2018 Top Online Schools for Sports Management

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering sports management degrees online.

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School Rankings

1

Adelphi University

Students who enter the online Master of Science in Sports Management program at Adelphi University can specialize in either sport marketing or collegiate athletic administration. Candidates can complete the degree in as little as two years, and they never have to come to campus. Applicants do not have to submit GRE or GMAT scores. This is a 36-credit program that requires students to complete a capstone project. Students have the chance to network with department faculty and alumni who have ties to many major sports teams. For example, Adelphi sports management alumni Kevin Mawae served as president of the NFL Players Association.

2

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers a Master of Science in Sport Administration that can be pursued online. The program prepares students for successful careers in sports administration in a variety of settings such as health and fitness clubs, stadiums and arenas, country clubs, and professional sport organizations. Online students are still required to participate in an internship with a professional team, a collegiate athletic organization, a conference, etc. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Ethical Issues in Sport, Sport Finance & Budgeting, and Sport Governance & Operations.

3

Belhaven University

The School of Business at Belhaven University offers a Master of Sports Administration that can be pursued online. The goal of the program is to prepare students for successful careers in the sports and recreation industry. Online students will receive the same high quality, Christ-centered education as students who pursue this program on campus. Students are able to complete this program in two years in a series of eight-week terms. Many graduates of the program go on to pursue successful careers as athletic directors, associate directors of facilities, media relations directors, sports writers, and more. Students enrolled in the program will take courses like Current Issues and Trends in Sports Administration, Leadership and Sports Ethics, and Sports Finance and Budgeting.

4

California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Science in Sport Management Studies with a concentration in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration or a concentration in Sport Management, and both of these programs can be pursued online. The concentration in sport management is oriented towards professional development, management, and leadership, and the concentration in intercollegiate athletic administration focuses on students who wish to pursue careers in intercollegiate athletics. Both concentrations are offered with asynchronous courses over the internet. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Research Methods in Sports Management, Socio-Cultural Aspects of Sport, and Management and Leadership in Sport.

5

Canisius College

The School of Education at Canisius College offers a Master's of Sports Administration online. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills that are needed to manage a wide variety of sport-related enterprises. There is an internship component that may be completed with any athletic organization in a student's area. Many graduates of this program go on to pursue careers in sport-marketing firms, as professional sports managers, in special-event management, and more. Students enrolled in the program may take such courses as Leadership in Sport, Strategic Sport Marketing, Risk Management/Contract Negotiation, Intercollegiate Athletics, and Professional Sport.

CAG Score 95.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,900 Students

6

Coker College

Students interested in sport management can earn a Master of Science in College Athletic Administration 100 percent online through Coker College. This program requires students to complete 30 credits, with courses ranging from NCAA compliance to college athletic facilities. Students can substitute an internship with a college athletic program or league for one required course. One recent student had an internship preparing social media content for the Charlotte Hornets, and another recent grad is now a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals.

7

Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management that can be pursued online. This program focuses on topics such as governance and communication, legal considerations in sport operations, and leadership and ethics. Graduates of the program have the opportunity to work in a number of settings such as public and private agencies, schools, colleges, government, universities, and the military. Students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Health and Wellness, Survey of Economics and Finance in Sport, Governance and Communication in Sport, and Sport Marketing.

8

Columbia College

Columbia College allows online students to major in sports marketing when they are earning a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. To earn the degree, students must complete 51 credits in core business administration courses as well as 18 credits in the sports management major. Sports management courses include sports finance, social media, and sports and event marketing. Electives for the major can be taken in a number of areas, including physical education and marketing. Columbia also requires students to meet general education, foreign language, and other requirements so that they earn 120 credits before completing their degree.

9

Concordia University-Chicago

Concordia University Chicago offers several degrees related to sports management that can be pursued online: a Master of Art in Sports Leadership, a Master of Business Administration in Sports Management, and an Ed.D/Ph.D. in Sports Leadership. The M.A. program is 33 credits in 8-week courses where students will take such courses as Economics of Sport, Essentials of Law, Sports Promotion, and Leading in Time of Change. Graduates of the M.B.A. program often go on to have successful careers in sports media, sports administration, sports marketing, etc, and graduates of the Ed.D./Ph.D. program are well prepared for leadership and management positions with professional sports teams as well as intercollegiate athletics.

10

Concordia University-Irvine

Concordia University Irvine offers a Master's degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration, which can be pursued online. In this program, students will develop a professional network of colleagues, peers, and instructors throughout the nation; grow professionally with a new approach to athletic administration; develop a new philosophy of athletics, coaching, and leadership; and enhance ethical leadership as well as character development in a faith-based learning environment. This program includes courses such as Legal Aspects of Sport, Ethics and Sport, and Research Methods & Analysis.

