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Sports medicine is all about preventing injuries and helping athletes improve their performance.

Sports medicine professionals also diagnose and treat exercise-related injuries and design rehabilitation plans to help patients recover after an injury.

A master's in sports medicine prepares graduates for in-demand jobs like exercise physiologist and athletic trainer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these are growing fields that should add tens of thousands of jobs by 2028. Having a master's in sports medicine can help you stand out when applying for sports medicine jobs.

Master's in Sports Medicine Programs 2020
#1 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
#2 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
#3 The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX
#4 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
#5 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
#6 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO
#7 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX
#8 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
#9 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
#10 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO

Our list ranks the best sports medicine colleges to help prospective graduate students find the right program to help them reach their professional goals. This page also provides information about sports medicine salary rates and career prospects, the benefits of an online sports medicine degree, and how to choose the best sports medicine program.

Best Online Master's in Sports Medicine Programs

  1. University of Wyoming

    Laramie, WY



    The University of Wyoming (UW) is a public land-grant institution that focuses on collaborative learning experiences. Established one year before Wyoming gained statehood in 1886, UW operates seven different colleges that administer over 120 programs. The research school also offers a number of innovative outreach initiatives and distance learning opportunities.

    UW's College of Health Science offers an online master of science in kinesiology and health with an emphasis in physical education teacher training. Ideal for working professionals interested in sports medicine, this non-thesis program requires 36 credits. Most degree-seekers complete the course in 3-5 years with minimal career interruption. Requirements include core courses in physical education, research methods, and kinesiology investigation, as well as general courses and free electives.

    The school delivers coursework entirely online through teleconferencing, discussion boards, and asynchronous lectures. Students can access material and complete assignments at their own pace as they work to develop skills in advanced teaching strategies, curriculum development, and activity planning. The program concludes with a comprehensive capstone project that requires original research in the field.

    Prospective learners need an accredited undergraduate degree in health, kinesiology, physical education, or exercise and sport science. They must also provide transcripts indicating a 3.0 GPA, three letters of recommendation, and recent GRE scores. Applicants with degrees in other fields may be admitted on a provisional basis and must complete additional courses.

    The University of Wyoming is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  2. University of Southern Mississippi

    Hattiesburg, MS



    Founded as a teacher training school in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) maintains a flagship campus near the Gulf coast and several satellite campuses throughout the Magnolia State. A public research institution, USM integrates students into the academic community through excellence in teaching, research, and service. It instructs over 14,000 degree-seekers each year in education, health, business, and science.

    Qualified learners can earn a master of science in kinesiology and physical education at USM. Sponsored by the school's division of kinesiology and nutrition, the 36-credit program prepares degree-seekers for work as fitness consultants, sports medicine specialists, and physical education teachers. USM admits new learners throughout the year, and part-time students can complete the curriculum in two years.

    Degree-seekers receive expert online instruction in motor learning, sports skill analysis, and program design through asynchronous learning platforms. These online courses are convenient and encourage self-directed study. Near the end of the program, students can choose to complete an optional thesis component to practice additional skills and competencies.

    Admission requirements include a relevant, accredited bachelor's degree with a competitive GPA. Prospective learners must also supply transcripts, official GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Additional materials include a written statement of purpose that discusses career aspirations and program fit. USM admits transfer students on a case-by-case basis.

    The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  3. The University of Texas at El Paso

    El Paso, TX



    An affiliate campus within the University of Texas System, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) provides wide access to quality higher education. Established through state legislation in 1913, the public research institution enrolls over 25,000 learners each year in health sciences, engineering, education, and the liberal arts. The second-oldest school of its kind in the Lone Star State, UTEP advances innovation in knowledge, research, and academic discovery.

    UTEP's College of Health Science offers a master of science in kinesiology to degree-seekers interested in physical education and sports medicine careers. The program requires 36 credits and boasts small class sizes for a more engaged learning experience. Participants can also choose from three different areas of emphasis: human fitness and performance, exercise physiology, and biomechanics and motor behavior.

    The hybrid program delivers coursework through a combination of in-person experiences and interactive distance learning tools. Learners receive expert training in qualitative research, statistical analysis, and performance measurement techniques. Capstone components include a research-based thesis project in kinesiology and exercise science.

