Academic Catalog

Exercise and Sport Sciences, Mental Performance - M.S.

Exercise and Sport Sciences – Master of Science Degree, concentration in Mental Performance

The Master of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences with a concentration in Mental Performance focuses on the mental performance aspect of sport and exercise.  The concentration is designed with flexibility and breadth targeting diverse careers paths such as 1) students preparing for careers in athletic training, strength & conditioning, fitness, wellness, and health care and 2) students preparing for further doctoral studies and careers related to mental performance.

Students complete a core group of courses in mental performance, helping, skills, and ethics.  Combined with electives and / or restricted elective groupings presented in two tracks: 1) leadership, motivation and team building, and 2) diversity and advanced communication, students are able to chart a unique path and complete optional internships with professionals/organizations while obtaining foundational knowledge and skills.  The curriculum allows students to prepare for certification as a mental performance professional.  The mental performance concentration can be completed with a thesis or without a thesis. 

Thesis Option. The thesis option is 30 credits which includes a 6-credit thesis—an independent research project under supervision of Exercise and Sport Science faculty.  A thesis allows students to work closely with a faculty member to advance their knowledge in a specialized topic. Both theoretical and applied research are encouraged. Completing a thesis is also an important first step towards advanced study in exercise and sport sciences such as a Ph.D. program. The completed thesis must receive the approval of the thesis committee, the graduate program chair, and the dean of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

Non-Thesis Option.  The non-thesis option is 36 credits culminating with a written comprehensive examination.  The non-thesis option requires students to select one of two tracks based on their career aspirations.  The non-thesis option is purposefully designed with 12 credits of electives to allow students to customize their study and take advantage of internships and additional course work / experiences to prepare for certifications and specific career goals. The non-thesis option is designed to be completed in 16 months and is ideal for students aiming to enhance their applied experiences in mental performance or prepare for a career as a mental performance consultant. 


The prerequisites for the mental performance concentration are 3 courses in psychology, sport psychology, counseling, sport sociology or similar and 1 course in statistics or tests and measurements.


Mental Performance Major Requirements15
Thesis or Non Thesis15 or 21
Total Credits30 or 36

Required Courses

Required Courses
ESSG 51200Theoretical Perspectives of Mental Performance in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG 51300Applications of Mental Performance in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG 51400Concepts and Theory of Supportive Relationships in Sport3
ESSG 61000Research and Statistics in Exercise and Sport Sciences I3
ESSG 61400Ethics & Professional Issues in Mental Performance and Coaching3
ESSG 64000Seminar 10
Total Credits15

Thesis Option  

Thesis Option
ESSG 61100Research and Statistics in Exercise and Sport Sciences II3
ESSG 62000Thesis I3
ESSG 62100Thesis II3
ESSG XXXXX Electives6
Total Credits15

Non-Thesis Option

Track 1

ESSG 51500Effective Team Building1
ESSG 51600Motivation for Superior Performance2
ESSG 60500The Development of Expertise in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG 61200Leadership in Exercise and Sport3
ESSG XXXXX Electives12
Total Credits21

Track 2

ESSG 60200Diversity in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG 61600Advanced Communication and Facilitation Skills in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG 61800Theories and Issues in Performance Enhancement in Sport and Exercise3
ESSG XXXXX Electives12
Total Credits21