Sport Management (SM)

The Sport Management master’s program is designed for individuals seeking employment and career advancement in the exciting, global industry of sport. The program focuses on the most contemporary issues in sport management, and is delivered via online courses taught by faculty who are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields. As a student, you will explore the latest research, industry trends, and recommendations for best practice, while also acquiring applied skills. Topics covered include profitability, diversity, legal issues, facilities, ethics and changing markets in sport.

You can start this 30-credit hour program in any term. The fully online format is ideal for professionals who are already working in the sport industry, or seeking a career change. Courses are generally eight weeks in length, enabling you to focus on one content area at a time.

Our program has been consistently ranked one of the 25 Best Online Master's in Sport Management Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org, bestcolleges.com and topmanagementdegrees.com.

What our alumni have to say:

  • Jamie Rohrer

    "Had it not been for the online SM master’s degree program at WVU, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, with the salary and benefits I’m receiving. I completed my education while being a wife, mom and professional. "

    Jamie R.

    M.S. SM, 2009
  • Craig Walkup

    "This program provides working professionals a unique opportunity to continue their education. The program prepares the student, through detailed research and problem based projects, to advance their knowledge in all aspects of sport management. The staff recognizes the challenges facing the sports industry and through the curriculum prepares the student for those challenges."

    Craig W.

    M.S. SM, 2010
  • Dr. Patrick Hairston

    "The program focused on strategic skills, including building relationships with key individuals, corporations and foundations. I gained extensive knowledge related to fundraising activities to support my career interests. Faculty emphasized collaboration within the sport management field."

    Patrick H.

    M.S. SM, 1996
Coursework

What you'll study

In addition to foundational courses in organizational leadership and management, facilities, marketing, finance, fund raising and development, legal issues, governance, and sociocultural and ethical issues, you will further specialize in an area of emphasis.

Areas of Emphasis

Comprehensive Sport Industry Management

This two-course sequence provides you with additional preparation in the area of sport marketing research methods. Students also work with faculty to identify a problem and conduct an applied research project that involves all phases of planning, implementation, management, and evaluation. This area of emphasis contributes to your readiness to work across all sectors of the sport industry, including youth sport, collegiate and professional athletics, in either an introductory or advanced position within the job market.


Interscholastic Athletic Administration

This area of emphasis is designed for those individuals who are either currently working or would like to work as athletic directors or faculty managers at the middle or high school level. You will learn the roles, responsibilities, challenges and opportunities associated with a career in sport management, particularly within interscholastic athletic administration. This two-course sequence affords you the opportunity to further differentiate your plan of study and enhance marketability for employment in a range of youth sport settings.

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

Our faculty are diverse, with backgrounds in international management, non-profit management, collegiate sport management, sport business marketing, private industry management and sport management research.

  • 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
  • Floyd Jones

    Floyd Jones

    Professional Highlights

    • Provided leadership to design and develop CPASS blended sport management master's program
    • Built collaborations with multiple international partners including Venezuela, Cayman Island, Canada, Africa, Europe
    • Designed an active international sport management consortium comprised of multiple US partners and collaborators
    • Created a community-based summertime learning model that has won national awards and has been implemented in communities throughout WV called Project YES
  • Gary Lhotsky portrait

    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).
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

The program features a wide range of individualized opportunities that allow students to pursue their passion for sport, while also building long-lasting relationships with experienced professionals.

Collaborative learning

You will enjoy frequent opportunities to learn from and cultivate collaborative relationships with like-minded industry professionals including university faculty, athletic staff/administrators and sport executives. A number of courses in the program are taught by sport leaders who bring extensive industry experience to the classroom. This real-world experience adds another level of depth to the collaborative and problem-based approaches used in many courses.

Data-based decision-making

Data-based decision-making is a key to success in today's highly competitive sport industry. Students in the comprehensive sport industry management complete an action-based research project to further develop their skills in this area. Topics range from branding local athletic programs and enhancing current athletic facilities to developing new strategies for increasing ticket sales, marketing products, and fund raising. You will work closely with program faculty members during each step of this experiential process to achieve your learning goals.

Qualification building

Students in interscholastic athletic administration gain knowledge and experience specific to high school and middle school sport settings through specialized coursework in leadership, organization and administration. The related courses provide you with the educational qualifications needed to sit for certification through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association (NIAAA). The NIAAA certification program remains one of the premier credentialing organizations for sport management professionals who are leading interscholastic sport organizations.

Earn course credit via internships

While not required, you can elect to complete an optional internship experience for academic credit. This option is most useful for students who do not have professional experience working in sport management prior to entering the program. Faculty are available to advise you on appropriate internships and assist with the necessary paperwork and contracts. It is recommended that students have regular access to sport management settings at the time of enrollment given the practical nature of many course assignments.

Career Preparation

After Graduation

Graduates have a high success rate in attaining their career goals. Upon successfully completing the program, students often advance to a higher level of management, executive or administrative function.

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!

Broadened perspective on global sport

The program’s uniqueness is further demonstrated through the diversity of faculty who hail from around the globe, bringing an international perspective to the curriculum. Program faculty frequently travel internationally to areas including Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. This collective international experience enriches the program by broadening its scope to encompass the global dimensions of sport.

How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

Applications must be submitted online to WVU Graduate Admissions along with your official undergraduate transcripts. Apply online at the  WVU Graduate Admissions website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale)
  • Current resume highlighting professional background and qualifications
  • Professional goal statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission
  • No GRE scores required

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: We accept applications for this program on a rolling basis until August 1st for a fall term start, December 15th for a spring term start, and May 1st for a summer term start.

During the admission process, preference is given to individuals with experience in the sport industry. It is recommended that students have regular access to sport management settings given the applied nature of many course assignments.

Applicants who do not meet the 2.75 GPA requirement may be admitted as a provisional graduate student if their GPA is between 2.50 and 2.74. Once admitted provisionally, students are required to achieve a 3.0 GPA in their first 9-hours of advisor approved coursework to be reclassified as regular status and remain in the program.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements .

The previously listed materials are submitted online as part of the WVU Graduate Admission Application. Applicants must submit their official copies of transcripts and test scores directly to the WVU Office of Admissions, PO Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506.

All graduate students must achieve and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better (4-point scale) prior to graduation.

Learn more

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Lindsay Augustine
Student Services Specialist
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Sean Bulger
Professor

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