Sport and Exercise Psychology Option

Sport and Exercise Psychology

Directed toward educational, behavioral, and applied orientations, the sport psychology specialization is designed to prepare students to serve as performance consultants for athletic teams, and health- and fitness-oriented businesses, as well as community organizations which sponsor organized recreational and youth sport programs. Students can also design this specialization to emphasize the psychology of coaching or to prepare themselves for continuing graduate studies in sport and exercise psychology.

In addition to core courses, students can choose several elective courses in psychology and exercise science to complete their course of study. One of the unique and attractive features of this applied program is the availability of internships in sport and exercise psychology with Western’s intercollegiate athletic teams and Adult Fitness programs. Both program faculty who supervise internships are Certified Mental Performance Consultants (CMPC); therefore, students in the program accrue many hours toward certification as a CMPC, including direct supervision of services. Internships in sport and exercise psychology are designed to serve as culminating experiences, which highlight the applied nature of this specialization. A thesis in sport and exercise psychology is required.

See below for links to more specific program information as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP) master's program at Western.

 **UPDATE 2021 Admissions Cycle - Due to COVID-19, the GRE requirement for the Kinesiology Sport and Exercise Psychology option is being waived for admission for students applying to begin the program in Fall of 2021.**  PLEASE NOTE:  Given that applications for the 2021 admittance cycle will not include a GRE writing section score, please inform the professors who are writing your letters of recommendation that they should specifically comment on your writing ability within their letter on your behalf.

SEP Faculty Profiles: Dr. Linda Keeler and Dr. Jessyca Arthur-Cameselle    


When can I apply to the graduate program and where can I get more information on the required application materials?

WWU is a two-year M.S. program that runs on a cohort basis, meaning students get accepted in a cohort (small group) and proceed through a series of classes, internship, and thesis work on (nearly) the same schedule until graduation.  After one group finishes, a new cohort arrives.  Program applications are due January 15th of odd years (2021, 2023, 2025, etc.) for a start date of Fall quarters in odd years.  The next application due date will be January 15, 2023 for the cohort that begins in September 2023.

More information on the required application materials and a link to the application are available on the graduate program's website.

Is the GRE required and is there a minimum GPA for admission?

**UPDATE 2021 Admissions-Due to COVID-19, the GRE requirement for the Kinesiology Sport and Exercise Psychology option is being waived for admissions for students applying to being the program in Fall of 2021.  There are no changes to the minimum GPA requirement.**  PLEASE NOTE:  Given that applications for the 2021 admittance cycle will not include a GRE writing section score, please inform the professors who are writing your letters of recommendation that they should specifically comment on your writing ability within their letter on your behalf.

The GRE is required for consideration of admissions for all applicants who do not already hold an advanced degree.  There is no minimum cut-off score for the GRE.  There is a graduate school minimum of a 3.0 GPA over all post-secondary coursework for full admission to any WWU program, however, occasionally strong candidates who do not have a 3.0 or greater GPA will receive provisional admissions status.

What are the odds that I will be accepted to the program?

Our acceptance rates have ranged from 50-70% depending on the amount of applications we receive, which is typically 12-15 applications.  For example, out of a pool of 12 applicants, we may accept 6-8 students.  Then, around 3-5 students typically accept the offers and enroll in the program.

What experiences in the WWU graduate program can be applied towards becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant® (CMPC)?

  • Working with clients: Graduate students complete their internship hours on campus in the Center for Performance Excellence (CPE) working with athletes, exercisers, and performers from Western’s campus and the local community. The sport and exercise psychology suite includes a consulting room for seeing clients that is equipped with technology for direct supervision and observation.
  • Internship Hours: Most students complete the 2-year program with about 200-250 hours that contribute to the 400 hours required for CMPC certification.
  • Direct Supervision: Because the program is kept to a small number of students, professors have the time to directly observe students’ work with clients. Therefore, students generally leave the program with close to or at the 10 hours of direct mentorship to apply for CMPC status. We have visual and audio recording equipment, so client sessions can be recorded to be watched later for direct supervision.
  • Courses: The program has been adapted to adhere to the most recent course requirements to fulfill CMPC certification. Western offers all of the classes students need in order to sit for the CMPC exam, including individual counseling skills, multicultural counseling, and ethics in sport and exercise psychology.


What funding options or graduate assistantships are available? 

There are two opportunities for graduate assistantships to serve as a teaching assistant within the Kinesiology and Physical Education Program in the Health and Human Development Department. One of these opportunities involves being the TA for KIN 306, an introductory research class, and KIN 422, a professional writing class. The other position serves as the TA for the sport and exercise psychology program. This position involves assisting with KIN 320 (Psychology of Sport), KIN 321 (Sociology of Sport), KIN 420 (Seminar in Sport Psychology), and KIN 421 (Psychology of Exercise). This TA also serves as the graduate coordinator for both the Center for Performance Excellence and the Western Wellcat program.

Other graduate assistantships exist in the athletic training room, the campus recreation center, and writing center. Occasionally, students are employed by the athletic department as graduate level assistant coaches (please contact teams directly to inquire about these opportunities).

What’s unique about the WWU SEP graduate program?

There are several unique features of the program, including the following:

  • The program is very small with often a 2:1 student to faculty ratio. Students are closely advised and supervised by two full-time professors, Dr. Keeler and Dr. Arthur-Cameselle, who are both CMPCs.
  • There is equal weight of applied and research focus in the program, with students training to be consultants while simultaneously completing a master’s thesis; therefore, students are prepared to enter the applied workforce or doctoral programs after graduation.
  • Students receive many hours of internship supervision, both direct and indirect.
  • Our facility is state-of-the-art, with video capture technology and high quality audio recording equipment; this audio equipment allows students to create custom audio tapes for clients of imagery scripts, relaxation exercises, and other mental training interventions.
  • At Western, students are able to choose the topic of their own thesis and it is not determined based on current professors’ research and areas of interest.
  • Because of the small program size, students have a fast turn-around time with getting thesis edits and feedback; overall, students receive ample direction during the research and the writing process.


What type of consulting and research equipment is available?

Our facility is full of high-tech equipment for audio and video recording one-on-one sessions with clients as well as a one-way mirror for direct observation within the Center for Performance Excellence. We also have Tobii eye-tracking equipment that can be utilized for research. We have a group meeting room in which graduate students provide group workshops or hold team-building sessions.  Please visit our CPE website for photos.

Who do I contact for more information about the program? 

Please contact core SEP faculty members, Dr. Keeler or Dr. Arthur-Cameselle, for more information. Their contact information appears on their faculty profile pages, linked below: