Demonstrate what it means to be a leader within sport organizations

Study Format

  • Online

Program Length

  • 1-2 Years

Application Deadlines

Jul, 01

Summer II 2021 application due

2nd 8-week term starts July 6, 2021

Jun, 30

Fall 2021 application due

2nd 8-week term starts July 6, 2021

The Master of Arts in sports leadership degree is a 33-credit program. The program’s focus is on preparing graduates to assume leadership responsibilities in many key areas of the sports industry, including promotion and marketing, team resource assessment, organizational leadership and fiscal oversight.

The sports leadership program provides professional preparation for management and leadership positions with professional sports teams, intercollegiate and intramural athletics and recreation programs at secondary and post-secondary institutions, colleges and universities, and amateur athletic organizations. Profession preparation is also given for careers in private and public health and fitness clubs, corporate fitness and wellness programs, sports stadiums and arenas, and the sports marketing, management and communications firms that service the larger marketplace.

The Master of Arts in sports leadership is designed to enable students to: 

  • Develop skills for scholarship and research competency.
  • Engage critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Understand current issues impacting sport leadership, e.g., social, sales and marketing, political, economic, legal, international, political, technological, etc.
  • Describe and understand the place of personal and professional ethics, and forces of change impacting leadership performance and organizational behavior.
  • Evaluate cultural and economic dynamics that have impacted the emergence and development of sports and the sports industry in a global, interactive society.
  • Analyze and apply relevant legal and ethical issues to the field of sports leadership.
  • Understand the role of public relations, sales and promotion marketing to sports related enterprises.
  • Pursue doctoral level studies.

Learning Objectives

In addition to the overall objectives of the leadership department and its programs, students who successfully complete this degree program will: 

  • Have a strong sports leadership and knowledge/information base.
  • Understand sports administration, sports leadership theory, sports systems and personnel issues.
  • Comprehend change theory and its practical application to the sports industry.
  • Understand the need to monitor the human and material resources in an ethical and judicious manner in all aspects of the sports enterprise.
  • Enhance their personal leadership development, skills and competencies and networking abilities.
  • Culminate their sports learning experience in an integrated sports leadership capstone experience.

Leadership Competencies

The scope and sequence of the sports leadership curriculum covers many of the primary sports leadership competencies recommended by the various national sports agencies and academic institutions. As new knowledge, competencies and skill sets are identified in the sports industry, the curriculum will make appropriate inclusion of such information.

Dual Degree explained

Through careful planning and academic advising, a student majoring in Concordia-Chicago's Sports and Recreation Management accelerated degree program may move seamlessly into Concordia-Chicago’s MA, Sports Leadership program.

Degree Requirements

Completion of the 33 hours of coursework including the Master’s in Sports Leadership capstone

Benefits of a Dual Degree

  • As a graduate of the Accelerated Degree Program, candidates will take three (3) fewer credit hours toward the Sports Leadership degree.
  • Letters of recommendation are waived
  • 1 course may be waived in the Leadership Studies Master’s Cohort (if eligible)—SPML 6130 Social and Historical Foundations
  • No application fee
  • No GRE requirement
  • Transcript service will be provided upon completion of ADP degree 

Program Information

Sports Administration

Emphasis on practical application of concepts, principles and practices between sports organizations and community associations and the role of sport leader and administrator.

Social and Historical Foundations

Examines the social, political, cultural, philosophical, psychological, historical and practical aspects of sport history and evolution. Role of sport in contemporary society nationally and internationally. 

Sports Leadership and Ethics

Leadership and ethical practices in business decision-making in the field of sports management.

Research in Sports Studies

Explores and examines the different methodological approaches to researching contemporary issues in sports; research design and reporting; bibliography.

Sports Leadership Elective Courses

Choose any six courses from the electives listed below for a total of 18 credit hours. All courses are three credit hours each. 

  • Essentials of Law

          The law, legal issues and professional ramifications in the field of sports management.

  • Economics of Sports

The role of economics in the sports industry. Specifically, economics related to the business of sports, revenue sharing, profit margins and marginal revenue product. Economic theory and the tools of quantitative analysis used in management decision making.

  • Sports Finance

Fiscal responsibility and financial stewardship in the field of sports management.

  • Sports Promotion

Explore and examine the relationship between the mass media and the sports industry. Topics include sports broadcasting, print media and the development of public relation tools such as media guides and press releases, effective principles, theories, practices and methods involved with all aspects of sports communications.

  • Leading in Time of Change

Change theory, change processes, change agency in the field of sports leadership and management.

  • Leveling the Playing Field

Diversity in the field of sports in general and specifically in relationship to gender, race and various cultures.

  • Dynamics of Coaching

Focuses on the major coaching theories and models, methods, practices and outcomes. Topics include study of first principles in coaching, coaching cases and analyses, great coaches, coaching decision-making and other contemporary issues.

  • Facilities and Events Management

Examines the principles and practices necessary to plan, develop, promote, operate and maintain sporting events, athletic centers and recreational facilities. Emphasis is on issues concerning personnel, finance, profitability, security, concessions, convention centers, event scheduling, equipment management, facilities maintenance and topics related to liability and risk management.

  • Organization and Administration of Recreation and Leisure Programs

This course provides an overview of principles and practices related to effectively managing a recreation and leisure program. Issues of branding, marketing, media, and personnel selection and development are considered.

  • Educational Value of Sport

This course will build on Foundations and Theoretical Perspectives and provide students’ academic opportunities to identify and establish their personal and professional ideals and dispositions in relation to the academic literature and the mission/vision of their educational, recreational, and professional setting. Academic/co-curricular connectivity of sport and society.

  • Assessment and Evaluation of Recreation and Leisure Programs

This course explores and examines the purpose and added value of assessment and evaluation in the recreation/leisure settings. Basic procedures and designs are used to develop a professional program evaluation/assessment plan. Cycle of evaluation/assessment, needs assessment, program planning and design, outcomes, objectives, findings, reporting for data driven decision-making.

  • Current Trends in Recreation and Leisure

Trends in recreation and leisure sport industry of the 21st century are examined in order to facilitate effective planning and implementing of programs designed to meeting the recreational needs of the general public from 5-85 years of age. Critical review and analysis of sport as a social phenomenon and the impact on delivery of and participation in recreation and leisure activities.

  • Foundations and Theoretical Perspectives of Recreation and Leisure Programs

This course will provide the framework for the specialization by reviewing and applying recreation/leisure theory to the private, public, and/or entrepreneurial setting. Theoretical and conceptual foundations of recreation and leisure, sports, play. A review of historical ideas and practices in the recreation and leisure with an examination to the relationship to present day professional and social sports issues.

Capstone Experience

A master’s capstone is required for all Master of Arts candidates. This culminating project highlights the candidate’s mastery of content throughout his or her studies. Capstones are traditionally a summary of work demonstrating overall growth and specific understandings of the professional standards. The capstone serves as a performance-based evaluation and promotes reflective practice. It also demonstrates the professional’s proficiency in integrating technology and his or her ability to translate theory into practice.


*INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: In addition to the base program curriculum listed below, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course. 


Admission Requirements

  • Minimum of a 2.85 GPA upon degree completion
  • Grade of B or higher in SRMP 2020
  • Successful completion of Concordia-Chicago's ADP Sports and Recreation Management
  • Official transcript
  • Completed application for admission
  • Objective statement

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