Students who love the business side of athletics often pursue degree in sports management. These programs can lead to many career possibilities in the field of sports and athletics, including working as an account manager for the National Football League or an entry-level position with one of country's powerhouse sports talent management firms.
Students considering enrolling in a sports management degree program can use the information on this page to learn more about 10 of the best colleges for sports management degrees. The programs highlighted here culminate in a bachelor's degree, which a common level of educational obtainment for many career avenues available for program graduates. These programs provide students with an educational foundation in sports administration, business, economics and finance needed for potential employment in a variety of sports careers.
Keep reading to learn more about these leading sports management degree programs, as well as helpful information on career options, scholarships, and common career paths for sports management majors.
Best Colleges for Sports Management Degree Programs 2018-19
The institutions ranked below represent the 10 best colleges for on-campus or online degrees for sports management from U.S. colleges and universities. We created these rankings using a unique methodology that blends a wide range of data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Read on to learn more about these featured colleges, or click on the button below for more insight into how this list was created.
The No. 1 institution in our rankings of best colleges for sports management degree programs is a public university located on a 92-acre campus near the Monongahela River in the city of California, which is about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. Cal U makes these rankings in the top spot because of its strong 85 percent admissions rate and high number of students enrolled in distance education programs at 64 percent. It also had the highest number of sports management degrees conferred by any university in our top 10.
Cal U also offers the most degrees in sports management. Educational pathways include undergraduate study in sport management, wellness and fitness and professional golf management. Online master's degree programs in sport management studies include concentrations in include sports management, strategic sport analysis or intercollegiate athletic administration.
Our second institution is located in the central Pennsylvania city of Lock Haven in Clinton County. LHU is a state university and one of 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The university offers two bachelor's degree programs for students interested in sport management. The sport administration pathway requires 120 credits of total coursework, including 60 credit hours of study in the program major. The accelerated Bachelor of Science in sport and exercise physiology track has the same requirements, but students begin graduate-level work their senior year. Students can also pursue the master's in sport and exercise physiology online and can complete the 30-credit program in one year of fulltime study.
Lock Haven University has a favorable 92 percent admissions rate and flexibility of alternative tuition payment plans. Students also receive academic and career counseling, and graduates receive career placement services.
State University College of New York at Cortland, or SUNY Cortland, was founded in 1868. Just under 7,000 students attended the 191-acre residential campus in fall of 2017.
SUNY Cortland offers either a Bachelor of Science in sport management or a B.S. in sport studies. Both programs require 124 credits to complete. The B.S. in sport management can lead to a master's degree - taken either on-campus or online - in sport management, or an on-campus M.S. degree in international sport management.
The sport management program at SUNY Cortland is the oldest sports management major of any institution in the SUNY system. The university makes our rankings in the third sport based primarily on its high 73 percent graduation rate, best among our ranked schools.
The No. 4 college in our rankings is a public four-year institution located in Wayne, Neb. The college has a history dating back to 1891 when it was founded as a college for teachers.
Wayne State College offers either a B.A. or B.S. degree in sport management that requires 120 credits to complete. Curriculum is broad and includes study in media and public relations, social skills, accounting, critical thinking and problem solving. An internship is required part of the degree pathway. WSC also offers a fully online master's degree in sport and recreation management.
With in-state tuition cost of $5,898, Wayne State College was the most-affordable institution of any college in these rankings. It also has an open admissions policy, and nearly one-third of all students at WSC are enrolled in distance education programs.
This public four-year university located in Somers, the University of Wisconsin makes our rankings in the middle spot due to its low cost of in-state tuition. At $7,431, UW-Parkside had the second-lowest cost of tuition among our 10 featured schools for on-campus and online sports management degrees.
The university's department of health, exercise and sport management offers bachelor's degrees in sport management and exercise science. The sport management program requires 63 credits of study in the program major, while the exercise science pathway requires between 75 to 78 credits. Students will need to complete a minimum of 120 credits to satisfy graduation requirements, as well as maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average in the program major.
Founded in 1986, Shawnee State University at Portsmouth is one of the newest state universities in Ohio. The university has a total annual enrollment of about 3,800 students.
Shawnee State University offers majors in both sport management and exercise science. The sport management concentration prepares students for employment in collegiate and professional athletic teams, sports facilities, health and recreation centers and administration offices of sports leagues. Coursework includes study in business, marketing, accounting and financial management. Students complete at least 43 credits in the program major, 22 credits in the business track, and 21 credits in the communications track.
The university had the third-lowest cost of in-state tuition among our 10 featured colleges at $7,364. It also had an open admissions policy, and job placement services for program graduates.
This public institution is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. It places seventh in our rankings with its strong graduation rate and 84 percent admissions rate.
