ACE 256: Principles and Problems of Coaching
  • PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
  • SOCA 101: Introduction to Sociology
  • PSYC 241: Introduction to Human Development
  • PSYC 251: Introduction to Social Psychology
  • PSYC 281: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
Financial Aid

The most important step toward funding your future with financial aid for the Sport and Exercise Psychology major is submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Ohio Tuition Reciprocity

As the result of a special agreement, students from Ohio who are fully admitted to Sport and Exercise Psychology can enroll at WVU and pay in-state tuition rates. Students must be admitted to both the University and this major.

Learn More

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU.

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits

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