    Qualified applicants need an accredited undergraduate degree in kinesiology or a related field with a 3.0 cumulative GPA. They must also submit recent GRE scores, a written statement of purpose, and a detailed work history. UTEP accepts admission applications on spring and fall deadlines.

    The University of Texas at El Paso is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  4. Sam Houston State University

    Huntsville, TX



    A member of the larger Texas State University System, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has promoted quality scholarship and education since 1879. The third-oldest public institution in Texas, SHSU supports lifelong learning by anticipating needs through data-driven decision making. It maintains a 272-acre campus that serves over 20,000 learners each year across eight different colleges and academic divisions.

    SHSU administers an online master of science in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and human performance. Designed to both support current working professionals and prepare new students, the 36-credit program builds skills that are necessary for a variety of sports medicine careers. Degree-seekers develop a solid understanding of movement and exercise in rehabilitation, training, and teaching good physical habits. They also gain transferable skills in biomechanical research and exercise physiology.

    With the exception of 1-2 day lab requirements each semester, SHSU delivers all coursework online through convenient and interactive learning tools. Online degree-seekers learn from the same seasoned instructors who teach SHSU's on-campus programs. Students have the option of completing either a research-based thesis or a practice-based placement experience. Course topics include advanced motor learning, aerobic and anaerobic training, and clinical exercise physiology.

    Those interested in this sports medicine degree need a bachelor's degree with at least 12 credits in kinesiology or a related subject. They must also provide academic transcripts and recent GRE scores. Applications must also include two recommendation letters and a statement of intent.

    Sam Houston State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  5. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Saint Paul, MN



    A private, nonprofit institution, Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) empowers learners to achieve professional success and intellectual inquiry. Established in 1893, CSP maintains affiliation with the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church and offers comprehensive programming at every level of educational attainment. The school administers over 80 programs of study through distance learning, cohort-based programs, and traditional classroom instruction.

    CSP offers an online master of science in exercise science to degree-seekers interested in physical education and sports medicine jobs. The fully online program consists of 33 credits that combine theoretical inquiry with practical application through exercise studies, biomechanics, nutrition, and psychology. Students acquire technical skills in disease prevention and safe exercise testing in diverse populations. Graduates of the program report a 95% job placement rate within one year of completion.

    All courses come in convenient, seven-week sessions that use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous tools. This model strikes an even balance between group collaboration and self-directed study outside structured class time. Degree-seekers receive intensive instruction in clinical exercise assessment, nutrition and metabolism, and strength conditioning. All material prepares learners for leadership roles in sports medicine and exercise science.

    Qualified applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher and must also submit official transcripts and a personal statement. This statement should be 400-1000 words and must discuss employment history, personal goals, and professional achievement. CSP also offers free credit evaluation for learners interested in transferring credits from an outside institution.

    Concordia University, St. Paul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  6. University of Northern Colorado

    Greeley, CO



    The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a public research institution with roots in teacher training and education. Established in 1899, UNC boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio while fostering innovative research and a comprehensive learning environment. It manages six different colleges from its 260-acre suburban campus, including over 200 academic and professional development programs.

    Interested degree-seekers can obtain a master of arts in teaching in physical education and physical activity leadership at UNC. Most learners complete the 30-credit program in 20 months or less and go on to find lucrative work as leaders and teachers in K-12 education. Degree-seekers learn to craft and implement education plans designed to increase and enhance physical activity. The course also covers designing school health initiatives and comprehensive physical activity programs.

    UNC offers this master's in sports medicine in an online format, supplemented by a two-week learning experience at the school's main campus in northeast Colorado. Students complete required courses using flexible and accommodating tools that are ideal for busy degree-seekers looking to further their education while still working. Class topics include sport pedagogy, health behavior theories, and school-based wellness.

    Applicants need a relevant undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. They must provide official academic transcripts indicating a 3.0 GPA or better along with a professional resume. Additional materials include two academic or professional reference letters and a personal statement.

    The University of Northern Colorado is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  7. Texas Woman's University

    Denton, TX



    Established in 1901, Texas Woman's University (TWU) trains future leaders and global citizens by focusing on health, education, and the liberal arts. A public, co-educational institution, TWU values opportunity, creativity, and diversity. Its six colleges administer programs in over 60 different areas of study, including sports medicine.

