The 10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Sports Management Degree Programs

If you want to work in Sports Management, you’re not alone. This diverse field attracts people who are interested in coaching, fitness, promotions, press, events, facilities, hospitality, health, professional or collegiate athletics, becoming a sports agent, and much more. Before you explode onto the scene, you’ll probably want a degree in the field. A Bachelor’s in Sports Management is a great place to start. You probably already have a job, or extensive life responsibilities that you have to attend to, and getting a Bachelor degree can be expensive and time intensive. On this list we’ve compiled some of the best options for a Bachelor’s in Sports Management that can be found entirely online. The methodology for including schools included their affordability, online academic quality (student-faculty ratio, 6 year graduation rate, and percentage of students taking some online courses), and flexibility.

Methodology

  • Affordability (1/3): the out-of-state tuition per credit hour (where applicable).
  • Online Academic Quality (1/3): the student-faculty ratio, percentage of students studying online, and 6-year graduation rate of the program.
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components (1/3): the range and quality of flexbility-enhancing components in the program including accelerated courses, part-time study, credit for prior learning or experience, and competency-based education.

1) Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU is a private, nonprofit New Hampshire university. It was established in 1932 as a small, regional university but has grown into a behemoth. Currently, over 73,100 students (30:1 student-to-faculty ratio) attend SNHU, the vast majority through distance education programs. SNHU is known for its online programming, and its innovation. It was listed by Fast Company as the 12th most innovative organization in the world, ranking alongside companies like Apple, Google, and HBO, and above NFL, Starbucks, and LinkedIn. SNHU’s accelerated classes give students greater flexibility to complete their degrees at a realistic pace for them. The school also promises some of the most affordable tuition rates in the country.

SNHU offers an entirely online Bachelor’s program in Sports Management. The program has been running for over 25 years. Students will learn a multitude of aspects of sports management, including building a brand, selling sponsorships, and much more. An accelerated BS-to-MS option is built into this program. The cost of this program is $320 per credit hour, and 66% of SNHU students received financial aid in 2015-16. Students will have an experiential learning option and choose between Sport Law, Sports Sales and Promotions, Media/Public Relations in Sport, Sport Facilities Management, Sport Revenue and Sport Licensing/Strategic Alliances to fill out the program with a focus that reflects their career goals. This program was included in part because of its accelerated schedule.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $320
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

2) Shorter University


Shorter is a private, coed liberal arts school operating from Rome, Georgia. It’s a Christian university that is historically affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convetion, and was founded in 1873. It is known for its professional studies programs, and offers associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees in 30 fields of study, and some master’s degrees as well. It also offers adult education and graduate programs from distance learning facilities in North Atlanta and Rome. Currently, over 1,500 students attend Shorter, which has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The majority of the students are from Georgia, although approximately 9% come from out-of-state and international destinations. Shorter has a wide array of athletics programs, including 21 varsity sports. It competes in the NCAA Division II.

Shorter offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Sport Management. It was included partially because of its accelerated delivery format. Classes are delivered through eight week courses, and there are six terms in the year. It requires 120 credit hours. The program is made up of 42 hours of general education courses, a business core with 51 hours, and 27 elective hours. Students will learn the principles of management, sport finance, legal aspects of sport while building business communication skills. This program costs $350 per credit hour, and in 2015-16, 100% of Shorter undergraduate students received financial aid. Shorter’s faculty are mad up of experts in sports management, and approximately 66% of them have the highest degree available in their respective fields.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $350
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

3) McKendree University

Mckendree (McK) is a private liberal arts college based out of Lebanon, Illinois. It was founded in 1828 and is the oldest college in the state. Currently there are over 2,900 students served by McK, which has a cozy 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It’s a member of the American Midwest Conference of the NCAA Division II. McKendree offers degrees through four colleges, and its programs include 50 undergraduate majors, 45 minors, and master’s degrees in business administration, criminal justice, education, nursing, and clinical mental health counseling. It’s classified among Master’s Colleges and Universities by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In 2015, U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Colleges” edition put McKendree in the top tier of Midwest regional universities. It was included in this list in part due to its accelerated programming.

