Best Master’s in Sports Management Degrees

Few activities engage the attention, and attract the finances from a demanding public as much as sports.

Best Masters in Sports Management Degrees 1 The nearly endless variety of sports attracts the energetic and enthusiastic participation from a very wide swath of any population in any culture. The exciting appeal of sports fuels a booming industry that demands leaders who can manage it well to ensure wholesome growth at all levels of competition.

The highly competitive field of sports management attracts sports-minded people to work in sport communications, marketing, venue management, team management and more. As any athlete knows full well, disciplined, high-quality training provides the essential foundation for success on the field or the court. Similarly, to succeed in sport management, you need to seek the best preparation you can possibly find. Toward that end, this article lists some of the best masters in sports management programs you can find. Enjoy reviewing these programs to find the one that best launches you into your sports management dream career.

What are the best Master’s in Sports Management degrees?

While some of these MS in Sports Management degrees were designed for those seeking leadership development and others for those desiring a business foundation, they all share one thing one common: they are the best MS in Sports Management programs in the country.

To determine the best Sports Management programs we started first with the academic reputation of each school nationwide that offers the degree. We then investigated the student retention rates—a sign of student satisfaction—the school’s affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.

After our extensive research, we found those programs that are the country’s absolute best at training leaders in sports management. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.


Florida State University

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $16,506

School Website


Located in Tallahassee, Florida State University offers its Master of Science in Sports Management through the College of Education. Intending to prepare students to lead in the field of sports management, FSU designed the degree with both a thesis track and a non-thesis track. Students taking the 36-credit non-thesis track pursue a wider variety of interests through electives and internships. Students pursuing the 34-credit thesis track research and develop expertise in a particular area with the option of eventually pursuing a doctorate. Students in the non-thesis track gain hands-on experience through a practicum that varies from three to twelve credits in length.


Temple University

College Choice Score: 98.78

Average Net Price: $21,237

School Website


Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers its Master of Science in Sport Business through its School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM). Students can pursue their interests more specifically through one of four concentrations including Athletics Administration, Recreation and Event Management, Sport Analytics, or Sport Marketing and Promotions. Students complete the 36-credit program in two to four years. The school offers all classes after 5:00 PM, allowing students to pursue full-time employment, internships or assistantships during the day. All students take 18 required STHM credits and six business credits, plus electives. Temple offers both thesis and non-thesis options.


Texas A & M University

College Choice Score: 96.88

Average Net Price: $15,455

School Website


Texas A & M University offers its M.S. in Sport Management both online and on-campus at College Station, Texas. While the traditional on-campus option enrolls students only during the fall semester, online students can enroll for fall, spring or summer semesters. In either format, students may pursue the thesis, or non-thesis option. Students in the non-thesis options serve a four-credit internship. On-campus students in the non-thesis option may take up to 12 credits in directed study activities. Given the limited space available, students admitted to this competitive program typically enter with GPAs in excess of 3.0 and an average of 4.3 years of experience in the field.


University of North Carolina

College Choice Score: 96.80

Average Net Price: $10,077

School Website


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one of the most unique sports administration graduate programs available, specifically focused on college athletics. Students admitted to this master’s level program become part of a small, close-knit cohort of 9 students, all of whom serve on at least one committee, and as interns in the UNC athletic department. Because of their internship placements, students receive a generous financial support package including tuition remission, a stipend worth nearly $11,000 per year, and health insurance. Students progress through core college sports administration courses during their first year and then through both a master’s thesis, and a full-time internship their second year.


University of Florida

College Choice Score: 95.55

Average Net Price: $14,761

School Website


The University of Florida offers an online master’s degree in sport management from their campus in Gainesville. With more than 1,600 alumni currently working in the sports and fitness administration field, the UF program has established a clear track record of success. Students select one of three specializations in athlete development, high performance coaching, or sport law. Available courses include International Sport Management, Character Development in Sport, and Advanced Sport Law. Students earn elective credit while serving in a practicum or internship opportunity. Non-thesis master’s students must complete a capstone project during their final semester.


