Best Online Master’s in Sports Management Programs

Sports management is a broad interdisciplinary field that covers the different aspects of athletic organizations, including finances and budgeting, marketing, human resources, and facilities management. A bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum educational requirement for most careers in sports management. For this reason, students who earn an online master’s in sports management are highly valued as job candidates and stand to advance in their careers more quickly than those with less academic experience.

Students who wish to obtain an advanced degree in sports management usually choose from one of two options: a Master’s in Sports Management, or a Master of Business Administration with a sports management concentration. The best online sports management master’s programs emphasize the importance of law, ethics, and professional conduct in the athletic industry. Students who enroll in these programs are often able to earn a degree specialization in areas like sports marketing, athletic training, and sports leadership; these concentrations are designed to prepare students for careers in niche areas of sports management. Many sports management programs culminate in a master’s thesis or capstone project that allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained through their master’s-level coursework. Other programs require students to gain supervised hands-on training through an internship and/or practicum course.

Learn more about what you stand to gain from pursuing a sports management master’s degree online and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

The best online master’s in sports management programs prepare students to enter the workforce after graduation and obtain top-level positions with varied employers. The curriculum will introduce students to the industry’s latest tools and technological platforms. Depending on their specialization, students may be required to complete courses or course sequences in areas like marketing, analytics, and/or theories of management. Graduates leave school with a deeper understanding of their role as leaders in the sports management field, with highly developed communication skills, a complete understanding of the inner-workings of athletic organizations, essential administrative skills, and real-world experience.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online sports management master’s programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom learning. Students are able to access course lectures and readings, turn in written assignments, take exams and contact their professors any time of day. The latest educational technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device with Wi-Fi compatibility. For added convenience, students are usually allowed to fulfill their internship or practicum requirements at a site close to their home.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT?

Graduates who earn a sports management master’s degree online leave school prepared for most entry-level roles in the industry, as well as some managerial positions normally reserved for candidates who have an advanced degree. They commonly find work in places like college athletic departments, the front offices of athletic organizations, and major sporting goods retailers. Graduates with a specialization in marketing or public relations often go on to work with athletes as agents or business managers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s of sports management programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering pursuing an online sports management master’s degree, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

Liberty University

 2/550.41%Lynchburg, VA

campus_Liberty_University

Ranked among the best private nonprofit universities in the nation, and a leader in distance education since 1985, Liberty University offers a comprehensive 36 credit-hour online Master of Science in Sport Management with cognates in Outdoor Adventure Sports, Sport Administration, Tourism and General Management. The physical campus, located on 7,000 acres, offers access to the Liberty Mountain Trail system, an equestrian center and a lake. It is an ideal location for inspiring a love of outdoor sports and activities, and although the online coursework does not require on-campus attendance, the natural setting certainly provides inspiration for the school's academics across platforms.

Students will learn to develop a strong ethical and professional code of conduct, useful in any area of sport management. Courses include marketing, public relations, ethics, education, financial management and legal issues. Diverse post-graduation career paths include: Athletics Marketer, Public Relations Specialist, Sports Broadcaster, Event Planner, Athletics Facility Manager, Park Ranger, Camp Director, Tour Guide, and Hotel Management.

The online master's degree strives to integrate Christian faith and learning in a professional atmosphere and will appeal to the discerning student for its emphasis on ethics.

Quick Facts

  • Online enrollment is approximately six times greater than residential enrollment, with over 100,000 students enrolled online.
  • Over 27,000 students from the military community are enrolled online. Liberty offers members of the military community book vouchers, discounted tuition, credit for military training and access to the Military Affairs Office.
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2

University of Florida

 3/587.51%Gainesville, FL

campus_University_of_FLorida

The University of Florida is comprised of 16 academic colleges and 150 research centers on a 2,000 acre campus in North Central Florida. This highly regarded Research University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and offers 123 master's degree programs and 76 doctoral degree programs within its 87 schools and departments.

