Athletic Training

Graduate Program HeadNancy Williams
Program CodeATHTR
Campus(es)University Park (M.A.T.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Athletic Training (M.A.T.)
The Graduate Faculty


The Master of Athletic Training degree delivers a person-centered curriculum designed to provide learners with cutting-edge knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a versatile health care provider in diverse practice settings. Through an integrative framework that promotes evidence-informed decision-making, inter-professional collaboration, and cultural competence, students develop attitudes and habits that cultivate career enrichment and meaningful lifelong learning. As an accredited program, educational experiences are structured to prepare candidates to successfully achieve standards set forth by the national Board of Certification and related state regulatory agencies required to practice.

Admission Requirements 

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

For admission to the Athletic Training program, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a US regionally accredited institution or international equivalent. An undergraduate major in the health sciences is preferred but this is not a mandatory requirement. For admissions consideration, an applicant should ordinarily have an overall cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 and an overall science GPA of at least 3.0 (based on a 4-point scale).

Several prerequisites and foundational knowledge (Standards 54 and 55) are required for admission consideration. Listed below are the subjects and corresponding number of credits applicants must complete before enrollment. For applicants on a trimester schedule, 5-to-6 quarter hours at minimum satisfy a prerequisite.

  • Anatomy and Physiology (including labs): 6-to-8 credits
  • Biomechanics: 3 credits
  • Chemistry (including lab): 3-to-4 credits
  • English Composition or Intensive Writing: 3 credits
  • Exercise Physiology: 3 credits
  • General Biology (including lab): 3-to-4 credits
  • Nutrition: 3 credits
  • Physics (including lab): 3-to-4 credits
  • Psychology: 3 credits
  • Statistics: 3 credits

A minimum letter-grade of C is required in each course linked to this list. Furthermore, coursework in these subjects have a five-year currency. This currency requirement may potentially be waived for an applicant who has been working full time and continuously in the health care field since completing the coursework. Although completion of coursework is not required until the time of enrollment, no more than two courses specifically linked to this prerequisite list can be outstanding at the time of application.

Advanced placement credit accepted at an undergraduate institution can satisfy a number of prerequisites including biology, chemistry, psychology, statistics, and English composition courses. College-Level Examination Program credit may also satisfy course prerequisites. Any course that an undergraduate institution deems as having satisfied a “writing intensive” requirement will suffice. This course can be in any major and does not need to be an English major-based course. Additionally, if an applicant’s bachelor's degree incorporates writing across the curriculum, they should share this information with the admissions committee.

Optional preparation through coursework in the areas listed below is strongly recommended.

  • Basic Emergency Care (1-4 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1-4 credits)

Applicants must hold current credentialing in emergency cardiovascular care. This requirement may only be satisfied with certification through one of the following programs:

Scores from the most recent standardized exam(s) an applicant has completed within the last five years. At the discretion of the program, this requirement may be satisfied through one or a combination of the following: Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), American College Test (ACT), and/or Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Applicants must demonstrate evidence of adequate exposure to the field of athletic training and understanding for the depth, breadth, and scope of practice through shadowing or volunteer experiences in various practice settings. A minimum of 50 hours is required with at least 25 hours being completed in a college/university setting and at least 25 hours in a secondary school or other non-college/university setting. Demonstration of an appreciation for the diverse patient populations athletic trainers interact with is highly preferred. Prospective students must have completed a minimum of 35 shadowing hours at the time of submitting their ATCAS application.

A personal statement must accompany application materials and include why an applicant is pursing the degree program with focus on how their background and interests match well with the curriculum. Applicants should also preset a brief summary of short- and long-term goals relevant to career planning.  

Three letters of recommendation are required for review. One letter from each of the following individuals is necessary:

  • An athletic trainer the applicant interacted with during their shadowing or volunteer experience
  • A faculty member from the applicant’s college/university studies
  • A supervisor/employer, preferably from a health care related experience/job

The letters should address the applicant's academic, professional, and personal attributes as well as potential for successful graduate study.

