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 athletic 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 inter-relationships of athletics to the larger institution and the community that it serves. 


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.


  • 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 elevtive requirements with the permission of the graduate program director.