Those looking to advance their careers in sports leadership and management can enroll in fully online programs at state or private institutions. Some schools offer Master of Business degrees and others offer Master of Science. Whichever route you take, advanced education in sports management can lead to a number of career options, including though not limited to: coaching, physical education, team management, administration, and more. Note that the tuition rates provided below reflect the cost of the entire program, from start to finish. Our data comes from the university and colleges' websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News and World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
SportBusiness International ranked Ohio University’s Professional MSA (Master of Sports Administration) program as the best online postgraduate sports program in the world. More than 85 percent of graduates find themselves working in professional sports, corporate sports organizations, the entertainment industry, or intercollegiate athletics. This business-oriented program takes less than two years to complete—twenty-one months—but it does require four residencies on the Athens, Ohio campus and two at the National Sports Forum. The online portion, however, is still very hands on with courses designed to stimulate a competitive but supportive and collaborative classroom environment.
Texas A&M University
Providing specializations in sports marketing and sales, fiscal management, personnel management, and athletic administration, the online Masters of Science in Sports Management at Texas A&M University is highly competitive: applicants on average have over four years of experience in the sports industry, the acceptance rate is low, and students admitted usually have a GPA far higher than the 3.0 standard. The program is designed for working professionals, meaning it’s very flexible, and it provides training for those interested in everything from country clubs and athletic departments to community sports organizations and the professional industry.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University’s online MBA with a sports business concentration was the first of its kind to be accredited by COSMA, the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The curriculum at Saint Leo covers sales, marketing, risk management, legal issues, strategic planning, and finance, making it a business-focused degree that can be completed in as little as one year. With an internationally recognized faculty, the program at Saint Leo has also been ranked by SportBusiness International as one of the top online sports management graduate programs in the world.
Tuition: $25,020 traditional / $18,540 active military
New England College
At New England College, students can concentrate on Sport and Recreation Management while pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. The program at New England College stands apart from the others on this list in that it trains and prepares students mostly for coaching, with a curriculum covering the theory and concepts in intercollegiate coaching as well as the psychological dimensions of coaching. Designed for working professionals, this program can be completed in twenty months.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a flexible option for those seeking a Master’s of Science in Sport Management. No GRE or GMAT is required for application, students can earn the degree in as little as fifteen months, and online study is available at any time of the day. Unequivocally interdisciplinary in its focus, students at SNHU learn how to develop written and communication skills, how to think both creatively and critically, and how to cultivate a savvy business sense. Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Tuition: $22,572 traditional / $16,920 active military
Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts is a private, liberal arts institution offering a Master of Science in Sport Management with three concentrations to choose from: sport leadership, sport hospitality management, and sport non-profit management. Unlike some of the other programs on this list, Lasell’s is 100 percent online, no residencies required. Students learn marketing, finance, and leadership skills and spend time building a professional network and a capstone project. Additionally, Lasell stresses its attention on students, offering a variety of services such as career counseling, academic advising, and enrollment counseling.
Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University is a public institution located in Bowling Green with a couple regional campuses as well. However, prospective students interested in the Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration can apply to take classes fully online if they enroll for one of the following concentrations: athletic administration and coaching, facility and event management, and sports media and branding. Western Kentucky University has been recognized by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education as one of only thirty-five institutions nationwide that meet its demanding specifications for certification.
Winona State University
Unlike all the other programs on this list, Winona State University offers a graduate certificate in Sport Management rather than a masters. However, if the certificate curriculum is combined with Winona’s five core courses in Leadership Education, students can then earn the masters degree. This distinctive program creates a flexible path for working professionals. Graduates, of the both the certificate and the masters degree, go on to work as coaches, athletic directors, and at sports facilities. The curriculum emphasizes marketing, finance, law, and ethics, making it a program that uniquely combines theory and practice.
Indiana State University
The Princeton Review has named Indiana State University (ISU) as one of the “Best in the Midwest” for the past decade. Offering an online Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Management, ISU prepares their students to be leaders, aligning its curriculum with the core content provided by the North American Society for Sport Management. On campus visits are not required but students do get hands-on experience by way of a research project and internship opportunities. Not only is the program at Indiana State University one of the most affordable options, it is also nationally recognized, making it one of the best. Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university that offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management, standing apart from the others on the list in that it offers a unique concentration: sport event security management. This emphasis prepares students to create secure and safe environments for sports. Though Southern Miss doesn’t require campus visits, its curriculum is especially designed to practically prepare its students. Internships, practicums, and field research are all core components of this unique, and very affordable program.