Self-described as being "the perfect fit for those looking to have an impact on the 'behind-the-scenes' facets of sport," University of Florida’s online Master Degree in Sport Management offered by the College of Health and Human Performance provides students a comprehensive program of study delivered by expert faculty. Courses include Finance for Sport Organizations, Sociological Principles of Sport, Sport Marketing, Athlete Training and Development and Psychology and Physiology of High-performing Athletes. Concentrations in Athlete development and Performance Development are available for those wishing to work directly with athletes. Electives may be completed via a professional internship, advanced practicum or by completion of a specialized concentration. Students are also required to pursue certification through the Professional Associate of Athlete Development Specialists (PAADS).

Quick Facts

  • Ranked #14 best public university in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report
  • The University of Florida’s intercollegiate sports teams compete in NCAA Division I and the Southeastern Conference. They have won 30 NCAA titles collectively in their 108-year history.
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3

United States Sports Academy

 3/5N/ADaphne, AL

campus_united_states_sports_academy

The United States Sports Academy was founded by Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich in response to poor performance in the 1972 Munich Olympic games by the U.S. team. Established in 1972, USSA was the first of its kind in the US. The school is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is home to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives, which contains an extensive collection of sport art.

The online Master of Sport Science at USSA integrates learning in the field and academic work in a comprehensive program of study designed to prepare graduates for the ever-expanding sport management field. The 33 semester-hour program culminates in a Master of Sports Science degree. More than 75% of graduates work in sports as managers, teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs, coaches, healthcare providers and researchers on all levels of performance from Olympic to scholastic and recreational levels. Students can also pursue a dual major (42-45 semester-hours). Students can enroll in and begin classes anytime and participate online from any location. Students must select one of three academic track options: the Thesis Option, Non-Thesis Option or Mentorship Option. The Majors include: Sports Coaching, Sports Health and Fitness, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Recreation Management.

Quick Facts

  • 96% of Academy graduates say they’d recommend USSA to friends and colleagues.
  • The Academy has provided its sports programs to over 60 countries.
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4

Canisius College

 3/567.91%Buffalo, NY

campus_canisius_college2

Canisius College is a fully accredited private Jesuit institution located in Buffalo, New York. The campus is home to NCAA Division I athletic facilities and 17 sport teams collectively known as the "Golden Griffins".

The Online Master of Sport Administration degree at Canisius offers classes in Sports Leadership, Strategic Sport Marketing, Moral and Ethical Issues in Sport and Risk Management as well as a diverse selection of elective courses. A clear-cut goal and objective method informs this course of study. Goals include: developing knowledge of common core principles of sport management and economics, providing service as demonstrated through an understanding of ethical, psychological and philosophical issues in the sport environment and maintaining transparency and ethical behavior in all aspects of learning and work. This well-rounded and community-focused program will appeal to the student looking for an active and refined course of study aimed at managing people, budgets and facilities.

Students praise the "hands on" experience and the personal growth and networking opportunities. Students also value the school’s dedication to veterans and military service members, as well as the institution's Catholic identity.

Quick Facts

  • The Master in Sport Administration satisfies the New York State Department of Education’s requirements to become certified teachers in New York.
  • The MSA program has raised more than $100,000 for local Buffalo Charities.
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5

Concordia University – Chicago

 3/557.83%River Forest, IL

campus_concordia_university_chicago

This Lutheran liberal arts university, located 10 miles west of Chicago, was recently ranked 83 out of 98 regional Midwest Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Concordia sport teams compete in NCAA Division III.

The 39-credit, 2-year online MBA in sports management program, designed for the student truly passionate about sports, offers a program focused on developing the managerial, administrative and business skill required for a successful career in this ever expanding and diverse field. Students will develop a solid foundation in business, accounting and marketing operations and in related economic and legal issues. An online MBA in sports management prepares students for work in Marketing and Sponsorship, Sports Media, Hospitality, Event Management and Retail. This economic-focused program can be completed 100% online and culminates with a Capstone Experience that integrates knowledge and skill gained in the MBA program in a real business environment.

