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Top-notch Training, Unique Opportunities

One of the nation’s only programs of its kind, our Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Ph.D. program is led by world-renowned researchers and leaders in the field. UNC specializes in the study of social influence on sport and physical activity behavior—the impact of parents, siblings, teachers, peers, co-workers and other community members on individual motivation and experiences in sport, exercise and physical activity. 

You’ll work with internationally recognized experts in the field, getting strong support for your development as a researcher, writer and college-level teacher. Our small, selective program fosters supportive relationships and mentoring that helps you maximize your career strengths. You’ll get outstanding preparation as a classroom educator, helping you to stand out in the academic job market. And you’ll find many opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers in other UNC programs, including public health, gerontology and education.

Degree Details

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Degree Option

Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science: Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity

Applicants to this small, selective program should have a research interest closely aligned with our departmental specialty. If you have professional experience in coaching, training, physical education or a related discipline, be sure to include this on your application. Once admitted, you’ll complete 51 credit hours of coursework prior to your dissertation research.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

Greeley Campus Program

Your Future in Social Psychology of Sport

The social psychology of sport and physical activity has broad implications that affect a diverse range of public policies. As a researcher in the social psychology of sport, you may investigate questions related to obesity, K-12 education, healthy aging, athletics, health care, community recreation and other important issues. With strong research skills, outstanding teaching credentials and an interdisciplinary approach, you’ll be well qualified for university faculty positions.

Consider a Ph.D. in Social Psychology of Sport if you want to:

  • Investigate the impact of social and psychological factors on individual and community health
  • Work in a small, close-knit research community
  • Develop a well-rounded academic skill set that includes research, writing and teaching
  • Collaborate with researchers in aligned disciplines

You’ll learn:

  • Research design
  • Data gathering
  • Statistical analysis
  • Academic writing and presentation
  • College-level teaching and course development

Sample courses:

  • Sport and Higher Education
  • Exercise and Sports Psychology
  • Advanced Sociological Kinesiology
  • Motivation
  • Social Psychology and Group Dynamics
  • Sport Pedagogy

Beyond the Classroom

At UNC, you can enhance your Ph.D. research by taking advantage of numerous partnerships on campus and in the community. First and foremost, you can collaborate with scholars from other areas of our School of Sport and Exercise Science, which has a national reputation for innovation and pioneering research. You can work with athletes in our NCAA Division I sports programs, partner with researchers in UNC's College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, collaborate with faculty and graduate students in the Colorado School of Public Health or tap into our network of relationships with K-12 educators throughout Colorado.

Where can your degree take you? 

University or college faculty positions

University or college faculty position

Nonprofit or government research

Nonprofit or government research

Public policy checks and balances

Public policy

Ready for what's next? Here's what you need to know.

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Still not completely sold? We understand. Here's more information on costs and funding and how to apply.

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