If sport management is your passion and you want to teach at the college level, conduct research, or even achieve the status of a high level business executive, earning a PhD in sport management is the way to open those doors. We all know going back to school is a big investment of both time and money, but by doing a bit of research, you can avoid breaking the bank. We created a list of the most affordable campus-based PhD programs in sport management to highlight some of the best programs out there for students on a budget.
To identify the 20 most affordable sports management PhD programs, we started with a search on College Navigator to find out which schools offered these programs. We also consulted NASSM, the North American Society for Sport Management, which keeps a list of universities offering PhD sport management programs in the U.S. We looked at the average graduate tuition rates to determine the most affordable programs.
20 Most Affordable PhD Programs in Sports Management 2018
#20 – University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kinesiology Ph.D. Emphasis: Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,728/year in-state and $25,884/year out-of-state
The School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota offers an affordable Sport Management PhD program that combines theoretical instruction with practical experience. Students of this cheap PhD program can choose a minor in public policy; public affairs; educational psychology; business administration education, curriculum, and instruction; or human resources and industrial relations. Management areas in the public sector, fitness, and facilities management are covered through coursework.
#19 – University of Connecticut-Storrs, Connecticut
Ph.D. in Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,500/year in-state and $35,812/year out-of-state
The affordable sport management Ph.D. program at the University of Connecticut is offered as a concentration within the Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy Program (LLEP). Students obtain a rich experience through a mix of classroom, research and field experiences lead by expert level faculty. Courses in this cheap PhD program cover organizational theory in sport, organizational behavior in sport, and research in sport management.
#18 – St. Thomas University – Miami Gardens, Florida
Doctor of Business Administration in Sports Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,076/year
The Gus Machado School of Business at St. Thomas University features an affordable DBA in Sport Management designed to prepare future sport managers and educators. This 90 credit hour sports management degree program is focused on the business of sport, with graduates working with professional sports teams, higher education, and intercollegiate athletics. Sport Administration electives are offered in areas like sports ethics, sports media, athletic fundraising, and sports psychology.
#17 – University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Massachusetts
PhD in Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $13,210/year in-state and $27,834/year out-of-state
The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst features a full-time, four-year residential program prepares students for a successful career in academia. Students benefit from a low student to faculty ratio and a supportive and collaborate environment that allows for professional and personal growth. Faculty are renowned industry experts who hold close ties to the sport industry.
#16 – University of South Carolina – Columbia, South Carolina
Sport and Entertainment Management, Ph.D.
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,854/year in-state and $27,968/year out-of-state
The affordable PhD in Sport Management from the University of South Carolina is a three year residential program preparing students to conduct research and teach/mentor students. The University of South Carolina boasts one of the largest sport and entertainment management facilities in the country hosting the Sport, Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow Conference and the College Sport Research Institute. Faculty have close ties with the industry, sharing their knowledge and expertise with students to enhance their educational experience.
#15 – University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky
Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organization Development, Sport Administration Specialization
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,246/year in-state and $25,486/year out-of-state
The PhD in Educational Leadership and Organization Development, Sport Administration Specialist program offered by the University of Louisville is designed for students who want to become a college of university faculty member. Students come from all over the globe to work alongside internationally recognized faculty. Successful students typically have work experience in the field and a clear research focus. Every students to graduate from this affordable PhD program has found employment in academia or the sport management industry.
#14 – The Ohio State University-Columbus, Ohio
PhD in Kinesiology, Sport Management
Average Net Price: $11,560/year in-state and $33,032/year out-of-state
The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University has been educating students in sport management for over 40 years. They offer a customized PhD in Kinesiology with a focus in Sport Management which includes one-on-one mentoring from faculty. Students contribute to the field through individual research and are actively engaged in unique professional development opportunities. Sports management courses cover areas like sports and society, sport organization theory, and business of college sport.
#13 – University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee
PhD in Sport Studies-Sport Management Specialization
Average Net Price: $11,244/year in-state and $29,432/year out-of-state
The University of Tennessee features an interdisciplinary affordable PhD in Sport Management. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to select coursework. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are emphasized, including research design and methodology to conduct research outside the classroom. Graduates of this cheap PhD program are prepared for faculty positions in higher education.
#12 – University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida
PhD in Sport Management
Average Net Price: $10,770/year in-state and $27,335/year out-of-state
The Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida offers an affordable Sport Management PhD program that students can complete in four years. Faculty are internationally recognized experts in areas like athlete development, sport consumer perceptions, and the economic impact related to sport. Students of this top PhD program must complete a research dissertation and oral defense to complete their degree.
#11 – University of Northern Colorado-Greeley, Colorado
Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science: Sport Administration
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,402/year in-state and $19,566/year out-of-state
As one of the first Ph.D. programs in sport management in the country, the University of Northern Colorado has trained some of the most respected experts in the industry. UNCO supports students engaged in independent research and offers encouragement to students to pursue individual research interests. Students complete 64-67 credit hour of sports management courses covering areas like statistics and research. Graduates of this top, affordable sports management PhD program will be prepared to work in academia or research, or be successful as a top level sport administrator.