11

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Concordia University - Saint Paul offers a Master of Arts in Sport Management, which can be pursued entirely online. The program is meant to help students to achieve their academic and career goals, and it consists of 33 credit hours in 7-week courses. The program is accelerated, and many students complete the degree in as little as 18 months. In this program, students will explore concepts of marketing, law, management, and strategic planning, particularly as they relate to the field of sport management. Students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Foundations of Sports Management, Sports Marketing, Ethics & Policy in Sports Management, and Legal Aspect of Sports.

12

Davenport University

The Donald W. Maine College of Business at Davenport University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Sport Management that can be pursued online. In this program, students will develop skills in business fundamentals in addition to the legal, marketing, regulatory, and operational aspects of sports management. Students who pursue this degree online will receive the same high quality educational experience as students who pursue this degree on campus. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Legal Aspects of Sport Management, Sport Management Foundations, Sport Operations and Facilities Management, and Sport Governance and Regulation.

13

Fairleigh Dickinson University

The Master of Sports Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University can be completed entirely online. This is a 12-course, 36-credit program that requires students to choose an area of specialization: sports administration or coaching theories and strategies. The specializations are also available as online certificate programs. The curriculum includes three core courses, five courses in the specialization, an internship, and a capstone project. For their capstone, students develop a strategic or operational plan, a timetable for implementation, and an evaluation process. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA, but GRE or GMAT scores are not necessary. Students can begin the program at the start of any trimester.

14

Finger Lakes Community College

Finger Lakes Community College offers an Associate of Science in Sports Studies that students can pursue 100 percent online. Graduates with the A.S. in Sports Studies are prepared to continue on at a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree in sports management or a related field. To earn the degree, students complete general studies requirements and take lower-division courses in sports management, including courses covering tourism, sports marketing, and event management. In past years, students in the program have traveled to national sports management conferences to gain a deeper understanding of the industry.

15

Franklin Pierce University

Franklin Pierce University offers a Master of Business Administration in Sports Management as well as a graduate certificate in Sports Management, and these programs can be pursued entirely online. The goal of the program is to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to manage effectively in a wide variety of sports-related settings. Many graduates pursue positions in intercollegiate athletics, both professional and amateur sports, and sports marketing firms. This program is meant to be an 18 - 24 month program of study, and students are able to pursue an accelerated option where they will complete their degree in as little as 12 months.

16

Georgia Southern University

The online Master of Science in Sport Management at Georgia Southern University is designed as a part-time program so that students can continue to work while taking classes. The curriculum requires students to complete 12 courses, and students can complete the degree in as little as two years. When reviewing applicants, the faculty considers factors such as previous coursework related to the sport management curriculum; professional experience, including any experience in the sports industry, even as a volunteer; academic performance; personal statement of career goals; and GRE or GMAT score. Students can only enter the program in the fall.

CAG Score 93.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

20,459 Students

17

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University offers a Master of Sport & Athletic Administration, which can be earned entirely online. With Gonzaga's Jesuit traditions, the program provides a unique experience for both traditional and online students alike. The mission of the program is to prepare students for a successful career within the field of sport administration. Admission cycles for this program begin in the fall, and the curriculum of the program is interdisciplinary, including courses such as Sport & Athletic Promotions, Sport Media and Communication, and Sport & Athletics in Social Context. Online courses are available in a shorter 8-week semester structure, and the online program generally takes about two years to complete.

18

Indiana State University

Indiana State University offers a Master of Science that can be pursued entirely online. The goal of the program is to provide working professionals with the opportunity to advance their career within the sports industry. The program consists of 36 credit hours, and it focuses on preparing students to enter or advance in the field of sport management while concentrating specifically on sport marketing, sport finance, the governance of sport, sport law, event and facility planning, and also management functions. There are no residency requirements in the program, and students may complete their coursework entirely online. The core content of the degree program focuses on the eight competency areas established by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM).

19

Jacksonville State University

The Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at Jacksonville State University offers a Master of Science in Sport Management which can be pursued in entirely online courses. The mission of the program is to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter or advance in the field of sports management. The program consists of 31 - 34 graduate semester credit hours, and there is an option for students to earn Class A teacher certification as well. The program adheres to all requirements established by The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

20

Lasell College

Graduate & Professional Studies at Lansell College offers a Master of Science in Sport Management that can be pursued online. This degree is available in three concentrations: Sport Leadership, Sport Hospitality Management, and Sport Non-Profit Management. Lansell's M.S. in Sport Management is entirely online with no residency requirement. The online courses are taught by the same highly qualified faculty as the on campus classes, and online students are given the same services as students who pursue degrees on campus. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Current Issues in Sports, Managing Diversity in Sport Organization, and Sport Leadership to Shape the Future.

21

Liberty University

Liberty University offers a Master of Science in Sport Management with four different concentrations: General, Outdoor Adventure Sport, Sport Administration, and Tourism. All of these concentrations may be pursued online. The program prepares students to excel within the field of the sport management industry. The Outdoor Adventure Sport concentration provides students with the opportunity to develop the adventure-based and management skills necessary for a career in outdoor recreation, the Sport Administration concentration gives students the knowledge and skills they need to develop sports organizations, and the Tourism concentration develops the marketing and management skills that are required for a successful career in the tourism industry. Students enrolled in this program will take such courses as Social Issues in Sport Management.

