Sports Management Graduate Degree Programs in United States
What Is a Sports Management Masters Program?
A masters degree in sports management address' the concepts, theories, and best practices of business. Then then applies them to the sports industry.
Some sports management courses touch on topics such as leadership and adapting to the fast pace of the sports environment. They also cover sports administration topics including talent acquisition, athlete representation and coaching. Other courses will be broader and covering topics like sports marketing and media.
With growth projected in the sports industry, now is the perfect time to pursue a masters degree in sports management. We will walk you through this and other aspects of the industry. As well as explain what to expect to learn while pursuing your degree.
What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With a Masters in Sports Management?
There are two main reasons to pursue a degree in sports management, both related to each other. The first is salary potential. The second is job opportunity. In order for either to exist, you should first determine if the larger industry is growing. In the case of spectator sports, it is. In 2016, the North American Sports Industry had a reported value of about $67.29 BILLION dollars. If you are not impressed by that number, the 2021 predicted figure is $78.53 Billion. As revenues grow, it's likely that so will opportunities within the industry. Let's take a closer look.
Sports Management Jobs
Sport management is the business of sports and recreation. This includes managing the front office of a sports team, overseeing the finances of an athletic organization or supporting sports marketing, event management and facility management.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management jobs within Spectator Sports have among the highest median salary as well as most employment opportunities [when looking at the two data points together].
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$160,100||60|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$130,720||210|
|Human Resources Managers||$113,270||170|
Taking a closer look at top cities and states with the highest level of employment for coaches and scouts, a specific job within the sports industry, it is no surprise that most openings are predicted in states near a major or minor league sports team or collegiate system. It is also likely that opportunities for other jobs in the sports sector such as operations managers will also be in these same areas.
Top States for Employment: Coaches & Scouts
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Amarillo, TX||$53,840||Not Reported|
Keep in mind, professional sports organizations are not your only opportunity. The industries with the highest concentration of employment for coaches and scouts are:
- "Other" Schools & Instruction
- Spectator Sports
- Other Amusement and Recreation Industries
- Civic and Social Organizations
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
Popular Sports Management Graduate Programs in United States
Sports management degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (20011/12), across the U.S, there were 3,035 sports management degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (99.3%!) of these programs were at the masters level.
|Master of Science in Sport Leadership and Coaching||Western New England University||MS|
What's the Difference Between Sports Management & Sports Administration?
Sports management and sports administration may be used interchangeably because they both cover the business-side of sports, as well as the development of talent. However, there are a few slight differences.
Sports management graduate programs aim to focus more on the business aspects of sports organizations. These may include marketing, public relations, finance, and facilities management.
While sports administration programs typically emphasize developing and managing talent. Think team managers, coaches and agents. Topics could include making roster moves, signing new talent, and representing athletes.
There are also some sports management and sports administration programs that combine these two aspects of the sports industry. Keep in mind that each school is different. You should check with a few options to find one that aligns with your goals.
Sports Management Masters Degree Guide
|Sponsored Degree Example: M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Sports Business||Sponsored Degree Example: Master of Sports Administration||Sponsored Degree Example: Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management|
|Length of Program: 54 credits||Length of Program: 36 Credits||Length of Program: 30 Credits|
|The MBA will focus on a strong business background with foundations in sales and marketing, finance, revenue generation, analytics, accounting and management||The MA covers aspects relative to the administration and management of sports personnel and facilities, recreation and fitness programs and businesses, health facilities, coaching, and recreational activities||Master of Professional Studies degrees combine administration and management aspects. They may emphasize case studies and internships or field experience.|
|Concentrations focus on trends in sports business. Sample courses:||Sample Courses:||Sample Courses:|
|Program Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) & Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)||Program Accreditation: This sample program does not hold a programmatic accreditation.||Program Accreditation: Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA)|
If you are looking to work specifically in Elementary or Secondary school systems, you may want to consider an MEd, or Master of Education. These MEd's focus on sports administration with in school systems.
If you are interested in working as a researcher or impact the sports industry on a broader level, a PhD in sports management is the degree you should consider. Doctorate programs focus on developing research, writing, and critical analysis skills so that you may be able to contribute new knowledge to the sports management field. Courses might examine approaches and rationales behind modern issues
What Type of Sports Management Courses Would I Take?
As previously mentioned, courses for a program will depend on which type of degree you choose to pursue (MBA vs MSA vs MPS). A few of the common course themes are centered on leadership, ethics & finance. Exploring these areas a bit more deeply, sample course descriptions would include.
