Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership

The sports landscape is changing.
Stay on top of the game.

As a sports professional, you understand the importance of having a competitive edge. To stand out from the crowd, you want to grow your skillset to help you achieve maximum performance in all aspects of your job. Your ability to make in-game decisions isn’t enough. Effective leaders need to be able to motivate their team, expertly market their school or organization and be well-versed on important industry trends.

Rider University’s Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership program can teach you to become a well-rounded coach or administrator. Courses are taught by sports professionals who know what it takes to achieve success, and apply a sports-centric focus to topics such as leadership, psychology and communication strategies.

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Study 100% online

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Choose from 7 start dates

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Complete your degree in fewer than 2 years

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Specialize in 1 of 4 track options

Why choose Rider for your online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership?

Learn the discipline of athletic leadership on your schedule. This program can help build on your core competencies while developing new skills to make you a more well-rounded leader. Whether you’re looking to advance your career or gain educational credentials, Rider can help you achieve your goals.

Prepare for success as a career changer

Rider welcomes students from all backgrounds into the online MA in Athletic Leadership program. Your enrollment advisor can help set you up for success. Make a smooth transition into the program — and your new career path.

Learn on your schedule

Our online master’s in athletic leadership gives you the flexibility to schedule your coursework around your life. You can join the online MA in Athletic Leadership program in the fall, spring or summer and work at your own pace. With Rider, you can tailor your degree to fit with your commitments.

The value of earning your MA in Athletic Leadership degree online

Time is money. Nowhere is that more true than in the 24/7 sports world. Rider’s MA in Athletic Leadership program was designed to accommodate working professionals who are already balancing personal life with the hectic and often unpredictable nature of a career in athletics. Because the courses are 100% online, you can fit your classwork around your busy schedule.

“As a coach, my days are long and I have to be efficient with my time, especially during the season. Also, I’m a husband and a dad, which is my first priority. Rider’s athletic leadership program gives me the flexibility I need to max out my potential so I can lead by example.”

— Orlando Vandross
Assistant Coach, University of Virginia Men’s Basketball
2019 NCAA Champions

Four tracks. Many career paths.

You’re ready to step up your game by earning your advanced degree in athletic leadership. We offer four tracks to help you specialize your skill set for the career path you want to follow.


The Coaching track is designed for individuals who are looking to become well-rounded in all aspects of leading a team. The program focuses not just on enhanced coaching principles and philosophies, but also delves into the most current athletic training techniques and safety protocols.

Courses in the Coaching track include Developing a Philosophy of Coaching, Concepts and Principles of Coaching, Fundamentals of Athletic Training and Wellness, and Strength, Speed and Conditioning.

Athletic Administration

Much like a CEO, an athletic administrator needs to understand all of the facets that comprise an organization. This can include being in compliance with rules and legislation, managing facilities, marketing multiple programs and more.

The Athletic Administration track is designed to help you become more proficient in the various components that go into leading a successful athletic department. Courses include Athletic Communication and Marketing, Athletic Facilities Management, Concepts and Principles of Athletic Administration and Administrative Decision Making.

Sports Psychology

“Great athletes acknowledge that 60 to 90 percent of success in sports is due to mental factors.” – Charles Garfield, psychologist. One of the traits of an effective leader is the ability to get the individuals who comprise a team to maximize their potential and collectively function as a cohesive unit.

The Sports Psychology track is designed to help coaches better understand the mental side of the game, and how to get the most out of their players. Courses include Applied Sport Psychology, Clinical Sport Psychology and Assessment in Sport Psychology.

Career Exploration

The Career Exploration track is designed for sports enthusiasts who want to turn their passion into a successful career. Courses include Athletic Governance and Policy, Sport Law, Athletic Finances and Current Issues in Athletics.

In addition to the core coursework, this track allows students to discover the many possibilities available to them by completing 21 additional credit hours from elective courses and other tracks.

Diverse athletics career opportunities

Athletics professionals remain in high demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of postsecondary education administrators, which includes athletic administrators, is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026. Employment of coaches and scouts is projected to grow 13% during this same timeframe.

We’ve structured our MA in Athletic Leadership program to give you a competitive edge. You can specialize your studies by choosing one of four tracks — Coaching, Athletic Administration, Sports Psychology or Career Exploration — to gain additional expertise in your area of interest.

Your MA in Athletic Leadership can qualify you for the following roles and median salaries*:



Athletic Director (College/University)


Athletic Director (All Levels)


Sports Facility Manager


Sports Marketing Manager


Sports Information Director


*Median salaries based on self-reported data compiled by

Online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership Curriculum

Rider’s curriculum is designed to prepare you with real-world skills that can translate to enhanced achievement on the playing field and in the front office. Develop your expertise in coaching, athletic administration, sports psychology and more.

Our online courses are taught by actual sports professionals ― including athletic administrators, coaches and trainers ― who know what it takes to achieve success.

Explore our curriculum page.

Admission requirements

Our online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership is a great opportunity for those looking to enhance their career options. That’s why we do our best to make it as accessible as possible to anyone who has the desire to pursue it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in any discipline from an accredited college or university
  • A completed graduate study application with a $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Two professional letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s career aspiration
  • A written personal statement of 500 words describing your experience as an athlete or administrator with your career aspirations stated
  • Official transcripts from the undergraduate degree-granting institution
  • No minimum GPA
  • Graduate test scores are not required

Pick a start time that works for you.

Your program has to fit around your schedule. So in addition to making our coursework 100% online, we also offer multiple start times throughout the year. Just choose the one that works best for you.

  • Spring A – February 1
  • Spring B – March 22
  • Summer A – May 18
  • Summer B – July 6
  • Fall A – September 8
  • Fall B – October 27

When you earn your Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership degree from Rider University, you can expand your career opportunities and earning potential. Let us help you achieve your goals and position yourself for success.