22

McKendree University

The online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at McKendree University has a program in sports management designed for students with career goals such as managing a sports facility or fitness center, or working for a sports-focused business or community organization. Students take courses covering topics such as sports and health psychology, legal aspects of sports management, sports financing and budgeting, and sports facility and event management. Students also work an internship to get practical experience in applying their education to real-world problems. McKendree requires students to earn 120 credits, including general education requirements, to complete the degree. Online classes are offered in an eight-week format, and many students take two courses per eight-week term.

23

Midwestern State University

Midwestern State University offers a Master of Education in Sport Administration, which may be pursued by students entirely online. The goal of the program is to prepare students for administrative and management positions in sport-related fields. Graduates of the program often go on to pursue career opportunities in school sports, professional sports, college sports, sport events, government entities, and fitness organizations. Students enrolled in this program will take courses that explore topics such as organizational leadership, media and community relations, and applied research.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,043 Students

24

Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management and a Master of Science in Sport Management, which can both be pursued online. These programs are meant to help students to develop the skills to manage sport programs at many different levels. The bachelor's degree is a 120-credit hour program, and there are no residency requirements. The Master's degree program is meant to prepare students to effectively manage sport-related enterprises such as intercollegiate athletics, interscholastic athletics, sport-marketing firms, professional and amateur sports, and special-event management. These programs offer online students the same experience as students who attend on campus.

25

National University

National University has an online Associate of Science in Professional Golf Management for students interested in a career in the golf industry. Students in the program take courses covering topics such as history of sport, philosophy of coaching, facilities operations, accounting and business practices, player development, and sustainable golf and turf management. The associate degree requires 90 quarter units, and students must complete general education requirements along with their major requirements. National University will accept up to 31 transfer quarter-credits for students entering this program.

26

Northampton County Area Community College

Northampton Community College offers an Associate of Arts degree in Sports Management online. The goal of this program is to prepare students for entry level positions in the field of sport or to prepare students to transfer to a four-year university to complete their bachelor's degree. NCC has a transfer agreement with DeSales University that will ensure students have a smooth transition into a bachelor's degree in sports administration. Many graduates of the program go on to become successful sales representatives, directors of sports management, sports partnerships directors, community relations coordinators, and more.

27

Ohio University

The College of Business at Ohio University offers a Master's in Athletic Administration as well as a Professional Master's in Sports Administration, and both of these programs can be pursued online. The Professional M.S.A. program is available entirely online, and the Master's of Athletic Administration is available online with a two to three day in-person component. The M.A.A. program was the first online program of its kind to focus on interscholastic sports, and it is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The M.S.A. program consists of three elements: applied projects, current issues, and sports administration core. Courses in the sports administration core include courses such as Human Resource Management in Sport and Research Methods in Sports Administration.

28

Shorter University

Shorter University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Sport Management as well as a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management online. Both of these degrees offer students a specialized education focused specifically on the sports environment including career opportunities. The M.B.A. is accelerated and may be completed in 12 months. In addition to providing students with the general M.B.A. curriculum, this program gives students an opportunity to explore the business side of sports. Students enrolled in the M.B.A. program may take courses such as Business of Sport, Risk Management in Sport, and Sport Operations & Event Management.

29

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers an international Master of Business Administration in Sport Management and a Master of Science in Sport Administration, and both of these programs can be pursued online. The Master of Science in Sport Management can be received with an Athletic Administration Graduate Certificate or with an International Sport Management Certificate. The M.B.A. in Sport Management can be completed in as little as 18 months. Both programs focus on learning opportunities with a strong core of business administration. Students enrolled in the M.S. program will take courses such as Sport and Society and Sport Marketing and Media whereas students in the M.B.A. program will take courses such as Internationalization of Sport Business and Management of Sport Organizations.

30

Texas A & M University-College Station

The online Master of Science in Sport Management at Texas A&M University is a 36-credit, non-thesis program that accepts both full-time and part-time students. The curriculum includes research courses and sport management core courses covering topics such as financial and personnel management and sport media and marketing. Students also complete electives and a field experience. Admission to the online program is competitive, with accepted students typically having an undergraduate GPA much higher than 3.0 and more than four years of experience in the sport industry. GRE scores are not required, but students may submit them to enhance their application. Students can start the program in any semester.

CAG Score 97.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

63,813 Students

31

Troy University

Troy University provides online options for degrees in sport management at the bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. level. Undergrads can earn a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management with a concentration in sport management. The Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management with a concentration in sport management is a 36-credit program with a thesis or non-thesis option. Master's candidates can gain real-world experience through an optional internship. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA and must submit MAT, GMAT, or GRE scores. Troy has the nation's first Ph.D. in Sport Management offered online. Troy sport management grads have found jobs with organizations including the NFL, NBA, and Division I athletic departments.

