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Top 10 PhD Programs in Sport Management 2018-2019

Sports-Management-Degree-Guide-Top ProgramsBy SMD Staff
September 2018

Earning a PhD in sports management is a great way to stand out in this competitive field. Jobs for sport management professionals with their PhD exist in facility management, sports marketing, sports law, or education. Earning a sports management PhD is a natural progression for students who already have a career in athletics and business and are looking for professional advancement. Sports minded professionals will find advanced education and training in sport management very rewarding.

Methodology

To identify the top 10 best sports management PhD programs, we started with a search on College Navigator to find out which schools offered these programs in an online format. 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 compared student to faculty ratios, average graduate tuition rates, graduation rates, and accreditations using College Navigator. While graduation rates are provided only for first time undergraduate students, we felt this was still important to consider for our list an indicator of the level of support students receive while earning their degree. To be considered for our list, schools must hold regional accreditation, feature hands on training and internship or field experiences, and have a curriculum taught by doctorate level faculty. Where there are ties, we favored the school with the lower graduate tuition rate. From our list, we created a rating system as seen below to select our top 10 doctorate programs in sport management.

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 15:1 or less= 2 Points
  • Greater than 15:1= 1 Point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate

  • Less than $10,000 per year= 2 Points
  • More than $10,000 per year= 1 Point

Overall Graduation Rate

  • Less than 50%= 1 Points
  • Greater than 50%= 2 Point

Below are 10 schools that offer the best sports management PhD degree programs. Students learn advanced skills and benefit from professional training in sport management.

Ranking the Top 10 PhD Programs in Sports Management 2018

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#10 – University of Northern Colorado-Greeley, Colorado

Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science: Sport Administration


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,402/year in-state and $19,566/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Overall Graduation Rate: 48%
Points: 3
As one of the first Ph.D. programs in sport management in the country, the University of Northern Colorado has trained some of the top industry experts. UNCO values independent research and encourages students to work with a faculty advisor to pursue individual research interests. Courses cover areas like consumer behavior, marketing, research, public relations, facility management, and finance. Through this comprehensive curriculum, students in this top sports management PhD program will be prepared to work in academia or research, or be successful as a top level sport administrator.

#9 – University of Connecticut-Storrs, Connecticut

Ph.D. in Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,500/year in-state and $35,812/year out-of-state
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
Overall Graduation Rate: 83%
Points: 4
The top sport management Ph.D. program at the University of Connecticut is a concentration within the Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy Program (LLEP). Students experience a mix of classroom, research and field experiences lead by expert level faculty with experience in the sport industry. Courses cover organizational theory in sport, organizational behavior in sport, and research in sport management. Students can gain additional experience and training by applying for a limited number of assistantships within the department or in the Division of Athletics.

#8 – University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Massachusetts

PhD in Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $13,210/year in-state and $27,834/year out-of-state
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
Overall Graduation Rate: 77%
Points: 4
At the intersection of sport and business lies the top doctorate in sport management from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This full-time, four-year residential program prepares students for a successful career in academia. Areas of study include sport marketing, sport law, sport finance, sport sociology, and sport economics. Students complete 48 credits of coursework, pass a qualifying and comprehensive exam, and teach for three years at Isenberg. During the last years in the program, students will research and complete a dissertation.

#7 – The Ohio State University-Columbus, Ohio

PhD in Kinesiology, Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Average Net Price: $11,560/year in-state and $33,032/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Overall Graduation Rate: 83%
Points: 4
The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University features a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a focus in sport management. This customized program includes one-on-one mentoring from faculty, contributing to the field through individual research, and engaging in unique professional development opportunities. Coursework covers areas like sports marketing, sport organization theory, business of college sport, and research methods.

#6 – University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan

PhD in Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio:11:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $22,368/year in-state and $45,156/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Overall Graduation Rate: 92%
Points: 5
The School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan features a Doctorate in Sport Management designed for educators, researchers, and sport management professionals. Students in this top sport management doctorate program contribute original research to the field through a dissertation project. To help offset the cost of tuition, UM offers financial assistance in the form of assistantships (both research and teaching) and fellowship opportunities. Sports management degree coursework covers areas like financial management for the sport industry, managing a professional sport franchise, and strategic management.

#5 – Florida State University-Tallahassee, Florida

PhD Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,684/year in-state and $24,116/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Overall Graduation Rate: 80%
Points: 5
The College of Education at Florida State University offers a top Ph.D. 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, being immersed in current trends and research in each of the theme areas of the program. The curriculum includes extensive training in research, preparing students to become an active researcher. Students also gain valuable instructional experience by shadowing a faculty member to learn to teach undergraduate sport management courses.

#4 – Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Sport Management Ph.D.


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,132/year
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Overall Graduation Rate: 67%
Points: 5
The School of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University features an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in sport management which allows students to tailor the program to meet their professional interests. Students complete core courses, independent studies, and elective courses that cover a wide variety of sport management related concepts and issues. Faculty serve as mentors to help students reach their full potential in both research and academia.

#3 – Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana

Sport Management Doctoral Program


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,956/year in-state and $30,125/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Overall Graduation Rate: 77%
Points: 5
The 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. Admission to the program is highly competitive. Future students should have a solid background and interest in research.

#2 – University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Arkansas

Doctor of Philosophy program in Health, Sport and Exercise Science, with a Concentration in Recreation and Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,563/year in-state and $19,784/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Overall Graduation Rate: 62%
Points: 5
Students with a passion for both recreation and sport management should explore the top Ph.D. in sport management from the University of Arkansas. The program features a concentration in Recreation and Sport Management that prepares students for careers in education, management, and research. This top sport management doctoral program is rich with experiential learning. Students complete independent research projects, internship experiences, conduct presentations, and publish their work in professional journals. To complete their degree, students must pass both oral and written examinations, a thesis, and a dissertation.

#1 – Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas

Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management


Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,941/year in-state and $16,461/year out-of-state
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Overall Graduation Rate: 82%
Points: 5
Texas A&M University offers our top choice for a Ph.D. in sport management. The Department of Health and Kinesiology has offered a leading sport management Ph.D. program for over 30 years. The curriculum follows four primary areas including scholarship of sport management, scholarship of theoretical specializations, methods of inquiry, and teaching and career preparation. Faculty are industry experts with experience working in marketing, finance, diversity, sport development, legal issues in sport, and leadership. Opportunities for professional development are available through the Center for Sport Management Research and Education and the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport.

Rankings