The Top 20 Online Sports Management Master’s Degree Programs

The field of Sports Management is one which is designed for fast-paced, intuitive, and business savvy people looking to make a name for themselves in the sports industry. With the economy still struggling a bit and a significant increase in the competition for the lucrative and exclusive jobs in this field, the best way for anyone to separate him or herself from the pack is to obtain a Master’s Degree.

Featured Sports Management Programs


  • Online Support Services (1/2): online support services including online tutoring, counseling, number of concentrations, academic support, career placement, and so forth.
  • Affordability (1/2): the affordability of online programs as measured by the estimated out-of-state tuition per credit hour rate.

The following is a comprehensive list of the top online programs for obtaining a sports management master’s degree. These schools are ranked through analyzing publicly available data, taking into account job prospects for graduates, cost of tuition, and overall academic quality of the program.

For people who love athletics, working in sports management or sports administration can be a way to make a career within your passion. Sports administrators or managers work in a number of different positions, and have wildly differ responsibilities. In these roles, you might find yourself working for:

  • Scholastic sports teams
  • Health and fitness organizations
  • Sporting goods manufacturers
  • Professional sports teams
  • Sports or fitness start-ups
  • Athletes
  • Or any other supervisory position in the sports world.

Some of your job tasks might include:

  • Negotiating contracts or trades
  • Developing or scouting talent
  • Managing personnel for greater efficiency, and to accomplish your sports organization’s objectives
  • Sales
  • Organizing and executing promotional events
  • Drafting or recruiting athletes
  • Hiring coaches, scouts and other athletic staff
  • And so much more.

When you think of working in sports it’s hard not to imagine a professional sports team. But in a Master’s in Sports Management or Administration you’ll be exposed to just how many different roles there are in this rapidly expanding industry. Professionals with graduate sports degrees can be found in retail, sales, fitness, marketing, media, events, facilities, entrepreneurship, administration, law, finance and much more. The sports industry is a multi-billion dollar sector of the economy, and it’s only expected to see greater growth going forward.

The following programs were ranked by their:

  • Affordability (tuition and percent of students receiving financial aid)
  • Graduation and retention rates
  • Flexibility
  • Student-to-faculty ratios
  • Academic quality
  • Special features

1) Fresno Pacific University

FPU is a Christian university in Fresno, California. It was founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. FPU offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 fields with over 100 areas of study. It also offers advanced degrees or credentials in four areas: Education, Individualized Master of Arts, MBA, Leadership & Organizational Studies and Peacemaking & Conflict Studies. Over 4,100 students attend the school, which has a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. FPU is comprised of five schools: The School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences; the School of Natural Sciences; and the School of Biblical Seminary.

Fresno offers an online Master’s in Sport Administration. It can be completed entirely online, in 17-19 months. There are starts in January and August. The program is aimed at giving you a view of the business, marketing, public relations and sales elements of supervisory positions in sports. If you’re looking to work as an office manager, college athletic administrator, sports marketer or another sports business-focused position. Sample courses include Sport Revenue and Finance, Sport Leadership and Administration, Sport Sales and Sponsorship, among many other extremely focused courses.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 9th ($560)

2) Canisius College

Canisius is a private college in Buffalo, New York. It was founded in 1870 by Jesuits from Germany. It offers over 100 undergraduate majors and minors and around 34 master’s and certificate programs. Newer majors at the school include Animal Behavior, Ecology, Conservation, Creative Writing, Health and Wellness, and Journalism. Over 3,400 students attend Canisius, which has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school ranks 235th among Business Programs, 10th in Best Value Schools and 23rd in Regional Universities North on USNR’s 2019 rankings.

Canisius offers an online or on-campus Master’s in Sport Administration. In it, students can specialize in intercollegiate athletics, amateur or professional sports, sports marketing or event and facility management. There are over 700 alumni of this program currently working in sports globally, so you’ll be tapped into that network as you study and apply for jobs with your new degree. Sample courses include Leadership in Sport, Strategic Sport Marketing, Sport Finance and Business, and Risk Management/Contract Negotiation, among others. Students will also access internships and portfolio building opportunities through this program.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 27th ($819)

3) Belhaven University

Belhaven is a private Christian liberal arts university in Jackson, Mississippi. It was founded in 1883. It offers for graduate and undergraduate degrees in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Dalton. Houston, Madison, Memphis, Orlando, and online. It offers Bachelor’s degrees in 27 different major areas of study, and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration, Leadership, Public Administration, Teaching, Education, and more. There are over 4,400 students at Belhaven, which offers a very low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. USNR ranked it 31st in Best Value Schools and 65th in Regional Universities South in 2019.