Quick Facts

  • Concordia online hosts students from 37 states and 26 foreign countries.
  • 40% of students enrolling in graduate programs choose to do so exclusively online.
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6

Drexel University

 4/567.36%Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University Online was founded in 2001. Today, there are over 7,000 students enrolled online, hailing from all 50 states and over 20 countries and participating in more than 100 master's, bachelor's and certificate programs.

The 45 credit Master of Science in Sport Management focuses on four points of emphasis: Sport Business, Sport Marketing, Sport Media and Sport Law. Within this framework, students will develop a broadly applicable skill set needed to succeed in any area of sport management. This part-time two-year program can be completed fully online and is designed with the busy sport industry professional in mind. A week-long summer residency program is required for online students and is focused on team-building, guest speakers and networking opportunities. Completion of a research or thesis project is required for the degree. A unique International Study Program offers students the ability to learn about themselves from a different perspective through short term to semester length study abroad.

Quick Facts

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7

Southern New Hampshire University

 4/5N/AManchester, NH

With over a 25 year history, and one of the most affordable online master's degree programs, the 36 credit hour MS in Sport Management program is one of only a handful of accredited sport management programs in New England.

An outstanding professional and alumni network makes this a standout among the competition. Many professors are former industry executives, and as a result, SNHU is able to provide students with invaluable industry connections and internship opportunities. Hands-on work experience is highly valued, and students of SNHU will find themselves at an advantage here.

The MS in Sport Management degree can be completed in 15 months with two courses per 10-week term. The graduate program prepares students for real-world experience and gives them a competitive edge through internships, developing exceptional written and oral communication skills, creative problem-solving, savvy business sense for strategic planning and knowledge of a wide range of career opportunities bolstered by SNHU’s Career Development Center Sports Management Outlook.

Quick Facts

  • The distance education division was ranked #8 online college in 2014 by SuperScholar.
  • SNHU graduates have gone on to work for the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, United States Olympic Committee, Manchester Monarchs, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Reebok, America East Conference, Northeast-10 Conference, Eastern College Athletic Conference, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, Gunstock Ski Area, New Hampshire Golf Association.
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8

Virginia Commonwealth University

 3/559.18%Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia and has more than 31,000 students participating in 226 degree and certificate programs. Offering a 17:1 student to teacher ratio, the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU, established in 1999, provides an innovative and practical learning environment for the student seeking a successful career in the sport industry, placing students in a wide array of professions from Olympic and non-profit to grassroots organizations. Alumni provide an invaluable network base. This non-traditional sport leadership program emphasizes experiential learning through hands-on involvement.

The 36 credit-hour Sport Leadership, Master of Education (M.Ed.) combines a structured program combining classroom theory with relevant field experience. Focus on the development of professional and amateur athletes, managing sport programs in the public and private sectors and interdisciplinary faculty give students flexible options for combining interests and academic curriculum. Learning goals include the ability to develop critical thinking skills applied to issues in sport leadership, interpersonal skill and professionalism, and developing strong leadership traits to be applied in the professional setting. A comprehensive examination is required for all graduate students at the end of the course of study, as well as an "externship" in the sport field.

Quick Facts

  • The Center for Sport Leadership offers a European Model of Sport course to fulfill an on-campus requirement for the online student. Students travel to Europe for 12 days to learn about the business of sport from a global perspective.
  • 450 graduates in the last decade.
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9

Missouri Baptist University

 2/544.22%Saint Louis, MO

Located in western St. Louis County, Missouri Baptist University hosts over 4,800 students with a student to teacher ratio of 20:1 on its 81-acre campus.

This private evangelical Christian institution offers the Master of Science in Sport Management (MSSMGT) program fully online. Designed for students interested in work in interscholastic athletics, intercollegiate athletics, amateur and professional sports, sport-marketing, special event management and facility management. Flexible scheduling allows students to work at their own pace. Continuous evaluation will keep students focused and on-track. A 400-hour internship or thesis project is the culmination of the program. Designed with the working student in mind, this program offers one of the more flexible and affordable options available in the Missouri area. Students are encouraged to be "agents of change" in their future careers.

