Dr Maria Kavussanu was born in Crete, Greece, where she lived until the age of 18. She studied Physical Education and Sport Science at the University of Athens, Greece. Maria continued her studies abroad after receiving a fellowship from the Greek National State Scholarships Foundation. She obtained a MSc. in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a PhD student, she received the student research award from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, in 1995 and 1996.
Maria worked as a lecturer at Illinois State University and then at Loughborough University prior to her appointment at the University of Birmingham in 2002. As a young lecturer, Maria received a young investigator's award award from the European College of Sports Science.
Maria is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where she teaches Psychological Foundations of Sport and Exercise. Maria had numerous administrative roles within the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, including Year 3 and Year 2 tutor, Year 3 project organiser, Welfare and Careers officer, and member of the Graduate Research, Teaching, and Ethics Committees.