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Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Sport Coaching

Courses & Requirements

The Graduate School of Professional Psychology, along with most graduate courses at DU, uses the quarter system. The Sport Coaching program requires a minimum of 46 quarter hours (i.e., equivalent to 36 semester hours). Our courses are offered year-round in each of the four quarters: fall, winter, spring and summer. We offer two required courses per quarter, along with one elective. 

Required Courses

The following are required courses, along with the corresponding credit hours in parentheses:

  • CPSY 4700: Organization & Administration of Sport (4)
  • CPSY 4705: Sociocultural Aspects of Sport Coaching (4)
  • CPSY 4710: Motor Learning & Sport Pedagogy (4)
  • CPSY 4715: Strength & Conditioning and Injury Prevention Program Design (4)
  • CPSY 4720: Psychology of Athletic Performance (4)
  • CPSY 4725: Philosophy and Ethics of Sport Coaching (4)
  • CPSY 4730: Biomechanics of Athletic Performance (4)
  • CPSY 4735: Understanding Sport Research (4)
  • CPSY 4740: Practicum in Coaching 1 (2)
  • CPSY 4745: Practicum in Coaching 2 (2)
  • CPSY 4750: Sport Coaching Capstone (2-4)
  • Approved Electives (8)

Approved Electives

Electives are offered on a rotating schedule, and are based on student interest and program growth. We currently offer the following elective courses:

  • CPSY 4620: Kinesiology
  • CPSY 4610: Exercise Physiology
  • CPSY 4635: Athletic & Performance Nutrition
  • CPSY 4722: Social-Psychology of the Body, Health & Performance
  • CPSY 4723: Sport Technology

All students will be advised on their coursework and degree plan by Dr. Gearity or Dr. Kuklick. It is recommended that students consider how to individualize their coursework to meet their personal desires and professional needs while completing the degree in a timely manner. 

Practicum in Coaching

The practicum in coaching course is intended to enhance and deepen students’ understanding of coaching in a real life coaching context. Students must practice coaching in the practicum, not only or mainly observing. Students must complete a minimum of four hours of practicum over four quarters. Therefore, students will typically enroll in one hour of practicum over four quarters to meet this requirement. Students may continue to enroll in practicum, but only four hours will be counted towards meeting the degree requirements.

During the practicum, students must complete a minimum of 50 hours coaching, and will also complete additional assignments online. Students may complete the practicum in a setting of their choosing, and it is acceptable for coaches to complete the practicum in a position in which they are currently employed. That is, it is acceptable to complete the practicum in coaching for a position already being performed (i.e., high school or college level coaching or performance training center). Students may also select a site through a Sport Coaching program affiliate such as a public or private high school, club, performance training center, intercollegiate athletic department or professional sport team. All practicum sites must be approved by the program director.

The Sport Coaching program also offers a dual-instructor model for its Practicum course. This model is the only such of its kind in the world. Dr. Gearity will teach the online course components, while an additional instructor, a mental skills consultant, will advise students through the use of distance technologies, or face-to-face where possible. The mental skills consultant will be a DU alumni from our outstanding Sport and Performance Psychology program. Prospective students should consult with Dr. Gearity for additional information on this unique educational opportunity.


Capstone literally means “a finishing stone or a structure.” Similarly, students will identify, and then complete, a project that demonstrates the student’s initiative and excellence. Students must wait to enroll in capstone until they have completed the Understanding Sport and Coaching Research course and 23 credits towards the Sport Coaching degree.

Projects need to be approved by the program director by the end of the first week of the Capstone course. Students are encouraged to discuss a suitable project with course instructors early in the program. In most cases projects will be completed individually, but a collaborative small group project is also possible. Groups would typically consist of two to four Sport Coaching students. Students are encouraged to build off a previous course or collaborate with a Sport Coaching instructor or affiliate researcher.

Suggested types of projects include:

  • Original research study. For this project students will collect and analyze data in any area of interest outlined in the research course. Students may assist a Sport Coaching instructor or affiliate researcher with ongoing research studies, but the student will be required to collect and analyze data and write a manuscript to be submitted to a journal. This is an excellent option for students interested in research and continuing their education in a doctoral program.
  • Review of literature paper. For this project students will write a comprehensive review of literature paper that is to be submitted to a journal for publication. Students should identify a topic that would benefit from an original review of literature paper or a topic that would benefit from an updated review on the most recent research in the field.
  • Practical application paper. For this project students would write a paper for a journal or professional coaching magazine/trade publication that reviews research and practice on a topic. These papers tend to have brief reviews of research, but extensive application and often use pictures or videos to show content.
  • Speaking presentation. For this project students would prepare and deliver a presentation at a state, national or international clinic or conference. Given the time constraints and acceptance at a suitable clinic, students should seek out approval early in the process from the desired organization sponsoring the clinic. Typical outlets would be a state high school activities association clinic or a national level coaches’ clinic.
  • Service-learning. For this project students would create a service-learning experience or assist in an on-going service project. Students could provide service to any suitable service organization at any level (i.e., local, national). Students would need to identify the service provide, types of responsibilities performed by the student, as well as how the student would share their experiences and what they’ve learned (i.e., a poster presentation, reflection essay).
  • Book chapter and/or proposal. For this project student would author, or possibly co-author, a book chapter for an edited or a self-authored book. If students pursue a self-authored book, then they would need to write at least one chapter and outline the remaining sections of the book. Additional options could be proposed by the student.

These are just some of the possible projects available and at all times the Capstone project should be challenging and meaningful for the student. Students may also propose a suitable Capstone project to the program director. The Capstone course must be repeated for a minimum of two quarter hours until the project is complete.