Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Sports Management

From player recruitments to ticket sales, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of large scale sporting events. The field of sports management encompasses all of these tasks and is ideal for sports enthusiasts who also have a head for business. Most master’s in sports management online degrees include coursework on a variety of topics, such marketing, finance, event management, and sports law. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in a variety of sports-related roles, such as agent, recruiter, tournament organizer, promotions manager, team manager, or athletic director.

While a bachelor’s degree is all you’ll need for many entry-level jobs, a master’s degree is a necessity for those who have their sights on an upper-level position like team manager or head of an athletic department. An online master’s in sports management will also help you command a higher salary throughout your career. Entry-level positions in the field of sports management, such as event ticket manager, pay around $50,000 a year, while a college athletic director can make well over $100,000 depending on the size and location of the school.

An online master’s in sports management degree can lead to a lucrative career, but that doesn’t mean that acquiring the proper training has to be expensive or difficult. Many distance learning programs are designed for working professionals and offer flexible scheduling and affordable tuition. The following ranking list of the best and most affordable accredited sports management master’s degree online programs emphasizes low tuition costs and a high return on investment for students.


30 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Sports Management
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Arkansas State University

Value Score 8.43
Average Tuition $4,572
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 72%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $254

A-State’s master’s of science in sport administration is one of the few online master’s in sports management programs that is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). Graduates pursue careers in sports marketing, athletics administration, and facility management and work in country clubs, health clubs, and stadiums. Most courses last seven weeks, and the 36-credit degree can be completed in 12 months. The program requires an internship, which is offered during consecutive summer terms.

The affordable tuition includes fees, and financial aid is available. Prospective students must submit transcripts, a current résumé, a formal statement of goals, and two letters of recommendation. Students can begin the program in fall, spring, or summer, with six start dates per year.


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2

Texas A & M University-College Station

Value Score 8.29
Average Tuition $5,598
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%
Number of Online Programs 31
Part-time cost per credit hour $241

The online master’s of science in sport management at TAMU is specifically designed for working professionals. Students can complete the 36-credit program on a part-time or full-time schedule, with no thesis required. Courses include a research core, a sport management core, electives, and a field experience ranging from one to six credit hours.

A limited number of students are admitted to the master’s in sports management online program. Fall 2015 applicants’ average GPA exceeded 3.0, and most had over four years experience in the sports industry. Applicants should submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a current résumé, and a statement of purpose. GRE scores are not required but can be submitted for consideration.


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3

Midwestern State University

Value Score 8.20
Average Tuition $3,805
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 61%
Number of Online Programs 7
Part-time cost per credit hour $211

MSU’s main campus is located in Wichita Falls, Texas, but the university offers a master’s of education in sport administration online. The degree requires 36 credit hours, including courses in organizational leadership, cultural influences, and management functions, as well as a focused study on a chosen topic such as event and facilities management, media and community relations, or sport marketing and finance. The online program is delivered through the D2L platform.

Applicants are required to submit either GRE or GMAT scores, as well as official transcripts; prospective students should contact the graduate coordinator for program-specific application requirements. Students can enroll in fall, spring, or summer terms, with applications generally due one to two months before classes begin. This affordable master’s in sports management online program offers scholarships and financial aid, and distance students are exempt from some campus-based fees.


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4

Georgia Southern University

Value Score 8.06
Average Tuition $6,636
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 15
Part-time cost per credit hour $277

Georgia Southern’s master’s of science in sport management program prepares students to enter one of the fastest-growing fields in the country. The degree can be completed in 24 months, though students may extend their studies to accommodate schedules. The 36-credit program requires eight core courses and four electives, including unique courses like revenue generation in sport and sport law and risk management.

Admission requirements for this sports management master’s degree online program include GRE or GMAT scores, as well as transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a résumé. Sport industry work or volunteer experience is preferred, though not required. Students must begin the program in the fall term. All students in this affordable program are charged the same tuition regardless of their state of residence.


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5

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Value Score 7.64
Average Tuition $8,550
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92%
Number of Online Programs 17
Part-time cost per credit hour $420

Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers a 33-credit master’s of arts in sport management, which teaches management, marketing, strategic planning, and law as they relate to the field. Applicants are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must submit transcripts, a personal statement, and a current résumé.

A student training presentation introduces new students to online learning. Courses last seven weeks, and this accelerated degree can be completed in a little over 18 months. Students complete 11 courses, including a 3-credit capstone course, which can be tailored to the student’s interests. Tuition for the master’s in sports management online program is the same for all students, regardless of residency.


