Master of Sports Leadership

Campus Locations Boston, Online, Charlotte
Also available 100% Online Yes - Also requires a one-week Summer Residency in Boston
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 45
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No


The practice-oriented  sports leadership master’s degree  is structured to accommodate mid-career athletic administrators and coaches, as well as individuals seeking to prepare for careers in the sports industry. 

Developed in collaboration with Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, the Master of Sports Leadership prepares you for a variety of sport-related occupations—whether it’s working with a professional or intercollegiate sports team, a fitness club or wellness organization, in marketing, communication, or sports management. Courses within this unique graduate degree examine the social and business issues that are critical to sports leadership. Offered in an online format with an intensive one-week summer institute in Boston, this practice-oriented degree provides you with a well-rounded educational experience—equipping you to advance your career in the sports industry.

Program Objectives

  • Identify your leadership styles and strengths and take steps to improve your leadership capacity 
  • Understand what it takes to build highly effective teams 
  • Obtain approaches and techniques for effectively tackling ethical dilemmas 
  • Explore the legal issues related to equipment use, facility management, and accommodation for special populations 
  • Learn how to leverage sports for greater social and economic good 
  • Examine the planning, scheduling, and financial issues associated with running a successful athletics program 
  • Discover how to use sports to foster diversity, prevent violence, and improve the health of local and global communities


COSMA logo

COSMA Accredited Institution

The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation is a specialized accrediting body whose purpose is to promote and recognize excellence in sport management education worldwide in colleges and universities at the baccalaureate and graduate levels.


Career Outlook

Already a multi-billion-dollar field, the sports industry is projected to experience faster-than-average growth over the next several years. Located all over the country, sports-related organizations and businesses require a variety of educated and skilled employees to manage day-to-day operations.

While knowledge is crucial, success is often contingent upon your willingness to work beyond 9-5—with many sporting events and related activities taking place on nights, weekends, and holidays. The sports industry is exciting—filled with people who are driven by a passion for what they do and who are extremely satisfied with their career choice.

Interested in Learning More?

Watch the Sports Leadership Webinar. 
Watch the Leadership and Management Highlights Webinar.


Please note: Students who started this program prior to Fall 2015 should follow the curriculum reflected on their DegreeWorks audits via the self-service tab of their myNEU portal.  Please consult your advisor with any questions.

Required Courses (21 q.h.)

LDR 6100 Developing Your Leadership Capability 3 q.h.
LDR 6135 The Ethical Leader  3 q.h.
LDR 6405 Sport in Society* 3 q.h.
LDR 6410 Leadership and Organization in Sport 3 q.h.
LDR 6430 Sports Law 3 q.h.
LDR 6441 Sports Media Relations* 3 q.h.

*Summer institute course; only available on campus in Boston. Winter Institute course available on campus in Charlotte, N.C.

Choose one of the following courses (should be taken as last course and requires faculty adviser approval):

LDR 6961 Internship 3 q.h.
LDR 6980 Capstone 3 q.h.

Elective Courses (6 q.h.)

Choose two of the following courses:

CMN 6015 Introduction to the Digital Era: The Power of Social Media 3 q.h.
LDR 6443 Ticket Sales and Strategies 3 q.h.
LDR 6470 Bystander Strategies for the Prevention of Gender-Based Violence  3 q.h. 
INT 6943 Integrated Experiential Learning 3 q.h.

Concentrations (18 q.h.)

Complete all the courses from one of the following concentrations:

Professional Sports Administration 
LDR 6323 Event Management 3 q.h.
LDR 6400 Sports Management 3 q.h.
LDR 6435 Fiscal Practices in Sport  3 q.h. 
LDR 6440 Sports Marketing and Promotions 3 q.h.
LDR 6445 Corporate Sponsorships  3 q.h. 
LDR 6460  Risk Management in Athletics  3 q.h. 

Collegiate Athletics Administration
LDR 6400 Sports Management 3 q.h.
LDR 6427 Gender and Diversity in Sport 3 q.h.
LDR 6442 Athletic Fundraising  3 q.h. 
LDR 6455 NCAA Compliance 3 q.h.
LDR 6465 Title IX  3 q.h. 
LDR 6615  Academic Advising for Student Athletes   3 q.h.