32

United States Sports Academy

The U.S. Sports Academy offers a Bachelor of Sports Science, a Master of Sports Science, and a Doctor of Education in Sports Management. All of these degrees can be pursued online. The Doctor of Education in Sports Management program is 66 credit hours, and it prepares students to become private sport entrepreneurs, high school or college athletic directors, and/or college professors of sports management. The school is a member of the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Education in Sports Management program will take courses such as Structure and Function of the Olympic Games, Ethics in Sports, Psychology of Elite Performance, and Group Dynamics in Sports.

33

University of Central Missouri

Students without a sport-related baccalaureate might look to UCMO's Master of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management. All they need is an introductory management course and they're set to apply. Successful applicants choose between a thesis and an internship in this completely online program. Both options share five required core courses in law, marketing, finance, leadership and public relations, but the former mandates two research courses instead of just one and limits enrollees to one elective. The internship option is more freewheeling, letting students explore multiple electives; in exchange, however, they must complete 33 credits, whereas thesis students stop at 30.

CAG Score 95.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

14,395 Students

34

University of Cincinnati

Despite being completely online, Cincy's MS in Sport Administration is most beneficial to local students. That's because graduates may take advantage of the program's connections with college and high school athletic departments in the area. They should be qualified for roles as athletic directors, media relations directors, facility managers or event directors. Just one year in length, the MS makes it easy to get started: There are three enrollment dates, and applicants with a 3.0 don't need to submit GRE results. Finishing up may be painless as well, as the school lets students choose between a final thesis, project or portfolio to graduate. Before that, however, they must finish coursework in finances, sales, public relations and marketing.

35

University of Florida

With required coursework in Economics, Marketing and Psychology, the BS in Sport Management at University of Florida is broad enough to appeal to both aspiring sports agents and budding university athletic directors. An internship takes up the entire final semester. The MS in Sport Management is more specialized, letting students choose between Athlete Development, High Performance Coaching, and Sport Law. The 36-credit program values applicants with some experience working in the sport industry. Up to 15 credits may be earned through a combination of a practicum and internship. The former is essentially part-time work experience that can be completed at any time, while the latter comprises 20 to 40 hours a week of on-site management.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

50,645 Students

36

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor offers a Master of Science in Education in Sports Administration, and the degree can be pursued entirely online. The program is 36 credit hours, and it will provide students with the necessary preparation for successful careers as athletic directors, sports marketing managers, sports information directors, and other athletic administrative roles. The degree can be completed in as little as a year, but it also allows working professionals the flexibility to work full-time and pursue an online degree. Students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Sport Psychology, Sport Marketing, Management & Leadership in Sport, and The Administration of Special Programs.

37

University of Northwestern Ohio

The University of Northwestern Ohio offers an Associate Degree in Sport Marketing and Management as well as a Baccalaureate Degree in Sport Marketing and Management online. The program gives students the opportunity to learn how the principles of management and marketing can apply to the sport and recreation industry. Students in this program will acquire the necessary leadership, business, and management skills to have successful sports business careers. Graduates of the program are prepared for entry-level positions in areas like communications, sales, event marketing and management, community relations, promotions, and game operations. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Principles of Sport Management, Managing Fitness Concepts, History of Sport in the United States, and Sport in Society.

38

University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a Master of Science in Sport Management entirely online. This program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to have successful careers in the sports industry. The program is also available with an emphasis in Sport Event Security Management. Graduates of the program go on to work in business management, sports event security management, and more. The program consists of 36 credit hours, and students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Financial Management in Sport, Socio-Ethical Issues in Sport, and Sport Marketing and Public Relations.

39

Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Master of Education in Sport Leadership, and this degree can be pursued online. This degree is presented in video conferences, and there are no residency requirements. Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of professional and amateur sports organizations. This program is interdisciplinary, and it is 36 credit hours minimum. Students in the program will take courses such as Research Methods in Sport, Foundations of Coaching, Sport Media and Communications, and Sports Psychology.

40

Wayne State University

The Master of Arts in Sports Administration at Wayne State is a 30-credit program geared toward careers in amateur or professional athletics. Although the MA is an online program, the school pulls adjunct faculty from the Detroit area, with lecturers including the Director of Marketing for the Detroit Tigers and a local college athletic director. Courses cover everything from finance to marketing to risk management, and the final hurdle is a six-credit internship with a sports team anywhere in the world. The department employs its own internship coordinator to assist students with placements.

41

Wesley College

Wesley College offers a Master of Arts in Sport Leadership that can be pursued online. The program can be completed in two years, and courses are offered in seven-week semesters. This degree is meant for working professionals within the sports industry who would like to advance their careers and fill leadership roles. The degree is available in a coaching track and a sport management track. Graduates of the program often pursue positions as recreation leaders, athletic administrators, director of leisure programs, and more. Students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Legal Aspects of Sport, Sport Leadership Organization and Administration, and Sport Leadership Communication.