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6

Indiana State University

Value Score 7.47
Average Tuition $6,984
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 54%
Number of Online Programs 18
Part-time cost per credit hour $388

Students enrolled in the online master’s of science in sport management program at Indiana State are never required to visit the campus in Terre Haute, Indiana. Students have seven years to complete the degree, which includes an internship or research project. The online master’s in sports management program requires 36 credit hours, but students without an undergraduate sport management major or minor complete an additional three credits.

Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA, though those with GPAs of 2.75 or above may be considered if they have other credentials, such as experience in the industry. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, a résumé, and three references; GRE or GMAT scores are not required. Online programs are not currently available to Massachusetts residents.


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7

Liberty University

Value Score 7.44
Average Tuition $7,781
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 97%
Number of Online Programs 18
Part-time cost per credit hour $457

The master’s of science in sport management at Liberty University offers specializations in outdoor adventure sport, sport administration, and tourism, all available in thesis or non-thesis formats. This 36-credit degree requires 21 core credits and 15 credits in a chosen specialization. Students on a non-thesis track must complete an internship. Students may transfer in a maximum of 50% of the required credits.

To be admitted in good standing, applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. All Liberty students pay the same tuition regardless of residency, but in certain programs, full-time students receive a per-credit discount over part-time students. Master’s in sports management online students have access to writing resources, the online library, and IT support. Online courses are asynchronous, and 87% of online students receive financial aid.


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8

Wilmington University

Value Score 7.28
Average Tuition $7,992
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 75%
Number of Online Programs 16
Part-time cost per credit hour $444

Wilmington University’s master’s of science in management offers 10 concentrations, including sports management. The degree requires 36 credits: 18 credits in the business management core, 12 credits in the sports management concentration, and 6 credits of electives. For those interested in becoming Certified Athletic Administrators (CAA), the university offers two courses approved by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), the completion of which allows graduates to take the CAA exam.

Students in the sports management master’s degree online program advance to degree candidacy only after completing four courses with a 3.0 GPA, completing a program planning conference, and submitting all final transcripts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can expect a decision two weeks after submitting their materials.


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9

University of Southern Mississippi

Value Score 6.99
Average Tuition $6,980
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 15
Part-time cost per credit hour $402

At USM, students from across the country and world take advantage of the affordable tuition and waived out-of-state fees for online students. USM offers a 33-credit sport management MS that students can begin in fall, spring, or summer. The online master’s in sports management degree requires 24 hours of core courses and nine hours of electives. Students may use their electives to earn the sport event security management emphasis, the first of its kind in the country. The emphasis includes courses in threat and risk assessment and sport event emergency response planning.

Full-time students, who are enrolled in nine hours per term, can take up to 13 hours at no additional cost. Applicants must submit all transcripts and GRE scores. Graduate tuition includes the online delivery fee.


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10

Jacksonville State University

Value Score 6.95
Average Tuition $8,904
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 64%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $371

JSU in Jacksonville, Alabama, offers a 33-credit master’s of science in sport management online degree. Students can choose to focus the required internship on sport management or sport marketing and administration. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform, and students have access to 24/7 resources—Blackboard support, advising, career services, and the digital library. More than 79% of JSU students receive financial aid.

Applicants submit GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores in addition to three graduate reference forms, a résumé, and a letter of interest. Students pursuing the teacher certification option must also submit their teaching certificate. Applications for the sports management master’s degree online program are accepted for fall, spring, and summer terms. Applicants with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25 receive unconditional admission to JSU.


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11

Jackson State University

Value Score 6.93
Average Tuition $6,866
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $381

Jackson State enrolls nearly 9,000 students and is the fourth largest university in Mississippi. Its online programs, including the master’s of science in sport science with a sport management concentration, are delivered through the Canvas platform. The online master’s in sport management requires 36 credit hours: 15 core credits and 21 credits in the sport management emphasis. Students complete courses in sport psychology, economics, and facility design and maintenance, as well as an internship or a thesis.

Applicants submit GRE scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an online application; the application fee is waived for Mississippi residents. Students can enroll in fall, spring, or summer. Those with undergraduate GPAs above 3.5 may be eligible for out-of-state fee waivers, and the university provides scholarships, grants, and fellowships.