Quick Facts

  • Named #6 "Top Places to Work" by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • Approved by the Sport Management Program Review Council.
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10

Gonzaga University

 3/583.15%Spokane, WA

This Roman Catholic university located in Spokane, Washington was founded in 1887 and is ranked 3rd in the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Regional Universities in the West. Gonzaga offers 26 graduate programs in 92 fields and a student to teacher ratio of 12:1. 16 men and women varsity sports teams compete in NCAA Division I.

The 34 credit hour Master of Sport and Athletic Administration (MASAA) degree program boasts a top-10 NCAA athletic brand and is designed for the working professional who desires the ability to advance their career without disrupting current employment or having to relocate. The program is designed around a Jesuit and Catholic humanistic tradition. The MASAA program is grounded in a liberal arts tradition and challenges students to learn more about their "personal mission in life". Courses are designed around a student’s current work, enabling them to apply their knowledge immediately. Only 20 to 25 students are accepted to the MASAA program per year, giving this highly selective degree an elite standing. The close-knit community offers a heightened collaboration and learning opportunities. A required internship brings real world experience into the equation and further refines the student’s ability to work collaboratively.

Quick Facts

  • Top-10 NCAA athletic brand
  • Ranked 2nd best value school in the West by U.S. News & World Report
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11

Troy University

 2/534.98%Troy, AL

Known for its innovative online academic programs, Troy University offers students the Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management (SFM). It is one of five graduate sport management programs accredited by the Commission of Sport Management Accreditation (SOSMA) in the country. Designed to provide students with a "total experience" through an integrated learning environment focused on bridging fundamental education with practical problem solving and business skill applicable in the sport industry.

The extensive experience of the faculty provides students access to a wealth of real world knowledge and expertise in the areas of economic impact, economic valuation, marketing, organizational behavior, sport law, event management, facility management, risk management and intercollegiate athletics. Students select one of two basic concentrations: Athletic Administration or Coaching. Valuable skills are applied to the optimization and administration of sport organizations and the ability to function in any number of diverse roles within the industry.

Quick Facts

  • #76 Regional University in the South as ranked by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked 25th best university in the United States for international students by the In
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12

University of Southern Mississippi

 2/548.44%Hattiesburg, MS

Located 70 miles north of Gulfport, Mississippi, this fully accredited university is home to 14 varsity sports teams that compete in the NCAA’s Division I-A.

Related to the kinesiology department and now offered through the College of Business, the 36 credit hour Master of Science in Sport Management offers students the required curriculum to become leaders in the expanding sport management field. A thesis or non-thesis option is available, and culminates with a Comprehensive Exam.

Graduates have gone on to work as sport administrators, facility and event managers, league officials and sport security personnel. The MBA with Emphasis in Sport Security Management is the only program of its kind in the US, and bridges the sport and security fields. The school prides itself on providing students with an immersive learning environment, knowledgeable faculty and a close-knit and supportive community.

Quick Facts

  • 17:1 student to teacher ratio
  • Students rank professors as "highly knowledgeable" according to a CollegeProwler survey
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13

Texas A&M University

 2/579.34%College Station, TX

Founded in 1876, Texas A&M is home to a thriving community and NCAA Division I athletic teams. The school prides itself on its research and outreach programs and on delivering innovative training to students to better prepare them for a rapidly changing world.

The 36 credit hour Master of Science in Sport Management program is offered completely online and prepares students for work in sports marketing and sales, fiscal management, personnel management and development and athletics administration and control. No thesis is required for this program.

This program tailors students toward work in country clubs, health and fitness clubs, collegiate athletic departments, community sport organizations and professional sport organizations. Enrollment deadlines apply to fall and spring semesters, and students should take note of the application requirements as only complete applications are considered.

