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Sport Management Doctorate Degree

Students enrolled full-time in the Ph.D. program typically complete the degree in three years. The program also welcomes professionals in the field to enroll part-time and complete the degree on an extended timeline. More information to be provided soon. Please check back often.


Doctoral students at KU have numerous options to complete their coursework. The course plan is completely customizable with guidance from the doctoral advisor. Students are encouraged to craft their plan to fit their needs and prepare them for their ultimate career goal after graduation with a doctoral degree.

Field Experience

A wide-range of opportunities exist for doctoral students to engage with the community through research. Students are encouraged to enroll in independent study research courses to connect the theory they learn in classes with the practices in the field. Previous doctoral students have collected data from universities and sport organizations across the country.

Residency Requirement

Two semesters, which may include one summer session, must be spent in resident study at KU. During this period, the student must be involved full time in academic or professional pursuits, which may include an appointment for teaching or research if it is directed specifically toward degree objectives. Enrollment in approved distance-learning courses offered through KU cannot be used to meet the doctoral residency requirement. The student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester, and the increased research involvement must be fully supported and documented by the dissertation supervisor as contributing to the student’s dissertation or program objectives. Research must be performed under the direct supervision of the major adviser if on campus, or with adequate liaison if off campus. More information can be found here.

Comprehensive Exams

After completion of coursework, doctoral students in sport management will complete a comprehensive exam. For full-time students, this usually occurs in the spring or summer of the second year of the program. The majority of students choose to complete a manuscript around a topic of interest and orally defend their work to a committee made up of departmental, School of Education, and/or university faculty.


After successful completion of the comprehensive exam, students typically take one calendar year to complete their capstone dissertation. The doctoral candidate will work closely with their advisor to develop a topic that will provide a substantial contribution to the field. Past dissertations include an ethnography of the culture of a college football team, a scale to measure organizational identification in sport employees, and interviews with small college athletics administrators on the role sport plays in their university.

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