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12

Troy University

Value Score 6.86
Average Tuition $7,146
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $397

Troy University’s master’s of science in sport and fitness management is one of the few online master’s programs in sports management accredited by the COSMA. Students choose concentrations in sport management or coaching, and thesis or non-thesis tracks. The 36 required credit hours include 12 hours of core courses on topics such as foundations in sport management, statistical analysis, and research methods. The remaining credits comprise concentration courses and, for some students, a six-credit thesis.

Program graduates currently work in the NBA, the NFL, Division I athletics departments, event management, and recreation departments. Troy also offers online Ph.D. in sport management.


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13

California University of Pennsylvania

Value Score 6.73
Average Tuition $8,460
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 90%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $470

Cal U was the first school in the country to offer an online master’s in sports management degree. Full-time students can complete the online master’s of science in sport management in as few as 13 months. The program offers concentrations in intercollegiate athletic administration, sport management, and strategic sport analysis. The 36 required credits include a 24-credit core curriculum and 12 credits of a mentorship or concentration-specific courses.

California residents pay a reduced per-credit tuition rate. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA, but those with lower GPAs can apply for conditional admission, which requires a résumé and two professional references.


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14

University of Florida

Value Score 5.97
Average Tuition $10,770
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 41%
Number of Online Programs 32
Part-time cost per credit hour $449

UF’s online master’s of science in sport management explores sport marketing, sport sociology, and sport finance and prepares graduates to impact sport administration and development. The 36-credit program includes 6 research core credits, 15 credits of required courses, and 15 credits of electives, as well as a capstone project. Students may specialize in athlete development, high performance coaching, or sport law. Concentrations require 9 to 15 credits of coursework, and the athlete development concentration meets the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists’ certification requirements.

Financial aid is available for the sports management master’s degree online program. Students may begin the program in any of the four terms, and applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores.


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15

Belhaven University

Value Score 5.55
Average Tuition $9,990
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 11
Part-time cost per credit hour $555

Located in Jackson, Mississippi, Belhaven’s programs are taught from a Christian perspective. The 36-credit online master’s of sports administration program can be completed in two years, and courses are offered in eight-week terms. The 12 required courses include a capstone seminar and subjects such as sports budgeting, events, human resources, and leadership.

Admission requirements for the master’s in sports management online program include two years of work or military experience and a 2.5 undergraduate GPA or a B in nine hours of graduate coursework. Applicants who do not meet these requirements should submit an essay and two letters of recommendation to be considered for conditional admission, which requires accepted students to earn a 3.0 GPA in the first six hours of the program.


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16

Concordia University-Irvine

Value Score 5.33
Average Tuition $7,998
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 70%
Number of Online Programs 5
Part-time cost per credit hour $611

Students of the online master’s in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia Irvine may earn a master’s of science or a master’s of arts. Both degrees require 36 units of coursework, including 20 units of core courses and 16 units of electives. MS elective options include courses in sport medicine, nutrition, and exercise physiology, and MA elective options include courses in coaching psychology, athletic finance, and theories and strategies for coaching various sports. Students fulfill a capstone requirement, which includes completing a professional portfolio.

Applications for the master’s in sports management online program are accepted on a rolling basis. Students choose one of four start terms, allowing them to plan their studies around coaching seasons.


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17

Mississippi College

Value Score 5.32
Average Tuition $9,810
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 21%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $545

MC is the largest and oldest private university in Mississippi. Its MS in athletic administration program offers concentrations in interscholastic or intercollegiate athletic administration. The intercollegiate concentration is only offered online, and both concentrations require students to complete a four-hour practicum experience, which includes a minimum of 60 on-site hours at a location approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee. The 37-hour online master’s degree in sports administration is completed over two years.

MC is one of the most affordable private universities in Mississippi. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores that meet or exceed MC’s minimums. All graduate students have access to MC’s career services department.


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18

Grace College and Theological Seminary

Value Score 5.28
Average Tuition $10,404
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 63%
Number of Online Programs 6
Part-time cost per credit hour $553

By partnering with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) and the Canadian Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (CIAAA), the master’s of science in athletic administration program at Grace College provides NIAAA and CIAAA members an affordable, convenient degree. Completed over two years, the 36-credit degree consists of five electives and seven core courses, including practical application and a capstone. All courses conclude with a project, except the capstone, which concludes with a research paper.

Grace offers cheap tuition, and students may apply work experience toward the degree. Applicants to the master’s in sports management online program must have a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA and have completed at least two leadership training courses through the NIAAA or the CIAAA.


