2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    Dec 04, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Athletic Training (M.S.)

Location(s): Brookings Main Campus

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Athletic training students.

Program Coordinator/Contact

Trevor Roiger, Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Health and Consumer Sciences
Wagner Hall 135, Box 2275A

Program Information

The South Dakota State University Master of Science in Athletic Training (AT) program aspires to prepare engaged practitioners and contemporary leaders of athletic training. Through the cultivation of a learning environment implementing innovative and best practice pedagogies, the program exists to challenge students to become reflective, professional, and ethical practitioners dedicated to improving patients’ quality of life. The overall goals of the program are to provide students with knowledge and experiences which improve the depth and breadth of professional competency in athletic training, enhance written and oral communication abilities, and promote an appreciation for the ways research can inform practice, and/or prepare students for advanced study in the field.

The Master of Science in Athletic Training prepares students for entry into clinical practice as licensed athletic trainers. The program is two years in length and includes a blend of coursework and clinical experiences completed under the supervision of preceptors who are appropriately credentialed health care professionals. Clinical experiences will include working with a variety of patients in high schools, colleges/universities, sports medicine clinics, and medical and rehabilitation clinics. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, students will be eligible to challenge the national certifying examination for athletic trainers through the Board of Certification (BOC).

Each year the Master of Science in AT program admits (1) new cohort of students who begin their plan of study during the summer term. Admission to the program is on a competitive basis. For full admission into the athletic training program, students must complete the SDSU Graduate School application as well as a secondary selective admissions application specifically for the AT program.

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure

Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to challenge the national certifying examination for athletic trainers through the Board of Certification. The Master of Science in Athletic Training at South Dakota State University was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) in August, 2008. As a professional degree program, it is not designed for individuals who already have a degree in Athletic Training or are eligible for certification in Athletic Training.

Course Delivery Format

The program consists of lecture, laboratory, and clinical experience learning opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate competence and confidence: Provide confident and competent, patient-centered care that meets the essential and expected practices of Athletic Training practice in order to improve patient-outcomes.
  • Demonstrate ethical behaviors: Recognize and demonstrate behaviors that reflect a commitment to legal, ethical, and professional athletic training practice in a diverse and evolving healthcare environment.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Effectively collaborate within an interdisciplinary team to provide consistent, efficient healthcare that optimizes patient outcomes.
  • Critical thinking: Integrate the best available evidence, clinical expertise, and patient values to provide safe and effective care
  • Prioritize the patient: Demonstrate the ability to prioritize patient safety and improve quality.
  • Communication: Communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error and support decision making using information technology.

Academic Requirements

Students enrolled in the Athletic Training program must pay for a background check before they can be placed at any of the clinical sites. The approximate cost of the background check is $75.00.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Science Option A - Thesis 60 Credit Hours
  Option B - Research/Design Paper 57 Credit Hours

Select one of the following options

Option A - Thesis

Option B - Research/Design Paper

Total Required Credits: 60 (Option A), 57 (Option B)

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: 79-80 Internet-based
TOEFL Essentials: 8.5
IELTS: 6.5
Duolingo: 110

Program Application

Admission into the MSAT program is on a competitive basis. Each year the AT program uses a Primary (Graduate School Application) and Secondary (Program Application) Selective Admission Process to admit (1) new cohort of students who will begin their program of study during the Summer term. The AT program begins reviewing applications on a rolling basis beginning in August of the year preceding the start of the next cohort.  Applications are accepted until April 15th. 

