Graduate Certificate in Sports Leadership

The 15-credit graduate certificate in sports leadership is designed for professionals who would like to strengthen their leadership skills and advance their career within the exciting $500 billion athletics industry. This graduate certificate 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. 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 athletics industry.

Learning outcomes

Students completing the certificate in sports leadership will:

  • Learn how to apply leadership principles and practices to the business of athletics.
  • 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 interrelationships of athletics to the larger institution and the community that it serves. 


  • To earn the certificate students will complete five of the sports leadership courses noted below and earn 15 graduate credits.
  • On average, students complete the program in one to two years. The certificate must be completed within three years.
  • Some of your credits earned in the certificate program may used as electives in programs like the MBA and Master in Management. 
Class Name Course Title Credit Hours
Choose 3 of the 4 following required courses:
SPLE 6001 Introduction to Sports Leadership 3 credit hours
SPLE 6100 Ethics in Sports Leadership 3 credit hours
SPLE 6200 Sports Communication 3 credit hours
SPLE 6400 Sport Management 3 credit hours
Choose from the courses below (or take the fourth course above) for 6 credits of electives.
LEDR 6051 Contemporary Leadership: Theory, research and application 3 credit hours
LEDR 6115 Character-Driven Leadership 3 credit hours
LEDR 6101 Strategic Communication 3 credit hours
MANA 6125 Negotiations 3 credit hours
MANA 6110 Managing Behavior In Organizations 3 credit hours
MBA 6160 Leadership Coaching and Development 1.5 credit hours
MBA 6140 Leading People and Change 1.5 credit hours
BUAD 6000 Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers 3 credit hours
3 credits of other graduate coursework may be used to fulfill elective requirements with the permission of the graduate program director.

Application Requirements

This certificate has rolling admission, which means you may apply any time before the following dates:

  • Fall term admissions – August 1 (June 1 for international applicants)
  • Spring term admissions – December 15 (October 15 for international applicants)
  • Summer term admissions – April 15 (summer start not available for international applicants)

Applications to the Sports Leadership Certificate program require:

  • A completed online application form and $50 fee, waived if you attend an online info session
  • Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges except Marquette1
  • Completed or nearly completed baccalaureate degree with a minimum 2.750 GPA.
  • Essay questions on the application form
  • Resume or job profile
  • Possible interview
  • Additional requirements for international students:

    • All international (non-U.S.) transcripts/academic records be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service. You must list in the application all colleges or universities that you have attended, whether you received a degree or transferred the credits from the school. 

    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Official TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency

    1 Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

Please see the GSM Admissions Process website for additional details about application materials.

Program and application questions may be directed to

We look forward to reviewing your application.  Please apply here.