Last Updated on April 23, 2021
Masters Degree in Sports Administration 2021
Sports is a $70+ billion industry annually, however few in the business actually make their living as players, there is a whole infrastructure behind the game. A master’s in sports administration is the perfect way to leverage a graduate degree into an advanced position within this growing field. For those who are passionate about sports, a master’s degree in sports administration could be the perfect way to prepare yourself for a position that will allow you to find a career that allows you to enjoy going to work every day.
Sports Administration combines sports and athletics with relevant business, economics and law disciplines. It teaches a wide range of technical and theoretical principles to prepare you to work in the field of sports at any level, interscholastic, intercollegiate or professional. Study of sports administration gives one the benefit of improving their business acumen with a focus on its application to a variety of sports fields and sets one up for work as a sports marketing administrator, athletic director, sports director, facilities manager, accounting or sales manager, or even a coach or athletic trainer.
Should I study a master’s degree in sports administration?
When you were young, did you set up a soccer field in your backyard, was your driveway a basketball court with a wiffle ball stadium in the street? Did you collect baseball cards, stay up to watch your favorite NBA or NHL team on TV, and collect autographs of your favorite sports stars? If so, you are a good candidate for a master’s degree in sports administration. It is important to do what you love in life, and for those who love sports this is the perfect way to get your foot in the door of your dream job.
A master’s degree in sports administration can set you apart from the competition, whether you are looking to get into the field, or have been working in the industry for a while and want to take your level of understanding to the next level. Most entry level positions require a bachelor’s degree, but if you want a shot at the upper management and higher level jobs, a master’s in sports administration will push your resume to the top of the pile.
Competition in this industry can be quite intense, as highly sought after, high salary positions are limited. Those looking to get into the lucrative world of professional sports need to take every opportunity to further develop their understanding of this fast changing environment.
Sports administration is increasingly relying on technology and to keep pace with the rest of the industry, the back offices and administrators of schools and professional sports teams must be up to speed with the latest technical advances in statistics, nutrition, logistics and accounting. Additionally, successful professionals in the industry must have excellent soft skills which they can lean on when problems and issues invariably present themselves. Completing your master’s degree gives you the opportunity to work with professors and professionals to learn from those who have been working directly in the field and have a wealth of personal and professional knowledge.
After completing a one or two year master’s degree program, graduates will be confident and competent in a host of interdisciplinary skills and knowledge specifically tailored for sports administration. This includes being able to manage and lead sports organizations, analyze and make data driven decisions to support your organization’s, create and implement risk management plans, analyze and expand revenue streams, customize marketing, and create an effective business plan.
The interconnectedness of professional and collegiate sports teams means that in the world of sport administration, professional networks are very important. A master’s in sports administration plugs you into a network of individuals who will be your co-workers in the future, and lead to increased employment opportunities.
Many of the top schools in the US and around the world offer master’s degrees in sports administration with courses tailored and customized to specific focuses, allowing today’s prospective students to browse through a compendium of different programs when looking to choose the right program. The master’s level degree offers a student more freedom to pick the specific area of research that he or she is interested in and often uses project based research, giving you the responsibility to mold your individual program. Nowadays many master’s degrees in sports administration can be completed entirely online, making it easier than ever before to complete this higher education degree from the university of your dreams.
What does it take to complete a master’s in sports administration?
Long before applying and committing to a master’s in sports administration degree program, it is important to research and compare as many schools as possible in order to pick the right program for you. Programs differ widely on cost, duration, in person requirements, curriculum and teaching staff, so putting in the time to compare potential programs and make sure that you can make the necessary financial and time commitment to completing the degree ahead of time, will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
Cost: Tuition for a master’s degree in sports administration programs can vary widely between schools, costing between $9,000 – $50,000 for a 1-2 year program. Cost of living needs to be accounted for during your studies, particularly if it is an on campus program. Also, most programs offer courses during the day, making concurrent fulltime work difficult while studying. Most schools have financial aid and TA and research positions for graduate students to help offset the cost of tuition.
