Friday, December 3, 2021

UM Offers New Master’s Degree in Athletic Training

University of Mississippi students, student-athletes and trainers work in an Ole Miss athletics training faciltity. The university is launching a new master’s degree in athletic training to help students prepare for careers in the field. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Beginning in June 2021, students who want to pursue a career as a certified athletic trainer can get the Master of Science in Athletic Training they need for the job through the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences. 

The MSAT program is designed to provide students with diverse academic and clinical experiences, including hands-on training with Southeastern Conference athletes in state-of-the-art facilities that will create a well-rounded athletic training professional.

“Our master’s program is a two-year intensive program that will specifically train these individuals in a clinical and a classroom setting, in which they gain all the knowledge needed to become a certified athletic trainer,” said Heather Landry Shirley, UM assistant athletics director of sports medicine. “Athletic training is a field where someone can combine their passion for athletics and sports, as well as their ambition to be a health care provider.”

The two-year, 66-credit-hour program will begin during the second summer session in 2021. Besides coursework, each student will be required to complete five semesters of clinical rotations, including a fully immersive field experience, and an evidence-based capstone experience in which the student will have the option of a research thesis or field service project.

“From the moment they step on campus, these students will start to learn about the profession of athletic training,” said Corbit Franks, UM assistant athletics trainer. “They’ll have hands-on experiences day-to-day, every semester that they’re here.”

The program will provide students with hands-on experiences through partnerships with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, area high schools, professional sports teams, clinics, hospitals and physician’s offices. 

“While [Ole Miss] has a great facility for all of these athletes, I think it’s even better for student trainers like us because I’ve gotten lots of hands-on experience over the past two years, and I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here that will only help build my confidence,” said Parker Hines, a junior exercise science major from Holly Springs, Georgia. “For once, I feel like I’ve actually become an athletic trainer.” 

The MSAT program will prepare graduates to lead their profession through evidence-based practice serving Mississippi and beyond.

“We aim to be one of the best programs in the country,” Franks said. “Getting to work with athletes who may go on to be Olympians, professional soccer players, professional football players or professional baseball players is so valuable for these students. 

“By investing in our students and this program, we can make a difference across the country.”

The university is seeking accreditation for the new program from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The university plans to submit a self-study to begin the accreditation process on July 1, 2022, in conjunction with the inaugural graduating class of 2023. 

For more information about the MSAT program, visit https://sas.olemiss.edu/msat/.


By Meaghan Flores

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