The Master of Science degree in Sports Leadership (MSL) in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) draws from the UW-Madison’s world-leading academic and athletic resources to prepare dynamic sports leaders. MSL students study in areas including athletic administration, coaching, justice in sport, legal and financial issues, and sports psychology. Graduates will be prepared for impactful leadership positions across diverse sports settings spanning K-12 and youth programs, colleges and universities, and professional teams. The MSL is an online degree program, accommodating students with busy lives throughout Wisconsin and beyond. The program exposes students to top professors, innovative sports leaders, and highest-level sports experiences at UW-Madison.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|Fall Deadline||July 1|
|Spring Deadline||December 1|
|Summer Deadline||April 1|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Not required.|
|English Proficiency Test||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)||n/a|
|Letters of Recommendation Required||3|
Applications to the MS in Sports Leadership program will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Applicants must submit the following:
- Essay statement (not to exceed two pages).
- Official transcripts of prior undergraduate and graduate course completion.
- Resume or CV.
- Supporting document if the undergraduate GPA is below 3.00. The statement will include: an explanation regarding why the applicant's GPA does not accurately reflect potential, documentation of high potential for leadership, and a description of relevant experiences that affect abilities to serve in leadership roles.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
mode of instruction
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.
Evening/Weekend: Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.
Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.
Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats. Contact the program for more specific information.
Online: These programs are offered 100% online. Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||16 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||27 credits out of 30 total credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required. |
This program follows the Graduate School's GPA Requirement policy
|Other Grade Requirements||n/a|
|Assessments and Examinations||None.|
The Master of Science in Sports Leadership is a 30-credit master's degree in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA). With program approval, students may take other courses not listed below as electives.
|ELPA 700||Field Experience in Educational Leadership||3|
|ELPA 710||Introduction to Intercollegiate Athletics Administration||3|
|ELPA 750||Coaching Athletics 1: Everyday Practices of Top Leaders||3|
|ELPA 751||Leadership and Justice in Sports||3|
|ELPA 752||Coach as Teacher: Mastering Instructional Practice On and Off the Field||3|
|ELPA 753||Psychology and Coaching in Sports||3|
|ELPA 754||Running a Championship System: The Badger Sports Leadership Road Course||3|
|ELPA 755||Coaching Athletics 2: A Bell Cow Way||3|
|ELPA 777||Higher and Post-Secondary Education Capstone Seminar||3|
|Electives - Choose one 3 credit course||3|
|Group Development and Behavior Management|
|Principles of Strength and Conditioning|
|Sports Science & Athlete Monitoring|
Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Work for Other Institutions
No more than nine credits of previous graduate coursework may be counted toward the degree. These credits require program director approval.
No credits from a UW-Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.
UW-Madison University Special
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW-Madison special student. If necessary to meet the Graduate School minimum graduate credit requirements for the degree, special student coursework may need to be converted to graduate credits. Once converted, students are assessed the difference in tuition between special and graduate tuition. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.
This program follows the Graduate School’s Advisor policy.
The program director advises students in the MSL program.
credits per term allowed
This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.
Grievances and appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
- Bias or Hate Reporting
- Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
- Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Policies and Procedures
- Dean of Students Office (for all students to seek grievance assistance and support)
- Employee Assistance (for personal counseling and workplace consultation around communication and conflict involving graduate assistants and other employees, post-doctoral students, faculty and staff)
- Employee Disability Resource Office (for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities)
- Graduate School (for informal advice at any level of review and for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions)
- Office of Compliance (for class harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence)
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts involving students)
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for employed graduate students and post-docs, as well as faculty and staff)
- Title IX (for concerns about discrimination)
School of Education Grievance Policy and Procedures
The following School of Education Student Grievance Policy and associated procedures are designed for use in response to individual student grievances regarding faculty or staff in the School of Education.
Any individual student who feels they have been treated unfairly by a School of Education faculty or staff member has the right to file a grievance about the treatment and receive a timely response addressing their concerns. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these grievance procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies. The grievance may concern classroom treatment, mentoring or advising, program admission or continuation, course grades (study abroad grade complaints are handled through International Academic Programs), or issues not covered by other campus policies or grievance procedures.
For grievances regarding discrimination based on protected bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, etc.), contact the Office of Compliance (https://compliance.wisc.edu/eo-complaint/).
For grievances or concerns regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation), contact the Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program within the Office of Compliance.
For grievances that involve the behavior of a student, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/).
