The APSM program provides a rigorous curriculum for understanding the biological basis of health and fitness and the business background required of professionals in the sport, health, coaching and fitness industries. The program leads to a B.S. degree with concentrations available in applied physiology and health management, sport management, and sport performance leadership. Concentrations require coursework in the physiological sciences and business.
The core curriculum introduces the discipline; establishes the scientific basis of health, fitness and human performance; introduces the business principles and skills necessary to establish and maintain a sport- or fitness-related business; and familiarizes students with the legal and ethical aspects of the fitness, health, coaching and sport industries. Woven throughout the program are experiential learning opportunities as well as science courses structured in accordance with evidence-based practices and augmented by reviews of current research. The program culminates in a research methodology course and an internship. Students are ultimately prepared for a variety of career paths, including commercial health and fitness facility management; corporate fitness and wellness programming; graduate programs in the allied health professions (i.e., physical therapy, nursing, physician assistant); coaching; health management; sports marketing; management of professional, collegiate or amateur sport organizations; representation of professional athletes; sport public relations; and sport facility and event management.
All students must complete 12-16 hours of core courses and 24–32 hours of concentration courses to obtain the B.S. degree in APSM. The core courses and concentrations are described below.
Sport Performance Leadership Concentration
The concentration in sport performance leadership provides students with academic and experiential training pertinent to the leadership and instruction of sport. Graduates of the program are equipped with an evidence-based scientific foundation for their leadership and instructional aspirations. The program serves two objectives:
- To enhance understanding of scientific evidence for human performance improvement in the context of sport.
- To provide a philosophical and historical foundation for successful, safe and ethical athletic coaching.
Several features distinguish the program from those at other institutions. Most programs include classes on teaching the fundamentals of sport. Fewer programs apply the psychological component of dealing with motivation, confidence, intensity, focus and emotional well-being. Rarely do programs address the communicative aspect of coaching. SMU’s program in sport performance leadership addresses all three components, equipping students with a unique and dynamic skill set to offer the coaching marketplace. Students also complete three hours of experiential learning. This type of exposure to real-world coaching helps to assure superior preparation for graduates of the program.