Penn State's MAT curriculum is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a versatile health care provider in diverse practice settings. The curriculum promotes evidence-informed decision making, inter-professional collaboration, and cultural competence, which helps students develop attitudes and habits that cultivate career enrichment and lifelong learning.
- Academic Plan
- Students must complete 77 credits through 22 required courses in a prescribed academic plan that takes place over two years. The plan begins in the summer of the first year and concludes in the spring of the second year. A minimum letter grade of C is required in each of the 22 compulsory courses.
- Additional credits may be earned with optional coursework as part of ATHTR 812. These electives are structured to provide experiences that enrich and expand knowledge to help prepare students for choosing and succeeding in the professional practice setting or advanced training program of their choice. Experiences may be modeled to gain additional practical opportunities beyond the minimum requirements. Obtaining skills through teaching and/or research settings are also available to become a clinician-educator or clinician-scientist.
- In addition to athletic training courses, students frequent offerings in the College of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and College of Nursing. These inter-professional education occasions provide opportunities to interact with programs and activities based at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and its University Park Regional Campus.
- Students complete the first year through the summer session of the second year at University Park campus. In-person learning is predominant in this period with limited instances of remote and mixed-mode formats.
- Flexibility to frequent courses at University Park campus or elsewhere, via mixed-mode and remote learning, is a feature of the fall and spring semesters in the second year. This provides students the prospect of pursuing immersive clerkships associated with ATHTR 814 and ATHTR 816 at locations other than University Park campus.
- Clinical education progresses over the span of two academic years and through 19 credits linked to experiential learning courses (ATHTR 805, 809, 811, 814, and 816). In these experiences, students must complete a minimum of 1,395 clinical education hours.
- The Clinical Clerkship Phase begins in Fall Semester of Year 1 and continues through Summer Session of Year 2. Prior to this phase, the Clinical Education Coordinator (CEC) and student will collaborate to develop a personalized experiential learning trajectory based on the Penn State Values, program resources, and accreditation standards. The CEC will assume chief responsibility for assigning students to sites during this phase. Experiential learning takes place in various athletic training settings in Fall and Spring Semesters (15 weeks each) of Year 1. In Summer Session (six weeks) of Year 2, experiential learning occurs in diverse family & community medicine and health & wellness settings. The primary aim of this phase is to engage students in the sound application of knowledge acquired across these three periods of the academic calendar through authentic skills-based patient/client encounters. Students are assigned to on- or off-campus (affiliated) placement sites. Off-campus sites are limited to the State College and immediate surrounding area, which require travel that is typically limited to approximately a 30-minute commute or less in each direction.
- The Immersive Clerkship Phase and Discovery & Transition to Practice Phase occur in the respective Fall and Spring Semesters (15 weeks each) of Year 2. With reference to their personalized trajectory and experiences accumulated in the preceding periods, the student assumes chief responsibility for securing clerkships in these phases. The CEC will offer the student guidance and provide administrative support in this process. Throughout these phases, experiential learning takes place in various athletic training settings at on- or off-campus placement sites. Students electing to pursue off-campus sites are not restricted to the State College and immediate surrounding area. Off-campus sites may be global, in accordance with University policy and accreditation standards. Travel requirements associated with off-campus sites depend on location and may include various forms of domestic and/or international transportation (e.g. air, railway, etc.). The primary aim of these phases is to actively engage students in the totality of care provided by athletic trainers through graded autonomy that nurtures critical thinking and confident decision-making for competent clinical practice.
A list of athletic training courses and descriptions is accessible through the Graduate Bulletin.
- Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) Requirements
Students satisfy these through a combination of web-and discussion-based learning experiences. Knowledge on Responsible Conduct of Research and Human Subjects Research is acquired online via the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative Program. Contextualization and application of related skills are emphasized through in-person activities and exchanges in ATHTR 500.
- Culminating Experience
- Under the guidance of faculty, students will engage in a culminating experience through project-based learning that focuses on knowledge translation. The project must demonstrate student aptitude for generating solutions to real-world challenges or problems in clinical, academic, or administrative affairs linked to the profession.
- A project may take various creative forms, and is developed to be personally meaningful. Examples include, but are not limited to, a clinical CASE report, critically-appraised topic, systematic review, meta-analysis, and original research.
- This exercise serves to prepare students for successful transition to practice while satisfying a degree requirement.
- A final product of the capstone project must be submitted to ScholarSphere.
