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Students must fulfill the following requirements to complete the online masters in sport management:

Total Credits Required: 36

Students must also complete an advanced Capstone Project after completing 27+ credit hours.

Research Core (6 credits)

HLP 6515 Evaluation Procedures in Health and Human Performance (3)

This course consists of two parts – theoretical and practical. From the theory perspective, this is an introductory course in descriptive and inferential statistics. The course approaches the abstract concepts in a systematic and logical progression, so that they are easily attainable. The topics include levels of measurement, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, probabilities and normal distribution, sampling distribution of the mean, and confidence intervals, among others. Students will learn the logic of hypothesis testing and have a general understanding of how the statistical procedures – t-test, one-way ANOVA, chi-square, correlations and regression – work. They will learn how to select an appropriate statistical test for a given research question.

From the practical angle, the course teaches basic data analysis skills through hands-on lab assignments involving real data, mostly from social sciences and tourism. The lab part of the course has a steep, but manageable, learning curve when students get to know SPSS software, its interface, and main commands. For the first 2-3 weeks of the course, students should allocate the appropriate amount of time for SPSS assignments. At the end of the course students are expected to have basic working knowledge of SPSS and be able to:

  • Organize, present, and interpret data
  • Choose appropriate statistical procedures to answer a particular research questions
  • Apply most common univariate and bivariate statistical tests
  • Read SPSS output and interpret test results

HLP 6535 Research Methods in Health and Human Performance (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students in the Department of Sport Management and related fields with an introductory survey of research methods. Lectures and field-based participation prepare the student to understand key components of academic/business research, such as:

  • Problem research
  • Hypothesis construction
  • Review of literature
  • Questionnaire design
  • Pilot data collection and analyses
  • Formulation of a research proposal
  • Research presentations

Ultimately, the basic understanding of the research methods will enhance decision-making ability in solving various research/business-related problems.

Required Courses (15 credits)

SPM 5016 Sport Sociology (3)

This course will be taught in a seminar-style manner, with student-led presentations and discussions. Through the reading of journal articles and book chapters, we will utilize sociological concepts, theories, and research to critically examine social issues in sport. These issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Classism
  • Discrimination
  • Homophobia
  • Violence
  • The media
  • The influence of sport on youth culture

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Better understand the link between research, theory, and practice in a sport context
  • Critically examine social issues as they relate to those who manage, participate in, and consume sport and any/all segments of the industry
  • Consider and discuss personal experiences as well as the experiences of others as they relate to the marginalization of individuals and groups in society and sport cultures.
  • Better appreciate and understand the potential benefits of and need for diversity in sport.

SPM 5309 Sport Marketing (3)

Through case studies, in-class discussion, and a practical exercise creating a marketing plan for a large, global sport organization (using scenarios provided by the instructor), students perform an in-depth examination of modern marketing techniques for sport professionals.

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Apply sport marketing knowledge to case studies to solve problems
  • Compose strategies to solve sport marketing problems in sponsorship and marketing mix decisions
  • Identify key aspects of the social media marketing environment for sports marketing
  • Identify critical marketing issues that are of relevance to the current sport consumer
  • Develop a marketing plan for a sport organization

SPM 5506 Sport Finance (3)

SPM 5506 Sport Finance will equip aspiring sport managers with the skills to enhance their financial decision-making in a management role, applying concepts to the continually evolving landscape of the sports industry. By the end of this course, the student will:

  • Understand basic financial concepts
  • Know when to use each of these concepts in a management situation
  • Have the ability to communicate what these results mean in business from a decision-making standpoint.

The course will specifically focus on decision-making with respect to financial considerations, with real-world and hypothetical problems based within the sports industry. While this class is geared toward some unique aspects of the field, the skills acquired will help with making decisions in any business platform.

SPM 6158 Management and Leadership in Sport (3)

In this course, we explore the critical function of leadership in the management of organizations. Building from the academic foundations of industrial psychology, organizational behavior, and organizational theory, we consider the degree to which leadership is of strategic import to organizational operations. We approach the topic from a variety of directions (including classical leadership theory, biographical studies, analyses of contemporary issues of leadership, philosophical debate, and personal experiences) and disciplines (both inside sport and out). In addition to gaining an advanced understanding of leadership theory and practice, students will consider their own approaches to leading organizations.

