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.

Student Spotlight
Ian Gentile

Ian Gentile holding the Stanley Cup

When Ian Gentile decided to expand his knowledge of the sports industry, he chose WVU. The program has given him a clear understanding of the business side of the industry, as well as adding an intercollegiate spin to his game. Gentile appreciates the personalized approach and unique six-week course format as he advances through the graduate degree. 

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
  • 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
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

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 to the Master of Science in Sport Management program 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

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. No GRE required.

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 course work 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: 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.

Admission 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 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, tograduateadmissions@mail.wvu.edu

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

OR

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.  

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Reach out

Lindsay Augstine Portrait
Lindsay Augustine
Student Services Specialist
Outdoor portrait of Sean Bulger
Sean Bulger
Professor

304-293-0845
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