University of Michigan

College Choice Score: 95.37

Average Net Price: $16,107

School Website


Located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, School of Kinesiology offers a 30-credit Master of Science in Sport Management degree with, or without the thesis option. To qualify for the thesis option, students must hold a B+ average through their first 12 credits. Students study a number of sport enterprise issues including entrepreneurship, urban planning, finance, diversity, social justice, and globalization. Course topics include Strategic Management in Sport, Managing a Professional Sport Franchise, and Theory of Sport and Consumer Behavior. The program exposes students to the insights of leading sports executives.


Indiana University

College Choice Score: 94.05

Average Net Price: $12,621

School Website


While Indiana University operates from nine campuses throughout the state of Indiana, its School of Public Health offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Kinesiology in Athletic Administration/Sport Management from the main campus in Bloomington. Founded in 1985, the program has trained more than 150 alumni who are currently employed in the field. Required courses include Issues in Commercial Sports, NCAA Compliance, Sport Brand Management, and Understanding Sport Media. Students must complete a three-credit culminating experience in Sport Strategy and Application. Admission into this competitive program requires a minimum GPA at the bachelor’s level of 2.80 along with scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).


University of Minnesota

College Choice Score: 93.94

Average Net Price: $16,242

School Website


From its main campus in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, School of Kinesiology offers a 36-credit Master of Arts in Sport Management. Applicants may transfer as much as 40% of the credits earned from an accredited institution. Students in the thesis option must complete 26 major credits plus a 10-credit thesis. Students in the non-thesis option must complete a capstone project involving 120 task hours. Elective options include Youth Sport Science, Sport and Gender, and Special Topics in Kinesiology. The most successful applicants hold a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and average to above average GRE scores.


University of Connecticut

College Choice Score: 93.41

Average Net Price: $19,064

School Website


From its campus in Storrs, the University of Connecticut prepares leaders in Sport Management through its Neag School of Education. The Sport Management Program offers training at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Students may pursue the 33-credit M.S. in Sport Management with a thesis option or non-thesis option. Within the non-thesis option, students may elect to complete either a six-credit internship, or a six-credit research project. Given that two of the three options involve research as the capstone project, all students must take six to nine credits in qualitative and quantitative research methods. UConn limits enrollment in the master’s program to 35 students.


University of Georgia

College Choice Score: 92.93

Average Net Price: $14,956

School Website


Since its first class graduated in 1804, the University of Georgia has been sending trained leaders from its campus in Athens. Today, its college of Education extends that impact into the field of sport management with its MS in Kinesiology (Sport Management and Policy). Students may pursue the degree through the 36-credit non-thesis option or the 30-credit thesis option in preparation for doctoral level study. Courses in this program address the economic, legal, social, and ethical issues facing the field. Students will also study the role of sport in society with a few to protecting it through sound policy and effective management.


CUNY Brooklyn College

College Choice Score: 91.80

Average Net Price: $9,771

School Website


Brooklyn College, part of the City of New York University system, prepares students to lead in the diverse field of sport management through their Master of Science in Sport Management. The school designed the program for student with both experience and an undergraduate degree on sport management. Applicants lacking that background must complete prerequisite courses prior to the third semester in the program. Students complete a required core of courses including Global Sport: Olympic/Paralympic Movements and Sport Governance, and Business Management of Community/Club Sports and Recreation. Students need an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.00 to apply.


The University of Tennessee

College Choice Score: 88.66

Average Net Price: $20,780

School Website


At its founding in 1794, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville made history as the first public university west of the Appalachian Divide. Built on years of tradition and innovation, UT Knoxville offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Sport Management with both thesis and non-thesis options. With a strong emphasis on experiential learning, the program offers considerable flexibility to fit the interests of each student. Both options require only three classes with the rest of the program comprised of work experiences and electives. Students in the non-thesis option must complete a three-credit capstone project. Applicants must hold a 3.00 undergraduate GPA for admission into this competitive program.


University of South Carolina

College Choice Score: 87.00

Average Net Price: $19,913

School Website


Rich in history with roots tracing back to 1801, the University of South Carolina in Columbia continues to prepare leaders for the South Carolina and beyond in numerous fields. Its College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management offers a Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management with both thesis and non-thesis tracks. Students in both tracks must take a comprehensive examination upon completion of all coursework and thesis. Uniquely, the curriculum offers the most extensive treatment of venue management including arenas, stadiums, and amphitheaters. Applicants with some experience in a sport management field hold a competitive admissions advantage.


