Doctorate in Sports Management: PhD Program Information

The highest degree in the field of sports management is a Ph.D. Get more information about doctoral programs in this field, including common coursework, graduation requirements, and career options.

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Essential Information

In Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sport Management programs, students learn about sports from a business perspective, including how sports are marketed and how to effectively run a sports organization. Students also receive training in the analytical and research methods required for a career in academia. The business aspects of sports management programs provide managerial development appropriate for those who want to pursue high-level roles within professional sports teams, university athletic departments, or other athletic organizations. Prior to graduation, students must submit a dissertation.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree, though one in sport management is generally not required. However, applicants without prior coursework in the field may be required to take several prerequisites prior to beginning the doctoral program. Previous professional experience in sports management is considered helpful but rarely required for admission.


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Doctor of Philosophy in Sport Management

Sports management is an interdisciplinary field, with coursework drawing upon kinesiology, economics, and business law. Coursework in a sports management doctoral program is primarily lecture-based, with students delving into independent research and thesis-writing in their final years of study. Common courses include:

  • Sports law
  • Sports organization finance
  • Sports management human resources
  • Sports marketing
  • Organizational behavior in sports

Popular Career Options

Although a Ph.D. is commonly pursued by individuals interested in postsecondary teaching, graduates with a sports management doctorate are also qualified for a variety of careers in sports organizations, such as:

  • Community relations director
  • Team general manager
  • Financial director
  • Sales director
  • Event marketing manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sales managers in general should see job growth of 5%, as fast as average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $113,860 for sales managers as of May 2015. Marketing managers can expect job growth of 9% from 2014-2024, and as of May 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $128,750.

Continuing Education Information

A Ph.D. is the terminal degree in the field of sports management. Some graduates pursue further education to complement the degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a more specialized degree. Certification is generally not required for a career in sports management.

By earning a Ph.D. in sports management, students develop the research skills and executive expertise they need for academic careers or high-level industry positions.

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