42

Wilmington University

Wilmington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management as well as a Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Sports Management for students to pursue in their entirety in online courses. The B.S. degree is designed to prepare students for entry level positions within the field of sports management whereas the M.S. degree is meant to prepare students to enter or advance their positions within the field. The M.S. program consists of 36 credit hours, and students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Strategy in Organizations, Leadership Development and Change Management, Business Strategy in Sports Administration, and Sports Economics and Finance.

When it comes to affordable online programs in sports management, the sky really is the limit! But with so many degrees out there, you may have trouble making a final choice. Never fear—help is at hand. In the following guide, you’ll find tips on assessing the worth of an online degree, deciding between the MBA and the MSA, transferring credits, taking advantage of tuition breaks, and much more. We also have handy financial summaries of the top online schools in our rankings for both quality and price.

Unsure if sports management is right for you? Check out our guide to Affordable Sports Management Degrees and compare it with our guide to Affordable Exercise Science Degrees. On each page, we go into more depth about your degree options, coursework, and typical job opportunities after graduation.

Types of Online Sports Management Degrees

Online Associate’s Degree in Sports Management

  • Do You Want an Online AS/AA or an Applied Associate Degree? Traditionally, an AA or AS is intended to set you up for a credit transfer to a bachelor’s degree and an applied associate degree will train you for entry-level jobs. For instance, the University of Northwestern Ohio has an Online Associate of Applied Business (AAB) in Sport Marketing and Management that prepares graduates for marketing positions. But this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Many Online AA and AS programs in Sports Management are designed to be used for either an immediate career or transfer. Check the curriculum if you’re in any doubt.
  • Can You Specialize at this Level? In a few cases, yes! Although most associate degrees are focused on sports management or administration, you will find programs that have specific careers in mind. For example, National University offers an Online AS in Professional Golf Management for students interested in jobs in the golf industry (e.g. facilities operations, coaching, player development, sustainable golf and turf management, etc.). Have a look at the credit requirements—these online programs may be longer than a traditional associate’s degree.
  • Will Your Online Credits Transfer Easily to a BA, BS or BBA? Once you’ve replenished your bank account, you may want to move your hard-earned associate credits into a bachelor’s program. As long as your online credits come from a regionally accredited institution, they should transfer smoothly, but we recommend you double-check with the school. Also, it’s useful to know that some community colleges have special arrangements with universities. For instance, Northampton Community College has a transfer agreement with DeSales University that allows graduates of the Online AA in Sports Management to move easily into DeSales’s bachelor’s degree in sports administration.
  • Can You Apply Credits for Previous Experiences? Do you already have some college credits? Are you a veteran with military experience? Have you taken certain exams? You may be eligible to apply academic and career-based credits to your online associate’s program for General Education requirements. The more credits you can transfer into the degree, the less you’ll have to pay in tuition. Talk to the program coordinator about your options.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management

  • Why Pursue an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management? A bachelor’s degree in sports management will prepare you for a variety of entry-level and intermediate jobs in the field. You might end up running a sports facility or fitness center, directing a sports program or athletic department, specializing in marketing & promotions, working for a sports-focused business or community organization, acting as a sports agent, or managing sports events. Be sure to discuss your options with the program coordinator before you commit.
  • What is an Online BBA? Any online bachelor’s degree with “business administration” in the title, including the BBA, BA, or BS in Business Administration, is going to include a lot of courses in business fundamentals (e.g. finance, accounting, marketing, economics, and management). That means it can often serve as a building block for a career spent managing sport organizations & facilities, private enterprises, and commercial ventures. The course descriptions will give you a lot of clues as to the direction of the degree.
  • Have You Considered Other Degree Titles? Some schools offer programs that take advantage of departmental strengths. For example, Troy University has developed an Online BS in Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management with a concentration in Sport Management and the U.S. Sports Academy has created an Online Bachelor of Sports Science in Sports Management with a Sports Security emphasis. Take a moment to explore all your options.
  • Will You Gain Real-World Experience? We favor online programs that incorporate career training and networking opportunities. Think internships, practicums, and field work. For instance, students in Colorado Mesa University’s Online BS in Sport Management can participate in a senior-year, 12-credit internship—the equivalent of full-time employment for a total of at least 540 hours. Look for schools that have great partnerships in place with local and regional sports organizations.
  • Can You Apply Academic & Career Credits? Just like an online associate’s degree, universities will often allow you to apply previous academic & career credits toward an online bachelor’s program. For example, applicants to McKendree University’s Online BA in Business Administration can apply up to 90 credit hours for transfer from a regionally accredited institution. You may also come across online “degree completion” programs in sports management. In this case, schools will expect you have an associate’s degree or the equivalent number of credit hours.