Belhaven offers an online MBA with a Sports Administration concentration. Students will learn from experienced faculty how to manage sports programs. The programs come in 8 week terms, and there are 42 total credit hours required. Sample courses include Venue and Event Management, Legal and Regulatory Environment for Sports, and Current Issues and Trends in Sports Administration. It features Project Team activities designed to build teamwork and problem-solving skills. This program is taught from a Christian perspective, unlike most MBA programs.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 8th ($540)

4) Gonzaga University

Gonzaga is a private, Roman Catholic university in Spokane, Washington. It was founded in 1887 by the Jesuits, and is one of 28 schools within the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees through seven colleges, and degrees in 92 fields and 26 graduate programs. USNR ranks it 4th among Regional Universities West in their 2019 rankings. Gonzaga offers programs in Florence, Italy, or at other programs in Australia, Benin, British West Indies, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, Zambia, and the Internet. Over 7,500 students attend Gonzaga, which has a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Gonzaga offers an online and on-campus Master’s in Sport & Athletic Administration. Students in it have interned with the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and other major sports organizations. You’ll build skills in risk management, financial analysis, facilities management, media relations, and so much more. Throughout you’ll learn to take your passion for sports and marry it to advanced leadership and management skills that can push you into supervisory sports administration positions. Sample courses include Research Methods and Statistics in Sport/Athletics, Sport & Athletics in Social Context, Ethical/Legal Aspects in Sport, among many others.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 33rd ($970)

5) Adelphi University

Adelphi University is a private university in Garden City, New York. It also has learning centers in Manhattan, Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, in addition to online programs. It was founded in 1896. Nearly 8,000 students attend Adelphi, which offers an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2019, USNR ranked it 147th among National Universities. It’s known for its acclaimed Honors College, programs in nursing, social work, psychology, business and education, and excellent student support services. In total, Adelphi offers students over 50 undergraduate and more than 80 graduate programs at its campuses and online, along with an alumni network of over 100,000 professionals.

Adelphi offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management. It can be earned in as little as 24 months. Students can specialize in Sport Marketing or Collegiate Athletic Administration, depending on their career goals. The program gives students advanced skills in and understanding of mass media, sales, marketing, public relations, emergent technologies and many other topics, as well as how they interact with sports. Adelphi graduates have gotten jobs with almost every major professional team in the New York metropolitan area, and a number of colleges, universities and other sports entities.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 29th ($840)

6) Drexel University

Drexel is a private research university that has three campuses in Philadelphia. Almost 24,200 students attend Drexel, which has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It offers students access to over 70 undergraduate programs and more than 100 master’s, doctoral, and professional programs. The school was founded in 1891 by financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel. A unique aspect of Drexel is the school offers students a co-opeducation program (co-op). In it, they can receive 18 months of paid, full-time work experience in the field they’re studying before graduating Drexel. USNR ranked Drexel 102nd among National Universities in their 2019 rankings.

Drexel offers an online Master’s in Sport Management. In it, students will grapple with trends in the sports industry like big data, super stadiums, modern negotiations for star athletes and drastic changes to sport media. You’ll learn about the sports application of law, economics and finance, marketing, media, and promotions while getting an incredible business education. You’ll be prepared to work in professional or college sports, with sports marketing firms, sports agencies, and other sports organizations. While in the program you’ll be exposed to franchises in all four major league sports teams, and also local and international sport organizations.

  • Homepage
  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 31st ($921)

7) American Public University

APU is an online, private, for-profit institution. It was established in 1991, and operates from Charles Town, West Virginia. The school features an open enrollment policy. In 2016, over half the student body said they were actively serving in the military. Over 46,400 students attend the school, which offers a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. APUS offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in addition to dual degrees, certificate programs and learning tracks. The school has been named a “Best for Vets College” by The Military Times each year since 2015. It also tied at 94th in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the country.