    TWU extends a master of science in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport management. Ideal for learners seeking sports-related careers, the program requires 36 credits and can be completed in just four semesters. The interdisciplinary curriculum combines foundations in kinesiology with law, business, and marketing courses. It qualifies degree-seekers for a diverse array of sports medicine jobs in wellness centers, nonprofit organizations, and athletic associations.

    The program delivers all coursework entirely online and admits new learners throughout the year, meaning that professionals already working in the industry can choose a convenient start date that fits their busy schedule. Learners receive instruction from experienced faculty through interactive tools with comprehensive technical support. Core classes cover sport enterprise and finance, applied research methods, event management, and sport media.

    Students interested in entering the program need a bachelor's degree in kinesiology or a closely related discipline. They must also demonstrate a 3.0 GPA or higher in their last 60 undergraduate credits and provide two recommendation letters along with a personal statement. Recent GRE scores are recommended, but not required.

    Texas Woman's University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  8. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    A public institution with satellite campuses throughout the Sunshine State, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) supports personal and academic development through inclusivity and collaboration. Founded in 1961, FAU serves over 30,000 students annually through programs in science, medicine, business, and engineering.

    Degree-seekers interested in expanding their sports medicine knowledge can pursue a master of science in exercise science with a concentration in health promotion. Designed to prepare learners for advanced work and research, the 36-credit program develops core skills and technical knowledge in kinesiology and wellness. Most degree-seekers finish the program within two years, though time frames vary depending on enrollment status and thesis/non-thesis options.

    Those interested in continuing at the doctoral level should choose the thesis option, while others can complete 12 additional credits in subjects of their choice instead. Subjects of study include exercise science labs, health curriculum, human obesity, and drug abuse. FAU delivers classes completely online so busy learners can pursue their education without work or life interruptions. Core courses familiarize degree-seekers with prominent health promotion principles and implementation strategies.

    Qualified applicants need a current CPR card in addition to a relevant undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA. They must also submit recent GRE scores and letters of recommendation. FAU does not stipulate course prerequisites, but does recommend that degree-seekers have some experience in human anatomy and physiology.

    Florida Atlantic University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  9. California Baptist University

    Riverside, CA



    California Baptist University (CBU) offers post-secondary degrees in education, music, science, and the liberal arts. A private, nonprofit school founded by local religious leaders in 1950, CBU integrates academic study with social development. It operates a 160-acre suburban campus comprising 11 different schools and divisions that support critical thinking and scholarly inquiry.

    CBU's online master of science in kinesiology focuses on the science of human movement and sport performance. The course comes in an accelerated format; even the busiest students can complete the program in 12 months and going on to pursue careers in biomechanics, exercise physiology, and health assessment.

    The program requires 30 total credits taught through virtual lectures, instructor tutorials, and threaded discussion boards. Classes are segmented into eight-week sessions to encourage scheduling flexibility. This means working professionals can complete their education without sacrificing job responsibilities or family commitments. Course offerings at CBU include sports nutrition, exercise prescription, sport psychology, and advanced research methods.

    Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA or higher and official academic transcripts. Applicants must also complete the FAFSA and provide a 500-word personal statement that discusses their professional aspirations and intent for study. CBU assigns each learner a personal admissions counselor to help throughout the application process.

    California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

  10. University of Central Missouri

    Warrensburg, MO



    The University of Central Missouri (UCM) has encouraged advanced learning, excellence, and responsibility since its inception as a teacher's college in 1871. The public state institution offers programming in over 150 areas of study -- including business, humanities, science, and education -- at every level of educational attainment.

    UCM offers a master of science in kinesiology program that develops advanced competencies in sports medicine and exercise science. The program also has a sport management option that is available entirely online. Graduates typically complete this program within two years, going on to pursue leadership roles in sport event management, fitness programming, and wellness coaching. The online program uses the same faculty experts as UCM's on-campus offerings.

    Program requirements include 33 credits of coursework taught in experiential learning environments, with options for pursing internships. UCM delivers all classes through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous platforms that blend group interaction with self-paced study. Learners receive intensive instruction in exercise pedagogy, sport finance, and organizational leadership. The internship component places degree-seekers in professional settings where they can apply the knowledge they've obtained.

