Best Master’s Degrees in Sports Management

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Sports Management Graduate Degrees

Professionals with a sports management degree can pursue positions including director of operations, public relations manager, and sports agent. Applicants to master’s programs need a bachelor’s degree. Some programs require applicants to submit a personal statement and have a minimum GPA.

Curricula vary by program but often include classes in strategic communication, risk management, and revenue generation. Degree-seekers also complete an internship. This guide explores typical classes and tuition costs for master’s degrees in sports management. Learners should contact their prospective school’s admissions department for program details.

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Questions About Sports Management

What do sports managers do?

Sports managers maintain accounts, act as a team’s public face, and prepare athletes for media interviews.

What can I do with a master’s in sports management?

Master’s degrees in sports management prepare learners for careers as competition coordinators, market research analysts, and sports accountants.

Is sports management the same as sports administration?

Sports managers oversee their team’s finances. Sports administrators focus on athletes’ development. Aspiring managers and administrators take similar classes at the master’s level.

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Why Get a Degree in Sports Management?

Experienced professionals and recent college graduates can pursue master’s degrees in sports management to prepare for leadership positions. Graduates often become college-level athletic directors. Additional sports management careers include event coordinator and communication recreation manager.

Many online master’s degrees in sports management feature asynchronous curricula. These programs often benefit students with children or full-time employment. Degree-seekers can schedule academic requirements around other responsibilities. Like on-campus students, online learners can access student services including career advisement and research assistance.

How Much Does a Sports Management Degree Cost?

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master’s degree was $66,340 in 2021. Degree-seekers can reduce the cost of their education by choosing in-state public schools. Some institutions charge all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency status. In addition to tuition, learners should budget for books, fees, and technology. Online programs typically post technology requirements on their website.

Learners can fund their sports management degree through institutional scholarships and grants. Many schools award funding based on students’ academic achievement or financial need. Students submit the FAFSA to demonstrate financial need and qualify for federal grants and loans.

How Much Do Sports Management Majors Make?

Graduates’ salary potential depends on factors including career, employer, and geographic location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic trainers earn a median salary of $49,860 per year. Educational services and hospitals pay these professionals the highest median salaries. Professionals in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Massachusetts earn the highest average salaries, ranging from $62,110-$72,970.

Athletic trainers and other sports management professionals can increase their salary potential by obtaining education, licensure, and certifications. In addition to a master’s degree, many professionals in the field hold certification from the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer.

Courses in Sports Management

Learners pursuing master’s degrees in sports management can specialize in an area such as business foundations, sport marketing, or sport media and communications. A student’s specialization impacts their classes and career options. Learners in a generalist track do not typically complete a master’s thesis.

Many sports management degrees require the following courses. However, course requirements and availability vary by program. Students should consult their prospective program’s website for more information.

  • Social Issues in Sport Management

    Sports play an important role in U.S. society, allowing participants to socialize and build teamwork skills. Students examine these issues in relation to casual play and professional sports. Degree-seekers also analyze how members of minority groups pushed for integrated teams. Learners examine sports managers’ roles in upholding professional ethics.
  • Sport Marketing in Public Relations

    Many sports management professionals oversee team finances and marketing. This class emphasizes the latest best practices for managers promoting their team’s public relations image. Coursework also covers marketing fundamentals. Students write extended essays and learn to create marketing promotions and analyze their success.
  • Ethics in Sport

    Sports managers must set an example for players and other workers. Students in this course develop critical thinking and advanced communication skills. Graduates can use knowledge from this class to identify ethical conflicts and apply a moral code in the workplace.

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Career Options for Sports Management

Career options for individuals with master’s degrees in sports management vary by specialization. The following list highlights common positions for graduates. Degree-seekers can select a career by taking interest inventories, working with a career advisor, and completing an internship. Some sports management careers require a degree and professional experience.

