Why This Matters


    Master’s degrees in sports medicine or exercise science are very versatile. Potential careers include athletic trainer, sports psychologist, physical education teacher, physical therapist, and more.


    As people stay active well into their senior years and greater emphasis is placed on injury prevention in athletes, the need for qualified athletic trainers is increasing, with 6,300 new jobs expected by 2026.


    Exercise physiology is a small but rapidly expanding field in sports medicine. Exercise physiologists help patients recover from injuries, diseases, and surgeries using fitness and exercise programs.

Our Research

In order to include a range of options for students seeking advanced degrees in sports medicine, we included programs in related areas like kinesiology, exercise science, and health and human performance. These programs cover different theories and skills, so look carefully at the curricula to find the program that best suits your interests and career goals.

All of the programs on our list are offered by regionally accredited schools, which is a confirmation of their quality. The programs on our list are offered in a variety of formats, including in-person, online, and hybrid, so you can find the right program for your learning preferences and schedule.

We evaluated each program for course strength, cost, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. Then, we gave each program an Intelligent Score of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 81 hours to write this article
  • 132 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 403 education programs we compared

The Top 23 Master’s in Sports Medicine Programs

Best Online Master's in Sports Medicine Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
University of Western States
Best Coaching Focus
University Of Northern Colorado
Best Master of Arts Degree
Fresno Pacific University
Best Master of Science Degree
Indiana Wesleyan University
Best for Accelerated Classes
Concordia University, St. Paul
Best Lab Facilities
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Best Fast Track Program
United States Sports Academy
Best Rehabilitation Focus
University of Hawaii
Best Research Opportunities
Augusta University
Best Health Administration Focus
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Most Affordable
Southern Arkansas University
Best Public University
Sul Ross State University
Best Private University
Ashland University
Best Christian University
Liberty University
Best in the Southwest
Online Business & Education Degrees - University of the Southwest
Best Academic Health Setting
Logan University
Best in the West
Southern Utah University
Best Concentration Options
The University of Texas at El Paso
Fastest Completion Time
The University of Texas Permian Basin
Most Customizable
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Best for Small Class Sizes
The University of Texas at Tyler
Best Private Research University
George Washington University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Although it has “medicine” in the title, a master’s in sports medicine does not prepare you to work as a medical doctor. Sports medicine is an allied health profession, and your coursework will cover topics in physiology, anatomy, and nutrition through the lens of sports and fitness.

For many jobs in sports medicine and related fields, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum required education level. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field and want to change careers, pursuing a master’s in sports education is a good option. However, if you already have a bachelor’s in sports medicine, the advantages to earning an advanced degree in the field are negligible. According to Payscale.com, there are not significant salary increases for those with a master’s versus those with a bachelor’s in sports medicine.

Sports medicine and its related fields are carefully regulated to ensure safe, ethical practice. Most states require athletic trainers to have a state-issued license and certification through the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. Other professional organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Council on Exercise offer credentials for health and fitness professionals. To earn and maintain these credentials, you typically have to pay fees, take exams, and earn continuing education credits.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Sports Management programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Admissions qualifications for master’s in sports medicine programs vary. Some programs require an undergraduate degree or professional experience in the field, or you may need prerequisite coursework in areas like anatomy, kinesiology, or physiology. Carefully review the eligibility requirements before selecting programs to which you will apply.
  • Does the program require a thesis? Most master’s programs in sports medicine are Master of Science degrees, which usually emphasize research. As such, some programs may have a required or optional thesis. Completing a thesis may add time to the program, but it is a smart move for individuals who plan to pursue a doctorate degree, as many doctoral programs require a thesis as part of the application.

While doing your research, find out what the program’s application requirements and deadlines are. Gathering your application materials well ahead of the submission deadlines can help ensure an easier application process. You should also consider your options for financing your master’s degree. Resources can include financial aid, scholarships, and assistantships. If you are currently employed, find out if you qualify for tuition assistance from your employer.