Offered as a focus in master's and doctorate degree programs, sport management combines the study of business and athletics, including coursework in sports ethics, finance and law. The most common distance learning sport management graduate degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) An online M.A. program in sports management usually takes two years to finish, while a Ph.D. program takes a year longer. Depending on the program, student may need to complete an internship, give a presentation and/or defend a dissertation prior to graduation. Programs are found at both public four-year universities and private distance learning institutions, and they are available fully online or in blended formats.
Graduate degrees in this field are usually designed for individuals with experience in relevant organizations or professionals seeking knowledge and skills specific to sport management. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for master's-level admission and a master's degree for admittance to a doctoral program. Prospective students may have to submit resumes, document their work experience related to the field and/or have a certain number of years of leadership experience.
Many students of sport management online graduate degree programs choose a specialization, such as sports marketing, leadership, human resources and Olympism, which deals with the Olympic games. Typical classes blend topics in business management with the fundamentals of athletic performance and sports ethics. Additionally, online graduate-level courses in sports management often conform to a predetermined sequence, and students who start the program together are scheduled to complete the program together. Examples of some common classes are listed below:
- Sport finance
- Sport ethics
- Sport management and leadership
- Sport research methodology
- Sport law
- Human resource principles in sport
Students in an online master's program may be required to complete research projects, mentorships or thesis papers before graduation. Ph.D. candidates perform extensive research and prepare dissertations, which must be defended before a committee.
Most online sport management classes are conducted in an asynchronous environment, meaning that the students and faculty aren't in simultaneous direct contact. Students are often required to turn in written assignments online, participate in online chat and complete quizzes or examinations over the Internet. Lecture materials, videos and other learning aids are often accessible through a virtual classroom.
Some graduate programs in sport management have totally online coursework, but schools could require distance learners to complete internships at an approved location. Doctoral students must engage in intensive research and often work closely with faculty. This, along with their dissertation presentation and defense, means that Ph.D. programs are rarely available completely through distance learning methods.
Career Information for Graduates
People who hold graduate degrees in sport management qualify for positions in all levels of the field, from local sport administration to finance management for professional sports teams. Those with a Ph.D. or Ed.D. also have the option of instructing students on sport management in postsecondary educational settings. Graduates of an advanced online degree program in sport management can represent athletes as sports agents, sports team administrators, college athletic directors and high school sport managers.
For students who are interested in the business and administrative aspects of sports, online graduate degree programs can provide advanced coursework in the field through virtual classrooms. Fully online master's degree programs and blended Ph.D. programs are both available.