Athletic counseling and sport and exercise psychology may seem like similar programs, but they have defined differences that will impact a student’s course of study, how they work in the field, and how they interact with athletes from all levels and backgrounds.

What is athletic counseling?

Individuals with an athletic counseling background serve in a holistic role for athletes. They recognize that the complexity of sport and athlete lives must be mirrored by complex approaches to service delivery, addressing athletes’ performance, social, personal, and mental health needs.

Grounded in counseling psychology, this field combines sports sciences and psychological training to prepare graduates to work on a range of personal and performance issues. Athletic counseling graduates work with teams and athletes at the youth, intercollegiate (junior college, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, NCAA student-athletes), and professional levels, coach, counsel, serve as master resilience trainers/performance enhancement specialists in the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program, continue on to doctoral study, and more.

At Springfield College, students can earn a Master of Science or Master of Education in psychology with a concentration in athletic counseling and also complete the requirements to become  Certified Mental Performance Consultants (CMPC), a sports counseling certification. Students may choose to complete an additional year of coursework to also meet the academic requirements to become licensed mental health counselors (LMHC).

Program faculty members include Britt Brewer, Burt Giges, Judy Van Raalte

What is sport and exercise psychology?

Those with a degree in sport and exercise psychology work with athletes and physically active individuals to enhance performance using the sport sciences. With increased pressure to operate at peak performance, the field of sport and exercise psychology has become an integral part of implementing theory and research into improving performance and ability. Graduates are well versed in the areas of motor learning and control, advanced exercise physiology, and philosophy of sport. Those in the sport and performance psychology field work with athletes at the professional, collegiate, club, and high school levels, as well as serve as coaches in performance enhancement facilities.

At Springfield College, students can earn a Master of Science in sport and exercise psychology or go on to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in physical education with a specialization in sport and exercise psychology. Students in our PhD specialization also graduate with the necessary requirements of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology to become Certified Mental Performance Consultants (CMPC).

Program faculty members include Jasmin Hutchinson, Elizabeth Mullin, Mimi Murray, Susan Sotir