Sports Management

Doctor of Philosophy in Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

If you are looking to increase your knowledge and leadership expertise in the fields of sports management and athletic administration, NCU’s PhD in Sports Management specialization is for you. This specialization combines science-based academics, research methods and real life experiences and practical application with an emphasis on the financial, legal, political and marketing aspects of the collegiate athletic environment. As a graduate, you will have a deep understanding of compliance, Title IX, legal aspects and advisement programs for the student athlete, and will be prepared to conduct research related to this field.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. However, up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If the program is not completed in 75 credit hours, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The PhD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

PhD Degree Requirements

Admission to the doctorate programs at NCU requires a master's degree from an accredited institution. PhD students are also required to demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Foundational Competencies for PhD Program

  • Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics in Education Research Course, EDU8003, and also EDU8006, Advanced Educational Statistics.
  • Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001, Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills as necessary.
  • Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.). In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

Course Length

All new students enrolling in the PhD in Education program are automatically enrolled in courses that are eight weeks in length. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Development of Human Resource Strategies in Intercollegiate Athletics

In this course, students are presented with the latest human resource strategies to successfully address everyday problems that may arise with coaches, staff, and personnel of an intercollegiate athletic department. Students develop a working knowledge of human resource policy and procedure in complex organizations and how this may affect the employees that they supervise. Topics addressed will include recruitment, hiring, retention, planning, Title IX compliance, and related management strategies.


Intercollegiate Sport Governance

This course is designed to provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the power and politics of sport organizations that govern intercollegiate athletics. Students will analyze how people involved in governance set the tone of an organization and how individual sport bodies fit into the greater industry. Emphasis will be placed upon the student's development of a working knowledge of what organizations do and what their purpose is in the administration of an intercollegiate department.


Legal Aspects of Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics

Within this course, doctoral students will study the Title IX’s structure and requirements applied to intramural, recreation, interscholastic, and intercollegiate athletic programs. The philosophical, historical, and conceptual account of this law will be explored and its effects upon these programs. Students will examine the historical account of the social, legislative, and judicial environments in which in which Title IX has grown to maturity in the last three decades. Students will also explore how current trends in campus demographics have affected sports programs throughout the nation. An experiential learning model will be utilized whereby students will be able to use their personal experiences when researching the legal aspects concerning equity in interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics as we know it today.


Sport Compliance

In this course, students will study rules and regulations that surround intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA I, II, and III level, NAIA and NJCAA. Students will examine key components of compliance including recruiting, eligibility, amateurism, and financial aid. Topics include: best practice strategies used by institutions across the country to maintain institutional control, the differences and similarities of the 5 different groups (NCAA I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA), and the groups which govern NCAA legislation.


Advising the Student Athlete

In this doctoral level course, students explore the role and function of the academic advisors in the lives of student athletes. Students will examine existing student athlete retention programs in colleges and universities to understand their components and effectiveness. Recognizing learning differences in students with learning disabilities or disorders will also be explored in this course. The goal will be to find academic services and counseling programs to help students in need reach their greatest potential.


Student Affairs Leadership

In this course, students will study the evolution and current practices of student affairs development, management, and leadership in higher education. Topics include: philosophical, historical, conceptual, and research foundations of the profession; cultural and organizational contexts of student affairs; mission and vision; and current trends in campus demographics and student experience in student affairs development.


Foundations of Higher Education Leadership

Higher education leadership occurs in an environment of ambiguity and constant change. Leaders must be able and willing to embrace uncertainty, continually learning, and develop a deep understanding of their core values. The course is designed to provide foundational grounding in the study of leadership theory and research, in higher education. Emphasis will be given to the practical application of higher education leadership theories and the academic and administrative roles of an institution of higher education. Students will explore best practices to uncover links that can be made to increase the value of higher education practices.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s PhD in Education costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $1,129
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $3,387
  • Program cost: $68,090
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors.For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.

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