McKendree’s online Sport Management Degree is targeted at training students to build skills in sports business, facility management, and marketing/management. Its courses are offered over 8 week periods, and students can choose to take two courses in each period. It requires 120 credit hours, a minimum of 30 of which must be earned at McKendree. Interesting courses include Budget & Financing of Sport, Sport Marketing, Sport Facilities & Event Management, Sport & Health Psychology, Legal Aspects of Sport Management and more. This program costs $380 per credit hour, and 99% of McKendree’s undergraduate students received financial aid in 2015-16.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $380
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

4) American Public University

American Public University System is an online, for-profit institution made up of the American Military University, APU, and owned by American Public University Inc. All of its programs are offered via distance education. It was created in 1991, and is based out of Charles Town, West Virginia. It has open enrollment. Over half of its 2016 student body said they were actively serving in the military. Many of them also receive financial aid or use their GI bill to pay for APUS degree programs. Over 48,600 students attend APUS, which offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s degrees, dual degrees, certificate programs and assorted other learning tracks through schools of Security and Global Studies, Health Sciences, Science, Technology Engineering and Math, Education, Business, and Arts and Humanities. It has a 19:1 student to faculty ratio. APUS has made The Military Times’ “Best for Vets College” list since 2015.

APU offers a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management. It was created for students who want careers in management, coaching, and administration of collegiate, community, or high school sports. The program provides graduates with a strong understanding of sports administration, coaching theory and strategy, as well as business skills like marketing, promotion, public relations, finance, and sports law. The program balances the sociological, historical, political, and philosophical elements of sport with financial management and marketing analysis. It requires 122 credits, with a maximum of 91 that can be transferred in. The cost is $270 per credit hour, or $250 with a military grant. In 2015-16, 100% of APU undergraduate students received financial aid.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $270
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

5) Ashford University

Ashford is an online school run for profit out of San Diego, California. Ashford offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in over 50 degree programs through four colleges: the Forbes School of Business & Technology™, the College of Education, the College of Health, Human Services, and Science, and the College of Liberal Arts. Over 41,300 students attend Ashford, which has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Ashford offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management. This sports management degree program has also been granted Candidacy Status by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). It’s conveyed through 5 week courses, and allows a maximum of 90 transfer credits. Students take one course at a time, and need to earn 120 credits. These are broken down into 43 credits of General Education, 45 credits of Major Course Requirements and 35 credits of Electives. Its specializations include Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, Marketing and Project Management. The goal of the program is to prepare students for managerial positions in the sports and recreation industry through courses in accounting, business, economics, information systems, physical education and psychology. The cost of the program is $475 per credit hour, and in 2015-16, 92% of full-time beginning undergraduate students at Ashford received financial aid. It was partially included on this list for its number of specializations and accelerated courses.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $475
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations and accelerated courses
  • Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

6) Concordia University Chicago

Concordia is a liberal arts university headquartered in River Forest, Illinois, 10 miles from Chicago. It was founded in 1864. It’s part of the second largest Lutheran church body in America, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). Over 5,600 students attend the school currently, and it offers a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Concordia conveys undergraduate and graduate education through its Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, Business, and Graduate and Innovative Programs. Much of its programming is offered through other affiliate campuses, and of course, online. It’s been ranked 103rd in the Midwest region by U.S. News & World Report, and was included on this list in part due to its accelerated course schedule. It boasts a high employment rate among graduates.

Concordia offers a BA in Sports and Recreation Management. It requires 128 credits, 67 of which can be transferred in. It prepares graduates to work for professional sports organizations, in college athletics and at recreational or commercial facilities. Major courses are taken in 5 weeks, and general education/elective courses are taken in 5-8 week cycles. Standout courses include Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports and Recreation Administration, Sociological and Historical Foundations of Sports and Recreation, and Managing Lifetime Fitness. The program costs $420 per credit hour, and in 2015-16, 100% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received financial aid.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $420
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses

7) United States Sports Academy


USSA is a regionally accredited, private, non-profit sports-focused institution based out of Daphne, Alabama. It conveys certificates, as well as bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It was founded in 1972 and has taken its programming to over 60 countries. The school was initially founded after a poor performance by the United States in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. USSA saw itself as an instrument to improve coaching and training in American sports. Currently, there are 210 students attending USSA, 75 of which at the undergraduate level. It offers an intimate 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio. USSA is a school focused almost exclusively on sports, so you’re learning from specialists. It also offers a doctoral education in sports management if you choose to continue your education.

