Aspiring sports broadcasters have a few different types of master's degree programs to choose from. A few schools have master's degrees in sports journalism, but it is more common to find the subject offered as a concentration option within a broader master's degree program in journalism. Some journalism programs also offer relevant specializations in broadcast news or sports communications. Students in these two-year programs take foundational courses in journalism alongside sports-specific electives.
The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree; some programs also require applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Although most programs don't limit admissions to students with particular undergraduate majors, applicants are expected to have strong writing and communications skills. Some programs give them the opportunity to demonstrate these skills by submitting a portfolio of previous sports broadcasting-related work, such as newspaper articles or video clips. In addition, prospective students must submit GRE scores.
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Master's Degree in Sports Journalism
Graduate students who enroll in a master's degree program in sports journalism or choose it as a concentration within a general journalism program receive a comprehensive overview of the sports media industry. In addition to lecture-based coursework, students may be required to complete a hands-on internship or capstone field experience before they graduate. This often involves covering local sports teams and athletes through print media, radio or television, depending on the student's area of interest. Many programs also bring in guest speakers such as radio announcers, sports writers and communications directors, who can offer insight into what it's like to work in the industry. Over the course of the program, students may take courses in some of the following subjects:
- Broadcast journalism
- Multimedia sports reporting
- Investigative reporting
- Presenting and producing radio sports
- Presenting and producing television sports
- Sports writing
- Sports literature
- Broadcast commentary
- Sports communications entrepreneurship
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, competition for employment in the broadcasting field is expected to be intense. Employment opportunities for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts are expected to decline by 9% from 2014 to 2024. The median annual salary for professionals in this field was $37,720 as of May 2015. For announcers, job decline is expected to be 11% from 2014 to 2024. The median annual salary for this group was $30,080 as of May 2015.
After earning a master's degree, graduates who want to continue their education can enroll in a Ph.D. in Journalism or Mass Communication. These programs include advanced courses in the field and require students to conduct independent research on a particular topic of interest under the direction of an experienced faculty member. To earn this degree, students must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations, and they must write and defend a dissertation based on their research. Graduates typically seek academic research positions at colleges and universities.
Aspiring sports broadcasters can enroll in a master's degree program in sports journalism or choose to concentrate their journalism studies on sports communication. These advanced programs can help students build the skills they need for success in this highly competitive field, and they can provide an educational foundation for doctoral-level research programs.