Purdue University
Sport and Exercise Psychology

Graduate Program:

The graduate program in sport and exercise psychology at Purdue has a research emphasis and focuses on social relationships, self-perceptions, motivational, post-motivational, and emotional processes, well-being, and adaptation to adversity in sport, exercise, and physical activity settings. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered, and there are opportunities for a dual degree with the MPH (Masters of Public Health) program in our College of Health and Human Sciences. Information about the graduate programs in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, including application procedures, can be found on the graduate programs web page.

The M.S. degree is designed to take two years of full-time study. Students complete 24 credit hours of coursework in kinesiology, research methods and statistics, and related areas such as psychology and human development. The main focus of the M.S. degree is the completion of a research thesis, which is developed in consultation with a faculty mentor. The program is well suited to individuals who seek to enter doctoral programs in kinesiology, counseling, social/developmental psychology, education, or social work. Recent graduates have pursued careers in athletic administration, health care, and social work, and doctoral studies in sport and exercise psychology. Successful applicants come from a range of undergraduate programs/majors, though coursework or research experience in kinesiology and psychology is desirable.

The Ph.D. degree is designed to take four years of full-time study to complete. The primary emphasis of the Ph.D. program is developing a program of research. Successful applicants have research interests that align closely with the expertise of their faculty mentor. Coursework requirements are determined in collaboration with the student, the faculty mentor, and committee members, and are designed to complement dissertation research and the studentís development as an independent scholar. Coursework has an emphasis on advanced sport and exercise psychology, quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis, and supporting areas such as human development, social psychology, communication, and sociology. The Ph.D. program is designed to educate and prepare students to pursue employment in academic settings.

Prospective applicants to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs can consult the department graduate program website for entrance requirements, deadlines, and application procedures, and are invited to contact Dr. McDonough and/or Dr. Amireault with questions and to arrange a campus visit.

Graduate Courses in Sport and Exercise Psychology:

Please see myPurdue for a current schedule of course offerings.

HK 574 – Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology

This course explores psychological and social processes in sport, exercise, and physical activity. We examine both how psychological and social factors influence physical activity participation and performance, and how participating in physical activity affects psychological well-being. We explore theoretical, methodological, and applied approaches to a variety of topics including motivation, stress and coping, self-perceptions, social relationships, and performance enhancement.

HK 670 – Advanced Topics in Kinesiology

This course is designed to foster student engagement in the research process. Graduate students and faculty from a variety of movement science sub disciplines (e.g., sport and exercise psychology, biomechanics, motor control, motor development, exercise physiology) share current research ideas and data, critique research and theory, and discuss ethical and practical issues pertaining to the research process. This seminar course is designed to provide students with exposure to research across the areas of study in kinesiology, and to foster critical thinking and collaborative ideas.

HK 672 – Stress and Coping in Sport and Exercise

This course examines stress, coping, and emotional processes as they relate to sport, exercise, physical activity, and the physical self. We explore theoretical perspectives on stress and coping processes, examine the empirical evidence related to sport/exercise/physical activity/rehabilitation/the physical self, and discuss applications of this knowledge. Course readings cover topics including the history and conceptual issues of psychosocial stress, conceptual and methodological issues of coping, individual differences in stress and coping, the influence of sociocultural and contextual factors, and vulnerability and resilience.

HK 674-Sport and Exercise Psychology in Special Populations

This course covers sport and exercise psychology topics related to research and application with special populations. We discuss sport and exercise psychology research and practical applications for individuals such as those who are living in poverty, are overweight and obese, have survived cancer, are pregnant, have neurological disorders such ask Parkinsonís disease, or who have physical or intellectual disabilities. Topics also include issues of gender, race/ethnicity/culture, and age (youth, older adults). Theoretical perspectives, unique issues, and practical applications pertaining to sport psychology with special populations will be considered.

HK 678 – Motivational Processes in Sport and Exercise

This course overviews concepts related to motivation in sport and exercise settings. Antecedents, consequences, and processes of motivated behavior are examined from theoretical, empirical, and applied perspectives. Topics include participation motivation, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, achievement goals, attributions, group processes, self-perceptions, exercise adherence, and theories of exercise motivation.