APU offers an online Master of Science in Sports Management. It requires 36 credits, 15 of which can be transferred in. It can be completed in two years of full time attendance, and has monthly course start dates. You’ll gain an upper-level understanding of sports administration, coaching theory and strategy, and business skills such as marketing, promotion, public relations, and finance. Combining advanced business skills and sports-related knowledge makes you extremely desirable in the sports world. Graduates will be prepared to work as interscholastic or intercollegiate coaches, sports managers, front-office managers, and much more.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 3rd ($350)

8) Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is a public research university in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was founded in 1909. A-State is the flagship campus of the Arkansas State University system. Nearly 14,000 students attend the school, which has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2017, USNR ranked it #61 in the Southern region. It offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees through colleges of Agriculture and Technology, Business, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics. In recent years, ASU has been increasing its selectivity. In response, student GPA and the number of students in its Honors College has gone up.

A-State offers an online Master of Science in Sport Administration. It requires 36 credits and can be completed in as little as 12 months. It prepares students to work in sales, administration, facility/fiscal management in health/fitness clubs, collegiate athletic departments, stadiums and arenas, community sports organizations, country clubs, and professional sports organizations. This program is known for its networking and internship opportunities with professional teams, collegiate teams and other sports organizations. Sample courses include Sport Marketing, Sport in Society, Sport Leadership, and Research Design. Courses are conferred in 7-week sessions in this program.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 1st ($288)

9) Lasell College

Lasell is a private college in Newton, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1851. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional fields. Over 2,000 students attend Lasell, which has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It tied for 126th on USNR’s 2019 Regional Universities North ranking. It has been commended for making sure all of its students participate in internships before graduation, bettering their chances of success in the job market. It’s renowned for its Community Engagement, and 90% of its graduates participate in a credit bearing service learning experience, with 33% participating in an international learning experience.

Lasell offers an online M.S. in Sport Management. It can be completed in 12-24 months. All classes are capped at 23 students to ensure you get the attention you need. The program also offers concentrations in Sport Leadership (operational, financial, legal and PR elements of a sports organization), Sport Tourism and Hospitality Management (sales strategies, international sport management, facility management and special events), Parks and Recreation (government administration, tourism and hospitality), and Athletic Administration (administration in sports). Graduates have gone on to become Sports Marketing Directors, Event Managers, Coaches, Operations Managers, and much more.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 15th ($600)

10) Liberty University

Liberty is a private, non-profit Christian doctoral research university in Lynchburg, Virginia. The school was established in 1971 by religious leader Jerry Falwell. Liberty has over 75,000 students attending its courses worldwide, and offers them an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Those students access 290 bachelors, 315 masters, and 32 doctoral degrees through 17 distinct colleges. There are over 300 different degrees and certifications offered through Liberty’s online wing. Liberty has been classified as a doctoral research university by the Carnegie Classification. It has consistently been ranked highly for its Online Bachelor’s Programs, MBA program and other graduate business programs, graduate Criminal Justice programs, graduate Education programs and graduate Nursing programs.

Liberty offers a Master’s in Sports Management. It can be completed 100% online through 8-week sessions, and 50% of the credits it requires can be transferred in. The program requires 36 credit hours and takes a year and a half to complete on average. The program comes in 9 specializations, offering thesis and non-thesis tracks in Coaching and Athletic Administration, Outdoor Adventure, Sports Administration, Tourism, as well as a General track. In all specializations you’ll gain an advanced familiarity with the financial, economic, ethical, legal, and social aspects that impact the diverse corners of the sports industry.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 10th ($565)

11) Old Dominion University

Old Dominion is a public, co-ed research university in Norfolk, Virginia. It was founded in 1930. ODU offers 168 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. There are over 24,300 ODU students, enjoying an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It is also one of the largest online distance learning providers in the nation. Old Dominion University has well over 100,000 alumni in all 50 states and 67 countries worldwide. ODU’s distance learning programs began in 1994 through satellite, and now gives students access to 60 undergraduate and graduate programs through video streaming, satellite, 2-way, web conferencing, and the Internet. Depending on their choice of study, students can take ODU classes online or at one of its 50 partnership locations.

