Best Sports Medicine Schools in the United States

Read about the best sports medicine schools in the United States, through which students can learn how to prevent and treat athletic injuries. See what three of the top schools have to offer in terms of degree options and reputation, and find a list of other universities that provide training in sports medicine.

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School Overview

Sports medicine programs can include undergraduate and graduate studies in occupational and physical therapy or kinesiology, as well as athletic medicine fellowships. The high-ranking programs summarized below may qualify students for careers as athletic trainers, nutritionists or rehabilitative therapists; licensed orthopedic physicians can find specialized training in sports medicine through the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Top U.S. Schools with Sports Medicine Programs

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

In 2011, the University of Southern California (USC) ranked among the top 50 national universities by Washington Monthly. As of 2008, USC's graduate physical therapy and occupational therapy programs ranked first and third respectively, according to U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to master's and doctoral programs in physical and occupational therapy, USC offers a residency program in sports physical therapy. Through the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, aspiring research scientists can earn a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Biokinesiology. Additionally, orthopedic surgeons can receive training through the athletic medicine fellowship. For students just starting out, a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology is also available.

2. University of Virginia in Charlottesville

The University of Virginia ranked among the best public colleges in the nation, as designated by Forbes in 2012. It also placed first on The Princeton Review's list of 'Top 10 Best Value Colleges' for the same year. Students interested in teaching careers can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Education in Kinesiology. The university also offers a Master of Education in Kinesiology with concentrations in athletic training, adapted physical education and exercise physiology. A concentration in sports medicine is available through the doctoral program in kinesiology.

3. University of Pittsburgh

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2008, the University of Pittsburgh's master's and doctoral programs in physical therapy ranked second in the nation. For the same year, the university's master's degree program in occupational therapy ranked ninth among its peers.

The university's Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition offers a Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a concentration in sports medicine. Once enrolled, current athletic trainers can complete graduate assistantships at the university or with local schools. Other programs include a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Science with a concentration in wellness and human performance. This program is geared toward students who would like to use exercise and proper nutrition to help patients prevent chronic disease.

Ten U.S. Schools with Sports Medicine Programs

School Name DistinctionLocation
Arcadia UniversityProvides students with the opportunity to study sports science abroad Glenside, PA
Ohio State University Continuing education opportunities include sports medicine grand rounds and symposiums Columbus, OH
Stanford UniversityStudents and faculty at the Human Performance Laboratory conduct interdisciplinary research and provide care to Stanford's community members and athletes Stanford, CA
University of Delaware Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program can participate in sports and orthopedic clinical internships Newark, DE
University of IowaAthletic training students have access to one of the world's largest university teaching hospitalsIowa City, IA
University of Michigan School of Kinesiology offers programs in movement science, athletic training, physical education and sports management Ann Arbor, MI
University of PittsburghSchool of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences emphasizes research and service for people with disabilities Pittsburgh, PA
University of Southern California Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program complete 43 weeks of clinical experienceLos Angeles, CA
University of Virginia Students have access to the Exercise Physiology Lab and the Exercise and Sports Injury LabCharlottesville, VA
Washington University in St. LouisGraduate physical therapy program ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report in 2008St. Louis, MO
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