This course will not produce new leaders. Instead, it will provide students with an environment to engage in critical thought, scholarly discourse, and philosophical debate about what it means to lead.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define leadership based on myriad attributes and actions rather than position in the organization
  • Identify examples of leadership from a number of unique perspectives
  • Apply classical leadership theory to contemporary management challenges
  • Collaborate with colleagues and propose real-world solutions to contemporary sport management issues
  • Develop personal leadership philosophies designed to guide future decision-making
  • Recognize the scope of their own organizational influence as leaders in the sport industry

SPM 6726 Issues in Sport Law (3)

This course is designed to introduce students to the legal structures, statutes, case law, and standards that establish legal responsibilities, rights, privileges, and controls related to the field of sport management.

Course Objectives:

  • To introduce the student to the U.S. legal system
  • To introduce the student to legal research
  • To introduce the student to the role of law in sport and other physical activity programs
  • To provide the student with opportunities to study specific standards, legislation, case law, governing bodies, and legal issues related to the sport industry
  • To provide the student with opportunities to make presentations and conduct research on sport-law-related topics.

Topics covered include:

  • The United States legal system
  • Research skills for the study of law
  • Tort law, negligence, product liability
  • Risk management
  • Constitutional law and issues
  • Drug testing issues
  • Contract law
  • Employment law
  • Legislation affecting physically/mentally challenged individuals
  • Gender issues & Title IX
  • Sport governing bodies and professional associations

Electives (15 credits)

SPM 5107 Sport Event Management Principles and Applications (3)

In this course students learn how event management methods enable successful planning for sport events. They apply the following skills to realistic scenarios:

  • Evaluate the event management process
  • Recommend event management tactics for successful planning and delivery of sport events
  • Analyze the managerial challenges of planning and managing sport events
  • Apply risk management strategies for sport events
  • Evaluate qualities of successful leaders
  • Create sustainable practices for sport events

SPM 5181 Athlete Development (3)

This course will provide an overview and study of the main skills utilized by athlete development specialists, including how to manage the intersection of elite athletes and sport media, athlete career development, and the fundamentals of athlete personal finance.

  • Demonstrate how effective public relations can establish, maintain, and improve athlete’s relationships with media, fans, sponsors, and the public
  • Design and develop plans for how athletes can promote positive messages through various forms of media
  • Demonstrate how athletes can manage media challenges and opportunities they may face
  • Identify and implement assessment tools used to guide athletes through appropriate career transitions
  • Comprehend how athlete’s interests, education, skills, and abilities provide the foundation for successful career transitions
  • Describe the fundamentals of personal finance to enable athlete financial security
  • Assist athletes in their basic awareness and understanding of the importance of personal finance
  • Conduct action research on an aspect of athlete development of their choice and produce a professional research brief on the topic

SPM 5206 Sport Ethics (3)

This course is designed to encourage sport managers to think about the moral and ethical dilemmas typically encountered by managers in the sport industry. The course will better acquaint and refine sport managers’ understandings of sport relative to issues such as sportsmanship, violence, performance enhancing drugs, race, gender, and media. This will better prepare students in this class to be agents of change within the sport industry to help it strengthen and prosper. This will be accomplished through student discussions, case studies analyses, formal debates, and the development of position papers on particular topics, which will be supplemented with lectures and readings.

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe ethics and morals, and discuss their role and application to sport managers and the sport industry
  • Apply the theoretical and foundational concepts that support ethical and moral reasoning
  • Compare the similarities and differences of various ethical theories
  • Discuss factors that influence their decision making and avoid negative factors that may impact their ability to be an ethical sport manager
  • Identify, analyze, and debate specific issues relative to ethical dilemmas commonly encountered within the competitive sport context
  • Demonstrate effective written and verbal communication such as critical thinking, deductive reasoning, decision-making and research skills

SPM 5936 Sport Science for Athlete Development Specialists (1)

This one-hour course is designed for students to build a strong foundation in sport science and athlete human development as Athlete Development Specialists and Practitioners. Upon completion, students will have a foundational knowledge of how physical training during appropriate stages of human development can maximize athletic performance, how shortcuts in the physical, mental, and emotional development can derail an athlete’s long-term ability to succeed, and how to identify and refer athletes to the appropriate professional specialist when an athlete’s condition is outside of the development specialist’s control.