    Students interested in obtaining this master's in sports medicine need undergraduate credentials with a competitive GPA. Admission applications must also include academic transcripts and supporting documentation. UCM accepts up to nine graduate transfer credits earned at an accredited institution.

    The University of Central Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Best Online Master's

Online Master's in Sports Medicine Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following schools based on the quality of their programs and the types of courses provided. We also considered school awards, rankings, and reputations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine focuses on the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Sports medicine professionals also help athletes improve their performance and recover from injuries.

How Long Is a Sports Medicine Degree?

A master's in sports medicine generally takes two years for full-time students.

How Much Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Make?

On average, sports medicine doctors earn over $183,000 per year, according to PayScale. However, sports medicine physicians must hold a medical degree.

What's the Difference Between Sports Medicine and Orthopedics?

Both fields focus on the musculoskeletal system. However, sports medicine emphasizes non-operative treatments for sports-related injuries, while orthopedics often involves surgery.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Sports Medicine?

A master's in sports medicine prepares graduates for careers like athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, or sports nutritionist. Graduates can also pursue a medical degree to become a sports medicine physician.

What Is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine treats injuries and illnesses related to athletics, occupations, and exercise. Sports medicine professionals serve children who sustain minor injuries like sprained ankles, elite adult athletes at the peak of their performance, and professionals who suffer repetitive stress injuries. Specialists in sports medicine can help athletes prevent injury during training for specific sports. They can also diagnose and treat injuries related to exercise.

Sports medicine professionals may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, doctor's offices, or on athletic fields.

Sports medicine draws on several other disciplines, including physiology, anatomy, nutrition, and medicine. Sports medicine professionals require specialized education and training in these disciplines. Enrolling in an online master's in sports medicine program builds the knowledge and skills necessary for sports medicine careers.

Within the field of sports medicine, professionals can specialize in many areas. Athletic trainers provide the first line of defense against sports-related injuries on the field. Sports medicine doctors diagnose and treat injuries in a medical setting. Sports nutritionists focus on food as fuel for exercise, while exercise physiologists design rehabilitative exercise programs.

Sports medicine professionals may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, doctor's offices, or on athletic fields.

What Is a Master's in Sports Medicine Degree?

A master's degree in sports medicine provides advanced, focused training for professionals considering sports medicine careers like athletic trainer or sports medicine doctor. During a sports medicine program, learners study exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and sport psychology to better understand how to treat athletes and patients recovering from injuries and illnesses.

The degree emphasizes both classroom knowledge and experiential learning. Sports medicine colleges include clinical requirements to build the practical skills necessary for careers in the field. Graduate students also gain graduate-level training in physiology, nutrition, and biomechanics.

Incoming sports medicine students with clinical backgrounds can enroll in the degree to gain specialized training in sports medicine. Other students enter the program without prior sports medicine experience. Either way, the degree meets the qualifications for many sports medicine jobs.

Choosing an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program

The cost, program length, and clinical requirements of sports medicine degrees can vary, so prospective sports medicine students must consider these factors when choosing the best sports medicine college to meet their professional goals. The following section explores factors that prospective students should consider before choosing a program.

The total cost of a degree includes tuition, fees, and related expenses. While in-state public schools generally charge the lowest tuition rates, out-of-state schools may offer tuition discounts for online students.

Sports medicine colleges that accept transfer credits can save students time and money on their degrees. Many programs offer a free transcript evaluation to determine transfer credits.

Some students prefer smaller class sizes with more individual attention from instructors. Others benefit from the peer support of a larger cohort of students and a wider alumni network.

While a sports medicine master's degree generally takes two years to complete, the total number of required credits and the number of required clinical hours can affect program length.

Some online sports medicine programs include on-campus requirements, such as an orientation or on-campus labs, while others do not require any campus visits. Ensure that you can meet any in-person requirements before committing to a program.

Most sports medicine programs do not require a thesis, but they may incorporate an internship, practicum, or capstone project. Prospective students should research clinical requirements for online students before enrolling in a program.

Online Master's in Sports Medicine Curriculum

During an online master's program in sports medicine, students take courses in sports nutrition, exercise physiology, and sport psychology. They also learn how to evaluate, prevent, manage, and treat sports injuries.

In addition to coursework, sports medicine programs also incorporate clinical hours. By completing labs and practicums, graduate students build the practical skills needed for sports medicine careers.

