The MASPP program provides the necessary training for an individual to become a competent, proficient sport and performance psychologist after completion of a psychology doctoral program. The MASPP degree will help those who coach and work with athletes and performers be better coaches and support and create more rewarding outcomes. The program is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time study. The University of Denver is on the quarter system, and students will attend fall, winter, and spring quarters.
Students in the MASPP program will learn:
- to design effective psychological skills training programs;
- to work with high performance teams in athletics, performing art, and corporate settings;
- to implement educational programs to enhance psychological development in athletes, organizations, and businesses;
- the components of successful coaching and how leadership impacts individual and team performances;
- the psychology of high performance teams and the role of group factors in individual and team performance.
The two year course of study is designed to provide training in the areas of: principles of performance, quality practice and learning, coaching/leadership, team development, and consulting in a variety of contexts.
Students are required to complete a supervised practicum during their tenure in the program, as well as a master's project.
It is important to put theory into practice; therefore, the practicum experience is critical to the development of a competent sport and performance consultant. In addition to integrating theory into actual technique, the practicum affords students the opportunity to network within the field. GSPP is committed to practical training and there are many exciting opportunities and experiences available at the University of Denver (home of the two-time National Hockey Champions, and three-time National Ski Team Champions) as well as in the metro area. Sites include, but are not limited to: private high school academies, public high school athletic departments, club sports programs, collegiate athletic departments, the DU Lamont School of Music, private practice, coaching, local exercise and health related industries, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, Craig Hospital.
Other practical experiences in SPP are available as formal internships during the year and in the summer. Sites around the nation that current/former students have obtained internships at include: the US Olympic Training Center, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, Evert Tennis Academy, and IMG Academies.
The Master's Project requirement is designed to serve as a capstone achievement demonstrating students comprehensive knowledge of SPP theories, concepts, applications, and professional and ethical guidelines. Most importantly, students will organize and present the breadth and depth of their knowledge in a personally meaningful way that is directly relatable to the working world. MASPP faculty will sponsor a number of projects each year that students may elect to join. These will be group projects with the evaluation criteria for an individual's completion being a contribution worthy of authorship on a journal article (see APA publication manual for more details on the definition of authorship). The faculty sponsored group projects are intended to increase the scientific contribution (e.g., the possibility of multi-year studies, more collaboration) and thus the likelihood of publication.
If a student elects for an individual master's project, the types of projects include:
- professional practice report (e.g., case studies approached from a number of different perspectives with an analysis of the pros and cons associated with each approach including relevant research and associated findings);
- professional practice creative project (e.g., a job portfolio including detailed examples of activities and interventions sufficient to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of SPP; performance enhancement multi-media products);
- data-based research paper including a detailed review of literature leading to new conclusions and collecting and analyzing original data;
- review research paper including an extensive review of literature leading to new theoretical conclusions with accompanying implications for SPP research, professional practice, or both.
These are only examples of possible Master's Projects, and each student who chooses to pursue an individual project is responsible for defining and developing his/her own proposed project. The student is then responsible for getting two (2) SPP faculty members to approve the proposal and serve as the Master's Project Committee.