Duration: Most programs offer the master’s degree within 1 year assuming a full time commitment. Some schools additionally offer 6 month intensive or 2 year part time schedules. Additionally, many schools promise a guaranteed internship with the school’s athletic organization or a local sports organization. While these are usually good opportunities to get your feet wet and make an impression with future potential employers, it will increase the time commitment necessary to complete the program.
In-person or Online: Undoubtedly there are advantages to in person learning, where you can meet and work with professors and classmates fist hand, however the explosion in online degree programs in sports administration options has made it easier than ever to complete your degree.
Curriculum: When considering schools, you first want to make sure that the degree program and school are accredited. The specific course curriculums differ from school to school and are usually available online. Have a look through the programs on offer and see if the courses look interesting. Some schools have a natural advantage based on their location, alumni or sports programs either on campus or nearby which they leverage to create a better educational experience.
What will I learn studying a master’s degree in sports administration?
Specific courses and graduation requirements differ from school to school, but in general a master’s program in sports administration will have a variant of this general course outline:
Sports Law: Contract, case and statutory law play a huge role in sports administration, and an understanding of how the sports industry is shaped by the law is important for anyone in an administrator role. Litigation, legal concepts, managing risk, liability, contract, antitrust, crowd control and security are all important legal considerations covered in this class.
Athletic Administration: Study the philosophy and approaches to directing athletic departments and programs. Eligibility, accounting, ticketing, sponsors, marketing, media and PR, alumni relations, etc.. Sports ethics is another important topic that administrators deal with, including issues related to performance enhancing drugs, sports gambling, and children in sports.
Marketing: Sports are entertainment and attracting fans and sponsors is an important fuel that keeps the industry afloat. Learn about the brand development and promotion, Public relations, sponsor campaigns, marketing and promotion plans. This is the fun part of the job where you share your creativity and enthusiasm with others in order to grow your team.
Facilities Management: Sports need facilities and learning about the management of these, whether they are stadiums, health clubs, or training centers, fall under the responsibility of the administration. Learn about the logistics, admin, finance, emergency response and operation of common sports facility types.
Leadership and Management: Plan, organize, lead, evaluate, leadership and management play a huge role in sports administration, ultimately you are working in the nexus of the organization and must utilize, effective policies, negotiate with athletes and employees, resolve conflicts, motivate, and make decisions that others depend on.
Human Resources: Any business with employees needs an understanding of human resource management and Sports organizations are no different. Learn how human resources applies to sports and its related businesses. Some topics include compliance, appraisal and feedback, retention, training and development.
Research Methods: Like any discipline, sport administration can utilize the results of focused qualitative research and analysis. Learn about statistical methods and application, collecting data, applying results and writing proposals, as it relates to sports administration.
Capstone or Final Project: Most courses design their curriculum to culminate in a final research or capstone project that synthesizes the material learned through classes into a research project. The Capstone project will challenge students to think about an issue or research topic, develop a research proposal, collect data, analyze and draw conclusions.
What are the advantages of studying my master’s in sports administration online vs. on campus
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic arrived, most programs were forced to shift to either online-only or a hybrid of online and in-person classes to limit the amount of exposure for students and staff. Things have already begun to return to normal, but many of the online learning possibilities that have evolved will remain. For this reason, prospective students will have to consider whether they prefer their master’s degree in sports administration to be delivered online, on campus, or a hybrid of the two There are many factors to consider, and the right choice for one person might not be a great fit for someone else.
Advantages of studying on campus
Anyone who has had the privilege of witnessing a talented, passionate educator at work in the classroom can attest to the fact that this magic happening in a class is a very special thing. Being around fellow students–both in class and outside of it–can be very beneficial as well, as it allows for collaboration, study groups, and other benefits which can serve to complement your formal education in unique ways.
Advantages of studying online
Online degrees allow for a greater amount of flexibility in terms of scheduling and when class requirements must be completed, making it much easier to fit your master’s degree into a busy life. This means that regardless of whether you have a packed schedule and limited time to work with, you would still be able to keep making progress toward your degree when you are able to carve out the time. In the same way, studying online does not limit you to universities located close to where you live–you are able to choose from a much broader selection of programs which might offer a specialized concentration that interests you.
Regardless of which path you choose, there are plenty of amazing offerings in sports administration, with more programs being rolled out all the time.