Graduate Studies

Sport Management

“The Sport Management Club has provided me with great opportunities to network with sport professionals and alumni. Interacting with these people has given me insight into my possible career options. The Club trips link academic work and the working world of sports.” – Naomi Hillsman M.S. Sport Management, May 2012

Program Overview

The mission of the Sport Management Program at WIU is to develop students' conceptual skills, theoretical comprehension, and practical knowledge in order to prepare the next generation of leaders in the sport industry. The Sport Management program at Western is one of the most established programs in the country. With over 750 graduates in leadership roles such as athletic director, general manager of a professional sport franchise and public relations coordinator, the program has a long tradition. The program has earned a strong reputation in the sport industry due to its well-known focus on excellence in education. As a student at Western you will be prepared for a future career in the sport industry with a graduate education that provides you with cutting edge knowledge, tools and skills to enable you to be successful, and ample networking opportunities with the industry professionals and alumni. Typically, a full-time student will complete the requirements for the degree in two years.

Why Choose Sport Management at WIU?

While rich in theory, the curriculum provides students with practical and hands-on experiences that will prepare graduates for a wide variety of career choices. You will find WIU Sport Management graduates working in athletic departments, amateur and professional sport organizations as well as sport governing bodies around the country. The program is well known in the sport industry for producing quality graduate students. Central to the program is the application of what is learned in the classroom to practical problems and issues that are unique in the world of sport today. As a result, you will find that the WIU Sport Management faculty emphasize projects and presentations that focus on current sport management issues in the industry. This concentration on experiential learning prepares students to make an impact in the sport industry. Some of the positions in which Sport Management graduates have been employed include the following:

  • Athletic Director
  • Associate Athletic Director for Compliance
  • Associate Athletic Director for Development
  • Assistant Athletic Director for Media Services and Broadcasting
  • Athletic Academic Adviser
  • Media Relations Coordinator
  • President and General Manager of Professional Sport Franchise
  • Director of Marketing and Promotions
  • Vice President for Sales and Marketing
  • Manager of Sponsorship Sales
  • Sales Account Representative
  • Director of Ticket Sales
  • Public Relations Coordinator
  • Publicity and Marketing Assistant
  • Director of Campus Recreation
  • Coordinator of Intramurals and Special Events
  • Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Facility Manager
  • Football Coach
  • Head Volleyball Coach
  • Director of Operations – Women’s Basketball
  • Professor of Sport Management
  • High School Teacher/Coach
  • Youth Fitness Director
  • Director of Sport Programs

Our Faculty

Our faculty are dedicated professionals whose focus is on teaching and sharing what they have practiced with the students they work with.  Courses in the Sport Management program are taught by faculty members who hold degrees earned from universities across the United States and who are actively engaged in scholarship activities such as writing book chapters and books, conducting research, and making scholarly presentations at professional conferences. 

Extracurricular Activities

WIU has a very active student-run Sport Management Association that provides opportunities for leadership roles, networking, and professional development activities. Students are involved in fundraising activities, traveling to various cities to meet with professionals in the sport industry, and hosting sport management professionals for on-campus lectures.

Additional Information

The internship, SM 620, is the required capstone experience for all Sport Management graduate students. The practical work experience with a sport organization ranges from a 9-week to a 16-week experience. As one of the oldest and most established Sport Management programs in the world, Western Illinois has a rich network of alumni contacts in all areas of the sport industry who are very eager to work with emerging professionals.

Click here to learn more from some of our program alumni.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.S.
  • Integrated Bachelor's/Master's


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 3.0 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.20

Admission Requirements:

  • Goals Statement
  • Transcripts
  • Resume

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 28
  • International: 4
  • Minority: 7
  • Students with Assistantships: 18

Department Contact Information:

Brophy Hall 212