University of Illinois

College Choice Score: 86.62

Average Net Price: $16,683

School Website


The University of Illinois, College of Applied Health Sciences offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Recreation, Sport and Tourism with a sport management emphasis at its campus in Urbana-Champaign. Students may pursue either the thesis or non-thesis option. The program builds upon a broader foundation of recreation and tourism management in addition to sport management, integrating the unique insights of each field. Students must spend at least one semester on campus. Full-time students can complete the program in as few as three semesters. Applicants must show a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 through the last 60 credits of their bachelor’s studies.


St. Thomas University

College Choice Score: 86.13

Average Net Price: $18,778

School Website


Founded as Biscayne College in 1961 in Miami, Florida, St. Thomas University now equips leaders in a variety of fields including theology, law, sciences, and business. Its business school offers a Master of Science in Sports Administration. The university first offered an undergraduate program in sports administration in 1973 and continues to build on that success. Full-time students can complete the 30-credit program in just one year, progressing through classes in six eight-week terms throughout the year. Students must complete a three-credit internship. Alumni currently serve throughout the industry and include general managers for professional football, basketball, and baseball teams.


University of Massachusetts

College Choice Score: 85.46

Average Net Price: $20,093

School Website


The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a 35-credit MS in Sport Management built on a commitment to experiential learning. As such, all classroom work weaves with real-world projects to give students the opportunity to solve authentic business challenges. Consistent with this emphasis, all graduate students must serve a three-month internship in the field. Students may also pursue the MBA/MS in Sport Management Dual Degree to achieve an even stronger business management foundation. The highly competitive admissions process favors applicants with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, good GRE or GMAT scores and at least two years of work experience.


Troy University

College Choice Score: 85.37

Average Net Price: $10,283

School Website


Originally established in Troy, Alabama, Troy University now serves students from four campuses throughout the state. The university offers a Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management with a sport management specialization. This degree holds program accreditation by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). Students may pursue this degree through the on-campus or online formats. Though not required, students build greater expertise by completing an optional 400-hour internship. The curriculum includes classes on Entrepreneurship in Sports, Risk Management in Sports, and NCAA Governance, Compliance and Institutional Control. Troy Sport Management graduates currently serve in all levels of the industry.


University of Louisville

College Choice Score: 85.33

Average Net Price: $16,249

School Website


Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the University of Louisville offers a Master of Science in Sport Administration that holds program accreditation by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). The university’s College of Education and Human Development administers this 36-credit program in both traditional on-campus and fully online formats. Students must take six core sport administration courses, two research methods courses and complete a three-credit internship. Students round out the program with three elective courses that could include, International Sports, Women in Sport, Management of Pro Baseball, or Sport for Development and Peace, among others.


Louisiana State University

College Choice Score: 84.41

Average Net Price: $7,981

School Website


Louisiana State University’s School of Kinesiology offers its MS in Kinesiology with a sport management specialization from its campus in Baton Rouge. This 36-credit, non-thesis degree builds on a unique collaboration between LSU’s School of Kinesiology, E.J. Ourso College of Business, and the Manship School of Communication. Accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) requires students to serve a semester long internship. Past students have served internships in community, collegiate, and professional sports contexts. For added flexibility, students may also elect to pursue the degree through an online format. Of the 18 elective credits, six must focus on research.


University of Arkansas

College Choice Score: 83.27

Average Net Price: $15,411

School Website


Founded in 1871 on a hilltop overlooking the Ozark Mountains, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville serves as the major graduate degree granting institution in the state with more than 130 master’s degrees and doctorates. Its College of Education and Health Professions offers a 36-credit M.Ed. in Recreation and Sport Management with thesis and non-thesis options. Students must take a 15-credit management core and six-credit research core. Nine credits of electives includes classes such as Research in Sport Psychology, and Sport Media and Public Relations. The non-thesis option requires students to take an organizational design course in sport management and either a three-credit internship or independent study project.