Program Information


Thank you for your interest in Grand Valley State University's Master of Athletic Training (MAT) degree offered through the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training. The MAT is a graduate two-year degree that provides students with a theoretical and conceptual foundation combined with extensive hands-on clinical experience for professional preparation structured around a cohort model. Qualified GVSU undergraduates may choose an accelerated Bachelor/Master program, obtaining a combined degree in Exercise Science (BS) through the Department of Movement Science and Athletic Training (MAT) through the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training. The athletic training program is designed to engage students in collaborative assignments and projects, common intellectual experiences, a diverse learning environment, and community-based learning; in direct alignment with the University's core value of integrating liberal learning with professional development. Students will be required to complete collaborative projects within the curriculum and have an opportunity to experience becoming producers of research through their graduate project.

Courses Offered

The MAT is a graduate degree program with a combined degree option that includes coursework in the following areas:

  • Injury assessment
  • Prehospital/Emergency care
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Psychosocial Intervention and Referral
  • General Medical Conditions
  • Pharmacology
  • Advanced Techniques
  • Professional Topics
  • Methods of Evidence Based Practice
  • Interprofessional Practice
  • Statistics
  • Project

See a list of suggested coursework for the Athletic Training program.


The GVSU Master of Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The program is active and in Good Standing.


Doug "Doc" Woods was a native of Ottawa, OH, received a Bachelors of Science from the University of Toledo. There he started his career in athletic training going from a student assistant to Assistant Athletic Trainer.  He then went on to receive his Masters of Education at GVSU. In 1976, Doug "Doc" Woods became the Head Athletic Trainer for Grand Valley State University and held the position for 22 years. During that time in the '70s, Doc was ahead of the times, putting the first college in Michigan to have women athletic trainers work with the GVSU football team (with permission and help from President Arend D. Lubbers and Athletic Director George MacDonald). In 1978, Doc was not only busy treating athletes, but he established what is now one of the most successful Athletic Training Programs in the country. In 1996, Doc and some students created the Doug and Linda Woods Excellence in Athletic training Scholarship.  By 1998, Doc had decided to step down from being the Head Athletic Trainer (That year Todd Jager was hired who lost his battle to cancer in 2007. Mark Stoessner is the current Head Athletic Trainer for GVSU Athletics Department).  After stepping down as the Head Athletic Trainer, Doc continued teaching for the Movement Science Department as well as started coaching the Lakers Softball team in 1991. In 1999, Doc decided to step down from program director but continue teaching within the Athletic Training Program and continue to be the Head Softball Coach.  Within that year Dr. Shari Bartz-Smith was hired for the position. Doc was inducted into the MATS Hall of Fame in 2008 for his dedication and passion for the field of Athletic Training. He retired from coaching in 2014 after 24 years and 888 wins. After 40 years of service to both GVSU and the Athletic Training Program, Doug Woods retired from teaching in April 2016. On May 20, 2015, the Commissioners of the CAATE (Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education) and the Board of Directors of the NATA (National Athletic Trainers' Association), with the support of the BOC (Board of Certification) and the NATA Foundation, have acted to establish the professional degree in athletic training at the master’s level. On April 27th, 2018, Dr. Shari Bartz-Smith made the announcement that the GVSU Board of Trustees gave final approval for the Athletic Training, Masters of Athletic Training (MAT) program.  In August of 2019, the GVSU Athletic Training Program accepted its first MAT graduate cohort. On July 1, 2021 the GVSU Athletic Training Program left the Department of Movement Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Science and moved to the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training in the College of Health Professions. 

Doug Woods - Rehab Room

One of the Early Classes

Doc Woods

Doug "Doc" Woods - 1982

Doc 2015

Doug Woods 2015

First-Rate Faculty

Excellent academic credentials, unparalleled dedication, and active engagement in their scholarship and disciplines make for energized, accessible, and responsive faculty members.

Faculty Members

Shari Bartz-SmithProgram Director

Meghan Fox, Inter-professional Education Liaison 

Brian Hatzel, Internship Coordinator

Eliza MacDonald, Admissions Coordinator

Tonya Parker, Clinical Coordinator

Athletic Training Faculty

Athletic Training Faculty


  • Personal attention by faculty in all courses and labs in our student-oriented, teaching-focused program.
  • Tremendous support from our local community allows extensive hands-on service learning opportunities in diverse clinical settings.
  • Opportunity to engage in research and scholarly activities with GVSU faculty.
  • High pass-rate on the Board of Certification Exam. Currently 92% over the past 3 years.
  • One hundred percent placement rate into work or graduate school.
  • The employment rate for Athletic Trainers is expected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030.
  • The Grand Valley State University Athletic Training Program is a CAATE accredited program that is Active in Good Standing

Career Options

Certified athletic trainers can be found almost anywhere people are physically active. Examples of employment settings include:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Secondary schools
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Industrial and commercial
  • Performing arts
  • Professional sports
  • The military

Related Programs

For other related fields please visit

Movement Science Department

Allied Health Science Department 

Tuition Costs

For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll.

Estimated Program Costs

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Tuition costs = Please go to Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
  • Students will be responsible for the costs associated with required immunizations managed through Viewpoint Screening [$25 one-time fee]
  • Physical Exam ($49), Blood Titers ($40), and Tuberculosis Testing ($15/test) the total estimated costs will be $120 (if completed at GVSU Family Health Center). Prices will vary at other healthcare facilities and are dependent on required immunizations.
  • Annual TB Test = $15/test (if completed at GVSU Family Health Center)
  • Background checks = $35
  • Drug screenings = $45
  • Basic Life Support (CPR/AED) and First Aid Certification = $34
  • CPR breathing barrier mask = $13 (at the GVSU Laker Store)
  • Travel to and from clinical/immersive experience (varies based on assignment)
  • Grand Valley Athletic Training Polo = $33
  • Student membership to ATrack = $45 annually or $90 for a lifetime.
  • All textbooks and supplemental materials are required for each course.
  • Additional costs may be associated depending on clinical/immersive experience location.

All costs listed above are estimated as of August 2023.

Page last modified September 10, 2023