Texas Tech Educational Psychology: A Focus on Sport Psychology

Texas Tech’s Educational Psychology program takes a focus on Sport Psychology. Learn more about this field of study and how it can help you improve your performance.

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The Department of Educational Psychology at Texas Tech University is one of the few departments in the United States with a focus on sport psychology. The department offers a Ph.D. in educational psychology with a focus on sport psychology, as well as a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in educational psychology with a focus on sport psychology. The department’s faculty are experts in the field of sport psychology and their research is internationally recognized.

What is Educational Psychology?

Educational psychology is the scientific study of how people learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. While educational psychology is concerned with all forms of learning, it is particularly concerned with the psychological processes involved in numeric understanding, reading literacy, and learning to learn throughout life.

What is Sport Psychology?

Sport psychology is the scientific study of human behavior in sport and exercise settings. The goals of sport psychologists are to understand how psychological factors influence participation and performance in sport, and to use this knowledge to improve athletes’ well-being and enhance their performance.

During a typical session, a sport psychologist will work with an athlete on goal setting, relaxation techniques, and mental skills training. The mental skills that can be trained include imagery, self-talk, concentration, and emotional control. In addition to working with athletes, sport psychologists also work with coaches to help them develop strategies for dealing with the mental challenges associated with coaching.

The History of Educational Psychology at Texas Tech

Educational Psychology has been a part of the curriculum at Texas Tech University since its founding in 1923. The department has undergone several name changes and relocations over the years, but has always maintained a focus on the psychological development of children and adolescents. The department currently offers a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology, a Master of Education in Educational Psychology, and a PhD in Educational Psychology.

The Early Years

The early years of educational psychology at Texas Tech were marked by a focus on sport psychology. The first faculty member in the department, Dr. John Hines, was hired in 1967 to direct the graduate program in physical education with an emphasis in sport psychology. In addition to his duties as a faculty member, Hines also served as the Director of Athletics from 1967-1969. Under Hines’ direction, the graduate program in physical education began offering courses in sport psychology, which laid the foundation for the development of a more formal sport psychology program at Texas Tech.

In 1972, Dr. Ronald E. Smith was hired as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology. Smith had received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and had done postdoctoral work in clinical child psychology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Smith’s arrival signaled a shift in the focus of the department from physical education to educational psychology.

The Growth of the Program

Texas Tech’s educational psychology program began in the early 1970s with just a handful of faculty members. Over the years, the program has grown steadily, and today it includes more than 20 full-time faculty members, as well as a number of part-time instructors. The program offers a wide range of courses, from general psychology to more specialized classes in areas such as sport psychology and counseling. In addition to its teaching mission, the educational psychology program at Texas Tech is also engaged in a variety of cutting-edge research projects.

The Educational Psychology Program Today

Educational Psychology has a long and successful history at Texas Tech University. The program has been continually accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1968 and is currently ranked as one of the top 50 Educational Psychology programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The Curriculum

The curriculum in educational psychology focuses on three aspects of the field: research methods, psychological foundations, and applications. Students learn how to design research studies, understand psychological theories, and apply psychological principles to real-world settings. The educational psychology program offers a wide range of courses that cover these three aspects of the field.

In addition to taking courses in educational psychology, students also have the opportunity to take courses in related fields such as sport psychology, child development, and human resource development. These courses provide students with a well-rounded education in the field of educational psychology.

The Faculty

Comprising of four full-time and two part-time faculty, the educational psychology program is fortunate to have instructors with a wealth of knowledge and experience in a variety of specialty areas. Our faculty maintain active research agendas and publish their work regularly in scholarly journals. They are also skilled at working with graduate students, as evidenced by the numerous awards they have received for excellence in teaching and mentorship. In addition, they are actively involved in service to the university, their profession, and the community.

Sport Psychology at Texas Tech

Dr. G. Scott Acton, Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas Tech University, initiated a focus on Sport Psychology within the department in Fall 2006. The hire of Dr. Bradley W. Smith that same semester completed the cluster of faculty with interests and expertise in Sport Psychology.

The Sport Psychology Program

The Sport Psychology Program at Texas Tech is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in the field of sport psychology. The program provides students with an opportunity to learn about the psychological factors that influence athletic performance and the psychological strategies that can be used to improve athletic performance. The program also provides students with an opportunity to gain experience working with athletes and coaches in a variety of settings.

The Faculty

The faculty at Texas Tech Educational Psychology: A Focus on Sport Psychology are all committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service. Our faculty includes experts in the areas of educational psychology, human development, sport and exercise psychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology. We offer a wide range of courses that cover the major theories and methods of psychological inquiry with an emphasis on their applications to educational and psychological problems in sport and exercise settings.


Overall, the educational psychology emphasis within the sport and exercise science department at Texas Tech University provides students with a well-rounded education that will prepare them for a variety of careers in the field of sport psychology. The curriculum is designed to give students a solid foundation in psychological theory and research methods, as well as provide them with opportunities to apply what they have learned in real-world settings. In addition, the faculty members who teach within this emphasis are highly experienced and respected within their field, which ensures that students are receiving quality instruction.

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