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19

Missouri Baptist University

Value Score 5.08
Average Tuition $9,405
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $570

MBU’s online master’s of science in fitness management program combines fitness science with business skills. Graduates pursue careers as athletic or personal trainers, physical therapists, and business owners. The online master’s in sports management degree merges classroom and clinical experiences into a 34-credit program that can be completed in 24 months, though students may choose to attend part time.

The program’s 34 credits include 28 core credits in areas such as chronic disease and obesity, fitness management, and sport public relations. The remaining credits are completed through a capstone; students may choose to undertake an internship or a thesis.


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20

University of the Southwest

Value Score 5.04
Average Tuition $12,528
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 18
Part-time cost per credit hour $580

University of the Southwest in Hobbs, New Mexico, offers an online MBA program with 11 specialization options, including the MBA in sports management and recreation. The 36-credit master’s in sports management online degree requires 21 credits in core courses and 15 credits in the specialization and can be completed in as few as 12 months.

The affordable tuition for the fully online MBA includes all digital textbooks and technology fees, as well as a laptop. Applicants should consult a program advisor for full requirements, but prospective students are not required to have a bachelor’s degree in business. Online courses begin every eight weeks and are asynchronous, and tutoring is available.


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21

Morehead State University

Value Score 5.03
Average Tuition $10,422
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 86%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $579

MSU’s 36-credit MA in sport management has a fairly standardized curriculum, but students may choose between an internship and research product and may replace a management course with an approved business elective. This sports management master’s degree online program requires courses such as socio-cultural issues in sport, financing the sport enterprise, and planning and designing sport and physical activity facilities. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and pass a written exam to graduate.

Applicants must have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA and meet minimum score requirements on the GRE or GMAT. Decisions are typically rendered two to three weeks after the submission of application materials. All graduate students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.


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22

Coker College

Value Score 4.75
Average Tuition $10,116
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 67%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $562

Students of Coker’s master’s of science in college athletic administration explore topics such as NCAA compliance, recruiting of coaches and athletes, and current issues in college athletics. The degree requires 30 credit hours, and students take one class at a time.

The master’s in sports management online program can be completed in 15 months, and financial aid is available. Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.85 and must submit all transcripts, a résumé, three letters of recommendation, and a 500-word personal statement on one of three topics: lessons learned from failure, challenging a belief or idea, or an important personal quality or experience.


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23

Ohio University

Value Score 4.72
Average Tuition $9,510
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 11
Part-time cost per credit hour $587

In 1966, Ohio University established the first specialized academic sports program in the United States. Now, the university offers an online master’s in athletic administration, which prepares students for NIAAA certification. The degree requires 36 credit hours in courses such as research methods, ethics, and administration, as well as a capstone course.

Applicants must have a 2.7 GPA and at least two years of athletic experience at the middle or high school level. Three recommendation letters are required, including one from a current interscholastic athletic administrator, as well as a statement of purpose and a résumé; GRE scores are not required. Tuition for Ohio residents is slightly discounted. Ohio’s sports management master’s degree online program is accredited by the COSMA.


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24

Concordia University-Chicago

Value Score 4.48
Average Tuition $14,328
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 70%
Number of Online Programs 20
Part-time cost per credit hour $597

CUC offers an online MBA with 10 different specializations, each requiring an additional 12 credit hours. Students can complete the 48-credit MBA with sports management specialization degree in one or two years. The online master’s degree in sports administration includes classes such as economics of sports, sports finance, sports law, and diversity in sports. Students may also earn additional specializations.

CUC utilizes the cohort model—students proceed through the program in a group. No application fee or GRE score is required to apply, and enrolled students can apply for financial aid. CUC guarantees tuition will never increase for continuously enrolled students.


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25

Lasell College

Value Score 4.28
Average Tuition $10,710
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 70%
Number of Online Programs 4
Part-time cost per credit hour $595

Lasell’s master’s of science in sport management offers four concentrations: sport leadership, sport tourism and hospitality management, parks and recreation, and athletic administration. The 36 required credits include 24 core credits, 9 concentration credits, and a capstone. The program can be completed in one to two years, and graduates work as high school athletic directors, college head coaches, sports marketing directors, and events managers.

Lasell’s master’s in sports management online courses are capped at 23 students. Applicants should submit official transcripts, two professional letters of recommendation, a résumé, and a one-page personal statement; no GRE or GMAT scores are required. Lasell recommends a GPA of 3.0 or above for students with less than three years of work experience.


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