Quick Facts

  • #68 Best Online Graduate Education Programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report
  • Fourth largest university in the U.S. and the largest University in Texas.
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14

Concordia University – Saint Paul

 2/546.45%Saint Paul, MN

Concordia University has offered online classes since 1998. The school offers a personal touch with mentorships and dedicated faculty guiding students through their coursework. The opportunity for students to grow "academically, spiritually and interpersonally" forms the core philosophy for this community-centered institution.

Self-described as "dynamic and affordable," the 33 credit hour Master of Arts in Sport Management degree (MSM) is offered fully online and is designed to prepare students for work in the growing sport management industry. The curriculum centers on hands-on learning and practical application. Effective decision-making, leadership, finance and human and facility resource management are focal points of the program. The online MSM is accelerated and can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Quick Facts

  • Became First NCAA Division II University in the Twin Cities in 1999.
  • "The economic recession has eroded the financial situations of the students and families we serve, so we recognized the call to respond in keeping with our mission to provide an education of outstanding value at an affordable cost," -Tom Ries, President
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15

California University of Pennsylvania

 3/552.53%California, PA

Founded in 1852 in California, Pennsylvania, this public university has been cited by the Princeton Review as one of the best colleges in the Northeast. It is home to 8,600 undergraduates and graduate students and NCAA Division II athletics.

Designed to "enhance marketability" in a highly competitive sports management field, the Master of Science Sport Management Studies degree is packaged in a modular format, making it easier to complete online. Video, PowerPoint presentations and online forums make up the interactive content of this discussion-based curriculum. The "program revenue-generating project" will allow students to apply classroom theory to real-world practical application. Coursework can be completed in 13 consecutive months. Part time options are available as well and new programs begin in July and December. Students will learn to use their research abilities to develop management strategies, enhance sport organizations’ effectiveness, solve controversies and ethical problems, integrate marketing theory and create strategic financial plans for sport organizations.

Quick Facts

  • Cal U was the first school to offer an MS in Sport management online
  • Cal U’s Global Online program was ranked 3rd in 2013 by Online College Rankings.
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16

Georgia Southern University

 2/551.32%Statesboro, GA

The school’s motto "We put you in the business of sports" aptly represents the online Master of Science in Sport Management. The school is located in Statesboro, Georgia and was founded in 1906. Georgia Southern’s athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I FBS.

The 36-credit degree program is designed around a busy lifestyle and work schedule, and affords students career advancement options without disrupting their current employment. The program can be completed in 24 months and focuses on the practical experience required to succeed in the Sports Business and Leisure fields. Students will be prepared to apply their skills to professional or collegiate athletic departments, sport facilities and event management, marketing, promotion and advertising in the sport field, Sport information, media and communications, Olympic Movement, state and county sports commissions and athletic leagues and associations.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked Top 20 Most Popular Universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked Top 100 Best Values among Public Colleges and Universities by Kiplinger
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17

Concordia University – Irvine

 2/555.83%Irvine, CA

Located in the beautiful town of Irvine, California, this Christian institution offers outstanding education through both traditional and online programs. The school’s mission to "go into all the world" is reflected in the "learning without boundaries" ethic of the online degree program. The school makes an effort to deliver "meaningful learning" for working students, and prides itself on offering personal attention, mentorship and flexible coursework designed to enhance their career.

This "community of learning" revolves around in-depth reading and discussion forums. Real-time synchronous online classes engage students and allow them to interact one-on-one in a collaborative setting. The Master in Coaching and Athletic Administration degree (MCAA) is designed for the working professional and provides practical experience, the development of a professional network and refined leadership sensibilities. Curriculum is customizable and offers a flexible start time. A culminating Capstone Project is required and draws on all the learned skill and philosophy of the coursework.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked Top Tier Regional University by U.S. News and World Report
  • Ranked as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master’s institutions by Chronicle of Higher Education
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18

Coker College

 3/549.34%Hartsville, SC

Coker College is ranked as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. It applies hands-on and liberal arts education principles to create a practical learning environment. Sport teams compete in NCAA Division II.