This section covers common courses in sports medicine programs, popular formats for online programs, and how long it takes to earn a sports medicine degree.

  • Exercise Physiology: Exercise physiology courses examine human physiology and the body's changes during exercise. Graduate students learn about the body's response to acute and chronic exercise, including circulatory and respiratory responses. The course also covers environmental factors in athletic performance. The course prepares students to apply exercise physiology in their sports medicine jobs after graduation.
  • Sports Nutrition: Sports nutrition courses explore the effects of nutrient selection and metabolism on physical performance. Graduate students learn about evidence-based strategies to improve performance with nutrition. Coursework may also incorporate case studies to provide experiential learning. The course prepares graduates for many certification exams in exercise science.
  • Applied Anatomy: In applied anatomy courses, students explore the structure and physiology of the human body. In a sports medicine degree, the course emphasizes skeletal and muscular systems often linked to injuries. Students also learn about the relationship between different structures and their role in human movement and exercise.
  • Injury Evaluation and Management: During this course, students focus on treating common sports injuries. The class trains students in advanced injury assessment techniques like soft tissue stretching. Learners also study the referral and re-entry process for sports injuries.
  • Sports Psychology: Sports psychology courses examine how athletes behave and explore how psychological intervention methods can enhance athletic performance. Learners also study human behavior patterns in a sports setting, focusing on the psychological difference between sports and exercise.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program?

Many of the best sports medicine colleges offer online master's degrees. Several factors shape how long a master's in sports medicine will take, including the program's total credit requirements, clinical hours, and enrollment options.

Earning a sports medicine degree online generally takes two years for full-time students. Some programs offer accelerated enrollment options that can speed up this timeline. Students with prior graduate school experience can also apply transfer credits toward the degree.

During a master's in sports medicine program, graduate students complete coursework requirements while also gaining practical skills through field experience. Many programs place online sports medicine students with local sports teams, athletes, or rehabilitation clinics to complete lab and practicum requirements. Sports medicine students with prior clinical experience may be able to waive some clinical requirements.

Online sports medicine colleges offer courses in asynchronous or synchronous formats. An asynchronous format requires no set class times, which is ideal for busy students balancing school with personal or professional responsibilities. Synchronous programs require that online learners meet with instructors and fellow students for live course sessions, which can create a better support network.

Sports Medicine Careers

A master's in sports medicine meets the requirements for many exciting sports medicine jobs, including athletic trainer and exercise physiologist. In these roles, professionals evaluate injuries on the field, design treatment plans in coordination with physicians, and help athletes recover from injuries. A sports medicine degree also provides a solid foundation for in-demand jobs in nutrition and dietetics.

Some sports medicine careers require additional study. For example, a sports medicine doctor or sports medicine physician must hold a medical degree. After earning a sports medicine master's degree, graduates can pursue additional study.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers work with athletes to diagnose, treat, and prevent injuries. They apply injury-prevention devices, provide first aid, and design rehabilitation programs. Athletic trainers also evaluate and assess injuries and illnesses, often on the field where injuries occur. As a result, athletic trainers often perform initial injury treatments for athletes.

In addition to treating injuries, athletic trainers create programs to build athleticism and prevent injuries. They also write reports on their treatment programs. Many work under the direction of physicians, and most states require a license or certification to work as an athletic trainer.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists create fitness programs for patients recovering from chronic issues like cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases. They must assess a patient's medical history, evaluate the risk of exercise, and design a custom exercise program to meet each patient's needs. Exercise physiologists also perform fitness tests and measure health indicators like blood pressure to assess a patient's health.

Many exercise physiologists work closely with physicians to create individualized exercise plans for patients. This career path requires at least a bachelor's degree with coursework in kinesiology, nutrition, and anatomy. Many employers also require basic health certifications.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists advise clients on what to eat to help them achieve health goals or build and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They also help people manage diseases through dietary changes. Dietitians and nutritionists assess each patient's nutritional and health needs to build customized meal plans, encourage healthy eating habits, and document patient progress over time.

As part of their job responsibilities, dietitians and nutritionists create educational materials, speak to groups about nutrition, and provide resources on managing diseases like diabetes. They typically hold at least a bachelor's degree with a focus on nutrition, and many hold master's degrees. In most states, dietitians and nutritionists must hold a license or certification.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


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