#10 – The University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas
PhD Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,716/year in-state and $22,730/year out-of-state
The affordable Sport Management PhD from The University of Kansas is offered through the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences. Students are engaged in hands-on research through the Amateur Sport Research Center. Considered one of the top 10 programs in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, this affordable PhD program delivers a quality curriculum with a cheap price tag. Students can complete the program in three years of study.
#9 – Florida State University-Tallahassee, Florida
PhD Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,684/year in-state and $24,116/year out-of-state
The College of Education at Florida State University offers an affordable PhD in sport management focused on four theme areas which include Legal and Policy Issues in Sport, Management in Sport, Sport Marketing, and Sport Media and Culture Studies. Students complete a seminar series, immersed in current trends and research and refining critical thinking skills. The curriculum of this cheap PhD program includes extensive training in research and instructional experience teaching undergraduate lecture courses.
#8 – Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sport Management Ph.D.
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,132/year
The School of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University features an affordable PhD in Sport Management which prepares students for a career in academia. Students complete core sports management courses, independent studies, and mentoring opportunities with faculty. Elective courses cover a variety areas including facility management, law and legal applications, and organizational behavior.
#7 – Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana
Sport Management Doctoral Program
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,956/year in-state and $30,125/year out-of-state
The affordable doctorate in sports management program at Indiana University was designed to meet the demand for an increase in professors and researchers in the field. Students have the opportunity to explore individual areas of interest within sport management through elective coursework and seminars that prepare them for research and teaching careers in academia. Admission to this cheap PhD program is highly competitive. Successful students should have a strong background and interest in research.
#6 – University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia
PhD in Kinesiology (Sport Management and Policy)
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,704/year in-state and $24,692/year out-of-state
Do you have aspirations of becoming a leading researcher in sport marketing or management? The College of Education at the University of Georgia features an affordable PhD in Sport Management with research opportunities in sport marketing and consumer behavior, social/cultural diversity and social justice, or risk management. Students of this top PhD program attend and present at national conferences, participate in national-level student organizations, and hear top-level speakers in the field. Your cost of attendance can be drastically reduced through assistantships, scholarships, and financial aid awards.
#5 – University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Arkansas
PhD program in Health, Sport and Exercise Science, with a Concentration in Recreation and Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,563/year in-state and $19,784/year out-of-state
The University of Arkansas features an affordable PhD in Sport Management and Recreation that caters to those with a passion for both recreation and sport management Students prepare students for careers in education, management, and research. This top affordable sport management doctoral program is rich with experiential learning including research opportunities and internship experiences. Students must pass both oral and written examinations, a thesis, and a dissertation to complete their degree.
#4 – Georgia State University – Atlanta, Georgia
Kinesiology, Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. with a Concentration in Sport Administration
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,020/year in-state and $22,518/year out-of-state
The College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University features an affordable PhD in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Administration. Students of this top PhD program will learn about sport management, marketing, consumer behavior, and communication. Each student is sponsored by a faculty member who helps them devise their specific program plan. Hands on research opportunities are available in the Rankin Cooter Bureau for Sport Business Research using sport specific software packages like StatCrew and InDesign.
#3 – University of New Mexico – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Doctoral Program, Ph.D. in Physical Education, Sports, and Exercise Science with a focus in Sport Leadership
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,505/year in-state and $21,962/year out-of-state
The affordable PhD in Physical Education, Sports, and Exercise at The University of New Mexico features a research focus area in Sport Leadership or Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Athletic Administration. Admission is extremely competitive as there are only a limited number of slots available each year. Required foundational courses cover areas like financing sport, risk management in sport, and legal aspects of sport.
#2 – Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas
Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,941/year in-state and $16,461/year out-of-state
Texas A&M University offers one of the most affordable PhD programs in sport management. The Department of Health and Kinesiology has offered a leading sport management Ph.D. program for close to 30 years. The curriculum builds on four primary areas including the scholarship of sport management, scholarship of theoretical specializations, methods of inquiry, and teaching and career preparation. Students of this top PhD program are actively engaged in research and studies at the Center for Sport Management Research and Education, the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport, and the Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics.
#1 – Texas Woman’s University – Denton, Texas
Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,672/year in-state and $12,142/year out-of-state
Texas Woman’s University offers both an MS and PhD in Kinesiology, emphasizing sport management. This affordable PhD is offered through a mix of online and on-campus instruction at the Denton Campus. Students stay active and connected to the industry through collaboration with peers and industry professionals in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Doctoral level students give at least two conference presentations, complete research projects, and submit a manuscript for publication. All PhD students of our top PhD program benefit from a mentoring relationship with a faculty member that includes teaching an upper level undergraduate class.
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