East Stroudsburg University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management that prepares student for executive and management positions within the sports and fitness industries. However, students are free to choose a broad range of courses within the program to meet their needs and educational goals. Students must complete 45 credits in the program major, as well as nine credits of core business courses. They also must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in core classes, and complete an internship to satisfy degree requirements.
This public liberal arts college located at Willimantic, ECSU was founded in 1889 and had a total enrollment of 5,362 students in fall of 2016.
Eastern Connecticut State University's department of kinesiology and physical education offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sport and leisure management with concentrations in either sport management or sport science and performance. Students must complete between 51 and 52 credits of core coursework in the sport management concentration, and between 54 and 55 credits in the sport science and performance concentration, as well as maintain at least a "C" average in all program major courses.
ECSU had the second-highest graduation rate among our 10 featured colleges, as well as a favorable 16:1 student-faculty ratio.
Our ninth institution is a private career-oriented college located in Wilmington, Ohio with a smaller campus in Cincinnati. The college was founded in 1870 by the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and has an annual enrollment of about 1,100 students at its main campus. Quaker values of simplicity, stewardship, peace, integrity and equality are encouraged on campus and shape classroom learning.
The college offers a four-year sport management program that culminates in a Bachelor of Science degree. The program major requires 56 credit hours of study and includes a variety of coursework in sport administration, business, economics, marketing and management.
Wilmington College features strong graduation and admissions rates, but it also had the highest cost of in-state tuition among our 10 featured institutions.
Rounding out our rankings of best colleges for sports management degree programs is this historically black private institution in the rural South Carolina town of Denmark. The college was founded in 1897 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
Voorhees College offers a bachelor's degree in sports management that requires 132 credit hours to complete. Students must complete 39 credits in the program major, 50 credits of general education courses, and a 12-credit practical internship.
The college is tied for first with one other institution with a 93 percent admissions rate, and it also has the lowest student to faculty ratio of any institution in these rankings at 12:1.
Sports Management Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
The majority of colleges and universities with sports management degree programs offer bachelor's degrees in the field. Since there is such a diverse range of career options available for program graduates, it's difficult to point to one particular industry that requires a minimum educational obtainment of a bachelor's degree. However, students who complete either an on-campus or online degrees in sports management have a strong educational foundation in not only sports administration, but business, finance and communications - areas that can serve them well in any career. Here are but a few of the many job opportunities available to graduate of sports management degree programs.
Career Outlook for Sports Management Majors
Job opportunities for sports management majors are varied and diverse. Students should expect premier positions such as account executives at leading sports leagues and their franchises to be highly competitive. It's the same for sports agents - they represent the most well-known athletes in the country, and those players are likely to go with proven names in the industry rather than new college graduates to represent them at the bargaining table. Students pursuing sports management degrees should expect to put in time working at entry-level positions in their chosen fields and strive to make advances as they gain real-world experience.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Coaches and Scouts||$43,870||236,970||12.7%|
|Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes||$90,930||14,830||4.9%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Sports Management
Students enrolled in fulltime on-campus or online degrees in sports management can turn to federal financial aid to help pay for tuition, or they can pursue a scholarship dedicated to the field of sport management. A few of these include the Two Ten Footwear Foundation higher education scholarship, the North American Society for Sport Management doctoral research grant, and the Charles K. Mruk Scholarship offered through the New England Sports Turf Managers Association.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Sport Management Studies, Bachelor of Science, California University of Pennsylvania, https://www.calu.edu/academics/undergraduate/bachelors/sport-management/index.aspx
- Sport Administration, Lock Haven University, https://lockhaven.edu/sportadmin/
- Sport Management Major, SUNY Cortland, https://www2.cortland.edu/departments/sport-management/program-details.dot?progid=dfc0f66d-8577-45e3-9def-74e41fce73f5
- Sport Management, Wayne State College, https://www.wsc.edu/download/downloads/id/1760/sport_management.pdf
- Sport Management, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, https://www.uwp.edu/learn/programs/sportmanagementmajor.cfm
- Sport Management Concentration, Shawnee State University, http://www.shawnee.edu/academics/rehabilitation-sports/sport-studies/majors/sport-management.aspx
- Sport Management B.S., East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, https://www.esu.edu/academics/departments/sport_management/undergraduate_program/sport_management.cfm
- Sports and Leisure Management, Eastern Connecticut State University, http://www.easternct.edu/admissions/files/2013/10/Sports-and-Leisure-Management.pdf
- Sport Management, Wilmington University, https://www.wilmington.edu/academics/areas-of-study/sport-management/
- Sports Management, Voorhees College Course Catalogue Page 106, https://www.voorhees.edu/Content/Uploads/voorhees.edu/files/2015-2017%20Course%20Catalog%20updated%20Sept%2029%202016.pdf
- Sports Agent, Onet Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1011.00
- Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.