The 30-semester hour Master of Science of College Athletic Administration is offered in response to the rapidly expanding field of sports management, and recognizes the reality of the complexities and importance of college athletics in higher education. The program is designed to fully prepare and qualify students for work as D-I athletic personnel through a rigorous program combining real world experience with theory and analytical thinking. Areas of interest include college athletics, NCAA compliance regulations, sport communication, sport law, recruiting, fundraising, sport business management and marketing. Coursework culminates in a prepared portfolio, comprehensive exam and internship evaluation.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked #16 Regional College South by U.S. News & World Report
  • "I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gone to Coker." -Ricky Meinhold, full-time scout for the St. Louis Cardinals
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19

Belhaven University

 3/550.21%Jackson, MS

Established in 1883, this private Christian liberal arts university is home to 3,000 students at its four locations and over 500 graduate students.

The Online Master of Sports Administration (MSA) at Belhaven University prepares students for work in the sports management industry by focusing on developing strong leaders with a practical skill set and the values of a Christ-centered education. The school is "totally committed" to high academic standards and Christian values, and offers its courses in manageable eight-week terms. Degrees can be earned in as little as two years. Sports regulations, marketing, negotiations, budgeting, research, project management and teamwork are considered.

Quick Facts

  • The Belhaven University Board of Trustees approved Belhaven to apply to join NCAA Division III.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
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20

Lasell College

 3/556.55%Newton, MA

Lasell is located in Newton, Massachusetts and is a private non-sectarian college with a student to teacher ratio of 14:1. 1,600 undergraduates and over 300 graduates attend.

Lasell offers its 36 credit hour "highly personalized, flexible, and fully online" Master of Science in Sport Management degree to students intent on developing a career in the vast and expanding area of sports management. Three concentrations are offered, including Sport Leadership, Sport Hospitality Management and Sport Non-Profit Management. Degrees can be completed 100% online and are designed to work with students’ busy work schedules. Lasell takes pride in its highly qualified faculty, and students will benefit from the decades of experience they bring with them. Leadership skills and financial skills are developed and a capstone internship or research project culminates the program.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked 9th for Great Schools at Great Prices by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked 25th best Regional College in the North by U.S. News & World Report
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21

Arkansas State University

 2/539.3%Jonesboro, AR

Also known as A-State, Arkansas State University is the second largest university in the state. It is located on Crowley’s Ridge in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The student to teacher ratio is 18:1, with approximately 14,000 students attending. Arkansas State participates as a member of the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference.

The Master of Science in Sport Administration is offered through the College of Education and Behavioral Science at ASU. This 36 credit hour program is designed for those interested in management or administrative positions in professional sports organizations, intercollegiate athletic, media, marketing and sports management agencies. Theory and practice are balanced and a thesis project or internship is required for degree completion.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked #53 Regional University South by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked #19 Best College for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report
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22

University of Central Missouri

 2/552.94%Warrensburg, MO

Located in Warrensburg, Missouri, the University of Central Missouri services over 12,000 students hailing from 49 states and 59 countries. The student to teacher ratio is 16:1. The athletic teams compete in the MIAA division.

The Master degree in Sport Management offered by the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology prepares students for careers in a diverse and expanding field. Graduates may find career opportunities in public and private schools, intercollegiate sports, professional and semi-pro sports clubs and fitness and recreation centers. Leadership and administrative skills are emphasized and developed through coursework aimed at understanding organizational goals. A thesis or internship option is also available.

Quick Facts

  • #84 Best Regional University Midwest, Ranked by U.S. News & World Report
  • #27 Top Public Schools, Ranked by U.S. News & World Report
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23

Indiana State University

 2/539.91%Terre Haute, IN

Known and recognized for its community service and outreach, Indiana State University offers a truly collaborative learning environment.

