Sport and Exercise Psychology

Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology

If you would like to combine your love of sports and fitness with an interest in psychology, then you have found the perfect major.  Students interested in pursuing a career in sport and exercise psychology know that most jobs will require that they must first complete a graduate degree before entering the job market.  Thus, as a liberal arts program, the primary mission of the undergraduate major in sport and exercise psychology is to prepare students for graduate studies in sport and exercise psychology, counseling, public health, and many other disciplines.

What makes the undergraduate major in sport and exercise psychology unique?  First, it is the only major of its kind in the state of West Virginia and one of the few undergraduate programs in the nation that allows students to specialize in sport and exercise psychology.  Second, the curriculum contains a number of exciting and innovative courses, such as the Social Psychology of Sport, Performance Enhancement, Exercise Psychology, the Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury, Physical Activity promotion, and African Americans in Sport. Several of the courses in the curriculum can be used to meet requirements of the university’s liberal studies program.  Third, through our major’s club, students will interact with graduate students in our highly acclaimed doctoral program, meet leading professionals in the field, attend student and professional conferences, and participate in other student-centered professional and social activities. Further this program has eight faculty members dedicated to providing a quality learning experience for students.  A majority of the graduates from this program attend graduate school in areas such as sport psychology, counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sport management, public health, public administration, business, law and other related fields.  These students often pursue employment to use their sport psychology training to help them work with athletes of all ages and ability levels, business executives, the military, and other related settings. 

Admission Requirements

Students can be directly admitted into the Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP) program if they meet any of the following requirements:

  • ACT composite score of 25 or a SAT combined (math + critical reading) score of 1140 and a minimum GPA of 3.8
  • ACT score of 26 or a SAT combined (math + critical reading) score of 1180 and a minimum GPA of 3.6
  • ACT score of 28 or a SAT combined (math + critical reading) score of 1260 and a minimum GPA of 3.5

Students who do not meet the above requirements for a direct admission into the SEP program will be admitted into the Pre-SEP program. This is not a competitive pre-major (All students who meet the criteria for admission will be accepted into the program). Pre-SEP courses must be completed before admission to SEP Program (see list of pre-major required courses and requirements below). 

The following courses and requirements must be completed as a Pre-Sport and Exercise Psychology major in order to be accepted into the Sport and Exercise Psychology program.

  • BIO 102/104 (Need a grade of C or better)
  • ENGL 101 (Need a grade of C or better)
  • SEP 210 (Need a grade of B or better)
  • SEP 271 (Need a grade of B or better)
  • SEP 272 (Need a grade of B or better)
  • PSYC 101 (Need a grade of C or better)
  • SOCA 101 (Need a grade of C or better)
  • Minimum required GPA – 2. 5 Cumulative GPA
  • 20 hours of community service as verified by the West Virginia University’s Center for Service and Learning

Applications will be sent out to students approximately one month prior to the deadline each Spring semester (May 15) and Fall semester (December 15).


Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA of 2.5 required.
Minimum grade of C- in all required courses unless otherwise noted.
GEF 1, 5, & 6 (may vary depending on overlap)9
WVUE 191First Year Seminar1
Pre-major Requirements
ENGL 101Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric3
BIOL 102
BIOL 104
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 2)
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
SEP 210Professional Issues (Minimum grade of B-)1
SEP 271Sport in American Society (Minimum grade of B-; GEF 8)3
SEP 272Psychological Perspectives of Sport (Minimum grade of B-; GEF 4)3
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology3
Community Service (Must complete minimum of 20 hours prior to application into major) *
Applied Area Requirements
ACE 256Principles and Problems of Coaching3
ATTR 121Sport Injury Control and Management3
COUN 303Introduction to Helping Professions3
EXPH 364Kinesiology3
EXPH 365Exercise Physiology 13
Select one of the following (GEF 3):3
College Algebra 5-Day
College Algebra 4-Day
PET 175Motor Development2
SEP 373African Americans in Sports (GEF 7)3
SEP 312Professional Issues in Sport Psychology 31
SEP 383Exercise Psychology3
SEP 385Social Psychology of Sport3
SEP 425Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury3
SEP 474Sport Studies Research Methods (Fulfills Writng and Communication Skills Requirement)3
Select one of the following:3
SEP 493
Special Topics
Sport Performance Enhancement
Physical Activity Promotion
Cross Cultural Perspectives in Sport and Society
Foundation Requirements
PSYC 241Introduction to Human Development (GEF 8)3
PSYC 251Introduction to Social Psychology (GEF 8)3
PSYC 281Introduction to Abnormal Psychology3
One three-hour Sociology (SOCA) elective 200-400 level3
Electives (to reach 120 minimum for degree)39
Community Service (Minimum of fifty hours must be completed to graduate) *
Total Hours120

Students must complete a minimum of fifty hours of community service to graduate ( 20 of these hours must be completed upon application into the major

