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College of Education

Athletic Leadership, M.S.

Masters Degree in Athletic Leadership

Clemson University’s M.S. in Athletic Leadership (MSAL) is designed for aspiring and in-career professionals interested in coaching and athletic administration at the intercollegiate level. This program helps students create individualized coaching philosophies and further develop fundamental coaching skills in the areas of leadership, diversity, ethics and policy.

  • Overview

    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 the AL master’s degree will be to provide current and aspiring coaches and administrators, especially those at the intercollegiate level, an opportunity to obtain a graduate degree that focuses on leadership, ethics and coaching development within the current landscape of athletics in educational settings. This program will be developed to promote personal and professional growth in leadership, coaching integrity and community influence. The need for strong and effective leaders within the intercollegiate athletic community provides Clemson’s athletic leadership program an opportunity to impact the future of college athletics through education, philosophical coaching development, leadership development and student athlete development.

    The athletic leadership graduate program affords students the opportunity to receive a comprehensive discipline of study that (1) develops effective leaders in the fields of coaching and athletic administration; and (2) expands on the body of knowledge regarding ethical decision making, policy regulations and leadership at the intercollegiate setting.

    This program meets the needs of students who are also working professionals. All courses are offered in an online format and designed around the time constraints and responsibilities of the intercollegiate coaching community. If you are accepted into the program, you will progress through the program by enrolling in two courses (taken consecutively) each term and complete the program in two years. 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 program provides a great deal of flexibility to meet the need of the coaching profession, students are responsible for allocating sufficient time in your schedules to access course material, review lectures, study content materials and complete assignments.

    The two-year Master of Science degree online program is designed specifically around the time demands of the intercollegiate coaching community. The degree 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
    • Policies and Governance of Intercollegiate Athletics
    • Marketing and Finance of Intercollegiate Athletics
    • Psychological Components of Athletic Performance
    • Community Influence
  • Admission Requirements

    Admission to the Program
    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 also accept students who wish to begin the program in the spring semester. Summer entrance is only allowed by approval of the Athletic Leadership Program Coordinator when circumstances are warranted. 

    Application Deadlines

    • July 1, to enroll in the Fall semester
    • November 15, to enroll in the Spring semester

    Application Requirements

    • Have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a recognized international university with a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a US bachelor's.
    • Submit a Graduate School application which requires:
      • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into the program.)
      • A current resume
      • Two letters of recommendation
      • A personal statement
      • Official GRE scores (Completed within the last 5 years and sent directly from the testing center
        • Scores are required for fall 2021 applicants
        • Beginning spring 2022, the GRE will no longer be a requirement
          • In lieu of scores, students will answer two essay questions
      • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students

    GRE Waiver Requirements

    Applicants may request a GRE waiver using this form.

  • Program Requirements

    The athletic leadership program admits a maximum of 45 students per academic year. The majority of students work in intercollegiate 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.

    Degree completion would require students to successfully complete the 12 courses designed specifically for this degree. These courses are offered in succession and follow the following path to degree completion:

    – First Year –

    AL 8490  Leadership Development in Intercollegiate Athletic Programs
    AL 8500  Strength and Conditioning in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8640  Ethical Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics 
    AL 8530  Legal Issues in Intercollegiate Athletic 

    AL 8610 – Administration and Organization of Intercollegiate Athletic Programs
    AL 8620  Psychological Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    – Second Year –

    AL 8440  Survey of Research Methods in Intercollegiate Athletics 
    AL 8650  Marketing and Communications Responsibilities in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8630  Sociological Dynamics in Intercollegiate Athletics 
    AL 8700  Intercollegiate Athletics Finance 

    AL 8510  Intercollegiate Athletics Facility Management and Planning 
    AL 8710  Governance and Policy in Intercollegiate Athletics 

  • Online Environment
    With the support of CU Online, Clemson uses the most advanced online technology to provide a rich, supportive, seamless learning environment. Courses will be asynchronous thus allowing students to access courses when and where they need. While students have great flexibility in asynchronous learning, there are key deadlines in each course when learning modules must be completed. Students will be provided with timely support from instructors and technology personnel so that learning is maximized. Canvas, a very user friendly learning management system, is used for all courses to guide the learning experiences. An orientation module will be provided before the start of the program to allow students to become comfortable with expectations and the technologies before classes formally start.
  • Financial Information

    Tuition and Fees
    Explore information on tuition and fees using the Student Financial Services’ tuition and fee calculator. (Be sure to choose the ‘online’ tab at the top of the page.)