The 36 credit hour Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Management is designed for working students who have relevant experience and are seeking career advancement. The program focuses on developing leadership and administrative skills in the sport management field with attention given to governance of sport, sport marketing, finance, event and facility planning, sport law and management. The program concludes with either a research project or an internship.

The core content of this program meets the eight competency areas as established by the North American Society for Sport Management. A low student to teacher ratio of 20:1 enables students and faculty to work closely together. The program is open to in-state students and many out of state students including military personnel and their families. Application deadlines apply, and students are encouraged to apply early.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked "Best in the Midwest" by The Princeton Review for 11 years running.
  • Tier 2 national University as ranked by U.S. News & World Report
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24

Franklin Pierce University

 3/545.57%Rindge, NH

Franklin Pierce University is a fully accredited private, non-profit institution laced in Rindge, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1962 and received university status in 2007. 1,400 students are enrolled and the college boasts a student to teacher ratio of 12:1.

The 39-credit MBA in Sports Management enables students to focus on the business side of sport organizations, operation of sport facilities or development of sports merchandising programs. There is an outstanding athletic and recreation facility on the main campus in Rindge, New Hampshire though online courses do not require on campus attendance. The online MBA offers the working student flexibility and year round enrollment and can be completed 100% online. Students work at their own pace and typically finish their studies in 18 to 24 months. An accelerated one-year MBA is also offered.

The program encourages students to pursue their passion as sports management business leaders. Coursework is designed for working professionals and prepares them for practical application via collaboration, strategic thinking and critical analysis. The school strives for graduates to become ethical leaders, strong communicators and collaborators.

Quick Facts

  • Ranked in 2009 on Forbes List of America’s Top Colleges
  • NCAA Division
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25

Fresno Pacific University

 3/563.27%Fresno, CA

Founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Fresno Pacific University is ranked #40 Regional University West by U.S. News & World Report. Its sport teams compete in NCAA Division II and the school offers a low student to teacher ratio of 13:1.

The Master of Arts in Kinesiology with a Sport Administration Emphasis is part of FPU’s online Master of Arts in Kinesiology. Students typically have a background in sport administration. The program offers students in-depth knowledge in sport leadership and administration, marketing and sales and sport sponsorship. Students are expected to volunteer or be working in the sport administration field during their coursework. This work/study format will appeal to the working student who wishes to advance their career options. A flexible online format works within the confines of a busy schedule and can be applied to a diverse range of sport administration positions at all levels from high school to professional and collegiate sports.

Quick Facts

  • Fully online program accredited by WSCUC.
  • If starting during the summer, the program can be completed in 14 months. If starting in the spring, the program can be completed in 17 months.
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How Long Is a Master’s in Sports Management Program?
2 to 3 years, although shorter accelerated options are also available.
Program Costs
$8,000 to $20,000 per year in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Athletic Development, Athletic Administration, Coaching, Sports Leadership, Sports Hospitalist Management, Sports Nonprofit Management, Sports Marketing
Accreditation
Commission on Sports Management Education (COSME)

Sports Management Salaries

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor of Sports Management

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for jobs related to sports management is roughly on par with the projected 8% growth rate for all industries. Candidates with a master’s degree stand to enjoy more favorable employment rates than other applicants who have ended their education with a bachelor’s or less. Using BLS data, the following table includes the projected growth rates of four common career pathways for students who earn a master’s in sports management.

Professional Title Projected Growth Rate (2014-24) Expected Increase in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Administrative Services Managers 8% 23,500
Postsecondary Education Administrators 9% 15,200
Coaches and Scouts 6% 14,800

Current BLS data indicates that master’s degree-holders face an average unemployment rate of 2.4%; by comparison, those with a bachelor’s degree face a 2.8% unemployment rate and those with an associate degree face a 3.8% unemployment rate.

Earning a Living

In addition to better job placement rates, students who earn an online master’s in sports management also stand to increase their career earnings potential. The BLS notes that the median salary for master’s degree-holders is $1,341 per week, compared to bachelor’s degree recipients who earn a median weekly salary of $1,137. This amounts to a difference of more than $10,000 in annual salaries between the two groups.

