There are many variables in any master’s program that affect the length of time for completion. There are accelerated programs and ones with fewer credit hours needed for graduation. Transfer credits or work experience may reduce the time. Online versus campus courses have an influence, as well as the student’s personal or work life. Are you attending full-time or part-time? If you take three or six credit hours per semester instead of nine, your degree will take longer to finish.

Here are some of the factors affecting the completion rate:

Transfer of Credits

The Master of Science in Sport Management at Texas A&M who has earned 12 hours of graduate credit may be able to transfer courses above the stated limits.

Liberty University has an assortment of online degrees, one of which is the Master of Science in Sports Management. The non-thesis degree offers several possible course transfer options. College standardized tests, such as the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is one example. You may use military training as a credit – provided it passes the free Evaluation. Work experience is a possibility, subject to the school’s Experience Plus program. Liberty also has a transfer of credits for eligible classes. There is the possibility of transferring up to 50% of the required courses – if accepted.

Part-time vs. Full-time

Northeastern University offers an M.S. in Sports Leadership that covers ethical leadership, sports law, and sports media relations. The program has the option of an internship or capstone. There is the choice of full-time or part-time – the former taking as few as 18 months.

Online vs. Residency

Online programs can be as fast as commuting to campus daily. The University of Miami as a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Sports Administration. Students can complete the 30-credit program in 20 months. The curriculum focuses on sports marketing, leadership, legal aspects of sports, globalization in sport, and kinesiology. Graduates have the knowledge and skills to pursue work in sports management.

Another example of an online degree with less than a two-year completion is Concordia University-Saint Paul. Its accelerated Master of Arts in Sport Management consists of 33 credit hours. Each course is seven weeks, which allows students to graduate in 18 months. The curriculum examines strategic planning, marketing, law, and concepts of management. The institution claims that 95% of graduates receive job offers within one year.

The online 36-credit hour Master of Science in Sports Administration at Arkansas State University has an advertised completion time as few as 12 months. The school boasts one of the most affordable total tuition at $11,412. The coursework includes sport law, marketing, finance, budgeting, leadership, sports governance, and communications. In addition, students may transfer up to nine graduate hours from the school or other higher education institutions.

If a 21-month program suits you better, Ohio University offers a Professional Master of Sports Administration. The program has three mandatory residencies at the Athens Campus and two additional residencies at the National Sports Forum. This online degree consists of one class every seven weeks, with a one week break between each session. Some of the recognizable topics include sports governance, sports marketing, human resource management in sports organizations, law, and financial administration.

Combine Undergraduate with Graduate Degree

An accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree allows students to take up to 12 hours of graduate courses. The student receives credit for both the undergraduate and graduate hours, which reduces the master’s program. This format applies to the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. Eligibility depends on the undergraduate student completing at least 90 hours of undergraduate courses with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Students who opt for this format at the undergraduate level are not committed to the master’s degree, nor does it guarantee admission into the Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management (M.S.E.M.). The M.S.E.M has the choice of a 27 credit hours thesis or 21 credit hours non-thesis.


Speed should be one criterion on your list of colleges offering master’s in sports management or related discipline. Online or campus, tuition, location, full or part-time are other considerations. Working individuals may need the ongoing paycheck to pay for living expenses and tuition. Plus, this allows one to study at a leisurely pace, if you desire.

Additional Resources: 

What is the difference between a Sports Manager and a Sports Agent?

Is a law degree helpful for a career in sports management?

Do I need to be a former athlete to have a good chance at a job in sports management?

What kind of undergraduate degree is best for trying to get an internship with a sports team?