Undergraduate Preparation in Sport Psychology: Recommended Standards for Coursework and Experience

Sarah Castillo, National University, USA

Theme: Professional development and mentoring

Program ID: SYM-10

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Belle Chasse


Students’ initial exposure to the theory and practice of applied sport psychology and recommendations for undergraduate coursework and experiences is an essential consideration of the Coalition for the Advancement of Graduate Training in the Practice of Sport Psychology. Although some colleges/universities may offer undergraduate majors or minors in sport and exercise psychology (Sachs, Burke & Schweighardt, 2011), most students are forced to seek coursework and experiences outside of a formal major to prepare for graduate education and training in sport psychology. This is not always an easy task to accomplish, particularly if little or no guidance is provided. The majority of undergraduate students likely gravitate to sport psychology due to past sport experience, a desire to coach or parent athletes, or simply as a way to complete a degree in a field of interest. For those, however, who want to pursue a career in applied sport psychology, two educational pathways are suggested: 1) significant exposure to both exercise science/kinesiology and psychology (e.g., double major or a major/minor combination as available); or 2) an undergraduate major in sport psychology. Both potential pathways will be discussed, including suggested coursework and experiences as well as potential pitfalls and caveats. Recommendations will also be provided for undergraduate students without access to these pathways. Finally, the presenters will offer suggestions for developing and implementing future undergraduate experiences, as well as how to facilitate students’ transition from undergraduate to graduate coursework in applied sport psychology.

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