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Athletic Leadership

The athletic leadership program in Clemson University’s College of Education is moving forward to address the need of leadership development and ethical decision making in the intercollegiate athletic coaching and administrative community. The purpose of this certificate will be to provide aspiring coaches and administrators at the interscholastic and intercollegiate levels an educational base for preparing individual coaching philosophy and ethical decision making. The certificates provide an educational base in areas of leadership, ethics and coaching development within the current landscape of athletics in educational settings.

Graduate Level Certificate

  • Overview

    The athletic leadership graduate certificate affords students the opportunity to establish a foundation of knowledge in the areas of leadership, ethics, administrative responsibility and sport psychology. The certificate program requires the completion of the following four courses:
    AL 8490 Leadership Development in Intercollegiate Athletic Programs (3 credit hours)
    AL 8610 Administration and Organization of Intercollegiate Athletic Programs
    AL 8620 Psychological Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics
    AL 8630 Ethical Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics

    This program meets the needs of students who are also working professionals. All courses are offered in an online format and are designed around the time constraints and responsibilities of the intercollegiate coaching community. If you are accepted into the certificate program, you will progress through the program by enrolling in one course during the fall and spring semesters, and two courses taken simultaneously over the summer semester. Throughout this process, students will interact with instructors and students electronically in both synchronous (at the same time) and asynchronous (at different times) formats. 

    While the certificate program provides a great deal of flexibility to meet the need of the coaching profession, students are responsible for allocating sufficient time in their schedules to access course material, review lectures, study content materials and complete assignments.

  • Program Goals

    The four-course, graduate certificate in athletic leadership online program is designed specifically around the time demands of the intercollegiate coaching community. The certificate is designed to prepare coaches and administrators to build a philosophical foundation of leadership by equipping them with knowledge related to:

    • Leadership Theories 
    • Student Athlete Development
    • Ethical Decision Making
    • Coaching Organization and Administration
    • Sport Psychology Techniques for Coaches
  • Admission Requirements

    Traditional cohort students are accepted and begin courses in the fall semester of the academic year. While this is the preferred course of action for degree completion, the faculty and staff of the athletic leadership program will consider spring and summer entrance when circumstances are warranted.

    Application processes and required documents can be found on the web on the Graduate School’s application page. Applications for fall enrollment should be received by July 1. Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. 

  • Program Requirements

    The athletic leadership program admits a maximum of 15 students per academic year for the certificate program. The majority of professionals seeking to obtain the graduate certificate work in athletic positions or have direct responsibilities within the educational setting of working with student athletes. Students in the program are commonly (but not limited to) new professionals, graduate assistant coaches, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, student athlete academic service providers, student affair professionals and athletic administrators at various roles. 

    Program requirements are consistent with the Clemson University Graduate School admission requirements.

  • Find Out More

    For more information, please fill out this form or visit the Clemson University Graduate School website. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact Alison Search.


Undergraduate Level Certificate

  • Sport Coaching and Character Development

    Program requirements include:

    • AL 3490 (3)
    • AL 3530 (3)
    • AL 3610 (3)
    • Student must pass a nationally recognized coaching certification examination.
    • Students participate in a minimum of 10 hours of approved field experience with an organized athletic program.
  • Sport First Aid and Conditioning

    Program requirements include:

    • AL 3500 (3)
    • AL 3530 (3)
    • AL 3760 (1)
    • Student must pass a nationally recognized Sport First Aid certification examination.
    • Students will possess valid CPR and AED certification.
    • Students participate in a minimum of 10 hours of approved field experience with an organized athletic program.
  • Sport Psychology and Motivation

    Program requirements include:

    • AL 3490 (3)
    • AL 3500 (3)
    • AL 3620 (3)
    • Student must pass a nationally recognized coaching certification examination.
    • Student will complete a minimum or 10 hours of approved field experience with an organized athletic program.