Coursework and Delivery
Students take prescribed courses in core areas of scholarship, which are delivered through in-person, remote, and mixed- modes. To promote authentic inter-professional education, students also enroll in select courses offered by Public Health Sciences in the College of Medicine, and the College of Nursing. Articulation with the Eberly College of Science occurs through the Department of Biology’s human cadaver dissection operations in ATHTR 802. Below is a breakdown of coursework by year. A color-coded curriculum map is also available in PDF.
- Year 1 Curriculum
Year 1 Curriculum
A representation of the first year of courses in the Masters of Athletic Training program.
Location University Park Campus University Park Campus University Park Campus Phase Foundations Clinical Clerkship Clinical Clerkship Course 1 ATHTR 800 - Foundations of Clinical Practice (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 500 - Theory and Application of Evidence-Based Practice (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 806 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Upper Extremity (In-Person Instruction) Course 2 ATHTR 801 - Principles of Acute Care & Emergency Response (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 804 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Lower Extremity (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 807 - Clinical Interventions: General Treatment Strategies (In-Person Instruction) Course 3 ATHTR 802 –Anatomical Basis of Musculoskeletal Injury (In-Person Instruction)
PHS 809 – Principles of Public Health (Remote Instruction)
ATHTR 808 – Therapeutic Interventions: Approaches and Techniques (In-Person Instruction) Course 4 ATHTR 803 - Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Evaluation (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 805 - Experiential Learning I (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 809 - Experiential Learning II (In-Person Instruction) Credits 16 12 15
- Year 2 Curriculum
Year 2 Curriculum
A representation of the second year of courses in the Masters of Athletic Training program.
Location University Park Campus University Park Campus or Elsewhere University Park Campus or Elsewhere Phase Clinical Clerkship Immersive Clinical Clerkship Discovery and Transition to Practice Course 1 ATHTR 810 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Spine and Thoracic Cage (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 501 - Science of Ethics of Human Performance Optimization (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 815 - Seminars in Sports Health Care (In-Person Instruction) Course 2 NURS 802 - Advanced Health Assessment of Adult Populations (Mixed-mode Instruction) ATHTR 813 - Administrative and Professional Aspects of Health Care (In-Person Instruction) ATHTR 816 - Experiential Learning V (In-Person Instruction) Course 3 NURS 802A - Advanced Health Assessment of Pediatric Populations (Mixed-mode Instruction)
ATHTR 814 – Experiential Learning IV (In-Person Instruction)
ATHTR 817 – Creative Knowledge Translation (In-Person Instruction) Course 4 ATHTR 811 – Experiential Learning III (In-Person Instruction) Electives ATHTR 812 - Elective Clerkship ATHTR 812 - Elective Clerkship ATHTR 812 - Elective Clerkship Credits 10 12 12
Core Areas of Scholarship
The curriculum adheres to six core competencies. The following shows which courses satisfy our core competencies.
- Clinical Science
- ATHTR 800 - Foundations of Clinical Practice
- ATHTR 801 - Principles of Acute Care & Emergency Response
- ATHTR 803 - Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Evaluation
- ATHTR 804 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Lower Extremity
- ATHTR 806 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Upper Extremity
- ATHTR 807 - Clinical Interventions: General Treatment Strategies
- ATHTR 808 - Therapeutic Interventions: Approaches and Techniques
- ATHTR 810 - Evaluation and Treatment of the Spine and Thoracic Cage
- NURS 802 - Advanced Health Assessment of Adult Populations
- NURS 802A - Advanced Health Assessment of Pediatric Populations
- Basic Science
- ATHTR 802 - Anatomical Basis of Musculoskeletal Injury
- PHS 908 - Principles of Public Health
- Critical Inquiry
- ATHTR 500 - Theory and Application of Evidence-Based Practice
- ATHTR 501 - Science and Ethics of Human Performance Optimization
- ATHTR 817 - Creative Knowledge Translation
- Clinical Education
- ATHTR 805 - Experiential Learning I
- ATHTR 809 - Experiential Learning II
- ATHTR 811 - Experiential Learning III
- ATHTR 814 - Experiential Learning IV
- ATHTR 816 - Experiential Learning V
- Health Systems Science
- ATHTR 813 - Administrative and Professional Aspects of Health Care
- Professional Development
- ATHTR 812 – Elective Clerkship
- ATHTR 815 - Seminars in Sports Health Care