Sport Administration

Program Features

Often, what goes on behind the scenes is just as exciting as what's happening on the field. The Xavier University graduate degree in Sport Administration is a fully-online, asynchronous 30 credit hour program which puts students at the center of Cincinnati's sport industry, where planning, execution and good decision-making combine to create the best experience for athletes and fans alike.

Students study sport management, sport marketing, sport finance, personnel, legal issues and NCAA rules and regulations. They graduate prepared to assume leadership roles at the high school, collegiate and professional levels.

What is sport administration?

Sport administration degree programs focus on teaching students how to improve the behind-the-scenes operations of athletic programs and organizations. Programs generally include courses in finance, ethics, management, marketing, fundraising and legality/rules and regulations. Students connect with industry leaders through faculty, internships and research, and graduate ready for a career in the sport industry.

What can you do with a degree in sport administration?

Sport administrators work with sports organizations at the high school, collegiate and professional level. They also work in sports facilities, country clubs, fitness clubs and community athletic organizations. Some sport administrators specialize in areas like finance/budgeting, fundraising, management, marketing or law, while others collaborate with coaches and scouts to develop rosters or serve as overall managers. 

Most graduate-level sport administration programs, including Xavier University’s graduate degree in Sport Administration, allow students to focus on a specific area of study through independent research projects, internships and elective credits.

Why do people get a masters degree in sport administration?

Students enroll in sport administration programs because they’re passionate about sports and fascinated by the business side of the sports industry. Many feel at home in athletic settings, have an interest in working with athletes and fans and enjoy activities like going to professional sports games, working out at the gym, coaching amateur teams and training for marathons.

Students also choose sport administration because they want a career that allows them to have a positive impact on the sports industry for both athletes and fans. A degree in sport administration opens up possibilities for these kinds of jobs and more.

What classes are required for sport administration majors?

Required courses vary by program and institution. Students in Xavier’s graduate sport administration program are required to complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Management in Sport Administration (3 credit hours)
  • Sport Research and Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • Sport Administration: Marketing (3 credit hours)
  • Sport Administration: Finance (3 credit hours)
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports (3 credit hours)

Students also choose additional courses from a wide range of electives, including Personnel Issues in Sport Management, NCAA Rules, Regulations and Policies, Women and Sport, Public Relations and Communications in Sport and Administration of Fitness and Wellness Programs.

In addition, students must complete a three-semester hour internship, six-semester hour internship or a research project (depending on each students’ individual background and career goals)

How much does the program cost?

Find a complete tuition breakdown on our Graduate Tuition and Fees website.

Is there any financial aid or scholarships available?

Find out more about financial aid opportunities, scholarships and grants on our Graduate Tuition and Aid website.

What is the difference between sport management and sport administration?

Sport management and sport administration are often used to refer to similar degrees. Because every program is unique, it’s important to take a careful look at the curriculum to see if it’s a good fit for your career goals.

Some programs may have a heavier focus on the administrative side of running an athletic or sports program, including coaching, directing, scouting, sales, negotiations and event planning. Sport administrators’ jobs revolve around the daily life and health of athletes and teams.

Some programs may have a heavier focus on the business side of the sports industry, including public relations, marketing analytics, finance, advertising and

Other programs, like Xavier’s MEd in Sport Administration, allow students to tailor the curriculum to their individual career goals with opportunities for electives, research and for-credit internships.

What jobs can you get with a sport administration degree?

There are many different types of jobs you can get with a degree in sport administration. Here are a few of the more common job possibilities and industries for people with degrees in sport administration.


  • Athletic director
  • Sports executive
  • Media relations director
  • Guest services manager
  • Facilities and event manager
  • General manager
  • Advertising sales director
  • Facilities director
  • Accounting or finance manager
  • Ticket sales representative 
  • Business analyst
  • Account executive


  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Coaching/scouting 
  • Sales 
  • Program development
  • Fundraising and development 
  • Education 
  • Higher education 
  • Manufacturing and apparel 

How much money do you make in sport administration?

There are many career possibilities for individuals with a degree in sport administration, so salaries will vary accordingly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for agents and managers of artists, athletes and other entertainers is $78,920. 

Visit their website for a more detailed breakdown of careers and their average salaries.


Applications are welcome from students with a bachelor's degree and a strong interest in the field of sport administration. Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year. You may begin the program in the summer, fall or spring term.