For grievances about, or directed at, faculty or staff in a School of Education department, unit, or program, students should follow these steps:
- Students are strongly encouraged to first talk with the person against whom the concern is directed. Many issues can be settled informally at this level. If students are unable to resolve concerns directly or without additional support, step 2 or 3 should be pursued.
- If unresolved after taking or considering step 1:
- If the concern is directed against a teaching assistant (TA), and the student is not satisfied, the student should contact the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. The course professor will attempt to resolve the concern informally.
- If the concern involves a non-TA instructor, staff member, professor, academic department, or School of Education office or unit, the student should contact the chair of the department or the director of the office or unit, or their designee. The chair or director, or their designee, will attempt to resolve the concern informally. If the concern is about the department chair or office/unit director, the student should consult the School of Education Senior Associate Dean for guidance.
- If the concern remains unresolved after step 2, the student may submit a formal grievance to the chair or director in writing within 30 business days1 of the alleged unfair treatment. To the fullest extent possible, a formal written grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) involved and the relief sought.
- On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will notify the person at whom the grievance is directed with a copy of the written grievance. The person at whom the complaint is directed may submit a written response, which would be shared with the student.
- On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will refer the matter to a department, office, or unit committee comprised of at least two members. The committee may be an existing committee or one constituted for this purpose. The committee, or delegates from the committee, may meet with the parties involved and/or review any material either party shares with the committee.
- The committee will provide a written description of the facts of the grievance and communicate recommendations to the department chair or office/unit head regarding how the grievance should be handled.
- The chair or director will offer to meet with the student who made the grievance and also will provide a written decision to the student, including a description of any related action taken by the committee, within 30 business days of receiving the formal grievance.
For the purpose of this policy, business days refers to those days when the University Offices are open and shall not include weekends, university holidays, spring recess, or the period from the last day of exams of fall semester instruction to the first day of spring semester instruction. All time limits may be modified by mutual consent of the parties involved.
If the grievance concerns an undergraduate course grade, the decision of the department chair after reviewing the committee’s recommendations is final.
Other types of grievances may be appealed using the following procedures:
- Both the student who filed the grievance or the person at whom the grievance was directed, if unsatisfied with the decision of the department, office or unit, have five (5) business days from receipt of the decision to contact the Senior Associate Dean, indicating the intention to appeal.
- A written appeal must be filed with the Senior Associate Dean within 10 business days of the time the appealing party was notified of the initial resolution of the complaint.
- On receipt of a written appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will convene a sub-committee of the School of Education’s Academic Planning Council. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and/or may hold a meeting at which both parties will be asked to speak separately (i.e., not in the room at the same time).
- The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education, or their designee, who will render a decision. The dean or designee’s written decision shall be made within 30 business days from the date when the written appeal was filed with the Senior Associate Dean. For undergraduate students, the dean or designee’s decision is final.
Further appealing a School of Education decision – graduate students only
Graduate students have the option to appeal decisions by the School of Education dean or designee by using the process detailed on the Graduate School’s website.
Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.
- Office of Compliance (for discrimination based on protected classes, including misconduct) 179A Bascom Hall, 608-262-2378
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts between students, or academic integrity violations) 70 Bascom Hall, 608-263-5700
- Bias or Hate Reporting (for students who experience or observe bias or hate incidents) 70 Bascom Hall, 608-263-5700
- Graduate School (for graduate students who need informal advice at any level of review; for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions, see Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures) 217 Bascom Hall, 608-262-2433
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for UW-Madison employees, including graduate students) 523-524 Lowell Center, 608-265-9992
- Employee Assistance (for conflicts involving graduate assistants and other employees) 256 Lowell Hall, 608-263-2987
- Dean of Students Office (for any students needing advice or support) 70 Bascom Hall, 608-263-5700
- Office of Human Resources for policies and procedures to address workplace conflict) 21 N Park Street Suite 5101, 608-265-2257
- School of Education, Office of Student Services (for students, particularly undergraduates, in the School of Education) 139 Education Building, 608-262-1651
- School of Education, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) 145 Education Building, 608-262-8427
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- Articulate, critique, or elaborate the theories, research methods, and approaches to scholarly inquiry or practice in educational settings.
- Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of sports leadership.
- Demonstrate understanding of sports leadership in a historical, social, or global context.
- Identify and address social inequalities in educational opportunities and outcomes in sports leadership.
- Select and/or utilize the most appropriate methodologies and practices.
- Evaluate or synthesize information pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of sports leadership.
- Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to the field of sports leadership.
Professor Jerlando Jackson, ELPA department chair
Professor Peter Miller, MSL faculty director
Shari Smith, ELPA Graduate Program Manager