Top Master’s in Sports Journalism Programs

Interested in an exciting career reporting on sports? Learn more about the top master's in sports journalism programs, and consider earning a graduate degree.
By
portrait of Meg Embry
Meg Embry
Read Full Bio

Writer

Meg Embry is a writer at BestColleges covering all things career and education related. An award-winning journalist and editor, she has lived and worked in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States....
Published on December 21, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Valerie Black
Valerie Black
Read Full Bio

Editor

Valerie Black has over 12 years of experience as a professor and 10 years in journalism. She empowers students to leverage the resources that are available but not easily accessible. Her focus is in online education, rich content, and digital storyte...
Learn more about our editorial process

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Americans love sports. We spend tons of money on them, too: In 2017, Statista reported that nearly 56 billion U.S. dollars went to sporting events. Even today –– when inflation has a chokehold on our wallets –– 33% of people in the U.S. are willing to go into debt to attend a big game, according to CNBC.

Our love for sports is fueled, in part, by the skilled journalists who cover them.

Sports journalists introduce us to the players who become our heroes. They inspire us to root for the underdogs. They highlight the drama of wins and losses, investigate the inner workings of sports organizations, and provide play-by-play analysis of every game. Sports journalism is also one of the top 10 jobs in sports.

If you want to get paid to obsess over the teams you love, check out these great online master's programs in sports journalism.

What Is Sports Journalism?


Sports journalists cover sports-related topics, events, and stories. It requires all the same skills that traditional journalism demands, including:

  • Interviewing
  • Researching
  • Reporting
  • Writing
  • Digital media
  • Video journalism

A great sports journalist must also have a passion for sports and a knack for building connections with important people in the industry.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

3 Top Schools for Sports Journalism

These three schools have the best sports journalism programs around.

Arizona State University

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University offers a top-notch master's degree in sports journalism. The program is held in downtown Phoenix.

Students can expect to develop wide-ranging multimedia and sports reporting skills through intensive coursework and immersive, hands-on training. Study abroad options are available. ASU's program can be completed in as few as 12 months.

  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Delivery format: In person
  • Estimated Tuition and fees (Arizona residents): $13,389 per academic year
  • Estimated Tuition and fees (non-residents): $35,303 per academic year

Applying to ASU

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must submit the following:

  • Graduate admission application and application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 300-500 word personal statement
  • Resume
  • Proof of English proficiency (if required)

Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

IUPUI offers a master of arts in sports journalism through the Department of Journalism and Public Relations in the School of Liberal Arts. This program is a good fit for folks just graduating from college, professionals with existing experience, or people looking to change careers.

The IUPUI program has long-established partnerships with high-profile sports organizations and news bureaus, which means students get opportunities to cover major sporting events locally, nationally, and around the world.

  • Credit Hours: 30 credit hours (no thesis required)
  • Delivery Format: Online, hybrid, or on IUPUI's downtown Indianapolis campus
  • Estimated Tuition and Fees (Indiana residents): $10,820 per academic year
  • Estimated Tuition and Fees (non-residents): $31,544 per academic year

Applying to IUPUI

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must submit the following:

  • Graduate admission application and application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE scores (unless the applicant already has a post-graduate degree)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Northwestern University

The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois offers a premier, STEM-designated graduate program in journalism. Students can choose to specialize in sports media, where they will learn to lead the pack in on-the-field reporting and behind-the-scenes analysis.

Northwestern's MS in journalism is a one-year program that provides students with real-world reporting experience and extensive professional training. With an alumni network of over 18,000 media professionals around the world, students will graduate with a strong support network to help them succeed.

  • Credit Hours: 30-36
  • Delivery Format: In-person at the downtown Chicago campus
  • Estimated Tuition and Fees: $36,819 per academic year

Applying to Northwestern

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and must submit the following:

  • Academic transcripts
  • Admissions interview
  • GRE or GMAT (optional)
  • Test scores for English language proficiency (if required)
  • Resume
  • Essays
  • Work samples (optional)
  • Application fee

The ROI of a Sports Journalism Degree

It's important to consider the return on investment for any degree: Does the payoff justify the expense?

Journalists aren't exactly famous for making a lot of money — so take some time to weigh how much the degree will cost and whether you'll be able to pay off your student loans when you graduate and get a job.

Average Annual Salary by Experience: Sports Journalist

1-4 years
$44,000*

5-9 years
$51,000*

10-19 years
$85,000*

Source: Payscale (*as of December 2023)

Accreditation for Journalism Schools

The duty of any good journalist is to report the truth accurately and with integrity. Earning your sports journalism degree from an accredited program is a sign to employers that you can be trusted to do high-quality work.

Journalism programs are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

ACEJMC awards accreditation to programs that meet quality standards with regard to different factors, including institutional uniqueness, curriculum, faculty, student outcomes, services and resources, diversity and inclusion, and public service.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Paying for Your Master’s Degree

You do have some options when it comes to financing your master's degree. Start by investigating what financial aid is available to you, including:

  • Check Circle

    Scholarships

    Typically awarded based on need or merit and don't have to be paid back.
  • Check Circle

    Fellowships

    Usually intended to further a specific area of research and may come with special obligations or requirements.
  • Check Circle

    Grants

    Usually provided by the government or outside organizations to help cover education costs for students in financial need.
  • Check Circle

    Loans

    Loans may be public or private and must be repaid — usually with interest.

Journalism Grants and Scholarships You May Qualify For

Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Journalism Programs

Do sports journalists get paid well?

Chevron Down

Some sports journalists get paid pretty well: According to Payscale, the top 10% of earners in the field make over $130,000 a year on average.

But newcomers and mid-career sports journalists can expect to make between $44,000 and $51,000 a year.

Do sports journalists travel a lot?

Chevron Down

Sports journalists frequently travel to cover events. Local journalists may not travel as far or as much as national sports journalists.

How competitive is sports journalism?

Chevron Down

Sports journalism is competitive in the sense that anyone with an internet connection and an interest in sports can offer reporting on the topic. To stand out in the world of sports journalism, you have to differentiate yourself by telling the stories and getting the angles no one else is getting.

On top of that, sports journalists often have to develop a strong reputation (often by slogging through a few poorly paid years in an entry-level gig somewhere) before they compete for better positions.

Is sports journalism a good major?

Chevron Down

Majoring in sports journalism can be a great choice. It will give you a strong foundation in highly transferable professional skills, including critical thinking, communication, creativity, and connecting with people.

The major can also equip you with valuable technical skills, like journalistic writing, editing, video production, presenting, data analysis, and photography.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.