Who is the sports leadership specialization for?
Faculty Listing
Integrative Learning Options
Application Requirements

Who is it for?

With a strong emphasis in leadership and ethics, the sports leadership specialization is designed to develop highly skilled leaders within the exciting $440 billion athletics industry. This specialization in sports leadership studies critical topics within the industry including leadership, sports communication, ethics, sports law, media events, and historical events that help set the context for where the industry is today.

Marquette's sports leadership program was developed in consultation with Marquette's National Sports Law Institute and Department of Athletics, capitalizing on their decades of experience. Utilizing sports-specific courses and proven leadership studies, the program is designed to challenge students who aspire for leadership positions at all levels within the athletic industry.

      • Faculty Listing
      • Guest Speakers
      • Student/Alumni Profiles
      • Congratulations to the first graduates of the program:

        • Samantha Austin, Director of Student Ticketing, University of Florida
        • Kristie Kosobucki, Information and Data Services Specialist, Marquette University Advancement
        • Katie Kraemer, Financial Aid Counselor, Marquette University
        • Brittany Mack, Partnership Services Associate, University of Arizona Sports Marketing - IMG College
        • Katie Potts, Event Marketing Intern, University of Notre Dame
        • Danny Sweeney, Client/Event Manager, Petitt Center


The Sports Leadership specialization serves people who seek to enter the sports profession or who currently work in a sports-related profession and would like to advance their career within the athletics industry. Following are potential career tracks:

  • High school athletic director
  • College or university athletic administrator
  • Professional sports team administrator, operations personnel
  • Recreational and non-profit organization administrator
  • Sports marketing/communication professional


While internships are not a required part of the Sports Leadership curriculum, we do work with interested students to help them find an internship experience that’s right for them. The Milwaukee area is thriving with sports organizations that offer student work opportunities, including professional and collegiate teams.


  • Apply leadership principles and theory, cognitive theory, and critical thinking skills in order to creatively solve leadership challenges.
  • Identify and apply ethical principles, values, theories or frameworks to leadership practice.
  • Gain insight and develop lifelong understanding of leadership and how it applies to all phases of life.  
  • Understand the depth and unique character of the business of athletics.
  • Gain the ability to identify trends, current events, and innovations within the world of athletics and recognize how they impact managerial decisions.
  • Understand the inter-relationships of athletics to the larger institution and the community that it serves.


To earn a master's degree in leadership studies, students must complete 36 hours of course work, including 15 credits in core leadership classes and 15 credits of sports leadership classes, plus a six credit integrative learning experience. A second option is to complete 18 credits in core leadership classes and 18 credits in sports leadership classes and a comprehensive exam.

Leadership Studies Core Courses (15 credits)

Class Name Course Title Credit Hours
LEDR 6000 History and Theory of Leadership and Ethics* 3 credit hours
LEDR 6005 Self-Leadership 3 credit hours
LEDR 6010 Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Team Leadership 3 credit hours
LEDR 6025 Research Methods 3 credit hours
LEDR 6015 Influence of Leadership on Behavior in Organizations --- OR --- 3 credit hours
LEDR 6020 Leaders as Worldly Citizens 3 credit hours
  *Prereq for all LEDR course work  


Sports Leadership Specialization Courses (15 credits)

Students must complete five of the 3-credit sports leadership courses listed below.

Class Name Course Title Credit Hours
SPLE 6001 Introduction to Sports Leadership - Required 3 credit hours
SPLE 6100 Legal and Ethical Athletic Leadership 3 credit hours
SPLE 6200 Sports Communication - Required 3 credit hours
SPLE 6300 Social-Historical Foundations of Sports 3 credit hours
SPLE 6400 Sport Management - Required 3 credit hours
SPLE 6931 Athletic Leadership Special Topics: Strength and Conditioning for Coaches and Administrators 3 credit hours
SPLE 6931 Athletic Leadership Special Topics: Sport Facility Management 3 credit hours
SPLE 6931 Athletic Leadership Special Topics: Sports Finance - Required 3 credit hours
  Sports Leadership Course Descriptions  


Integrative Learning Options

Integrative Learning Options (choose one)

Professional Project

  • Six (6) credits of a professional project. This course is taken three credits at a time, preferably in two consecutive semesters. The professional project courses are generally not offered during summer.

There are basically two (2) options for a professional project.

  1. Work independently with a faculty advisor and possibly an organization to produce a research based service or product.
  2. Submit for publication to a peer reviewed journal the findings from a research study, which has been supervised by a faculty member.

Comprehensive Exams*

  • Thirty-six (36) credits of course work followed by a comprehensive examination. Students will take: 15 required core credits, 12 required specialization credits, 3 elective specialization options, and the final 6 credits should be approved by the program advisor.

Application Requirements

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Contact College of Professional Studies

Email the college

Marquette University College of Professional Studies
707 Building, Room 403
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-3153 or (800) 793-6450, extension 2
FAX: (414) 288-3298