The Academy’s Bachelor of Sports Science comes in four majors: Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies and Sports Strength and Conditioning. It requires 120 credit hours, 60 in the lower division (30 of which must be transferred in to begin the program) and 60 upper division hours that are sports specific. Standout courses include Sport Art: The Artist and the Athlete, 6 hours of Anatomy & Physiology, Statistical Measurements in Sports, Philosophy of Shaolin Kung-Fu, Sports Officiating, and much more. This program goes in a lot of directions that comparable programs do not, and seems to prize helping students find their way within this diverse field. Tuition is $395 per semester hour, and in 2015-16, 52% of The Academy’s undergraduate students received financial aid.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $395
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

8) Troy University

Troy is a comprehensive public university that was founded in 1887. It’s based out of Troy, Alabama, and is the flagship university of the Troy University System. In 2005, it merged with several other universities to consolidate resources, faculty and student services. It now has four Alabama campuses, and 60 teaching sites in 17 states and 11 countries. Over 17,800 students attend Troy, and it has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It offers 46 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 master’s degree programs, and two doctoral programs. In 2017 USNR ranked it 69th among Southern regional universities, 23rd in Top public schools (South), and 226th on its Best Online Bachelor’s Programs ranking. Schools.com ranked it as the #1 four-year college in Alabama in 2017 as well.

Troy’s School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management offers undergraduate degrees in Hospitality Management, Sport Management, and Tourism Management. The Sport Management concentration is aimed at preparing students for careers in “interscholastic, intercollegiate, professional, and recreational sports, program directors (recreational and/or fitness), marketing and promotions directors, event managers, facilities directors, corporate sales directors, directors of ticketing and financing, compliance directors, sport retail managers and sales representatives, athletic directors, and other sport related business/organizations.” For those who would like to work in sports and hospitality, perhaps at a hotel, resort or training facility where athletes stay, this is a great fit. The cost of this program is $338 per credit hour, and in 2015-16 80% of full time beginning undergraduate students at Troy received financial aid.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $338
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

9) Columbia College

Columbia is a private, non-profit college founded in Missouri in 1851. It’s an independent liberal arts school that has a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since its founding. In 2009, Columbia College was ranked 51st in the category of “Best Universities-Master’s” for the Midwest Region by U.S. News & World Report. Columbia also received the designation of a “Best Midwestern University” by The Princeton Review in 2014. Columbia College has worked to innovate education, epitomized by W. Merle Hill, a former principle, who said, “I would like to bring education screaming and kicking into the 1970s. Then we would only be about 70 years behind.” Over 1,500 students attend Columbia, and it has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Columbia offers a Bachelor in Business Administration. Within that, students can major in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, human resource management, international business, management, marketing, public relations and advertising, or sports management. Major requirements are 18 semester hours, of a total 120 semester hours it requires to earn this degree. A maximum of 27 semester hours of the requirements for the BA in Business Administration and a maximum of 48 semester hours of the requirements for the BS in Business Administration may be met through courses transferred. The cost of this program is $305 per credit hour, one of the lowest on this list, and in 2015-16, 100% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received financial aid.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $305
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

10) Wilmington University

Wilmington is a private, non-profit doctoral research institution, headquartered in New Castle, Delaware. It was founded in 1968. It has six satellite campuses in Delaware, several partnered locations in New Jersey, and a partnered location in northeastern Maryland, along with a powerful online wing. There are currently over 15,000 students attending Wilmington, which has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It serves undergraduate and postgraduate students through almost 100 degree and certificate programs. Wilmington’s online programming have earned high billing, including a U.S. News & World Report ranking of 161st nationally. Also, a comprehensive study of online degree programs in 2015 put Wilmington at 10th in the country. 41% of its students receive their education through distance programs in business, education, technology, among other fields.

Wilmington offers a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management that can be taken entirely online. Its goal is to empower and prepare students to land their dream jobs within the sporting world. It integrates theory, practical internships, and a number of hands-on experiences to help students examine and discover career options throughout the field. It has two cores, a Business Core of 33 credits, and a Sports Management core with 30 credits. This model offers a balanced attack of both business chops and sports management classes like Financing Sport Operation, two semesters of internships and Sport Media Relations, among other courses. This program costs $363 per credit hour, and 72% of full time beginning undergraduate Wilmington students received financial aid in 2015-16.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $363
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A