SPM 5936 Character Development in Sport (2) or SPM 6905 Character Development in Sport (3)

This course is designed to provide future sport management professionals (SMP’s) and coaches with a proven playbook on character literacy development CLD in youth and amateur athletics. This course provides one of the most comprehensive and progressive sports-based character curricula in the country. Course objectives:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the plight of youth and amateur sport today through the current literature on the topic
  • Investigate and articulate why participation in youth sport is declining at a rate of close to 6% each year
  • Take a look back in time at their own amateur athletic experience to compare to youth today
  • Understand how to effectively and consistently identify, promote, develop, and assess for comprehension and retention of the immeasurable value of character literacy development in our youth
  • Identify, analyze, and debate “real” issues in coaching and parenting relative to ethical dilemmas commonly encountered within the competitive amateur sport context (i.e. Does teaching or emphasizing character soften our kids? Can you still win and teach character? Has our culture forgotten how to win?)
  • Demonstrate effective written and verbal communication such as critical thinking, deductive reasoning, decision-making pertaining to the ever evolving field of athletic coaching
  • Understand that character values learned through sport must be taught and emphasized by parents, coaches, and administrators through a systematic building-block approach that is adapted to the level and age of the student-athletes
  • Facilitate real-life application of theory at youth recreation centers as coaches/mentors

SPM 5936 Fundamentals of Coaching (3)

Coaches are leaders, managers, mentors and teachers. Coaching is a demanding job and yet we do not formally train coaches in our country. The goal of this course is to provide current and aspiring sports coaches with the foundation of self-awareness needed to operate in this profession with confidence. This course will help you clarify your values, understand the bigger picture of the coaching profession and develop or re-examine your coaching philosophy.We will deep dive into how managing and leading yourself is the essential starting point to effectively managing and leading others

Course Objectives Upon completion of this course, students are expected to successfully:

  • Know and understand their life story and how this impacts their leadership style
  • Identify areas that may be holding them back from moving ahead with confidence
  • Know their DISC profile and understand how this helps them connect with others on their team and staff
  • Identify their highest values and make them actionable
  • Use their values to write a personal mission statement and coaching mission statement
  • Implement systems to be more organized and efficient in their work
  • Analyze their level of emotional control and how to manage their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a healthy and productive way
  • Understand the importance and components of a Well-Integrated Life and how to evaluate areas needed for improvement
  • Research established coaching philosophies in the athletic world and begin writing their own
  • Write their first draft of their coaching philosophy

SPM 6606 Management of Olympic Games Functional Areas (3)

This course explores the background and organizational structure of the Olympics from a managerial perspective. Students examine how sport event management concepts can help to meet the operational demands of the Olympic Games. By the end of the course, students can:

  • Identify the structure in the Olympic movement, including international and national governing bodies
  • Explain the role of the USA sport structure, including governing bodies and USOC’s role in sport development
  • Identify the organizational structure of Olympic Games organizing committees and the evolution of the organization across the seven years of preparation
  • Describe functional areas and their role in delivering an event within an organizing committee for the Olympic Games
  • Identify and apply mega event sport event management knowledge in local sport organizations
  • Identify career paths of interest in USA sport governing bodies

SPM 6610 Sport Events and Community Development (3)

This class concentrates on how sport events can draw support from and make a difference in communities. Key topics include the value of building a strong network and applying management strategies to reach planned development outcomes. At the conclusion of the course, students can:

  • Identify legacy outcomes for communities hosting sport events
  • Describe critical areas of bid files for sport event hosting in communities
  • Identify successful case studies of legacy outcomes and programmatic interventions from mega sport event hosting

SPM 6905 Advanced Sport Law (3)

Pre-requisite: SPM6726 Issues in Sport Law or equivalent experience. This course is designed to further student understanding of foundational legal principles in the field of sport management, especially those principles governing contractual relationships, agency representations, and liability for wrongful conduct. Course objectives:

  • To further student understanding of the role of contracts in sport management
  • To further student understanding of the principles of contract formation and enforcement
  • To train students to read and understand the types of contract commonly used in the field of sport management
  • To train students about the legal duties of agents as fiduciaries
  • To further student understanding of the principles governing the formation and operation of agency relationships
  • To further student understanding of the types of tort liability and defenses to tort liability that may arise in the sport management field
  • To further student understanding of how negligence principles operate in different settings in the sports management field
  • To introduce students to intentional torts such as commercial misappropriation of name or likeness that may arise in the sport management field.
  • To provide a comprehensive overview of how the laws of contracts, torts and agency affect sports management.
  • To provide an understanding of the scope of liability and the basic principles of legal risk management.

SPM 6905 Nonprofit Management in Sport (3)

This course is designed to explore the critical function of leadership in the management of sport organizations. Building from the academic foundations of industrial psychology, organizational behavior, and organizational theory, we consider the degree to which leadership is of strategic importance to organizational operations. In addition to gaining an advanced understanding of leadership theory and practice, students will consider their own approaches to leading organizations. This course will provide students with an environment to engage in critical thought, scholarly discourse, and philosophical debate about what it means to lead.

