Why a Master's Degree in Sports Psychology is a Great Career Investment


If you’re a third-year student doing a sports development and coaching degree or a sports rehabilitation degree, it’s important to consider your next steps after graduation. For those who are not yet ready to enter into employment, a master's degree in sports psychology makes an ideal stepping stone.

A postgraduate degree is one of the greatest investments you can make in your career, and the University of Bolton’s MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology course is the perfect way to upskill. Here are some of the reasons why a sport and exercise psychology master’s could be the right career move for you.

Sports Psychology

You don’t need a psychology degree to apply

Our MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology course is one of the most accessible degrees within the field of psychology. If you’re studying sports development and coaching or sports rehabilitation, you won’t need any additional psychology qualifications to apply.

After you complete this course, you’ll have a strong enough grounding in sport and exercise psychology to pursue professionally supervised training. For non-psychology graduates embarking on this master’s, it’s important to understand that there are two different routes you can take after your postgraduate training. 

This master’s acts as a prerequisite for the British Psychological Society (BPS) Stage 2 supervised training route. However, this route is often preferred by students who possess a BPS-accredited undergraduate degree or conversion course and have already achieved the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC).

The second route is the Stage 2 Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (QSEP), also offered by the BPS. This is considered to be more suitable for those with a sport-related undergraduate degree as well as a BPS-accredited psychology conversion course (or other psychology qualification that is acceptable to BASES).

Once you complete one of the above steps, you’ll be eligible to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This will allow you to practice as a chartered sport and exercise psychologist.

Increase your chances of getting a job

Jobs in sports can be hard to come by, and the competition is high, particularly with sought-after positions with top clubs and sports teams. While many graduates are able to get a job with a first degree, having a master’s degree can drastically improve your chances of getting hired.

Not only does a second degree make your CV stand out to potential employers, but it positions you as an expert or specialist in your field. Postgraduate training shows a high level of dedication too, telling employers that you’re willing to invest in your education and that you value growth and self-improvement.

A sports psychology degree doesn’t just benefit those wanting to work as a sports psychologist either. There are many different routes you can take, and a master’s degree can boost both job prospects and earning potential.

Work with top athletes and sports teams

Sports psychology is one of the best ways to work with famous athletes and sports teams. Some of our graduates will go on to work with local and national sports teams, including well-known football, rugby, netball, cricket and hockey teams, and many more.

It’s also possible to work with individual athletes, such as those competing in the Olympics, or tennis players, boxers and golfers. Some may even become sports psychologists for Formula 1, where the right mindset and confidence can be the difference between life and death.

The sport and exercise psychology master’s degree course at Bolton combines theory and practice-based learning to prepare students for employment. We arrange placements and practical assessments throughout the course to help you learn to apply your skills effectively in a workplace setting. We also have links to local teams and employers, meaning you’ll have the opportunity to network.

Female football team

Sports psychologists are in demand

The field of sports and exercise psychology is growing, and we are living in a sports-loving society, where the team and competitive sports are a big part of people’s lives. Not only does watching or participating in sports bring positive benefits to health and wellbeing, but it’s an important part of the national and global economy.

The sports industry contributes significantly in terms of spending and economic activity, and is currently worth £23.8 billion, providing over one million jobs in the UK.

There’s also increasing recognition for psychology in this growing sector, with more and more teams and sports clubs realising the value of investing in a top sports psychologist to help enhance performance.

Sports psychologists enjoy high salaries

In addition to being in demand, sports psychologists can earn a good salary, with plenty of room for growth and development. According to Glassdoor, the average salary is £42,267 in the UK, with top-end salaries in excess of £67,000.

A master’s can support other career ambitions

Another benefit of taking the MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology course is being able to diversify your skills and boost job prospects across a number of areas. While many students embark on this programme to work towards becoming chartered sports and exercise psychologists, others use it as a platform for other careers.

Alternative paths include sports coaching, sports rehabilitation, working as a performance lifestyle advisor, working as a wellbeing officer, going into higher education teaching and research, working in physiotherapy, or other roles in sport and exercise science.

Does a master's degree in sports psychology interest you? If you’re not ready to go into employment, or if you want to upskill for a lucrative career, staying on at university could be the right move after your undergraduate degree.

As a leading Greater Manchester university that’s been ranked Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Psychology Courses* for the fourth year running, there’s nowhere better to continue your personal development journey than the University of Bolton!

We’re proud to deliver #UniAsItShouldBe, and we have a vibrant, friendly and supportive postgraduate community. To find out more about applying in 2022/23, see our MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology course for details.

* Complete University Guide in 2022


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We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

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Anderton centre2
QQA Scheme Participant