Online Master of Arts in Performance Psychology and Leadership

Two woman leaning in and talking with each otherThe Master's in Performance Psychology & Leadership program at McKendree provides a high-quality educational experience for leaders who will drive the future of performance psychology. As a performance psychology coach/consultant, you will focus on helping others with goal setting, stress management, resilience training, coaching, leadership, teamwork, and motivation. Through the performance psychology and leadership degree, you will learn to apply psychological theories and research to sports, business, military, high-risk careers, and other activities that involve psychomotor performance.





Online Class Format

All courses for this program are offered in an 8-week period. This program can be completed in one year taking two classes every 8 weeks or students can go part-time and take one class every 8 weeks. 




MA in Performance Psychology and Leadership Curriculum


The master’s in performance psychology and leadership coursework is completely online and consists of 9 courses and the option of either an Action Research Project or Practicum that will teach you to integrate mental skills traning and theoretical foundations of emotion, cognition, and behavior in performance settings.


The courses are aligned with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) guidelines.


MPP 601 - Professional Ethics and Standards

MPP 602 - Performance Psychology

MPP 603 - Sport Science

MPP 604 - Strategic Communication for Effective Leadership

MPP 605 - Research Methods and Statistics

MPP 606 - Mindfulness and Stress Management

MPP 607 - Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

MPP 608 - Theoretical Principles of Sport and Exercise Psychology

MPP 609 - Sport and Performance Psychology Interventions

MPP 610 - Action Research Project OR MPP 611 - Practicum


Total Credits: 30


Note: This master’s degree does not include the work or hours required to be a licensed counselor.  




Interesting Courses


MPP 604 Strategic Communication for Effective Leadership (3)

This course is designed to equip current and aspiring leaders with the essential communication skills required to motivate, influence, and lead teams successfully. Recognizing that effective communication is the cornerstone of impactful leadership, this program delves into the nuances of strategic communication that foster an environment of trust, collaboration, and high performance within diverse groups and cultures. Through a blend of theoretical insights and practical exercises, participants will learn how to articulate their vision, manage conflicts, and engage with diverse groups, through culturally competent approaches to drive organizational success at all levels.


MPP 606 Mindfulness and Stress Management (3)

This course offers a comprehensive exploration of mindfulness techniques and stress management strategies specifically tailored for enhancing performance in various contexts, including sports, arts, academics, and professional settings. This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage stress, enhance focus, and improve overall mental well-being. Through a combination of theoretical understanding and practical application, students will learn to harness the power of mindfulness to optimize performance, resilience, and personal growth.


MPP 607 Emotional Intelligence and Leadership (3)

This course enables practitioners to recognize psychopathologies and develop counseling skills, emotional intelligence, and leadership strategies to ameliorate psychopathologies. The class is designed to foster personal growth and development as the bedrock of effective leadership. Recognizing the critical role of emotional intelligence in leading teams and organizations, the course delves into the five core components of EI: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Students will explore how these components influence their leadership style, decision-making, and ability to drive positive outcomes. Through a mix of theoretical foundations and practical applications, this course aims to equip leaders with the skills to understand and manage their emotions and those of others, enhancing their leadership effectiveness and fostering a culture of collaboration and resilience.


MPP 609 Sport and Performance Psychology Interventions (3)

This course is designed to familiarize students with the application of sport and performance psychology interventions. Students experience the building of a sport and performance psychology program. This course includes the skills of relaxation, concentration, imagery, self-talk, and mental rehearsal and pre-performance routines; followed by broader topics such as goal setting, motivation, confidence, cohesion, feedback and reflection, resilience building, and mastery. The instructor briefly reviews relevant theory and research followed by demonstrations of techniques and strategies, after which students learn by doing. Specific attention is given to blending the science of peak performance with the art of applying science.




Action Research Project or Practicum


As part of the performance psychology and leadership curriculum, you’ll have the option to complete either an Action Research Project or a Practicum.


MPP 610 Action Research Project (3)

The purpose of this project is to facilitate the process of analyzing and organizing data from action research, interpreting the data within the research project parameters, and writing a clear and accurate report of the research process, results, and implications. You will review your research with your peers and work together on ways to organize data, techniques for interpreting data, developing a logical statement of findings, organizing the information, and effective drafting of the report. 


MPP 611 Practicum (3)

The practicum is a concentrated practice experience involving 80 hours with a preceptor, supported by conferences with faculty. Specific areas of concentration include communication/relationship building, leadership in the performance psychology environment, professionalism, and business skills. At the end of the practicum, you will have produced an application project that demonstrates the ability to perform systematic inquiry and analysis using process evaluation. The project displays professional relevance, as well as practical and direct application of evidence-based principles. 


Career Opportunities


The performance psychology and leadership degree is designed for leaders who want to improve the performance of the people they work with in sports, the performing arts, and other areas of performance. This degree can prepare you for a career in many fields, including:


  • Sports coach

  • Sports research specialist
  • Sports psychology professor

  • Sports rehabilitation director
  • Clinical sports psychologist

  • Sports psychology consultant

  • Performance enhancement specialist

Transfer Credit

Following matriculation, students are expected to do their course work at McKendree. However, prior to matriculation, up to 12 credits from another accredited institution may be applied toward completion of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Performance Psychology and Leadership degree at McKendree. All transfer courses are evaluated by the director of the program.




Key Faculty


Willie Moore

Lecturer of Health and Physical Education
(618) 537-6983




Take the first step to start your future as a performance psychologist!