SPM 6905 Sports Sponsorship (3)

Sponsorship spending accounts for over $23 billion annually in North America alone. Sports sponsorship accounts for roughly 70 percent, or $16.37 billion annually. In this class we will aim to understand how sports sponsorship differs from advertising and why it is seen as an effective marketing tool. Through the exploration of various types of sponsorship, students will also be able to formulate their own creative solutions to achieve partner brand objectives. Further, students will gain a firm understanding in how sports sponsorships are sought out, formulated, evaluated, and activated to produce positive ROI and ROO for partner brands. ​


SPM 6905 Business of Sport Law (3)

Law governs many aspects of business. An understanding of legal rules provides a framework for making sound business decisions and facilitates commercial transactions. The course will cover: Starting a business (entity choice); Real estate finance, zoning; Insurance; Structuring compensation; Tax planning/wealth management; and Post sports career investment (M&A due diligence, franchising, etc.). Course objectives:

  • To improve analytical problem solving and ethical decision making skills.
  • To apply knowledge and skills to address and manage potential problems before they become actual, expensive problems.
  • To evaluate expert advice and determine the extent to which it should be incorporated into business decisions.
  • To provide a general understanding of the major legal issues that impact the business environment for sports businesses and sports players.
  • To provide knowledge of specific basic laws which affect business structure and finance.

SPM 6905 Fair Competition in Sport (3)

This subject is an intensive introduction to the law of antitrust, intellectual property, and consumer protection and data privacy. Antitrust focuses typically on monopolization and other “restraints of trade”. We will focus on: joint ventures, sports leagues, and the NCAA. The course also focuses on copyrights, provides a brief look at trademarks, presents comparisons of what can and cannot be protected, and what rights the owner does and does not obtain. We also will address how these IP issues play out in the context of licensing. The course will examine the legal implications of technological options to collect and commercialize personal data and the potential privacy implications therein.

Course Objectives:

  • To further student understanding of the role of antitrust, intellectual property, consumer protection and data privacy in sport management.
  • To increase student awareness of current legal issues and emerging legal in antitrust, intellectual property, consumer protection and data privacy trends in sport.
  • To learn to think critically and analytically about the intersection between the law and technology as it relates to monetization of sports businesses.
  • To examine the role of antitrust and labor laws in the professional sport industry.
  • To provide an understanding of the basic principles of legal risk management.

SPM 6905 Sport Mass Media (3)

This course is designed to examine the various forms (print and electronic) of mass media in sport; the evolution of sport mass media; the relationship of sport and mass media; the modes of communication (i.e., press conferences, news releases, and interviews) sport managers use to communicate with mass media; the role of sports information specialists; sport administrators’ management of public relation crises; and the laws and ethics that impact the relationship between sport managers and mass media.

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Justify the importance of sports to the mass media
  • Compare and contrast the various forms of media and the functions of these media forms
  • Discuss the symbiotic relationship between sport and mass media
  • Describe of the detailed inter-working of sport, culture, and mass media
  • Identify the theories and methodologies for critically examining sport and the mass media
  • Analyze the ideological frameworks within the mass media in the U.S. operations and how these frameworks shape media representations.
  • Identify and describe the various roles and responsibilities in the sport broadcasting industry.

SPM 5936 Athlete Centered Coaching and Leadership (2) or SPM 6905 Athlete Centered Coaching and Leadership (3)

Coaching sports in usually viewed from a perspective of the pursuit of performance excellence. However, studies have shown that performance excellence is, actually, dependent upon personal wellbeing. A thriving, happy individual will achieve the best performances. The Athlete-Centered Sport model provides for the creation of best performances by placing equal emphasis on the personal development of the performer.

This course is designed to explore the Athlete-Centered coaching model, what it is and how to apply its elements in daily coaching and team-building. The model apples to developing a team, a school program, a recreational program or an individual athlete. Leadership in sports is emphasized but correlation is made to business leadership and other high-performing cultures. Assignments are, largely, personally based, allowing the student to create a personal coaching plan that outline the student’s own values and goals as a coach and a useful, step-by-step model for impacting those they lead.