Online Master’s Degree in Sports Management

  • What Can You Do With an Online Master’s Degree in Sports Management? An online master’s degree will set you up for intermediate and high-level positions in sports fields. We’re talking about job titles such as athletic directors & administrators, professional sports managers, sports scouts & agents, sports marketing managers, recreation leaders, facility directors, personnel managers, media relations directors, etc. Graduates often find jobs in sports organizations, colleges, community organizations (e.g. YMCA), health & fitness clubs, country clubs, sports businesses, and the like.
  • Can You Choose a Career-Focused Concentration? If you have a specific job in mind, be sure to look at degrees with optional specializations or emphases. Plenty of universities now offer online master programs with concentrations in fields such as Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, Sport Leadership, Sport Marketing, Sport Hospitality Management, Sport Non-Profit Management, Outdoor Adventure Sport, Sport Administration, Tourism, Sport Event Security Management, and more. You’re sure to find a program that suits your goals!
  • MA/MS vs. MBA vs. MSA vs. MEd: You’ll see all kinds of degree titles in our rankings—not just Online MA and MS degrees in Sports Management, but also MBA programs, the Master of Sports Administration (MSA) and the Master of Education (MEd). MBA programs will usually have a core of mandatory business courses related to running a business or managing a large organization. MS and MA programs may have a lot of sports-focused requirements (e.g. sport finance & budgeting; sport governance & operations; sport marketing & public relations; sport law; event planning). MSA programs may include extra topics in leadership, administration, and management. MEd degrees may have coursework for aspiring athletic directors, sports information directors, and other athletic administrative staff. But these are huge generalizations! Because each program is unique, we recommend you take a close look at the curricula.
  • What About Majoring in Athletic Administration? One of the major alternatives to an online graduate degree in sports management is an online master’s in athletic administration. Examples include Concordia University Irvine’s Online MS or MA in Coaching and Athletic Administration, Gonzaga University’s Online MA in Sport & Athletic Administration, and Coker College’s Online MS in College Athletic Administration. As you might expect from the title, these degrees tend to focus on areas in athletics (e.g. NCAA compliance), coaching, and leadership.
  • Do You Need a GRE or GMAT Score for an Online Degree? It depends on the school. Some universities (e.g. Troy University) want to see MAT, GMAT, or GRE scores on the application. Others (e.g. Adelphi University) don’t need any test scores. Georgia Southern University waives the GRE requirement if your GPA is 3.0 or above. Texas A&M University-College Station doesn’t require the GRE, but you can submit it to enhance your application. Read the program website to find out exactly what’s required.
  • Is the Program Accelerated? Accelerated online programs are usually aimed at working professionals who have a fair amount of professional experience. They tend to be shorter (e.g. one year or 18 months) than traditional graduate programs.
  • Do You Want to Tackle an Internship? If so, there are plenty of online graduate programs in our rankings that will oblige. Examples of programs with mandatory internships include Canisius College’s Online MSA, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Online MSA (which also includes a capstone project), Arkansas State University’s Online MS in Sport Administration, and Texas A&M University-College Station’s Online MS in Sport Management. In some cases, you may be able to choose between an internship or a thesis.
  • Can You Transfer Graduate Credits? If you already hold a graduate certificate in a sport management field or you have taken some relevant graduate courses, you may be able to transfer some of those credits into the online master’s program. Most schools have a cap. For instance, Texas A&M allows students to transfer up to 9 hours of coursework subject to the approval of the student’s committee (no transfers for core classes are allowed). UF allows a maximum of 15 transfer credits, but only graduate-level work with a grade of “B” or better is eligible for transfer.
  • Does it Hold COSMA Accreditation? The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) accredits both baccalaureate and graduate programs, including online degrees. For example, Ohio University has an Online Master of Athletic Administration (MAA) that is COSMA-accredited. You can use this accreditation as an extra quality marker, but it’s important to note that many solid master’s degrees on our list don’t have it. We talk more about COSMA in our Accreditation section (see below).

Online Doctoral Degree in Sports Management

  • Is it Worth the Investment? Your online master’s degree will be enough to qualify you for most management jobs. But if you’re thinking of teaching at the university level or applying for high-level research jobs, then an online doctoral degree in sports management is worth a look. Remember that it’s a huge financial commitment, so look for programs that are going to a) support you throughout the program b) give you access to key research resources c) provide you with ongoing access to your PhD supervisor.
  • Can You Find One? They’re rare, but online doctoral programs in sports management do exist. Troy University has developed the nation’s first Online PhD in Sport Management and the U.S. Sports Academy offers a 66-credit Online Doctor of Education in Sports Management that prepares students to become private sport entrepreneurs, high school or college athletic directors, and/or college professors of sports management.

