Sport Management (SM)

The Master of Science in Sport Management program prepares you to compete in the global job sport market as an industry leader. This 36-credit hour program is delivered on-campus and provides real-world training in a range of areas including sport marketing and finance, fund-raising and development, sponsorship and sales, NCAA compliance and more. Our students maintain a variety of professional and career goals, so the curriculum is designed to provide you with a broad professional preparation in the sport management field. The plan of study also affords you the opportunity to further specialize in one of two tracks: (1) Professional Track with a required internship, or (2) Thesis Track with a research component.

We have a long history of preparing sport management professionals at the graduate level. A degree in sport management from West Virginia University affords you access to an expansive alumni network working across all sport settings. Our program graduates have made significant contributions in intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, facilities and arenas, event marketing and promotions, business law, and other sport industries. This world-class network includes university faculty and staff, program alumni and our many organizational partners, including WVU Athletics.

The MS in Sport Management on-campus program was ranked in the top 40 in the 2019 Sport Management Postgraduate Course Rankings by Sport Business, and top 40 in North America in 2018 by Eduniversal Masters Ranking.

What our alumni have to say:

  • Geoff Lofstead

    "Without question my degree in the WVU Graduate Sport Management program allowed me the opportunity to get started in the golf business. Without this degree I would not have been able to secure the internship that provided a spring board into the business. This degree commands respect in the sport industry and I would not be where I am today without it. "

    Geoff L.

    M.S. SM, 1996
  • Rob Mullins

    "The network and relevant work experience gained while in WVU Graduate Sport Management Program were the perfect foundation to propel me toward my career goals in intercollegiate athletics. Years later, I continue to draw on my valuable time at WVU."

    Rob M.

    M.S. SM, 1993
  • Kirk Madsen

    "I would not be where I am today without the WVU Sport Management Graduate Program. I was able to gain valuable education and work experience and make contacts within the industry which directly led to me landing my first full-time position in professional sports."

    Kirk M.

    M.S. SM, 2008

What you'll study

This broad-based program prepares graduates to enter any sector of the sport industry through its professional and thesis degree pathways.

Two Tracks

Professional Track

This track is developed for those students who are seeking entry into the sport management workplace immediately following degree completion. The internship requirement represents the signature feature of the Professional Track. Learning across a range of applied settings, the internship provides you with hands-on work experiences targeting knowledge and skill development that is unattainable in the traditional classroom, while also enhancing your job marketability. 

Thesis Track

The Thesis Track option is available for students who are considering doctoral level work in the future. Sport Management has continued to emerge as a popular area of study in colleges and universities across the world. The completion of a master’s thesis remains an important benchmark for those students who aspire to faculty and/or research positions in higher education. The ability to effectively collect, manage, analyze, and interpret data also has implications for leaders of many non-profit organizations and sport associations. If you need more information about the thesis track contact Dr. Gonzalo Bravo at

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

  • professional portrait of Brent Oja in suit and tie

    Brent Oja

    Professional Highlights

    • Research emphasis on sport employee human resource management and development via positive organizational behavior
    • Published in Journal of Sport Management, Sport Management Review and European Sport Management Quarterly
    • Presented research at international and national conferences
  • lee

    Cindy Lee

    Professional Highlights

    • Worked as a sports marketer at Octagon Korea during 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup
    • Member of the organizing team for the 2001 World Taekwondo Championship
    • Research emphasis on fan behavior and various factors on their decision-making
  • Portrait of Gary Lhotsky outside

    Gary J. Lhotsky

    Professional Highlights

    • Eleven years of professional experience in collegiate athletic facility and event management at Florida State University, Florida International University and the University of Miami.
    • Extensive experience planning and hosting NCAA, ACC, Big East, TAAC and FHSA championships.
  • bravo

    Gonzalo Bravo

    Professional Highlights

    • In 2016, Bravo completed a sabbatical semester in Brazil and from 2014 to 2017 he was a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center of Latin American Studies.
    • Visiting professor at the Research Center for Sport, Leisure and Society at Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
    • Co-editor of three books: International Sport Management (Human Kinetics, 2012), Sport in Latin America. Policy, Organization, Management (Routledge, 2016), and Sport Mega-Events in Emerging Economies (Palgrave, 2018).
  •  Portrait of Justin Wartella at a football game

    Justin Wartella

    Professional Highlights

    • Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association (PSADA)
    • Former Sport Management Liaison and Executive Council Member
    • Pennsylvania State University (PSU) Summer Study Program
    • Coordinator and Instructor of the Sports Marketing Workshop and Internship
    • Super Bowl XLIX - Event Staff Supervisor
    • 2017 College Football National Championship Game - Event Staff Supervisor
  • Portrait of Hairston

    Patrick O. Hairston

    Professional Highlights

    • East Jefferson YMCA, Metairie, LA: Board of Governors Member – Board Chair
    • NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Selection Committee Member
    • Williamson (W.Va.) High School Athletic Hall of Fame Member
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

Internship Opportunities

The internship experience enhances your job marketability. Host organizations often use internships to evaluate potential future employees while also providing invaluable professional experience. Compensation and duration of the internship are negotiable based on the needs of the host organization. Visit the CPASS Internships Hub for more information. 

Example Internship Experiences

WVU Sport Management students have completed internship placements with college athletics, sport businesses and professional sport organizations. Some examples are listed below. For a more comprehensive list of internship placements, click here.