However, it’s also important to note that the salary of a sports management professional will increase over the course of his or her career. Master’s degree-holders often advance in their careers — and raise their annual earnings — at a faster rate than their counterparts with lesser credentials. The following table uses PayScale data to reveal the expected salaries for different sports management personnel at four career benchmarks.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Athletic Director (College/ University) $61,000 $70,000 $86,000 $100,000
Assistant Athletic Director $42,000 $53,000 $65,000 $71,000
Facilities Manager $52,030 $60,551 $66,865 $71,715
Athletic Coach $31,000 $38,000 $45,000 $51,000

As the table indicates, employees in all four professions experience a significant salary increase during their careers. Assistant athletic directors saw the most growth — 69% between the entry-level and late-career marks. The salaries for athletic directors (college/university) and athletic coaches also enjoyed 64% and 65% career earnings growth, respectively.

PayScale also reports a median annual salary of $62,627 for sports agents at all career levels. Additionally, The Houston Chronicle notes that agents typically receive a commission based on the yearly earnings of each client, which include both player salaries and endorsements. The size of commissions will vary by sport; the National Football Association and National Basketball Association impose a 3% commission limit for agents, while major league baseball and hockey do not restrict commissions. The most successful agents earn millions of dollars per year in commission fees alone.

Career Opportunities

Students who earn an online master’s degree in sports management will qualify for dozens of positions after graduation, although individual eligibility will depend on their degree specialization and level of professional experience. Some of the most common career pathways for recipients of a master’s in sports management are listed below.

Administrative Services Managers: These managers oversee inventories, logistics, recordkeeping, and other supportive services of their organization. In the sports management industry, administrative services personnel typically handle matters like athletic equipment, away-game travel, and facilities management.

Postsecondary Education Administrators: College athletic teams and departments are typically managed by postsecondary education administrators who specialize in student affairs. Their duties include scheduling games and practices, managing equipment, and handling internal team issues.

Coaches and Scouts: Coaches lead athletic teams during practice sessions and games, and work with individual players to improve specific skills. Many teams are managed by a head coach with a supportive coaching staff. Scouts identify promising players who have not yet committed to a particular organization, and work with coaches to help recruit these candidates.

Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes: Agents and business managers represent notable figures (including amateur and professional athletes) and promote them in the media. They also assist their clients with financial matters, such as contract negotiations and endorsement deals.

Profession Median Annual Salary
Administrative Services Managers $86,110
Postsecondary Education Administrators $88,580
Coaches and Scouts $31,000
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes $95,810

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to sports management is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for sports management professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • World Association of Sports Management Founded in 2012 at the University of Taiwan, the WASM represents chapters on six continents (Antarctica is excluded). The organization follows a mission to “facilitate sport management research and teaching and learning excellence worldwide.”
  • North American Society for Sports Management: The North American offshoot of the WASM, the NASSM is dedicated to supporting, promoting and educating athletic managers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean countries. Members receive complimentary issues of the Journal of Sports Management and a discount on NASSM conference fees.
  • National Alliance for Youth Sports: NAYS represents after-school athletic programs available to more than 30 million boys and girls in the United States. The organization often partners with other community-based youth agencies, including YMCA, YWCA, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Despite the relative affordability of online sports management master’s programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Methodology

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Must offer an online master’s in Sports Management degree program
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.

ACADEMIC QUALITY – 50% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Admissions Rate – 25%
  • Enrollment Rates – 15%
  • Retention Rate – 15%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate – 25%
  • Number of Master’s Sports Management Graduates – 20%

AFFORDABILITY – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Average Net Price – 40%
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Federal Loans – 20%
  • Loan Default Rate – 40%

ONLINE PROGRAMMING – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Percentage of Graduate Programs Offered Online – 40%
  • Graduate School Enrollment – 40%
  • Percentage of Programs Offered at the Graduate level – 20%