M.S. in Sport Management


Want a career in the sport industry? Our M.S. in Sport Management prepares you for a variety of sport management career opportunities including professional sports, college athletics, campus recreation and parks departments. In addition to our academic requirements, one of the hallmarks of our program is our connection to the sport industry. These relationships afford you the opportunity for experiential learning (through internships, graduate assistantships and class trips), in-class guest speakers, as well as networking with professionals in the field. Our diverse student population facilitates a great deal of camaraderie and mutual respect among classmates, faculty and staff, which fosters a supportive educational and professional learning environment.

Innovative Programs

Our strong relationship with the NIU College of Business is an integral part of our program. You are required to take MBA-level courses in areas such as finance, marketing and operations management, and information systems which complements your sport management core and elective classes. Additionally, the professional experiences, practical skills and theoretical knowledge gained will prepare and position you for a variety of sport management career opportunities, including professional sports, college athletics, campus recreation and parks departments.

You'll need:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • A GRE score (verbal and quantitative combined) of 286 or higher
    • If your undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or higher from an accredited university, you can request a GRE waiver; email showell2@niu.edu for more information
  • Two letters of recommendation which outline your professional and/or academic abilities and achievements
  • An updated résumé

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During your program of study, you will:

  • Apply management, leadership and organizational concepts, principles and theories in directing a sport organization
  • Design, analyze and evaluate research in sport
  • Understand, apply and analyze legal concepts related to sport
  • Construct and utilize marketing concepts and principles in marketing sport
  • Identify and analyze the current issues and problems facing sport
  • Apply fiscal management practices in managing a sport organization
  • Function as an ethical practitioner in the sport industry
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills and competencies in a practical (internship) sport organizational setting.

You are required to complete an internship, the culminating course in your program. The internship is a full-time management experience in an off-campus sport management setting with a minimum time requirement of 150 hours. Our students have completed internship experiences with professional and semi-professional sport organizations (including the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Fire, the Rockford IceHogs and the Detroit Tigers) as well as intercollegiate athletic departments and private corporations around northern Illinois and across the United States.

Research Core (3 credits)

  • LESM 543 Research Seminar in Sport Management (3) or
    • other graduate-level research methodology course approved by adviser (3)
  • LESM 545 Analytic Techniques and Trends in Sport (3)

Required Core Courses (18 credits)

  • LESM 536 Sport Industry and Organizations (3)
  • LESM 538 Managing the Sport Enterprise (3)
  • LESM 539 Sport and the Law (3)
  • LESM 542 Sport Marketing and Promotions (3)
  • LESM 544 Sport Finance (3)
  • LESM 586 Internship in Sport Management (1-6) or
    • LESM elective with approval of graduate program adviser (3)

Other coursework (15 credits)

  • Electives with approval of graduate program adviser (9)
  • Coursework from the College of Business selected in consultation with adviser (6)
  • MLB: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Memphis Redbirds, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Home Office
  • NBA/WNBA: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Sky, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs
  • NFL: Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
  • NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche
  • Intercollegiate Athletics: University of Illinois, University of Colorado, Ole Miss, University of Nevada, University of Washington

"NIU offers a quality education and one-on-one attention. The program in Sport Management provides the knowledge you need to start your career in this rapidly growing field. NIU is close to a huge market where I can capitalize on networking and internship opportunities."by Allison Einhouse, Sport Management Major