Management & Leadership in Sport Organizations
This type of course would cover the critical function of leadership in the management of sport organizations. Building from the academic foundations of industrial psychology, organizational behavior, and organizational theory, we consider the degree to which leadership is of strategic import to organizational operations.
Applied Ethics in Sports
This type of course would cover a broad understanding of the moral and ethical issues in sports with a special focus on the responsibility of governing bodies and decision-makers in sport including: faculty, coaches, athletic directors, presidents, professional league commissioners, heads of professional league player associations and owners.
Financial Administration in Sports
This type of course would provide an understanding of different financial decisions that confront the sports industry. In addition to basic accounting skills, the course will explore financial statement analysis, working capital, and budgeting.
Accreditation's Specific to Sports Management Graduate Programs
Aside from making sure any school you choose is regionally accredited by one of the six regional associations, there are also program specific accreditations you may want to consider. The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) is one such accreditation. COSMA is a specialized accrediting body whose purpose is to promote and recognize excellence in sport management education. Other accreditations to consider would include:
If the program you are considering is an MBA in Sports Administration, look out for an accreditation from one of these two organizations:
- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) business administration and accounting degree programs.
- The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP is similar to the AACSB but accredits degrees worldwide.
If the program you are considering is an MEd or MBA, MS or MA with an education component, look for an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
How Many Years or Months Will It Take To Earn A Masters in Sports Management?
Masters in Sports Administration programs are typically completed in about two years, or 24 months. The specifics though will depend on the circumstances in your schedule as well as how often the school offers classes.
A PhD Sports Management degree typically takes 3 to 5 years to complete. The largest factor here is the time it takes to complete the dissertation PhD candidates are asked to complete.
Online Sports Management Masters Programs That Could Be Completed In 15 Months or Less
|University||# Of Credits Required||Start Dates||Minimum Months to Complete|
|University of Northern Colorado||30||Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer||12 months|
|Lasell University||36||6 Starts Through the Year||12 months|
|Northcentral University||30||Weekly Course Starts||15 months|
How Much Does a Graduate Degree In Sports Administration Cost?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree in sports management from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Sport & Fitness Management graduates as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
What are the Costs Per Credit for a Masters in Sports Administration?
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.
|University||# Of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Total Tuition Cost|
|University of Northern Colorado||30||$565||$16,950|
|Grand Canyon University||54||$575||$31,050|
We asked Senior Account Executive, Tamarah Strauss about how earning a sports management masters degree can kick start your career in a variety of industries:
My master’s degree definitely exposed me to a number of important subjects in the industry, especially new and evolving topics such as technology and social media. The great thing about getting a sport management degree is that you become more aware of the different sectors in the sports world – from marketing and PR to finance and law – sport is everywhere and consumed by all types of people in a variety of ways
Top 30 Graduate Schools with Masters in Sports Management Programs in United States
- Choose from an MBA in Sport Management, MBA in Athletic Administration or MS in Sport Management
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Education - Sport and Athletic Management Education Specialist - Sport and Athletic Management Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Sport and Athletic Management Master of Education - Athletic Coaching Master of Education - Sport and Athletic Management
Winthrop UniversityMaster of Business Administration – Sports Marketing & Revenue Generation
Southern New Hampshire UniversityMBA w/conc in Sport Management MS Sport Management
North Central CollegeMaster of Arts in Sports Leadership
Grand Canyon UniversityM.B.A. with an Emphasis in Sports Business
University of the SouthwestMBA - Sports Management and Recreation
Lasell UniversityMaster of Science in Sport Management: Parks and Recreation Master of Science in Sport Management: Sport Tourism & Hospitality Management Master of Science in Sport Management: Sport Leadership Master of Science in Sport Management: Athletic Administration
Liberty University OnlineMaster of Science: Sport Management: Outdoor Adventure Sport (Thesis) Master of Science: Sport Management: Sport Administration (Non-Thesis) Master of Science: Sport Management: Outdoor Adventure Sport (Non-Thesis) Master of Science: Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media Master of Science: Sport Management: Sport Administration (Thesis) Master of Science: Sport Management: Tourism (Non-Thesis) Master of Science: Sport Management: Tourism (Thesis) Master of Science: Sport Management (Non-Thesis)
Concordia University ChicagoMBA, Sports Management Specialization
Western New England UniversityMaster of Science in Sport Leadership and Coaching
Georgetown UniversityMaster of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
Sacred Heart UniversityMaster of Arts in Sports Communication and Media
Jacksonville State UniversitySport Mangement
Florida Atlantic UniversityMBA in Sport Management
Lynn UniversityMaster of Business Administration in Sports and Athletics Administration