    Financial Aid
    For information regarding Financial Aid, please contact the office of Student Financial Aid.

  • Faculty

    Mike Godfrey

    Mike Godfrey, Athletic Leadership Graduate Program Coordinator

    Dr. Mike Godfrey has been a full-time lecturer for the Athletic Leadership department at Clemson University since 2010. He currently serves as the program coordinator for the Masters of Science degree in Athletic Leadership and teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level that include Exercise Science, Strength and Conditioning, and Social Dynamics in Intercollegiate Athletics. Dr. Godfrey received his PhD from Clemson University studying athletic culture, student athlete experience, and athlete impact to college campuses. He worked as a certified athletic trainer for 10 years prior to transitioning into education, with eight of those years working at the collegiate or professional level. Dr. Godfrey lives in Greenville, SC with his wife (Barbara) and 3 kids (Grace, Parker, & Bowen).

    Janna Magette

    Janna Magette, Lecturer

    Dr. Magette has been a lecturer in the Athletic Leadership program since 2018.  In April 2015, Janna received her doctorate in Leadership Development from the University of Florida’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Prior to Clemson, Magette served as the Executive Director of Girls Place, Inc., a grassroots non-profit organization for four years, and as Director of Basketball Operations for the Florida Gators Women’s Basketball team for six years. While working at Florida, Janna completed her master’s in sport management in 2010.  Dr. Magette believes leadership is about bringing all of yourself to everything you do. A four-year letter winner in basketball from Davidson College (NC), Janna received her bachelor’s degree in religion in 2002. Magette and her wife, Amanda Butler, live in Seneca with their two boys, Nehemiah and Lincoln and their wire-haired fox terrier, Pearl.

    Misty Soles

    Misty Soles, Lecturer

    Dr. Misty Soles has been a lecturer in the Athletic Leadership program since 2016. Dr. Soles teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, including Women and Athletics: Current and Historical Issues and Social Issues in Athletic Leadership, both of which she developed for undergraduates. In the graduate program, she teaches a variety of courses, including Marketing and Communications Responsibilities in Intercollegiate Athletics, Intercollegiate Athletics Finance, and Intercollegiate Athletics Facilities Planning and Management. Dr. Soles received her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law and her Ph.D. in educational leadership from Clemson; her dissertation was on the football facilities at the University of Georgia. She is a passionate fan of college baseball, college football and Formula 1.


    Sarah Stokowski, Assistant Professor

    Sarah Stokowski (she/her/hers) currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development at Clemson University. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Athlete Development and Experience. Stokowski received her doctorate in Kinesiology and Sport Studies from the University of Tennessee. Before joining the Athletic Leadership program at Clemson, Stokowski spent six years as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at the University of Arkansas. During her time at Arkansas, Stokowski received teaching awards at both the departmental and college levels and secured more than $40,000 in research grants and gifts, including the NCAA CHOICES grant. Dr. Stokowski studies college athlete development specializing in the personal development literacies. Stokowski has authored or coauthored more than 40 referred publications and is a College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) Research Fellow.

  • Information Sessions & Calendar

    Review our College of Education Graduate Calendar to view upcoming events and information sessions.

  • Find Out More

    For more information regarding the program or questions associated with applying to this program, please contact Stephanie Henry, student services program coordinator, at or 864-656-0416

Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development
Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development | 330 Gantt Circle