Required minimum credit hours: 45 q.h.

Tuition rates, all fees, rules and regulations, courses, and course content are subject to revision by the president and the Board of Trustees at any time.

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Estimated total tuition for this program is $29,070.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

Tuition Calculator

Degree Type


Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2016-17 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.

Student Profile

Who Will Your Classmates Be?

This program is suited for administrators and coaches who wish to advance their career positions, and those who seek to gain a foothold in the sports industry. Incoming students often work in the sports field—for schools, non-profit organizations, retail organizations, or in hospitality/entertainment.

Typical job titles may include:

  • Manager
  • Athletic Director
  • Assistant Athletic Director
  • Head Coach
  • Assistant Coach
  • Teacher

At least three years of experience is preferred and an undergraduate degree is required.

Ashleigh G.

Sports Leadership Program: Master of Sports Leadership

Graduation Date: December 2012

What she thought about the coursework:
"In order to succeed in an online master’s program the student has be willing to make a major time commitment, but more importantly they have to be disciplined. Each course and their weekly assignments will be slightly different, such as discussion board posts, reading from textbooks, writing papers, and participating in group projects. But the common thread between them all is preparation and completion. I found that all of my professors were more than willing to make adjustments to assignments when I communicated that I needed it."

Why she chose the Master of Sports Leadership program:
"I know that once I retire from playing sports professionally, I still want to be involved in the sports industry in one capacity or another. I believe that a degree in Sports Leadership will prepare me to have the most options when the time comes to make a decision regarding my professional future."

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Robert Prior

Academic Specialist Dr. Robert Prior

Robert Prior is a full-time faculty member with Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, teaching graduate-level courses in the Master of Sports Leadership program. He has a wealth of experience as a practitioner in the sports industry, having worked at both the professional and collegiate levels.

In the professional sports sector, Prior served as Director of Media Relations for the Boston Celtics and the Director of Information and New Media for Major League Soccer. He was a Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator for the Atlanta Braves during their three National League Championships and two World Series appearances in the early 90’s. He also worked as a Venue Manager for the Olympic Center during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Following his experience in professional sports, Prior spent six years as the Associate Director of Athletics Communications and External Operations for Nova Southeastern University (NSU) where he played an integral role in transitioning the NSU athletic program into the NCAA Division II. He also contributed to the planning, building, and operating the NCU Center, a 325,000 square foot athletic and recreation facility.

During the past three years, Prior he previously served as Associate Professor for Sport Management at Lasell College as well as an adjunct Instructor at Northeastern University, teaching master’s level courses in sports leadership and athletic administration.

He holds a Doctor of Education from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Science in Sports Management from Saint Thomas University, and a Bachelor of Science in Sport Fitness and Leisure Studies from Salem State College.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  1. Display mastery of sports leadership principles, practices, and a solid knowledge of functions and essential skills required for organization and business success. These include competency and understanding in sport management, sport marketing, sport finance, sociology of sport, sports law, sports media relations, sport governance, and sport ethics, as they relate to leadership and organization in sport.

  2. Effectively research and examine current issues in sport and society, while considering how personal leadership skills and assumptions can offer solutions for change.

  3. Develop understanding of the concepts, theories, and tools of policy development and strategic management relating to key factors such as socio-economics, gender, ethnicity, race, and disability in sport participation.

  4. Successfully apply knowledge and skills learned throughout the program into internship/project experiences.

  5. Effectively exhibit graduate-level quality in all written and oral communication requirements in the Sports Leadership curriculum.

  6. Successfully utilize technology to showcase mastery of Sports Leadership principles and competencies and to market oneself to prospective employers.

Talk to an Enrollment Coach

We can walk you through your program options and the application process.


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Next Term Starts
  • Summer Term
    Jul 5, 2016 (4-, 6-, and 8-week classes)
    Aug 1, 2016 (4-week classes)

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