Online Certificate in Sports Management

  • What Area Do You Want to Specialize in? Online certificates in sports management are designed to prepare you for certain jobs and allow you to earn credits that you can later apply to a degree. Most certificates in sports management are offered at the graduate level, where you’ll find titles such as Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Online Graduate Certificate in Sports Administration or Coaching Theories & Strategies and Franklin Pierce University’s Online Graduate Certificate in Sports Management.
  • Will Your Credits Transfer to a Degree? Always check to see if your online credits will transfer smoothly to a sports management program (online or on-campus). You may not want a degree now, but you don’t want to repeat courses if you choose to apply for one later. Some schools make this simple. For instance, course credits for Southern New Hampshire University’s Graduate Certificate in Online Athletic Administration can easily be applied toward the university’s Online MS in Sport Management.

How to Choose an Online Sports Management Degree

Let’s say you’ve committed to studying sports management, chosen a degree level, and found three or four programs that suit your goals. Is there any way to whittle that shortlist down to one? You bet. Just ask yourself the following questions:

Practical Issues

  • Can You Enroll if You Live Out-Of-State? In most cases, universities have reciprocity agreements (e.g. SARA) that allow students from other states to enroll in distance learning programs. However, you may find that your state or sports management program is one of the exceptions to the rule! Always do a quick check of the State Authorization page and speak to the program coordinator if you have any questions. For instance, there are a number of states in which Midwestern State University cannot deliver specific online programs.
  • Does the Program Fit With Your Schedule? Online students are usually working at the same time as they are studying, so schools often go out of their way to make things flexible. Many online sports management programs, especially master’s degrees, are offered in short semesters (e.g. 7 or 8 weeks) with multiple start dates and asynchronous classes (i.e. there’s no need to log in at a certain hour). However, remember that if your degree includes an internship, on-campus components, or synchronous work with classmates, you will need to block out time in your schedule. Research all the time requirements!
  • What is the Credit Transfer Policy? As we’ve noted, you may already have credits that you’d like to transfer into a degree, especially academic credits or credits for prior work experience & training. Every university has its own quirky transfer policy, so you’ll have to spend a little time with the program website. Don’t be afraid to ask the program coordinator about your options.

Program Quality

  • Who is Teaching Your Online Course? We believe this is one of the most critical components in an online sports management program. For the money you’re paying, you deserve experienced professionals who know how to support distance learners. If you can’t find faculty profiles on the program website, check the course schedule or university catalog for the names of the actual professors. Are they working in the field at the moment? Do they have a LinkedIn profile? What jobs have they held in the past? For example, Wayne State University’s adjunct faculty lecturers include the Director of Marketing for the Detroit Tigers and a local college athletic director.
  • Is the Coursework & Training Relevant? We’re talking about courses with real-world applications (e.g. sports budgeting, event planning, marketing, etc.), capstones that focus on industry challenges, internships with potential long-term employers, case studies, and applied project work. Remember that you have plenty of choice here. Find the program and concentration that match your goals.
  • How Does the Program Support Online Students? Distance learning can be challenging, especially if you’re used to a classroom. To ensure you make it over the finish line, look for online programs in sports management that will support you with services such as career counseling, tech support, tutoring, and job placements. Some programs also have internship coordinators to make your life that little bit easier.

Money Matters

  • Are There Hidden Costs? Read the tuition & fees page and then re-read it. Even if you don’t have to pay for campus facilities, schools love to tack on fees for distance learning or technology. You may also be expected to pay for materials, travel to internship sites, and software programs. Draw up a comprehensive budget.
  • Is Financial Aid Available to Online Students? If you enroll in an online degree program (undergraduate or graduate) at a regionally accredited school, you will usually qualify for financial aid packages (e.g. loans, grants, scholarships, etc.). However, it’s always best to check with the Office of Financial Aid for details. For example, non-degree programs like online graduate certificates typically do not qualify for federal aid. The Office can also direct you toward external funding options (e.g. outside scholarships, employer reimbursement programs, etc.).
  • Do Online Students Receive a Tuition Discount? Public and state universities often offer big tuition breaks to online undergraduates (and sometimes to graduates) who reside in the state or in neighboring states. One example of this phenomenon is the University of Florida. Other universities are happy to give tuition discounts to online students regardless of their location. Policies vary widely between schools, so visit the tuition & fees page for details.

If you’re worried about any university offering an online program in sports management, find the state where the university is located and then have a look at our Online State Rankings. Under each state, we have a detailed list of Online Schools with Accreditation & Quality Concerns.

Affordable Online Sports Management Degrees

The following universities appear in our rankings of Top Affordable Schools for Sports Management and Top Online Schools for Sports Management. That means they have met some extremely tough criteria for quality, flexibility, price, and use of financial aid money (you’ll see a CAG Score next to their profiles).

Canisius College

Canisius’s Online MSA is administered by the School of Education & Human Services, but you’ll find Graduate Tuition & Fees listed under the Office of Student Records & Financial Services. The Office has an extensive advice section on Financing Graduate School, including tips on Graduate Student Aid (e.g. federal student loans), discounts for employees of certain partners, and religious scholarships.