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
PSYC 1013SOCA 1013
ACE 2563SEP 272 (GEF 4)3
BIOL 102
BIOL 104 (GEF 2)
4ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3
WVUE 1911PET 1752
Elective or Minor3SEP 2101
 MATH 126A (GEF 3)3
 14 15
Second Year
SEP 271 (GEF 8)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
GEF 53PSYC 251 (GEF 8)3
GEF 63Sociology Elective 200-300 level3
PSYC 241 (GEF 8)3ATTR 1213
Elective or Minor3Elective or Minor3
 15 15
Third Year
PSYC 2813SEP 3121
SEP 373 (GEF 7)3SEP 4253
SEP 3853EXPH 3643
Elective or Monor6Elective or Minor8
 15 15
Fourth Year
SEP 4743SEP 4203
COUN 3033EXPH 3653
Elective or Minor9SEP 3833
 Elective or Minor7
 15 16
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Goals

Sport and Exercise Psychology

The goal of the program is for students to graduate with the essential skills and knowledge necessary to prepare them for a career in the field of sport and exercise psychology and to help them gain admission into graduate school in a program of their choice.  This is a graduate school preparatory program, with students attending graduate programs in sport and exercise psychology, exercise science, human services, and public health fields. 

  • Content Knowledge - Students will demonstrate knowledge and disciplinary concepts related to sport and exercise psychology.
  • Reflection and Critical Thinking - Students will demonstrate reflection and critical thinking in order to refine professional knowledge and practice.
  • Programming and Assessment - Students will demonstrate evidence-based knowledge and skills (and best practices) for assessing student needs and for designing, implementing and evaluating performance across domains.
  • Professionalism and Ethics - Students will demonstrate professional behaviors, including commitment to excellence, valuing diversity and collaboration, service to others, techniques for lifelong learning, and will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to allow them to be successful with regard to applying to graduate school to help advance their careers.
  • Technology - Students will be able to demonstrate the use of different forms of technology to assess skills and provide meaningful feedback.

SEP 210. Professional Issues. 1 Hour.

An introduction to professional issues relevant to the field of sport psychology. Provides opportunities for students to gain practical experiences within the field.

SEP 271. Sport in American Society. 3 Hours.

Sociocultural investigation of sport in American society.

SEP 272. Psychological Perspectives of Sport. 3 Hours.

An examination of personality and behavioral factors as they affect participation in sport. Topics such as stress and sport, body image, aggression and the sport participant, and the licensure of sport psychologists highlight the course.

SEP 273. Sport and Exercise Psychology Lab. 1 Hour.

This course is designed to help students understand and utilize in their own lives, the skills and constructs taught from a theoretical perspective in SEP 272. This course will help students enhance their knowledge of sport and exercise psychology constructs and allow them to implement these skills within a laboratory setting.

SEP 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

SEP 312. Professional Issues in Sport Psychology 3. 1-2 Hours.

PR: SEP 210. This course provides students majoring in Sport and Exercise Psychology with an introduction to graduate school and the necessary skills needed to prepare them for graduate education.

SEP 313. Professional Issues in Sport Psychology 4. 1-2 Hours.

PR: SEP 210. This course provides students majoring in Sport and Exercise Psychology with the necessary skills needed to succeed upon their graduation from the Sport and Exercise Psychology program.

SEP 373. African Americans in Sports. 3 Hours.

Sociocultural and historical overview of the contributions of African Americans in sport in America.

SEP 374. Sport Studies Research Methods. 3 Hours.

An analysis of descriptive and experimental research in sport psychology and sport management. Course requirements include completion of capstone research project.

SEP 383. Exercise Psychology. 3 Hours.

Introduction to motivational and mental health factors associated with exercise participation.

SEP 385. Social Psychology of Sport. 3 Hours.

PR: SEP 271 and SEP 272 or consent. An introduction to the study of how and why performance is affected by interactions with others in sport.

SEP 415. Physical Activity Promotion. 3 Hours.

Focuses on the health effects of physical activity and exercise. Prepares students to promote, initiate and evaluate physical activity programs in community settings.

SEP 420. Sport Performance Enhancement. 3 Hours.

PR: SEP 272. An introduction to the processes and techniques involved in using psychology to help athletes and coaches improve their performance.

SEP 425. Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury. 3 Hours.

PR:SEP 271 an SEP 272. This upper level course involves the study of various topics related to the psychological aspects of sport injury. In general this course will examine issues associated with the onset, treatment and rehabilitation of sport injury.

SEP 430. Cross Cultural Perspectives in Sport and Society. 3 Hours.

Faculty led study abroad course associated with travel to a foreign country at student’s expense. Students on the trip are exposed to foreign culture, landmarks, and sport facilities while meeting and interacting with sport-science professionals. The course prepares students for the travel experience and allows them to reflect upon it after returning.

SEP 474. Sport Studies Research Methods. 3 Hours.

An analysis of descriptive and experimental research in sport psychology and sport management. Course requirements include completion of capstone research project.

SEP 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

SEP 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

SEP 492. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

SEP 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

SEP 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

SEP 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

SEP 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

SEP 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.



  • Dana D. Brooks - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
    Dean, CPASS
  • Edward Etzel, Jr. - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Jack Watson - Ph.D. (Florida State University)
    Chair, Department of Sport Sciences
  • Samuel Zizzi - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)

Associate Professor

  • Damien Clement - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Peter Giacobbi - Ph.D. (University of Tennessee - Knoxville)

Assistant Professors

  • Dana Voelker - Ph.D. (Michigan State University)

Teaching Assistant Professor

  • Scott Barnicle - Ph.D. (University of Idaho)