Master of Science in Athletic Training

Program Director
Christopher Schmidt, Ph.D., ATC
(626) 815-6000, Ext. 5194

The Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) is an intense, demanding, and rewarding program of study. The MSAT is a full-time residency program that prepares students for successful completion of the national Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) examination and for careers in athletic training. Multiple clinical experiences provide students with practical learning designed to strengthen both professional preparation and career placement. A Christian worldview is woven throughout both the academic and clinical portions of the program, giving students a Christ-centered perspective of this service profession.

The MSAT is a 63-unit program including 2 6-week summer terms and 4 traditional 15-week semesters. The program is composed of two major sections, academic and clinical, both of which are vital to the successful completion of the program. Through the completion of academic coursework and clinical experiences, students learn to be unique members of the health care team. As a result of the knowledge gained in the classroom and through clinical education experiences, students learn how to provide immediate and follow-up care to patients while under the direct supervision of a preceptor. Students observe, learn from, interact with, and are supervised by a variety of health care personnel and members of the public, which may include physicians, nurses, physical therapists, patients, athletes, coaches, and parents. 

Students enrolled in this program complete coursework in the areas of acute care and emergency management of injuries, orthopedic assessment, therapeutic modalities and exercise, biomechanics, pharmacology and medical conditions, strength and conditioning, health care administration, psychological and spiritual aspects of injury and illness, and research methodology. The program is designed to be completed in two years, which includes two summers and four semesters of professional coursework and clinical experiences.

The requirements of the program are consistent with the standards established by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Students who apply to the program will have successfully completed prerequisite courses and other admissions requirements prior to enrolling. Following the completion of the program, and pending the continuing CAATE accreditation of the professional program and approval by CAATE of the substantive change to a postbaccalaureate degree, students may be eligible to sit for the BOC examination to become a certified athletic trainer.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) is to fully equip athletic training students with a quality education that includes a Christian perspective to become lifelong learners. The two-year educational program incorporates current research and scholarly instruction in both the clinical and didactic portions of the program, preparing athletic training students to enter the profession as entry-level athletic trainers upon successfully passing the BOC certification examination.

Admission Requirements

University graduate and program admission requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Graduate Admission to the University):

  1. A completed graduate application form and submission of a nonrefundable $45 application fee.
  2. The applicant must have an officially posted bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university by the time he or she matriculates to APU. This is verified through an official transcript from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s baccalaureate degree. (To be considered official, a transcript must be sent directly from the Office of the Registrar of the school attended to the Graduate and Professional Center: Admissions at Azusa Pacific University. Students’ sealed copies will not be considered official.)
  3. A cumulative baccalaureate degree GPA of 3.0. An applicant with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered on a conditional basis.
  4. Prerequisite courses (see following list) must be similar in value to courses offered by an accredited four-year college or university. Courses can be taken at any regionally accredited college or university. Grades of C or better are required. Courses that must have laboratories are indicated in the following list. No prerequisite coursework may be taken on a pass/no pass basis. Online science courses that are hybrid courses with online lectures and in-person labs may be acceptable. All prerequisite coursework more than seven years old is not accepted.
  5. A writing sample demonstrating knowledge and interest in the field of athletic training as evidenced by the following:
    1. A written essay (double-spaced, typed, 3–5 pages maximum, 12-point font) that provides:
      1. A detailed description of the profession of athletic training.
      2. A chronological description of the history of the profession of athletic training and key leaders of the profession.
      3. An explanation of the roles and responsibilities of a Certified Athletic Trainer (AT).
      4. Essay must use APA style, including a list of references to cite any references used.
    2. A professional cover letter (double-spaced, typed, 2 pages maximum, 12-point font) detailing:
      1. Why the applicant is motivated to become a Certified Athletic Trainer (AT).
      2. A description of the applicant's personal and professional strengths/characteristics.
      3. A description of the area(s) that present(s) the greatest challenge to the applicant.
      4. A discussion of any circumstances or situations that may affect the applicant's ability to complete the program (especially clinical experiences).
  6. Three recommendation letters from persons well-suited to evaluate the applicant's qualifications for graduate study. These may be provided by professionals in athletic training or a related health care profession or by faculty familiar with academic work in athletic training or areas closely related to athletic training.
  7. At least one MSAT faculty member will contact applicants who meet the minimum requirements for a phone interview.

Once admitted into the program, the following items are required:

  1. A nonrefundable deposit. A $500 deposit for the program is due within 21 days of receipt of the acceptance letter. This will be applied to the first term’s tuition fee.
  2. Documentation of the following up-to-date immunizations: HBV series, MMR, Tdap, chicken pox, and meningococcal. 
  3. Verification of a recent (within the last 12 months) negative TB test and documentation of the ability to meet technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.
  4. Copies (front and back) of current, valid certification cards for CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid.
  5. A signed copy of the MSAT Oath of Confidentiality regarding all medical information.
  6. A signed copy of the MSAT Communicable Disease Policy.