Trying to expand your career prospects? Canisius encourages MSA students to participate in internship opportunities that are coordinated through its alumni network. You can also pursue independent research and gain practical experience & credentials in the sports industry via the college’s Institute for Research in Sport (IRIS).

Georgia Southern University

GSU’s Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology in the Waters College of Health Professions (WCHP) has the rundown on its Online MS in Sport Management. The latest tuition & fees are listed in the Office of Student Accounts. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per credit hour rate. The Office of Financial Aid can assist with federal aid applications.

There are no specific WCHP scholarships open to MS in Sport Management students, but GSU has developed a detailed Career Opportunities section, which includes a list of useful professional associations, for its sport management graduate students.

Midwestern State University

Both the West College of Education and MSU Distance Education have details on MSU’s Online MEd in Sport Administration. Current tuition rates are posted by the Business Office. The Graduate School has a separate section on Scholarships & Financial Aid; the West College also lists internal education scholarships.

Texas A&M University-College Station

Texas A&M’s Department of Health & Kinesiology (HLKN) in the College of Education and Human Development handles its Online MS in Sport Management. The Office of Student Business Services has the intel on tuition & fees—all online students in distance education courses pay the same differential tuition. The Office of Student Financial Aid can answer questions on graduate aid.

Looking for scholarships? Texas A&M posts university opportunities for graduate/professional student scholarships, as well as additional scholarships from outside sources. The Graduate Merit and Graduate Diversity Fellowship is open to first-time graduate students. (The HLKN department nominates students for the fellowship.) See the Graduate and Professional Studies section on funding opportunities for more info and ideas.

University of Central Missouri

UCMO’s Online MS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management falls under the control of the College of Health, Science, and Technology (CHST). But it’s UCMOnline that has the details on online tuition rates & fees. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same rates. The Office of Student Financial Services supplies financial assistance for graduate students.

UCMO’s Academic Works website lists all its internal scholarships. You should also check out the list of UCM Foundation Scholarships for students of the Graduate School and Extended Studies.

University of Florida

UF Online has the full details on its Online BS in Sport Management, including an entire section on undergraduate tuition & financial aid; Florida residents receive a massive discount on tuition! The Office of Student Financial Affairs (SFA) is your first port of call for help with federal aid packages & scholarships. Current and former members of the U.S. Armed Services may qualify for assistance programs or out-of-state tuition waivers—visit UF Veterans Services for details.

Meanwhile, prospective graduate students can check out UF Distance Learning for the scoop on the Online MS in Sport Management. The program website has a section on tuition & aid (in-state and out-of-state students pay the same rates). You may be considered for merit-based scholarships at the time of admission—UF recommends you talk to an Academic Coordinator for details. You can also explore grant, scholarship, and loan options through the SFA section on graduate students.

Online Sports Management Degree Accreditation

Regional Accreditation

Whatever your final choice, we recommend you opt for a university or college that holds regional accreditation. This accreditation is given to a institution, not an individual department or program, so it encompasses both on-campus and online degrees.

Earning an online qualification from a regionally accredited school will make it easier for you to transfer credits; qualify for federal aid; apply for student loans, scholarships, and tuition reimbursement; and gain acceptance into graduate programs. Many regionally accredited schools will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools.

Business School Accreditation

Are you considering an Online BBA or MBA? You may wish to see if the business school has accreditation from one of the following accrediting bodies:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

AACSB is often considered the gold standard, but we take a closer look at all 3 accreditations in our guide to Affordable MBA Programs.

COSMA

The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) was created by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) in 2008. It’s the only organization offering discipline specific accreditation in sport management.

COSMA will accredit online degrees in sports management at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. Having said that, there are plenty of strong distance learning programs in our rankings that haven’t pursued the accreditation. You may want to use it as just one factor in your decision-making process.

View a list of COSMA-accredited sports management programs.

Licensure & Certification and Online Degrees

Licensure for Sports Agents

Aspiring sports agents should be aware of three important things concerning licensure:

  • Every major league (e.g. NFL, NBA, MLS, etc.) has its own licensure requirements. If you want to work for more than one league, you will need a separate license from each.
  • Even if you already hold a league license, some states (e.g. California) will still require you to earn a separate state license.
  • Each state handles licenses for combative sports such as boxing, martial arts, and wrestling differently.

We cover licensure in our guide to Affordable Sports Management Degrees, but we wanted to point out that licenses may have minimum education requirements. For example, sports agents in the NFL must hold an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree (Masters or Law) from an accredited college/university. Regionally accredited online degrees should meet the requirements, but check with the licensing body if you have any doubts.

Professional Development Certifications

Once you’ve completed any mandatory licensure, you may also want to think about earning a professional certification with an independent organization (e.g. Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE)). These voluntary qualifications show potential employers that you’re serious about your career.

You’ll often find info about certification options on the university’s program website. For example, UF clearly states that its Online MS in Sport Management with a specialization in Athlete Development will qualify students to pursue certification through the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists (PAADS). When in doubt, ask!

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