Students will:

  • Create an Athlete-Centered model of coaching by analyzing components of the Athlete-Centered model, prioritizing them and integrating them into a personalized coaching plan.
  • Argue for justification of inclusion of the elements they chose in their personal plan using research-based supports.
  • Compare and contrast transformational leadership to transactional leadership models and be able to classify leadership they have witnessed and experienced in the past as transactional or transformational.
  • Associate the changes and demands of youth development, findings through research and general culture to the methods and needs of coaching, coaches and business leaders, past and present.

APK 5404 Sport Psychology (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth examination of various topics in sport psychology that emanate from both the parent discipline of psychology and facets specific to athletics. Of particular importance will be exploration of the theoretical bases of each of the constructs of interest while also critically examining the empirical literature that supports and refutes traditional and contemporary frameworks. Given its science to practice orientation, practical examples of how the sport psychology literature informs applied work with athletes and other performers will also be explored. Students will develop a greater appreciation of the scientific foundations of sport psychology, will be prepared to generate meaningful empirical questions and hypotheses in the area, will become familiar with the typical protocols used in sport psychology research, and will gain a firm understand the conceptual bases that underlie the practice of sport psychology.

APK 6408 Performance Enhancement (3)

This course will intimately connect the theory of sport psychology with the dynamic challenges of the practice of applied sport psychology. Topics include personality, assessment, motivation, emotion, attention, self-confidence, mental imagery, ethics, the injured and over-trained athlete, youth sport, group dynamics, along with the psychological characteristics of elite athletes. The role of the sports psychologist as part of a performance enhancement team will also be addressed along with appropriate referral strategies.

SPM 6947 Graduate Internship in Sport Management (3-9; max. 9)

Prerequisite: completion of at least full 2 semesters (18 credit hours) of course work applicable to sport management.

Full-time, practical experience in sport management taken during the last 18 credit hours of the curriculum. Students can complete this requirement with a relevant organization of their choice (pending advisor and site approval). The student’s advisor will assist with student placement and serve as the university supervisor.

Every 48 clock hours of time spent working in a practical, real-world setting translates to 1 credit hour of coursework. Students can earn a maximum of 9 credits through the Internship.

To register for an internship course, students must complete and submit the following Proposal Form to their advisor for review.

SPM 6948 Advanced Practicum in Sport Management (1-3; max. 6)

Practical experience in sport management with an active sport organization taken any time during the curriculum. Students can fulfill this requirement at a location of their choosing (pending advisor and site approval). The student’s advisor will assist with student placement and serve as the university supervisor.

Every 48 clock hours of time spent working in a practical, real-world setting translates to 1 credit hour of coursework. Students can earn a maximum of 6 credits through the Practicum.

To register for a practicum course, students must complete and submit the following Proposal Form to their advisor for review.

Request Brochure

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To register for practicum and internship courses, students must complete and submit the following Proposal Form to the Department of Sport Management for review.

For more information about student assessment during practicum/internship courses, consult the Midterm Evaluation and Final Evaluation forms.

Pending Elective Options

The following courses may also be available depending on student interest:

  • Professional Paper (semester-long research project with a faculty member)
  • Managing Collegiate Athletics

For more information on elective offerings, please call (877) 665-3860 to speak with an Academic Coordinator.

Sport Management Specializations

The College of Health and Human Performance offers students in the online Master of Sport Management program the opportunity to develop expertise in specialized areas of the industry. Click on the links below for more information.

Sport Event Management Certificate

As part of the online M.S. in Sport Management program, students have the option to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Sport Event Management. This certificate program requires students to complete a sequence of three classes focusing on the challenges and opportunities involved in organizing Olympic-level competitions as well as regional events. Students will be required to apply for the graduate certificate prior to enrolling in courses. Click on the link below to learn more.

Social Media Certificate

Students can pursue a Graduate Certificate in Social Media as part of the online M.S. in Sport Management program. This certificate program teaches students to maintain, measure and analyze the performance of social media campaigns and their effectiveness. Students will be required to apply for the graduate certificate prior to enrolling in courses. Click on the link below to learn more.

Capstone Project

Upon completion of at least 27+ credit hours, a student majoring in Sport Management must complete the Capstone Project, which serves as the exit requirement for the Sport Management degree. This project is the final step in the degree process and must be completed prior to graduation.

The purpose of the Capstone Project is threefold:

  • Documents that the student is able to take newly acquired knowledge and skills and apply them to professional practice
  • Helps the student understand their weaknesses and strengths when seeking employment
  • Prepares the student in organizing information that will help them in seeking employment by effectively promoting themselves

Sport Management Professional Development Capstone Project

Capstone Evaluation