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College of Education

Athletic Leadership, M.S.

Masters Degree in Athletic Leadership

Clemson University’s M.S. in Athletic Leadership 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.

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.

  • Overview

    The Athletic Leadership (AL) 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.

  • Program Goals

    The goal of the Athletic Leadership Master’s 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
    The Athletic Leadership master’s program admits students for spring and fall entrance terms. Only complete applications are considered for admission.

    Application Deadlines

    • July 1, to enroll in the fall semester
    • November 15, to enroll in the spring semester

    Application Requirements

    To be considered for the program, applicants must:

    • Have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or from a recognized international university with a bachelor’s degree equivalent to a US bachelor's.
    • Submit an online Graduate School application which requires:
      • Unofficial transcripts (official transcript(s) will be required if you are accepted into the program)
      • A current resume
      • Two recommendation forms
        • Recommendation forms are emailed directly to recommenders via the online application process
      • A personal statement
      • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students
  • Program Requirements

    Athletic Leadership M.S. (36 credit hours)

    AL 8440 – Survey of Research Methods in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8490 – Leadership Development in Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

    AL 8500 – Strength and Conditioning in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8510 – Intercollegiate Athletics Facility Management and Planning 

    AL 8530 – Legal Issues in Intercollegiate Athletic 

    AL 8610 – Administration and Organization of Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

    AL 8620 – Psychological Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8630 – Sociological Dynamics in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8640 – Ethical Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8650 – Marketing and Communications Responsibilities in Intercollegiate Athletics 

    AL 8700 – Intercollegiate Athletics Finance 

    AL 8710 – Governance and Policy in Intercollegiate Athletics 

  • Program Delivery

    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. 

  • 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.

    The Athletic Leadership program does not offer program/departmental assistantships. For information regarding assistantships within the athletic department, please contact Dr. Kyle Young at

  • 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, please contact Dr. Mike Godfrey at

    For questions associated with applying to the program, please contact Ashley Vaughan at

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