New Master of Science in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology approved by Regents

American Psychological Association describes it as ‘hot’ career

Green Bay, Wis. — From world-class athletes to “weekend warriors,” across every area of recreation and fitness, performers are increasingly looking to sport psychologists to get them one step closer to their personal bests.

Now, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will help prepare these dedicated athletes and performers with a new Master of Science in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology degree program, accepting applications August 1, 2019. The program was approved by the UW Board of Regents on Friday, July 12, 2019. Classes begin in fall 2020. More information is available on the program website).

Industry analyst Plunkett Research Ltd. (American Psychological Association*) estimates that the U.S. sports market—everything from ticket sales for major league games to equipment sold in sporting goods stores—generates $400 billion in revenue in a typical year. This profitable market brings with it an increase in pressure on athletes to perform at optimum levels. That’s where UW-Green Bay’s new program comes in.

“The M.S. in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology is an interdisciplinary subfield of psychology that applies psychological knowledge and clinical approaches to optimize the performance and well-being of athletes, exercisers and other performers,” explains Program Director, UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Jana Fogaca. “The field considers the developmental and social aspects of sport and performance participation, and systemic issues associated with sport and performance settings and organizations.”

The program complements UW-Green Bay’s sizeable and highly-acclaimed Psychology program (one of the University’s top-enrolled programs) and aligns with the city of Green Bay’s internationally recognized sport and entertainment industries, UW-Green Bay’s Division I athletic classification and ongoing efforts to increase graduate offerings aligned with campus and regional strengths.

“With robust growth and a starting point of more than 550 students majoring in Psychology, UW-Green Bay is positioned to be a leader in sport, exercise and performance psychology, and subsequently, it is expected there will be high student demand for the program,” said UW-Green Bay Provost Michael Alexander. “We proudly have two tenure-track faculty members with specialization in sport psychology (the only certified mental performance consultants in Northeast Wisconsin), which will continue to enhance the region’s stellar reputation in the field.”

The curriculum includes 39 credits offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Program coursework satisfies the application requirements to be a certified mental performance consultant under the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Graduates will be prepared to work as behavior coaches; consultants in private practice or with performance improvement consulting firms; for university athletics departments, sports clubs or youth academies; or for industries such as the military, aviation and medical, with occupations that focus on performance improvement.

According to Fogaca, classes will be infused with a variety of hands-on and applied activities. Supervised practicum and internships will also be offered. An emphasis will be placed on teaching and student learning. The program will admit approximately 20 new students per year, with preference for full-time students. Students will take courses in both regular 14-week semesters (fall and spring), in addition to one course in the summer between years one and two of the program. Courses will be delivered using a combination of predominately face-to-face instruction, with some online course offerings and independent work in the form of internship and thesis.

The program will have two tracks: applied and thesis. In the applied track, students will have one year of internship to prepare them to work with performance enhancement and health improvement. In the thesis track, students will work on advanced research topics that will prepare them to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation. The program also offers opportunities for electives that can be directed to the students’ interests, including classes with other programs on campus, such as business, social work and health management.

Sport, exercise and performance psychology is an interdisciplinary subfield of psychology that brings together aspects of counseling psychology, health psychology, kinesiology, human biology and other disciplines. Additionally, the mission clearly addresses an intent to meet Northeast Wisconsin’s need for professional graduate programming, while building upon regional economic and cultural strengths. Sports and performance-related industries provide opportunities for the program to develop the community-based partnerships and collaborative faculty scholarship and innovation.

In addition to its own athletics program, the Green Bay Phoenix, the region hosts the world-renowned Green Bay Packers and multiple other professional and semi-professional teams, including the Green Bay Blizzard (indoor football), Green Bay Booyah (baseball), Green Bay Voyageurs (soccer), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (baseball), Green Bay Gamblers (hockey), and the Wisconsin Glo (women’s basketball). The program coordinators have been connecting with community partners who could collaborate in research or be an internship site, including Green Bay Packers, Bellin Health Titletown, Aurora BayCare, and Green Bay Area Public Schools, along with the University’s NCAA Division I athletics program and UW-Green Bay Music.

In addition, the proposed program compliments the suite of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs developed around the central theme of health, sports and performance at UW-Green Bay (e.g. Bachelor of Science programs in Psychology, Human Biology (Health Sciences, Exercise and Nutritional Science emphases), Theatre & Dance and Music; and Master’s programs in Athletic Training and in Nutrition and Integrated Health.

Curricula will align with the standards of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) for master’s‐level programs. The program will include all courses required for AASP members to become Certified Mental Performance Consultants (CMPC). Two faculty who are CMPC will supervise students who choose to pursue this certification.

The program also comes in a time when the Association for Applied Sport Psychology is building and strengthening its national certification (CMPC), which is increasing the demand for professionals in this area, with the largest growth seen in the military and baseball teams.

*The American Psychological Association describes the field as a “Hot Career” (http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/sport-psychology.aspx), and included the growing demand for sport psychologists in its 2018 Annual Trends Report (Trend #3). The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) also describes the area as an up-and-coming field that has seen a substantial increase in attention over the last decade (http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/about/about-applied-sport-and-exercise-psychology/).

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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