Prerequisite Courses and Certifications

The following prerequisites and certifications must be completed before entry:

ACUTE CARE AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Two required certifications
Current and valid CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid certifications (see Board of Certification at for a list of acceptable providers).
BIOLOGY: Two required courses
Human Anatomy with lab (one semester)
Human Physiology with lab (one semester)
PSYCHOLOGY: One required course
General Psychology (one semester)
Exercise Physiology with lab (one semester)
Health/Wellness (one semester)
ADDITIONAL COURSES: (recommended, but not required)
General Physics
Research Methods

Other Admission Criteria

  • The program operates on a rolling admission basis, and applications are accepted year-round. However, to ensure consideration for the July start date, completed applications should be submitted early in the admission cycle. 
  • No more than 20 percent (13 units) of the total amount of units for this program may be transferred in from a comparable graduate program. Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • International students have a separate application procedure. Contact the International Center at +1-626-812-3055 or

If applicable, any additional materials should be submitted to:

Graduate and Professional Center: Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

Located at:
Azusa Pacific University
568 E. Foothill Blvd.
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 815-4570
Fax: (626) 815-4545

International applicants send additional forms to:

International Center
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000 USA
Fax: +1-626-815-3801

In addition to meeting the admission requirements, students whose first language is not English must meet the required English proficiency standard as demonstrated by passing the following minimum international iBT (Internet-based TOEFL) scores:

Reading: 25
Speaking: 25
Writing: 25
Listening: 25

All international students must complete international student applications, which must be approved through APU’s Office of International Enrollment Services.

Course Requirements

Year 1, Summer (6 weeks)
AT 511Foundations of Athletic Training5
AT 515Anatomical Basis of Athletic Training4
Year 1, Fall (15 weeks)
AT 521Orthopedic Assessment and Diagnosis I3
AT 523Therapeutic Modalities3
AT 525Research Methods I3
AT 527Clinical Integration I2
Year 1, Spring (15 weeks)
AT 532Orthopedic Assessment and Diagnosis II3
AT 534Biomechanics3
AT 536Research Methods II3
AT 538Clinical Integration II2
Year 2, Summer (6 weeks)
AT 541Nutrition for Active People2
AT 543Strength and Conditioning3
AT 545Topics in Athletic Training3
AT 547Clinical Integration III2
AT 549Applied Research I1
Year 2, Fall (15 weeks)
AT 551Medical Conditions and Pharmacology3
AT 553Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Injury and Illness3
AT 555Therapeutic Exercise3
AT 557Clinical Integration IV2
AT 559Applied Research II1
Year 2, Spring (15 weeks)
AT 562Health Care Administration3
AT 564Seminar in Athletic Training1
AT 568Clinical Integration V2
AT 569Thesis3
Total Units63

Clinical Education

Clinical education experiences provide the student with the opportunity to practice and integrate their cognitive learning, with the associated psychomotor skill requirements of the profession, to develop entry-level clinical proficiency and professional behavior required of an athletic trainer as defined by the Athletic Training Education Competencies (5th edition, NATA, 2011). These clinical experiences are completed under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor in an appropriate clinical setting. The primary settings for clinical experiences include different athletic training and allied health care facilities, athletic practices, and competitive events. Ample opportunities are provided for the student to gain clinical experience associated with a variety of different populations including both genders, diverse age groups, varying levels of risk, protective equipment, and medical experiences that address the continuum of care that would prepare a student to function in a variety of settings and meet the domains of practice delineated for a certified athletic trainer.

Clinical experiences are accomplished through several clinical rotation assignments that expose the student to a variety of athletic training settings, sports, and patient populations. Clinical rotations include a diversity of professional settings such as on-campus varsity athletics, high schools, colleges, professional sports, physician offices, and rehabilitative clinics. Students complete multiple rotations purposefully scheduled to complement coursework, introduce students to several types of employment settings, and provide perspectives from multiple professionals.

As required by CAATE, specific policies governing minimum and maximum clinical hours requirements have been established. Students are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours per semester in each Clinical Integration course and achieve a minimum of 1,000 hours total of clinical experience for graduation.

Graduation Requirements 

Graduation requirements include successfully completing all coursework with at least a 3.0 GPA and a B or better in all classes. See Grading and Academic Probation and Dismissal in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

Additional graduation requirements include:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical experience
  2. Completion of all Clinical Integration Proficiencies
  3. Completion of all required professional education credits (attendance and participation in regional and national athletic training conferences, in-services, community service events)



Cynthia McKnight, Ph.D., ATC

Associate Professor

Christopher Schmidt, Ph.D., ATC

Assistant Professor

Christy Hancock, M.S., ATC

Jennifer Livingston, Ph.D., ATC