The School of Business offers a structured graduate program combining classroom theory with exposure to relevant field experiences. Through the sport leadership program, students will be prepared to assume the responsibilities for developing professional and amateur athletes and managing sports programs in a variety of academic, public and private sectors. The interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum give students the opportunity to concentrate on areas most important to them and most relevant to the sports business. Students of the program are required to complete a comprehensive examination.

The program offers graduate courses online for those students who want to take advantage of educational opportunities via the Internet. Currently, three online classes are available each semester.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Content knowledge of sport industry: Students will be able to analyze and synthesize information and develop plans to address issues in sport leadership.
  2. Development of interpersonal skills and professionalism: Students will demonstrate interpersonal skills and professionalism appropriate to the fields of sport management and coaching.
  3. Development of leadership skills: Students will demonstrate content knowledge of leadership skills and traits, as well as the ability to utilize these skills and traits in a professional setting.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S.L. Fall Apr 15 GRE or MAT
Spring Nov 1
Summer Mar 15

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate discipline
  2. Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  3. Student’s written statement concerning career interests
  4. Transcripts of all previous college work

Students should contact the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU at (804) 828-7821 or link directly to for information and application materials.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours.
  2. Grade requirements: Receipt of a grade of C or below in two courses constitutes automatic dismissal from the program. Courses with a grade below C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  3. Examination requirement: Students must pass a comprehensive examination (see below).
  4. Externship requirement: Students must complete an externship in the sport field.

Comprehensive examination

  1. Written comprehensive examinations are required for all graduate students in the VCU Center for Sport Leadership.
  2. Comprehensive examinations will take place at the end of the spring semester for each cohort of full-time, on-campus students and at the completion of 30 credit hours of course work for all part-time/distance-learning students.
  3. Comprehensive examinations will be evaluated in a pass/fail format.
  4. Comprehensive examinations will be independently evaluated by two faculty members; in the case that the faculty members disagree, a third faculty member will be brought in for a final decision.
  5. Any student failing the comprehensive examination will have one additional opportunity to pass the exam. Failure to pass the comprehensive examination the second time will result in the student being dropped from the degree program.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
Required core
SPTL 603Research Methods in Sport3
SPTL 630Sociology of Sport3
SPTL 632Sport Business3
SPTL 633Marketing of Sport3
SPTL 635Leadership Models in Sport3
SPTL 643Sport Law3
Elective courses18
Topical Seminar (maximum six)
Research Practicum 1
Field Instruction 1
Sport and Entertainment Event Development
Sport and Entertainment Event Development
Contemporary Issues in Sport
Foundations of Coaching
Sport Media and Communications
Sports Psychology
Sport Ethics
NCAA Collegiate Coaching
Advanced Coaching Techniques
Topics in Sport Leadership
Independent Study 1
Externship 1
Any 600-level SPTL course not otherwise required for the major
Total Hours36

These courses are field experiences and may be taken for up to nine of the 18 elective credits.

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 36

Graduate program director
Carrie W. LeCrom, Ph.D.
Executive director, Center for Sport Leadership
Phone: (804) 828-6443