Sports Medicine Colleges, Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Sports medicine schools offer educational programs at multiple degree levels. Depending on a student's career goals, he or she will want to choose either a master's degree program or medical school. Both routes prepare students to work with athletes.

How to Select a Sports Medicine Program

Sports medicine programs require an undergraduate degree. Both master's degree and medical school programs are available through 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Program options
  • Specialization options
  • Research or clinical interests

Program Options

Sports medicine may be studied in a master's program or at a medical school. Master's programs in sports medicine prepare students to work directly with athletes as personal trainers, coaches and nutrition advisers. Medical school prepares students to be physicians that work specifically with athletes.

Specialization Options

If choosing a master's degree program, students may want to consider a program that offers the option of specializing in one specific aspect of sports medicine. In-depth knowledge of one area may make graduates more attractive to employers. If choosing a medical school, students will want to ask about clinical rotations and if there will be an opportunity to train under sports medicine physicians. Students may want to consider where previous students have done their residencies.

Research or Clinical Interests

Master's degree students may have to decide between programs that have a thesis requirement and those that do not. The thesis option may be more appropriate for a student who is very interested in research, wants to consider further study at the doctoral level or wants to teach sports medicine. Medical students primarily interested in research will want to go to a research-focused institution, while students who exclusively want to do clinical practice will benefit from a school that has this as its focus.

Sports Medicine Program Overviews

Master's Degree in Sports Medicine

Students learn to evaluate current research in sports medicine and apply it to their clients' needs. Some programs allow students to develop a specialty in coaching, sports hospitality management or National Collegiate Athletic Association compliance. Programs with a thesis requirement have advisers that mentor students as they conduct original research, present their findings at conferences and possibly prepare their studies for publication. Programs may provide internship opportunities. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and GRE scores. In 2-year master's degree programs, students study:

  • Sports psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Coaching
  • Assessment of biomechanics and physiology

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Specialty in Sports Medicine

Most medical schools have similar curricula for the first 3-4 years, but differ in teaching style and class size. During the final two years, students complete clinical rotations in different areas of medicine. Students with an interest in sports medicine will want to apply for residencies and fellowships in sports medicine after graduating from medical school. Applicants to medical schools will need comprehensive education at the bachelor's degree level in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics, along with scores on the MCAT. Medical students take science and medical courses, including:

  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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