ODU offers an online Master’s in Sport Management. It’s aimed at improving critical thinking skills, conducting research, analyzing data, and so much more. In sports students will study legal and ethical standards, existing and emerging technologies in sport management, sports events and facilities, and much more. The program requires 36 credit hours, and culminates in a capstone initiative, which is either an internship or a thesis. Graduates will be prepared to work in the health and fitness industries, collegiate athletics, professional sports, non-profit sport organizations, among many other outcomes.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 7th ($538)

12) University of Central Missouri

UCM is a public, state university in Warrensburg, Missouri. It was founded in 1871. UCM students can choose between 150 programs of study, including 10 pre-professional programs, 27 areas of teacher certification, and 37 graduate programs. They’ll also have opportunities to study abroad in 60 different countries. Over 12,300 students attend UCM, which has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UCM is ranked 81st in the Regional Universities Midwest, and 17th among Top Public Schools on USNR’s 2019 rankings. Over 90% of UCM’s students are employed six months after graduating the school.

UCM offers an online M.S. In Kinesiology in Sport Management. In it you’ll find faculty who are experts in Sport Event Management, Leadership, Media, and Finance. You’ll choose between a thesis or internship option, and be prepared for a wide breadth of positions in the sports industry. It requires 33 credit hours, and can be completed in 3-4 semesters. You’ll have numerous opportunities to build relationships with sports organizations through this program. This program is known for its incredible value, and is the second most affordable school on the list.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 2nd ($325)

13) University of Massachusetts–Amherst

UMass Amherst is a public research university based out of its namesake. It was established in 1863. It offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in 111 undergraduate, 75 master’s and 47 doctoral programs through nine schools and colleges, and is a member of the prestigious Five College Consortium in Massachusetts. UMass Amherst has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a university with the highest level of research activity. Over 30,300 students attend the school, and it has a 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. USNR ranked it 70th among National Universities and 79th among Best Value Schools in their 2019 ranking.

UMass Amherst offers an online MBA in Sport Management. It focuses on helping students become well versed in the sport industry’s current trends and best practices. Sample courses include Project Management, Applied Sport Market Research, Sport Analytics, and Advanced Negotiations for Managers. There are multiple start dates each year. Over 3,500 alumni from the program are currently working in the sports industry, and you’ll have access to that network in addition to world-class faculty through this program.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 30th ($900)

14) Missouri Baptist University

MBU is a private evangelical Christian, liberal arts university in Creve Coeur, Missouri. There are 12 locations of the school in the Metro St. Louis area, and the school also offers degrees online. It was founded in 1957. In USNR’s 2019 rankings it came in in the 128-165 range of the Regional Universities Midwest. Nearly 5,500 students attend the school, which has a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio. MBU offers 71 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. They also note that the average student only ends up paying 50% of their tuition after grants and financial aid.

MBU offers an online Master of Science in Sport Management. It can be completed in 12-24 months. It requires 31 credit hours, and its next start date is on October 22nd, 2018. In the program you’ll learn what it takes to run myriad sport-related businesses like interscholastic athletics, intercollegiate athletics, amateur and professional sports, sport-marketing firms, special-event management, and facility management. Students can go through this program at their own pace, and in accordance with their current schedule. The program prizes developing creativity and sports experience through projects, internships, research and hands-on problem solving.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 6th ($526)

15) Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. It was established in 1968. VCU offers 217 degree and certificate programs through 11 schools and three colleges. USNR ranks VCU 157th in National Universities, 80th in Top Public Schools, and 147th in Business Programs for 2019. Many of its graduate programs also consistently rank among the best in the nation, according to USNR. Almost 30,700 students attend VCU, which has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

VCU offers an online and on-campus Master of Sport Leadership program. It can be completed in 12-16 months. They also offer a dual M.B.A./M.S.L. program, and a Ph.D. track. All of these options increase your flexibility and ability to find a program that best fits your schedule and career goals. Sample courses include NCAA Collegiate Coaching, Sport Law, Research Methods in Sport. After graduating you’ll be ready to help develop professional and amateur athletes and/or manage sports programs in academic, public and private settings.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 11th ($569)

16) Franklin Pierce University

Franklin Pierce is a small, private, non-profit university in Rindge, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1962. It prizes giving students a liberal arts education and coursework that will help them begin their professional careers. Their students can access undergraduate programs in a number of arts, sciences, and professional disciplines. They can also take Master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificate programs in business, education, and health sciences, among other disciplines. Franklin Pierce ranks in the 142-187 bracket of UNR’s 2019 Regional Universities North ranking. Over 2,300 students attend Franklin Pierce, which offers a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Franklin Pierce offers an online MBA in Sports Management. It can be taken in part or full-time study. In it, you’ll dissect business practices and build leadership, media, technology, and operations management skills. You’ll study qualitative and quantitative courses, and take concentration courses in change management, media relations, and sports facility management. Many of its alumni have achieved success in the sports industry, like Mathew Fedorka, who graduated in 2012, and now works as the retention and events coordinator for the New England Revolution soccer franchise. Other graduates have gone on to work as business managers, marketers, facilities managers, sports merchandisers, and operations directors in professional sports organizations.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 20th ($665)

17) Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fairleigh is a private, nonsectarian university in Teaneck, New Jersey. The school also has two other campuses in New Jersey, and two international campuses. It was founded in 1942. The school tied for 62nd among Regional Universities North, and 33rd in Best Value Schools on USNR’s 2019 rankings. Over 7,800 students attend Fairleigh Dickinson, which has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Fairleigh offers an online Master of Sports Administration (MSA. It can also be taken at FDU’s Teaneck and Florham Campuses. It requires 36 credits. The program emphasizes leadership skills. Students will learn the practical and theoretical aspects of everything that goes into the administration and management of sports personnel and facilities, recreation and fitness programs and businesses, health facilities, coaching, and recreational activities. Sample courses include Sports Marketing & Promotions, Facility Development, Administration, Programming, and Group Dynamics, among many others.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 35th ($1,245)

18) Duquesne University

Duquesne is a private Catholic university that was founded in 1878, and is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s considered a research university with high activity by the Carnegie Foundation. Duquesne is made up of nine schools and other institutions. The school offers 189 baccalaureate, professional, graduate and doctoral academic programs. The vast majority of its students are from Pennsylvania or the surrounding region, however, Duquesne also has an Italian campus and offers degrees online. Nearly 9,200 students attend Duquesne, which has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Duquesne offers an online Master of Science in Sports Business. It requires 30 credits. The program is aimed at helping students advance their careers in the sports industry, no matter where they are in it. The program tackles diverse topics like workplace diversity, professional sales, marketing, negotiation, conflict resolution, leadership and law. Sample courses include Sales in Sports Business, Strategic Sports Marketing, The Legal Environment and Business of Sports Media. The larger knowledge areas covered include Professional Selling Skills, Leadership Skills and Ethical Competency.

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 32nd ($934)

19) Ohio University

Ohio University is a large, public research university in Athens, Ohio. It also has many ancillary, regional campuses. It’s the oldest university in Ohio, and was founded by the state in 1804. OU offers undergraduate programs in 250 areas of study, and graduate degrees in most of its departments, including Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication, Education, Engineering and Technology, Fine Arts, Health Sciences and Professions, Leadership and Public Affairs, Medical and Graduate Studies, among others. Over 29,300 students attend the school (17:1 student-to-faculty ratio). Its eCampus offers free online tutoring services, and a survey that helps students figure out if they’re ready to start an online program at Ohio University.

Ohio offers an online Master of Athletic Administration. It specializes in developing interscholastic Athletic Directors. You’ll be inundated with the skills you need to serve young student-athletes, and run a successful athletic department. The program can be completed in two years. Sample courses include Sport Marketing, Athletic Administration Seminar, Administration of Interscholastic Athletic Programs, Ethics in Sports and many others. Ohio has 50 years experience conveying sports business education, and the results include many satisfied graduates and innumerable thankful athletes worldwide

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 12th ($588)

20) Jackson State University

JSU is a public, historically black university in Jackson, Mississippi. It also has a Universities Center, and the JSU-Madison campus, JSU-Holmes campus, JSU-Mississippi E-Center, and JSU-Downtown campuses. It was founded in 1887. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classified JSU as a research university with high research activity. JSU offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Education Specialist degrees through schools and colleges of Business, Education and Human Development, Liberal Arts, Public Service, Public Health, Science, Engineering and Technology, Journalism and Media Studies, Honors College, and the School of Life Long Learning. Over 8,500 students attend JSU, which has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

JSU offers an online M.S. in Sport Science. In it you’ll be prepared to work in intercollegiate athletics, sport facilities, professional sport organizations, parks and recreation organizations, sport marketing companies and multipurpose facilities. It requires 36 credit hours. You’ll learn what goes into managing a sport enterprise, and how to control yours and others performances to meet organizational goals. Sample courses include Sport Finance, Sport Marketing, Sport Psychology & Sociology, and Sport Administration & Organization. among many others. The program culminates with either a thesis or internship (students choose).

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  • Out-of-state tuition per credit hour: 14th ($594)