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Sports Management Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, 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.
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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.

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Methodology
1California University of Pennsylvania+
ADMISSION RATE
96%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
30

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.

Additional Info
2Lock Haven University+
ADMISSION RATE
88%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

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.

Additional Info
3SUNY Cortland+
ADMISSION RATE
52%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

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.

Additional Info
4Wayne State College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

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.

Additional Info
5University of Wisconsin-Parkside+
ADMISSION RATE
62%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

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.

Additional Info
6Shawnee State University+
ADMISSION RATE
74%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

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.

Additional Info
7East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
3

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.

Additional Info
8Eastern Connecticut State University+
ADMISSION RATE
58%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

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.

Additional Info
9Wilmington College+
ADMISSION RATE
87%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

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.

Additional Info
10Voorhees College+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

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.

Additional Info

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.

Bachelor's Degrees in Sports Management
Sports management degree programs have a wide focus that prepares students to work in many different positions within the sports and fitness industries. Curriculum includes study in sport finance and economics, sports governance, facilities management, sport leadership, business and communications. Career options are just as varied. Students who complete bachelor degree programs in sports management might find employment as executive assistants with a sports team, as an account representative or account director with a sport league or sports organization. Others may find employment as managers of local sports facilities.
Sports agent
Represents the interest of athletes with prospective employers, negotiates contracts, sponsorships and other avenues of revenue for clients.
Coach/assistant coach
Provides direction, evaluation and support for professional, amateur and collegiate athletes during practice and games. Evaluates and scouts new players.
Sports marketing manager
Works with other department managers to create marketing plans, plan promotional campaigns, and negotiate media spending and advertising contracts. Identifies new markets and strengthens organization's presence in existing markets.

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.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Athletic Trainers$48,63025,01022.2%
Coaches and Scouts$42,540235,40012.7%
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors$43,720280,0809.8%
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials$35,08018,6107.4%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
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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.

Michael Moody Fitness Scholarship
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents and be a current high school senior, undergraduate or graduate level student planning on enrolling in an accredited college or university full-time in the upcoming school year. Students should be able to demonstrate that they have outstanding achievement in school, as well as participation and leadership in school activities and work experience. Applicants should be pursuing a degree in one of the following: athletic training, personal training, physical education teaching and coaching, health and physical fitness, exercise science, sports and recreation management, health sciences or another related field. Only electronic applications will be considered. Application must be one of the first 1,000 applications entered to be considered. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

July 15

 

 

Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association Scholarship
Applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. attending college in the United States. Students must write a 500 word essay and be studying in one of the following fields: Architecture, Athletic administration, Athletics, Boiler inspection training, Biological conservation, Biomechanical sciences, Building construction, Civil engineering, Coaching, Commercial driving schools, Construction sciences or management, Dance education, Forest science, Forestry studies, Engineering technology, Environmental resource management, Exercise science, Industrial technology schools, Kinesiology, LEED training or certification, Mechanic schools, Mechanical drafting, Machine technologies, Natural resources / conservation, Physical administration, Physical education, Physical rehabilitation or therapy, Recreation & park administration, Small engine repair schools, Sports & fitness management, Survey schools, Trucking schools, Wood sciences. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

July 7

 

 

Jean Lee/Jeff Marvin Collegiate Scholarships
Applicants must be attending an Indiana college or university and be upcoming juniors or seniors who are majoring in health education, physical education, recreation, dance education or allied areas. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$1,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

January 15

 

 

Dearrel Bates Memorial Scholarship
Applicant must be a graduating senior from a MAC conference high school who will pursue a bachelor's degree in journalism, sports communication, or sports management full-time. Financial need and minimum 2.5 GPA required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$750

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

 

 

Professional Organizations

Promotes professional development through study and research in the fields of sports, recreation and leisure.
The nation's leading organization dedicated to advancing the field of sports marketing through forums, professional interaction and research.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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