  • College Athletics
    • Arizona State
    • Boston College
    • Campbell 
    • George Mason
    • Georgia Tech Athletic Association
  • Sports Businesses
    • Burns Sports @ Celebrities
    • Comcast -Spectacor
    • Disney Sports
    • Edelman PR Worldwide
    • ESPN
  • Professional Sports
    • Akron Aeros
    • Buffalo Bisons
    • Cincinnati Bengals
    • Cleveland Indians
    • Colorado Rockies
    • WV Black Bears

Research Opportunities

As a Carnegie-classified R1 university, or very high research activity, institution, West Virginia University is ranked among the top research-focused schools. Our internationally recognized faculty contribute to this mission area through their research on a range of topics. Faculty research interests include fan and consumer behavior, international sport policy and organization, and sporting events in emerging economies.

Graduate Assistantships

The WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and many WVU campus departments offer various graduate assistantship opportunities. These assistantships vary, from WVU Athletics, the WVU Student Recreation Center, University Advising Center, to Teaching Assistantships in the College’s Basic Instruction Program (BIP). In addition to Graduate Assistantships, graduate programs are awarded Meritorious Tuition Waiver hours to be distributed to those students not receiving a GA. These tuition waiver hours are provided based on need and availability.

Highlighted Graduate Assistantships

More information and other opportunities for graduate assistantships are available on the CPASS Graduate Funding Portal

Career Preparation

After Graduation

Graduates from this program have been extremely successful in gaining entry into the sport industry. Our alumni maintain a strong connection to the program and often serve as mentors to current students.

Example employers and job titles of graduates

  • Tajma B. - Coordinator of eCommerce, Minor League Baseball, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Josh C. - Player Affairs, NFL Players Association, Washington DC
  • Mark C. - Director of Ticket Operations, Houston Astros, Houston, TX
  • Tony H. - Athletic Facilities Coordinator, University of Cincinnati Dept of Athletics, Cincinnati, OH
  • Abby M. - Associate Director, Academic and Membership Affairs, NCAA, Indianapolis, IN
  • Joe M. - Director, NBS Sports and Olympics, New York, NY
  • Ryan M. - Operations Manager, Detroit Lions, Detroit, MI
  • Robert M. - Athletic Director, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • Ryan O. - Senior Production Manager, Bleacher Report, New York, NY
  • Stephanie S. - Coordinator of Social Media Operations & Live Content, NFL, New York, NY
  • Keli Z. - Deputy Athletic Director, WVU Athletic Department, Morgantown, WV

Increased professional marketability

Graduates leave the program with a competitive advantage related to the development of the knowledge and skills needed to be successful across a range of sport industry positions. The related courses address a wide range of contemporary issues, challenges, and opportunities that confront leaders in today’s dynamic sport industry including technology application, business and marketing plan development, budgeting and fundraising strategies.

Expanded professional networks

As a member of the Big XII Conference, West Virginia University is home to one of the nation’s premier college athletic programs. This back-drop provides you with access to a world-class network of sport management professionals including university faculty and staff, program alumni and organizational partners. Courses also afford frequent opportunities to build connections with your many colleagues in the program. Graduates become their own best resource!

How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

Apply online at the WVU Graduate Admissions website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants must upload the following documentation within the graduate application: 

  • Resume: including any professional experiences in the sport industry
  • Personal Statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission (students interested in the thesis track should describe their research interests)
  • Letters of recommendation (2)

You will not be able to submit your application until the above documents are uploaded. Once the application is submitted and (unofficial/official) transcripts are received, your application will be reviewed for an admission decision. International applicants will not be reviewed with unofficial transcripts. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale) for regular admission.

Applicants with a GPA below 2.75 may be admitted as a provisional graduate student. Once admitted provisionally, students are required to achieve a 3.0 GPA in their first 9-hours of graduate coursework to be reclassified as regular status and remain in the program.

Please contact the Office of Student Success at (304) 293-4800 for more information about the application process.

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: Apply by December 1 for priority consideration. Applications that are incomplete or are submitted after the deadline may be reviewed if openings remain.. Admission is limited to a fall start only.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application with unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Submitting unofficial transcripts speeds up the application review process as most graduate programs make admission decisions using unofficial transcripts. 

If you are offered acceptance, you are required to  submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to be fully admitted into your intended graduate program. You will not be able to register for classes until the official transcripts are received. The preferred method to submit your official transcripts is through a secure, online service such as eScript, The National Clearing House, or Parchment, to

Alternatively, if you are unable to submit an electronic version of your official transcript, the physical, sealed, un-tampered with documents can be mailed to:

WVU Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26501


WVU Graduate Admissions,  1 Waterfront Pl, 2nd Fl Morgantown, WV 26505

Directions for submitting International, official transcripts

International applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency.  

Review Process

Following the application deadline, program faculty will evaluate applicant credentials based on the materials submitted. After the initial review, a limited number of applicants will be invited to a personal online and/or on-campus interview with the program faculty prior to a final admission decision. The final selection of candidates will be based on overall qualifications and relevant work experience. The program faculty prioritize the selection of candidates who will make a significant contribution to the field of sport management. 

Learn more

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Reach out

Portrait of Lindsay Augustine
Lindsay Augustine
Assistant Dean for Student and Enrollment Services
Portrait of Gary Lhotsky outside
Gary J. Lhotsky
Teaching Associate Professor

(304) 293-0861
PAS-E 242
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