Concentration in Mental Performance

Describe, explain, and predict factors affecting practice and performance.
Application for Fall 2024 Entry is Open!

The application cycle for Fall 2023 entry into the master's in exercise and sport science degree is open! You can apply to the program until May 1, 2023 with rolling admissions decisions until that date or until capacity is reached, so early application is encouraged. If you are not ready to apply but would like more information about the program or be notified when future enrollment cycles open, please complete our graduate interest form

Curriculum Overview

This concentration allows students to learn psychological factors influencing performance and to gain  applicable skill sets to help athletes overcome setbacks and enhance their existing capabilities. Over the course of this graduate program, expertise increases as focus narrows towards the topics reflecting each student’s specific interests and career considerations. Any student with sport related career aspirations would find this program valuable.  This concentration is specifically designed for students interested in working with athletes as a mental performance coach or wanting to enrich their knowledge of mental training as a coach, athletic trainer, or strength & conditioning or health/fitness/wellness specialist.  

Through our Thesis track, students can develop their research skills  preparing for doctoral/PhD studies in Sport Sciences, Sport Psychology or Mental Health Fields.   Non thesis students can improve mental performance coaching skills in their quest to obtain a better understanding of what makes elite performers. It is our goal to guide you in best facilitating it.

Please note: the Mental Performance concentration was renamed in 2021 changing the title of the from Sport Psychology to Mental Performance. The overall focus & educational objectives remain the same, with slight curriculum modifications to match CMPC requirements for students pursuing mental performance credentialing while maintaining our unique mental training education experience for professionals in sport, health, and wellness fields.

Pick a Thesis or Two Non Thesis Tracks to Specialize in an Area of Your Choice

Ideal for student planning doctoral /PhD work, but available for any student wanting to develop research skills.  Students complete a independent thesis under mentorship of two faculty.  The thesis track does not include all CMPC (Certified Mental Performance Consultant) knowledge areas or mentored hours.  With addition coursework (beyond 30 credits) and permission of faculty, thesis students may be able to pursue additional coursework to complete extra CMPC knowledge areas.

Example Theses from Former Students

Designed for students pursuing credentialing as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) and pursuing careers in mental performance coaching.  Includes all graduate level knowledge areas required for the CMPC exam. Provides opportunities for obtaining mentored hours through Practicuum and/or Internship coursework. 16 mo program includes 60 to 80  mentored hours.  With planning, CMPC track students can extend program an additional semester and complete Practicuum coursework for additional hours. Many students graduate with 240 to 280 mentored hours towards the CMPC certification requirements

Example classes/experiences include:

  • Diversity in Sport and Exercise

  • Advanced Communication and Facilitation Skills in Sport and Exercise

  • Theories and Issues in Performance Enhancement in Sport and Exercise

Ideal for coaches, athletic trainers, strength & conditioning specialists, health/wellness/fitness specialists, or anyone working with clients wanting to have have knowledge and skills in mental performance to give their clients an edge and optimize performance.

Example classes include:

  • Team Building & Motivation

  • Leadership

  • Development of Expertise

Explore our Academic Catalog for course information and requirements in both thesis and non-thesis tracks.

Careers Opportunities

This program prepares students to meet knowledge areas of external certification requirements by the Association For Applied Sports Psychology and work towards required mentored hours for becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC). Some of the careers by past students have included:

  • Major League Baseball Mental Skills Coordinator/Coach (Astros, Cubs, Red Sox, Diamondbacks)

  • NCAA & Professional Sports Teams Coaches and Athletic Trainers

  • US Armed Forces Department of Defense Contracted Mental Performance Coaches (e.g. Cognitive Performance Coach/Specialist, Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert)

  • Medical/Wellness Clinic Consultants/Health Coaches

  • Research Coordinators of World Renowned Medical Centers


Deborah King
Graduate Program Chair
Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training
Ithaca College
324 Center for Health Sciences
Ithaca, NY 14850