Top 4 Online PhD in Sports Psychology Degree Programs

Earning a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology is becoming more common in recent years. The demand for psychologists of all types will rise by 14% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (

According to the American Psychological Association, demand for sports psychologists is especially on the rise. Industry analyst Plunkett Research Ltd. states that the US sports market generates more than $400 billion each year.

But American passion for sports at all levels means that athletes are under tremendous pressure to perform at a high level. Athletes want to find an edge that goes well beyond being in the best physical shape possible. They understand as athletes that they need sharp mental skills to compete in their sport, just as people do in business, medicine, and the arts. (

Fortunately, there are online universities where you can earn this coveted psychology doctoral degree, so getting your Ph.D. has never been easier.

Below are the four best online Ph.D.s in Sports Psychology and related fields.

#1 Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers an online Ph.D. in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance Psychology. (

This online, four-year psychology Ph.D. program focuses on human psychology and professional performance, especially psychomotor performance. It is designed for students who want to apply sports psychology research pertaining to emotion, cognition, and motivation to the study of peak athletic performance. Graduates of the program use advanced psychological principles to enhance physical performance.

Learning outcomes of this online doctoral degree include:

  • Understand the theoretical foundations of emotion, cognition, and behavior on athletic performance.
  • Understand the constructs and theories of motor control and psychomotor control to enhance learning and performance.
  • Understand the principles of behavior modification to boost individual athletic performance.
  • Understand the principles of psychological theories that lead to better leadership
  • Understand how to apply psychological theories and principles that underlie athletic performance.

Students choose this program who want to advance their careers in medicine, business, sports, sales, and marketing. This sports performance psychology program includes two doctoral residencies. During the residencies, students will work with psychology faculty and their fellow students on campus.

Required courses are:

  • Humanistic, Transpersonal and Existential Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Principles of Behavior Modification
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Applied Psychology of Leadership
  • Qualitative Research Methods

#2 San Diego University

San Diego University offers a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Sports Psychology. The program is offered both online and at the main campus. (

The four-year sports psychology Ph.D. program is designed to prepare practicing psychologists with the skills and knowledge to work with athletics in their personal and professional lives. Students are trained in advanced sports psychology approaches and techniques to ready them to consult with athletes and athletic institutions and organizations.

According to the university website, online students are provided direct education by email. Students are required to submit doctoral degree assignments to the professor each week. The instructor reviews all work submitted and offers feedback to students every week.

Required courses are:

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Intelligence Testing
  • Personality Testing
  • Nutrition and Lifestyle
  • Psychology of Coaching
  • Advanced Sport Psychology
  • Seminar in Sport Psychology
  • Selected Topics in Sport Psychology
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#3 Ashford University

Ashford University offers an online Psy.D. degree with a focus on Sports and Performance Psychology. Students in this four-year, online doctoral degree program learn how to empower individuals and teams to be at their best in athletic performance. (

This post-graduate program represents the best performance enhancement education in sports. The ultimate goal is for the student to create awareness, actualization, self-mastery, and peak experience for groups and individuals in your psychology practice.

The Sport and Performance Psychology specialization delves into strategies to boost human performance at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels. The curriculum features advanced courses in psychology and seminars in cultural diversity, coaching, mind-body practices, and human development.

Required courses include:

  • Advanced Performance Enhancement I
  • Advanced Psychomotor Development and Kinesiology
  • Advanced Performance Enhancement II
  • Rehabilitation in Sports and Performance
  • Advanced Group Dynamics in Sports and Performance
  • Advanced Performance Enhancement III
  • Sports and Performance Psychology as a Business

#4 Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago offers an online Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance. This is an interdisciplinary degree that intends to prepare students to pursue clinical, academic, leadership, or research roles in exercise science, human performance psychology, and health promotion. (

This is a 100% online Ph.D. program that focuses intently on sports performance research. It aims to develop the best scholars and researchers who can create and disseminate original research about matters arising from physical activity, health promotion, human performance, and psychology.

The format is 100% online, with classes offered asynchronously. This means they are recorded and you can complete the lectures at any time. Students can complete an online degree in three or four years.

Required courses for the Ph.D. program are:

  • Cardiovascular Responses to Exercise
  • Neuromuscular Responses to Exercise
  • Advanced Exercise and Sports Nutrition
  • Introduction to Grants
  • Program Design in Physical Activity and Health
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Research Design
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Principles of Human Movement Science
  • Principles of Sports Performance Training
  • Advanced Topics in Statistics
  • Advanced Topics in Qualitative Analysis
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Earning your Ph.D. in sports psychology can be a great opportunity to work in a fascinating, growing segment of the psychology field. By choosing one of the high-quality, online Ph.D. programs above, you will be on your way to excelling in the sports psychology field.

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