  • Athletic Trainer

    Athletic trainers help athletes recover from injuries and maintain peak physical fitness. These professionals give first aid, create rehabilitation programs, and complete paperwork. Most trainers work at a college or high school. These professionals earn a median salary approximately 25% higher than the median for all occupations.
  • Coaches and Scouts

    Coaches lead their team’s practice sessions and provide athletes with individual guidance. Other responsibilities include creating lineups and analyzing players’ performances. Scouts research athletes to help coaches recruit the best players. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $36,330.
  • Athletic Development Specialist

    Athletic development specialists help athletes improve their skills and become more effective competitors. They may work exclusively with early-career athletes. Others help retired athletes maintain physical health. These professionals may hold a degree in sports management, social work, or business.
  • Contract Administrator

    According to February 2021 Payscale data, contract administrators earn an average salary of $62,245 per year. These professionals manage teams’ contracts and help parties agree to changes. They also close out completed or expired contracts. Some contractor administrator jobs involve extensive travel and recordkeeping. Experienced professionals may work as contract specialists and senior contract administrators.

Best Master’s Degrees in Sports Management

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $11313

    A public university in Gainesville, UF's College of Health and Human Performance offers a master of science in sport management. Students can choose between a thesis track or a non-thesis track with a comprehensive examination. The school offers the coursework either on campus or online.

    Students begin with two research courses: evaluation procedures in health and human performance and research procedures in health and human performance. From there, participants complete core requirements, including sport psychology, sport marketing, management and leadership in sports, and issues in sports law. Non-thesis track students must also take 15 credits of electives, working with their advisor to decide the best courses to take.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $13016

    Located in Orlando, UCF offers a master of sport business management. Students may also opt to pursue a master of business administration to receive both degrees in less time.

    Students begin with professional core coursework, including organizational behavior and development, strategic supply chain and operations management, managerial accounting analysis, and applied business research tools. Sport management required courses include moral and ethical issues in sports, diversity and social issues in sports management, and strategic sports marketing. Students must also complete an internship — a full-time, semester-long partnership with an approved sports organization.

    UCF accepts admissions on a rolling basis with four yearly start dates. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to qualify for admission. The school also requires students to possess competitive GMAT or GRE scores.

    UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Texas A&M University
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $19118

    Located in College Station, Texas A&M offers a master of science in sport management. Students can complete the coursework either online or on campus and choose between a thesis or non-thesis track.

    The program starts with research core courses, including research methods for sports organizations and theory and research sport management statistics. Sport management requirements include management of sport organizations, financial management in sports, ethics in sports organizations, and sport media and communications. Students must also participate in an internship at an approved location and a practicum to prepare for the internship.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a competitive GPA to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit GRE scores.

    Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Tuition

    $16691

    Based in Minneapolis, UMN offers a master of arts in sport management with either a thesis or capstone project option. Students complete 36 credits and finish with an oral comprehensive exam.

    Participants take sports management requirements such as programming and promotion in sports, sports management ethics and policy, organization and management of physical education and sports, and legal aspects of sports recreation. Students also complete research prep courses in preparation for the capstone or thesis requirement. Notable courses include introductory statistics methods and research methodology in kinesiology and sports management. Students must take ten credits of electives, including sports and gender and strategic marketing.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and possess competitive GMAT (33 math, 44 quantitative, 5.0 writing) or GRE (153 both sections, 4.5 writing) scores to qualify for admission.

    UMN is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $21740

    Located in Amherst, UMass Amherst offers a master of science in sport management. Students can also choose to pursue a dual degree combining the master of science with a master of business administration (MBA).

    Students begin the 35-credit program with sport management required courses, including sports marketing, sports finance and business, socio-historical foundations of modern sports, and organizational behavior and development. Learners complete 12 credits in electives. A summer internship allows students to gain real-world experience and mentorship from those working in the field. Participants may also opt into an independent study with a proposal and director approval.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 to qualify for admission. The school prefers GMAT scores, but students can submit GRE scores as well (waived through 2021). UMass Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

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