To apply for official acceptance as a degree-seeking student, submit the following application materials to the office of graduate services:

  • the graduate application form
  • one official transcript sent directly from the college/university to graduate services, of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • the standardized test requirement is waived for applicants who have already earned a master's degree and for those with a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA from an accredited college or university
  • official test scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The MAT is offered here at Xavier. For information about registering for the MAT, please call 513 745-3531. If you have previously taken the GRE and want to have your scores sent to Xavier, please contact GRE at 1 888 GRE-SCORE.
  • current resume of work and volunteer experiences.
  • one page typewritten statement of your career goals and how the Xavier sport administration program fits with your goals.
  • two letters from professional and/or academic references who are able to assess your potential for success in this program.
  • Applications are processed immediately upon receiving all of the necessary materials, and you will be notified of your status as soon as possible. The admission committee considers all of the information contained in the admission application, including prior grades, test scores, and evidence of potential for success in graduate study.

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This fully online, asynchronous graduate degree is earned with a minimum of 30 semester hours. The Sports Administration program can be structured as a full- or part-time program making it possible for students to take courses at their own pace. Students may begin the program in the summer, fall or spring term.

Required Courses (15 credit hours):

  • SPMG 521 Principles of Management in Sport Administration............ 3cr.
  • SPMG 522 Sport Research and Statistics............ 3cr.
  • SPMG 595 Sport Administration: Marketing............ 3cr.
  • SPMG 596 Sport Administration: Finance............ 3cr.
  • SPMG 598 Legal and Ethical Issues in Sport............ 3cr.

Additional courses are chosen from a wide range of electives, including courses such as Personnel Issues in Sport Management; NCAA: Rules, Regulations, and Policies; Women and Sport; Public Relations and Communications in Sport; and Administration of Fitness and Wellness Programs.

A three semester hour internship, six semester hour internship, or a research project is required, depending on each student's individual background and career goals. Cincinnati sports teams and sport and health organizations provide tremendous opportunities for internships for XU students. Interns are supervised by a sport management practitioner.

There is no comprehensive exam for this program.

Sample Courses

SPMG 521 – Principles of Management in Sport Administration

Past, current and future trends in the field of sport management.  Administrative theory, function, and application within the field of sport management.               

SPMG 522 – Sport Research and Statistics

This course is designed to introduce students to research methods and basic statistics associated with the field of sport and physical activity.

SPMG 595 – Sport Administration: Marketing

The evolution of the field, its place in our economy, a marketing plan, current trends, case histories.  Proposals offered by promoters.  Career in sport marketing.

SPMG 596 – Sport Administration: Finance

Sport and athletic/not-for-profit budgets-program based, project based, and line-item based.  Formulating budgets.  Budgeting cycles, political ramifications imposed and utilized in the federal cycle, fiscal year, and reserves.  Financial markets, cash management, and municipal underwriting of recreation and parks facilities.  Scale sheets, bond issues, BAN, VKX, sinking funds, etc.  Grand writing.  Sources of funding, and endowment foundations.

SPMG 598 – Legal and Ethical Issues in Sport & Physical Education

Legal and ethical issues with regard to youth, school, college, amateur and professional sport.

Tuition and Fees


Graduates of Xavier's Sport Administration programs have accepted leadership positions in many settings and industries, including

Professional Sports Teams

Colleges and Universities

High School Athletics

Event and Facility Management

Sport Marketing

Manufacturing and Apparel


Explore Xavier Alumni Outcomes

All For One

Xavier is ranked #1 for its excellent academic reputation among top competitors in the region. Students get the most out of their education, from rigorous classroom studies to experiential learning in the real world.

Expert Faculty

Professor teaching a class in the master of sport administration program

Full-time faculty have doctoral degrees in sport administration as well as practical experience in the field. Adjunct professors are carefully chosen for their expertise and current involvement in specific areas of the field.

Real World Learning

Image of the Cincinnati Bengals football team. Cincinnati's many professional and D1 sports teams give masters in sport administration students places to get experience

All students complete an internship or research project, depending on each student's individual background, interests and career goals.

Alumni Network

Cincinnati skyline at night

Xavier Sport Administration alumni are employed at every major sport organization in Cincinnati, in each of the five major league professional sport leagues and colleges and universities across the country.

Sport Administration Program at Xavier University

The graduate degree in Sport Administration combines the academic strength of a Xavier education with the opportunities of the Cincinnati sport industry. Students study sport management, sport marketing, sport finance, personnel, legal issues, and NCAA rules and regulations, developing knowledge and leadership skills that prepare them for success in one of today's fastest-growing industries.

Xavier University's College of Professional Sciences prepares undergraduate and graduate students intellectually, morally and spiritually for careers and professions of service. CPS challenges students to strive for academic excellence and life-long learning through promoting collaboration and community partnerships, and incorporating research, scholarship and innovation.

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. It has been ranked among the top 10 master's-level universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for the past two decades. The Princeton Review names it one of the "Best 385 Colleges in America."