Selected candidates will be required to meet with the admissions panel for a personal interview. The panel looks for attributes such as maturity, empathy and compassion, motivation, ability to communicate, cultural sensitivity, critical thinking skills, and potential to achieve career fulfillment as an athletic trainer. Interviews may be conducted in-person or remotely, and provide an opportunity for candidates and the panel to interact. Discussion will center on how the program’s mission and applicant’s goals align. Additional dialogue will include rationale for entering the profession and pursing a degree at Penn State.

Applicants offered admission to the Master of Athletic Training program must review the technical standards deemed essential for successful completion of the curriculum. Prior to and every semester after enrollment, students are required to attest that they meet the technical standards either with or without reasonable accommodations. Upon completion of the attestation, Penn State reserves the right not to admit any applicant who cannot meet the technical standards. This right to not admit or the right to rescind admission applies in cases where reasonable accommodation cannot be provided, would result in a fundamental alteration to the technical standards, or would compromise patient/client care or the safety of the prospective and/or currently enrolled students.

In addition to these admission requirements, participating clinical education sites (on- and off-campus) may require specific background checks and/or medical clearances in order to host a student for experiential learning purposes. Examples include screening of state or federal criminal records and vaccination records. Sites may choose to deny a student’s placement in their facilities based on the information in these records. Such instances may create a barrier for students to satisfy compulsory clinical education activities and therefore not complete degree requirements necessary for graduation.

Degree Requirements

Master of Athletic Training (M.A.T.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The Master of Athletic Training (MAT) degree requires a minimum of 77 credits completed over 22 compulsory courses through a prescribed academic plan. At least six credits must be at the 500-level. A minimum of 71 credits are at the 800-level with at least three of these 800-level credits dedicated to a capstone project, which satisfies the culminating experience requirement. A minimum letter grade of C is required in each of the 22 compulsory courses. Students may earn additional credits through optional elective coursework.

A minimum of 1,395 clinical education hours are required for graduation.

Scholarship and Research Integrity requirements are satisfied through Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative trainings on Responsible Conduct of Research and Human Subjects Research.

Required Courses
Athletic Training Core Courses
ATHTR 500Theory and Application of Evidence-Based Practice3
ATHTR 501Science and Ethics of Human Performance Optimization3
ATHTR 800Foundations of Clinical Practice4
ATHTR 801Principles of Acute Care and Emergency Response4
ATHTR 802Anatomical Basis of Musculoskeletal Injury4
ATHTR 803Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Evaluation4
ATHTR 804Evaluation and Treatment of the Lower Extremities4
ATHTR 805Experiential Learning I2
ATHTR 806Evaluation and Treatment of the Upper Extremities4
ATHTR 807Clinical Interventions and Implementation: General Treatment Strategies4
ATHTR 808Therapeutic Interventions: Approaches and Techniques4
ATHTR 809Experiential Learning II3
ATHTR 810Evaluation and Treatment of the Spine and Thoracic Cage4
ATHTR 811Experiential Learning III2
ATHTR 813Administrative and Professional Aspects of Health Care3
ATHTR 814Experiential Learning IV6
ATHTR 815Seminars in Sports Health Care3
ATHTR 816Experiential Learning V6
Inter-Professional Education and Practice Courses
PHS 809Principles of Public Health3
NURS 802Advanced Health Assessment of Adult Populations3
NURS 802AAdvanced Health Assessment of Pediatric Populations1
Electives (optional and not required)
ATHTR 812Elective Clerkship (optional and not required)1-6
Culminating Experience
ATHTR 817Creative Knowledge Translation3
Total Credits77

Students in the MAT degree program are required to complete a capstone project as part of ATHTR 817. The project must demonstrate student aptitude for generating solutions to real-world challenges or problems in clinical, academic or administrative affairs linked to the profession. A final product of the capstone project must be submitted to ScholarSphere.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

ATHTR Course List


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Nancy Williams
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Giampietro Luciano Vairo
Program Contact

Melissa Kay Weaver
(814) 863-0442

Program Website View