Sports Management Graduate Program Information

A graduate degree in sports management focuses on the intersections of business, management, and leadership that are necessary to becoming an expert in the sports industry. Learn about the programs available and the career outlook for the field.

Essential Information

Sports management graduate degrees are available at both the master's and doctorate level. For admission into the master's program, a bachelor's degree is required, but no special sports-related prerequisites are needed. Graduate programs in sports management focus on areas such as business and leadership with program specializations available in coaching theory or sports administration. Hands-on work through research assignments or internships is usually required. A postgraduate degree could lead to a variety of roles in consulting, marketing and education.

Master's Degree in Sports Management

Students enrolled in master's degree programs in sports management develop leadership and business skills needed to become proficient in the sports industry. Some sports management master's degree programs let students choose concentration areas, which allows them to take customized curricula that meets their specific career goals. Common course topics include:

  • Sports marketing
  • Legal aspects of sports
  • Sports finance
  • Sports ethics
  • Human resource strategies
  • Sports management and leadership

Doctoral Degree in Sports Management

Sports management Ph.D. programs focus on honing the student's research and critical thinking skills. An undergraduate degree in sports management or a related field is the minimum required for admission into a sports management doctoral program. Some programs may require a master's degree or related work experience. Graduates of sports management doctoral programs may pursue academic, research or administrative positions in this field. An interdisciplinary approach is found within many sports management doctoral program. Classes incorporate conventional business knowledge such as leadership, marketing, finance and management. Common course topics include:

  • Sport law issues
  • Research methods
  • Statistics
  • Sport promotion
  • Sport event and facilities management

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a sports management master's degree programs are prepared for administrative positions within the sport industry. Opportunities are available in communications, marketing, consulting and management departments. Graduates may secure job titles such as:

  • Athletic director
  • General manager
  • Sports agent
  • Ticket manager
  • Community center manager

Employment Outlook and Salary

Graduates of sport management Ph.D. programs may go on to teach at the university level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasted a 13% increase in postsecondary teaching positions from 2014-2024 ( Rising enrollment rates were projected as one of the main contributors to this increase in teachers. Individuals seeking part-time employment or non-tenured positions may have the best job prospects as the contest for tenured positions is fierce.

Postsecondary teachers' salaries vary according to school, location and discipline being taught. Those at 4-year schools earned more than those at 2-year schools. As of May 2015, postsecondary teachers earned an annual median salary of $72,470, according to the BLS.

With this healthy career outlook and programs available at both the master's and doctorate level, students who gain graduate training in sports management should be equipped with a number of options for a career in the sports industry.

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