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Sports management programs equip students with the skills needed to navigate the dynamic and competitive sports industry. Graduates can pursue a broad range of professional roles once they have their degree in hand. A coach or scout, for example, makes a median salary of $44,890 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Facilities managers, meanwhile, earn a median salary of $101,870 a year.

A master’s program typically takes one and a half to two years for students attending full-time, with costs varying based on institutions. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a master’s degree program at a public institution is $12,394, while students attending a private college or university pay an average of $26,621.

How to Choose a Master’s in Sports Management Program

Choose your area of study

Selecting your area of study is crucial in aligning your academic and career interests. For example, you may consider focusing on sports marketing, facility management, sports law, or sports analytics. One decision you’ll need to make is whether you prefer to interact directly with athletes or are more interested in working in a business setting.

Your bachelor’s degree may impact your choice. A bachelor’s in business administration may equip you with the skills to become a facilities manager or financial manager for a sports team, while a bachelor’s in sports management may make you better suited to working as a coach or athletic director. You may want to work with a career coach to determine where your interests intersect with a potential area of professional expertise.

Research schools and programs

Thoroughly research accredited institutions offering sports management programs. Evaluate faculty expertise, program reputation, and available resources. Spend time on your potential school’s website, and don’t hesitate to ask admissions officials any questions you may have. Some factors to consider include the following:

  • How much does the program cost? In addition to tuition, you may have other fees, as well as costs for books and collateral materials. If you choose to live on campus, you will need to consider living costs as well.
  • Is the program accredited? Reputable colleges and universities have regional accreditation or program-specific accreditation. You may lose out on financial assistance and employment opportunities if you attend a non-accredited institution. Look up your chosen school’s status in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
  • What is the job placement rate for graduates? Find out what resources your institution offers to help graduates find employment. Most schools offer career placement services to students and should have data on the number of graduates who find jobs every year.

Prepare for tests and applications

You may need to take a standardized test such as the GRE in order to apply. Ensure your application includes a strong statement of purpose and a well-crafted resume. If you have previous experience in the field, be sure to note that. You are also likely to need letters of recommendation. While personal recommendations — such as from a minister or other community leader — can be helpful, it is equally beneficial to include letters from people who have known you in a professional capacity, if possible.

Check with your chosen school on application dates. Some schools have rolling admissions, which means you can submit your application at any time. Other schools have specific deadlines you will need to follow to be considered for admittance.

Select your program

By the time you have pulled together your application materials, you should have a good sense of what program you wish to enter. If you are uncertain and considering more than one, apply to all your options to see who offers you a better financial aid package. If possible, talk to faculty or staff members affiliated with the program you’re interested in. You may be able to learn a great deal from talking to the individuals who administer or teach in your chosen program.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Explore financial aid options, scholarships, and part-time work opportunities to fund your master’s program. Don’t forget to factor in additional costs such as books and materials.

Your first step should always be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be done online and will begin the process of applying for federal scholarships, grants, and loans. Your chosen school may also use the data on the FAFSA to help determine your eligibility for institutional aid.

Another potential source of assistance is organizational aid. If you belong to a professional association, for example, they may offer scholarships. Also, if you are a current or former military member, you may be able to earn a break in tuition costs. A quick internet search could lead you to other funding opportunities.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Sports Management Degree

Best Master’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

University of Florida

Texas A&M University

University of Michigan School of Kinesiology

Columbia University in the City of New York

Georgetown University

University of Minnesota

University of Central Florida

University of Massachusetts Amherst

SUNY Cortland

Florida State University

University of Iowa

Texas Tech University

Washington State University

The Citadel

University of South Carolina

St. Cloud State University

Southern Methodist University

Miami University

Troy University

Sam Houston State University

University of San Francisco

Baylor University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best master’s in sports management degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. These programs are accredited by agencies like the Commission on Sports Management (COSMA), which assesses sports management programs for educational excellence and a commitment to quality education.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for on-campus students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of master’s in sports management degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Sports Management Degree Program?

A master’s in sports management degree program offers prospective students an immersive education in the sports industry. Students can expect to gain comprehensive knowledge in areas such as sports business, marketing, facility management, and analytics. The curriculum typically covers strategic planning, leadership, and the legal aspects of sports management.

Most programs take between one and a half to two years, though it may take longer if you are attending classes part-time. Some institutions might integrate in-person labs or residencies to provide practical experiences and networking opportunities. Prospective students should anticipate learning from industry professionals, engaging in case studies, and developing skills essential for managerial roles in sports organizations.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in sports management degree program

  • Sports Marketing Strategies: This course delves into effective sports marketing techniques, covering topics such as sponsorship, branding, and promotional campaigns. Students learn to create strategic marketing plans tailored to the unique challenges of the sports industry.
  • Facility and Event Management: Exploring the intricacies of planning and executing successful sports events, this course focuses on facility management, event logistics, and ensuring optimal operational efficiency for sports venues.
  • Sports Analytics and Decision Making: This course introduces students to the world of sports analytics, teaching them how to leverage data-driven insights for informed decision-making in sports management. Topics include statistical analysis, performance metrics, and predictive modeling.
  • Legal Aspects of Sports Management: Providing a comprehensive understanding of the legal frameworks within the sports industry, this course covers contracts, negotiations, intellectual property, and regulatory compliance, preparing students to navigate legal challenges in sports management.
  • Global Sports Business: Focusing on the international dimensions of sports management, this course explores the global sports market, cross-cultural considerations, and the impact of globalization on sports organizations. Students gain insights into managing sports enterprises in an interconnected, multicultural context.

Master’s Degree in Sports Management Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master’s degree in sports management program?

To apply to a master’s degree program in sports management, begin by reviewing the specific admission requirements of your chosen institution. Typically, applicants need to submit a completed application form, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose outlining career goals, and standardized test scores like the GRE or GMAT. Some programs may also require a resume detailing relevant experience. It’s crucial to check for any additional prerequisites and deadlines. Additionally, talking to an admissions counselor can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the application process, ensuring a thorough and competitive submission.

How much does a master’s degree in sports management cost?

The cost of a master’s degree in sports management varies depending on the institution and program format. Usually, public institutions and state schools cost less than private institutions. In general, tuition can range from less than $10,000 to more than $30,000 per year. It’s essential to consider additional expenses such as textbooks, materials, and, if applicable, in-person residencies or travel costs. To obtain precise and up-to-date information, prospective students should refer to the specific university’s financial aid office or program website and explore funding options to make an informed decision based on their financial circumstances.

How long does it take to earn a master’s degree in sports management?

The amount of time it takes to earn a master’s degree in sports management typically spans one and a half to two years of full-time enrollment. Part-time options may also be available, depending on the school, which will extend the completion timeline. The specific length can also vary based on the program structure and credit requirements. It’s essential to consider individual circumstances, such as work or other obligations, when determining the most suitable enrollment option. Additionally, factors like internships or capstone projects might influence program length. In some cases, students may be able to transfer undergraduate credits to be used toward their master’s degree, which can shorten program time. Accelerated programs may allow students to graduate in as little as one year, but these are quite intensive and require a high level of self-discipline and commitment.

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