Athletic Leadership


Degrees Offered


The Athletic Leadership program in Clemson University’s School 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 degree will be to provide 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. 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) expand on the body of knowledge regarding ethical decision making, policy regulations, and leadership at the intercollegiate setting.

The 2-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

Similarly, the online Graduate Certificate in Athletic Leadership can be completed within one year and is designed to equip professionals with competencies that augment their bachelor’s degree in a related field.


Program of Study

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 (2) courses (taken consecutively) each term and complete the program in 2 years. 

The program is a 36-credit-hour degree, in which 2 classes are taken in the fall, spring, and summer terms of each academic year. Throughout this process, students will interact with instructors and students electronically in both synchronous (at the same time) and asynchronous (at different times) formats. 

Required materials for program success include computers equipped with camera and microphone, and access to email and the internet (high speed internet connections are ideal for streaming lectures and videos). Students will also need current versions of operating systems and Microsoft Office. 

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. This will require approximately 10-15 hours per week for successful outcomes.



Students will have access to the online library resources of the University. These resources are comparable to those provided to on-campus students as well as additional services such as book delivery and scanned journal articles.


While this degree does not possess a Master level thesis, a component of the degree is developing research capabilities. Students will learn to find and critique current research and have the opportunity to develop research projects with program faculty.

Our Students

The Athletic Leadership program admits a maximum of 25 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. 


Application Information

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. For more information on Spring and/or Summer entrance, please contact the program coordinator.  Students who are applying within 5 years of undergraduate graduation must take the GRE. For potential students who have graduated with their undergraduate degree more than 5 years ago have the option to request a GRE waiver if they possess 5+ years of direct work experience in the field. Most successful candidates for admission to the program will have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • An acceptable score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or approved GRE Waiver.
  • Two letters of reference
  • Experience in the field of coaching, student athlete development, or athletic administration

You may apply on the web on the Graduate School’s application page. Applications for Fall enrollment should be received by July 1st. Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. 


Required Documents


The Athletic Leadership program does not offer graduate assistantships at this time. However, the University offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 10 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School or Program.


Program Contact(s)

  • Alison Search
  • Office: University Center of Greenville
  • Phone: (864) 250-8880
  • Email:

Program Coordinator(s)