In order to complete all application requirements, students must:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application and submit this to the South Dakota State University Graduate School.
  • Complete the Secondary Selective Admission Process/Program Application and submit application materials through ATCAS (Athletic Training Centralized Application Service) or directly to Dr. Trevor Roiger, Athletic Training program director.  Students wishing to apply directly to the M.S. in Athletic Training Program can do so by contacting Dr. Roiger at trevor.roiger@sdstate.edu and requesting the necessary application forms. When complete, these materials can be submitted directly to:

Dr. Trevor Roiger, AT, ATC
Box 2275A, Wagner 135
School of Health and Consumer Sciences
Brookings, SD  57007

** Pre-Selection to the Athletic Training Program: Students who are of Junior-level standing at SDSU, or sophomores who are enrolled in the early assurance/accelerated track, can apply for pre-selection to the MSAT program by beginning the Secondary Selective Admissions process up to 1 year in advance of their first eligible cohort.  Applying for pre-selection requires completion of a sub-set of the total application requirements for program admission. The program will pre-select up to 12 students into the athletic training program.  If the number of qualified pre-selection applications exceeds 12, the top 12 will be selected based on weighted criteria.  Pre-selection does not guarantee unconditional admission into the MSAT program; only students who have successfully completed ALL application requirements for the Graduate School, and those required of the Secondary Selective Admissions application, will be officially admitted.

Verification and Demonstration of Technical Standards

Students will receive a copy of the program’s technical standards as part of the application process. They will be asked to verify that they have received a copy, understand the concepts and work with the program if accommodations are necessary. Technical standards set the guidelines for the application process and progress in the major by describing the essential skills considered necessary for admitted students to possess in order to complete the responsibilities associated with being an athletic training student and subsequently, a practicing athletic trainer. Technical Standards are requirements of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Technical standards are assessed at the time of application, during progress, and for completion of the program. Skills are described in five areas: cognitive ability/skills, psychomotor skill, affective behaviors, interpersonal skills, and knowledge or/interest in the profession of athletic training. The technical standards also describe policy statements regarding accommodations, standards of English as a second language, and eligibility requirements for the national certifying examination offered by the BOC.

Secondary Selective Admissions Minimum Selection Criteria

The criteria listed below represent additional prerequisite requirements.

  • Completed Health Assessment
  • Verification of Technical Standards
  • Cumulative (or Junior-Senior) GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of the Athletic Training Observation Record
  • Completed program application, letter of interest, two letters of reference and a personal interview
  • Successful completion (C or better) of the following courses or their equivalents.*

Basic and Applied Sciences

  • BIOL 151-151L General Biology I and Lab
    or BIOL 101-101L Biology Survey I and Lab
  • BIOL 221- 221L Human Anatomy and Lab
  • BIOL 325- 325L Physiology and Lab
  • CHEM 112-112L General Chemistry I and Lab
    and CHEM 114-114L General Chemistry II and Lab
    CHEM 106-106 Chemistry Survey and Lab
    and CHEM 108-108L Organic and Biochemistry and Lab
  • EXS 350 Exercise Physiology 
  • EXS 454 Biomechanics 
  • PHYS 101-101L Survey of Physics and Lab
    or PHYS 111-111L Introduction to Physics I and Lab

Social Sciences

  • PSYC 101 General Psychology


  • NUTR 315 Human Nutrition


  • STAT 281 Statistics
    or HSC 445 Epidemiology


  • AT 164 Introduction to Athletic Training
  • EXS 354 Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
  • HSC 443 Public Health Sciences

*Course equivalents will be evaluated through course titles, the SDSU Transfer Credit Evaluator system, or by a manual review of the syllabus from the course(s) in question to ensure the necessary content requirements are met.

Accelerated Master’s Program

The accelerated master’s program will be available to eligible SDSU students. Up to 9 credits of graduate-level coursework in the M.S. in Athletic Training may be used to satisfy requirements for an undergraduate degree. Students must follow SDSU Policy 2:22 Use of Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Financial Aid

Students on the 5-year accelerated track to completion of the M.S. in Athletic Training (3+2 with Exercise Science) are accepted into the professional athletic training program at the end of the third year of their undergraduate degree.  As such, these students are classified as undergraduates during their first 3 years of study, but as graduate students once they have been accepted into and begin coursework in the M.S. in Athletic Training program.  While graduate students qualify for greater amounts of financial aid in the form of unsubsidized loans, they are no longer eligible for Pell Grants or Subsidized Loans.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .