How to Become a Sport Psychologist

by Nupur Kaul 
August 1, 2021
How to Become a Sport Psychologist

This blog highlights key points and pathways to becoming a Sports Psychologist. To get a deeper understanding of what Sports Psychology is, read our previous blog to find out more!

Becoming a sports psychologist, or pursuing any career in psychology, requires applying for a B. A or B.Sc. degree in Psychology, after completing your high school (12th Grade).

Choosing the right college and university to pursue a Bachelors’ degree would depend on various choices like city, diversity, affordability, and more that are person-specific. Overall, a Bachelors’ degree lays the foundation for Psychology students as the first step in their career pathway to then follow a higher degree that is more specific to their interests. The University of Delhi, Christ University in Bangalore, University of Pune are some of the well-known universities for an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology. However, there are many more options for the same throughout India.

At the postgraduate level, once one has completed their Bachelor’s degree, one can pursue a specialized course in Sport Psychology. In India, there are a few universities that offer a Master’s in sports psychology. Some options can be:

  • National Sports University, Imphal, offers an M.A in Sport Psychology.
  • The Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer offers an M.Sc. in Sport Psychology.

Once you have your Masters’ degree, it can get a bit confusing as there are no specific guidelines in India for practicing as a sport psychologist. However, one can either start gaining on-field knowledge and practice as a Sports Psychologist or work towards a higher degree with a more specific topic of interest within the field of Sport Psychology, most commonly, a Ph.D.

While many Indian universities are catching up to provide Master’s courses in Sport Psychology, there are many universities outside of India that also provide well-researched courses with defined career pathways.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a nation that thrives on sporting events. One of the more popularly known countries that offer academic options to pursue Sport Psychology, a Masters’ course in the UK is generally for one year.

It is important to look for a course that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). The M.Sc. Sport and Exercise Psychology courses at Loughborough University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Brunel University London, Sheffield Hallam University, etc., are some of the well-known accredited courses.

The BPS follows a 2-stage process to become a chartered sports psychologist. Stage 1 is completing an accredited Masters’ course. Stage 2 is either enrolling in a doctorate program (Ph.D.) or completing a structured supervised practice for a duration of 2 years or more.

United States of America

In general, one must possess a valid license to practice as a Sports Psychologist in the U.S.A, which comes after the completion of a Masters’ degree in the discipline. This is coupled with an internship experience and two years (or more) of professional experience. There is no specific pathway to becoming a Sports Psychologist, and most of them are state-specific.

The two-year Masters’ courses offered at the Florida State University, and the University of Denver, Colorado, in the U.S.A are some other options to pursue Sport Psychology.

One also needs to pass the examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. While a Ph.D. is necessary for some job positions, one may qualify to apply for others with just a Master’s Degree.


Australia is becoming one of the most popular nations for international students. Although for Australia, after your bachelor’s, you may need to go on to fourth-year studies and complete either honors or your postgraduate diploma which will allow you to gain provisional registration as a psychologist.

You may then go on to find a postgraduate qualification (Masters or Doctorate) approved for endorsement. After completion, you will be eligible for general registration as a practicing psychologist.

Most of the Universities will offer specific courses in sport and exercise psychology though the entry requirements may vary, so it is recommended that you contact universities before applying to ensure you will qualify.

The final stage is to apply for endorsement in the specific area of Sport Psychology. This involves undertaking supervised training with an endorsed practitioner. This training period will vary based on your qualification; it is generally 2 years for an accredited Master’s or 1 year if you hold a Doctorate degree. Once you have completed this training you will gain endorsement from the Psychology Board of Australia as a registered Sports Psychologist.

Financial Aid

Most of the universities offer their own scholarships for international students and are mainly based on merit. Apart from this, Indian students can apply for the scholarship provided by NGOs, like the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, and The JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians.

There are also country-specific scholarships, for universities in the UK, scholarships include the Chevening Scholarship, the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship, and the GREAT Scholarships.

For universities in the USA, the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships and the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program scholarships are available.

Similarly, Indian students can apply for the Destination Australia, and the Australian Government Research and Training Program scholarships, if they are planning to pursue their studies in Australia.

Pursuing a career pathway in psychology, let alone sports psychology, can be quite daunting due to the lack of clarity on what is ideally the right pathway to becoming a Psychologist. It is important to keep in mind that whatever you decide needs to be tailored and individualized to you, works well for you.

Nupur Kaul

Consultant Sport and Exercise Psychologist