Career Outlook
Average Salary
Projected Regional Growth
  • Marketing Manager
  • Athletic Director
  • Sports Accountant
  • Law School
  • Graduate School
  • Athlete Development Specialist
  • Operations Manager

For individuals who

Want to be prepared to excel in the sport industry.

Looking for

Coursework and hands-on experiences within the sport industry that allow each you to focus on the ever-changing intricacies of the sport environment.

To become

  • Business Development Coordinator
  • Sports Facilities Manager
  • Athletic Director
  • Event Coordinator
  • Sports Agent

The sport management (SM) major is a four-year, full-time program of study that is designed to prepare students to excel in the sport industry. SM students are guided through coursework and hands-on experiences within the sport industry that allow each student to focus on the ever-changing intricacies of the sport environment from multiple contexts. Within the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore the area(s) of sport they are most interested in, ranging anywhere from local non-profits to national and international professional franchises.

The Program

The SM degree is designed to prepare students for employment in local, state, regional, national or international level sporting and recreation organizations. The curriculum covers 75 credit hours in total and includes a Minor in Business Administration (24 credits) to enhance the employment prospect for each student.

Career Preparation

NDSU SM graduates are employed in a variety of sport and recreation occupations. Graduates should expect to work in local, state, regional, national or international level organizations, business, and nonprofits. Additionally, with the opening of the new eSports lab on campus, we have worked closely to ensure students with an interest with eSports are able to explore the industry with professionally-outfitted equipment and through educational opportunities.

In light of the interdisciplinary nature of our program study options, career opportunities beyond the sport management or recreation management fields are feasible.

Sport Management Association

The Sport Management Association (SMA) provides students with an opportunity to build relationships with peers and industry leaders in sport and recreation. Organization members can take part in sports-oriented community projects, learn about different sport and recreation careers from area professionals and become further prepared for a career in the industry. The SMA holds meetings regularly, with dues-paying members eligible for the many planned activities, adventures, and feasts scheduled by the association.

Academic Requirements

The 100- and 200-level sport management courses (usually taken during the freshman and sophomore years) are designed to prepare students for additional undergraduate work in the subsequent sport management courses during their junior and senior years (see the Sample Program Guide). It is highly recommended all students review the student handbook and all communications from the SM program coordinator and academic advisors regarding the sport management academic requirements.

To be eligible to take upper-division sport management classes (with the exception of HNES 303 and HNES 323), a student must:

  • Have reached 50 credits in total,
  • Have a grade of B or better in HNES 190,
  • Complete one passing credit of HNES 192,
  • Successfully complete ECON 105 and ACCT 102 with a collective GPA of 2.5 or higher across both classes (a student CANNOT receive a D in either course),
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 for all classes by the end of the sophomore year (reaching 50 credits minimum).


The SM internship is the capstone course for all SM majors. Students participating in an internship will complete 12 credits, with each credit requiring 43 hours of documented work at an internship site (totaling 516 hours of on-the-job experience). The internship can be repeated at various sites/organizations at their advisor’s discretion. Securing a host organization outside North Dakota or the United States is not only possible but encouraged.

Students have completed internship hours in several areas across sport, including but not limited to: Air Force Academy Athletics, Arizona State University Athletics, Bismarck Larks, Fargo and West Fargo Parks and recreation departments, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Fargo Youth Hockey, Great Rides Fargo, Iowa Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, NDSU Athletics, Oklahoma State University Athletics, Saint Paul Saints, Scheels Arena, Southern Texas PGA, US Olympic Committee, Vanderbilt University athletics, Washington Spirit, and the YMCA of Cass & Clay Counties.

Sequencing Courses for the Major

Courses in the SM major are laid out to ensure students are heavily involved with sport-related materials during their junior and senior years. Our students are also educated on the general aspects of the business world as they complete their Minor in Business Administration. After all, sport is a business.

HNES 190 is our introductory course that provides students with a detailed overview of the sport industry and provides students an opportunity to better understand what is expected of professionals in sport and recreation management. HNES 192 is a practicum class that gives students preliminary experience working in the sport industry. Future classes provide students a more detailed view of the many imperative elements that are part of the successful sport managers’ toolkit. The degree is capped with the student obtaining 516 hours of on-the-job internship experience working alongside experts and influencers within the sport industry.


Students interested in continuing their education in sport management beyond their bachelor's degree have the option to begin their graduate studies in sport management in their senior year. With successful admission into the graduate program (and advisor approval), undergraduates can complete up to 9 credits of graduate-level coursework during their senior year that will be applied to their completion of a Master of Science in Sport Management (MSM). Details for the accelerated program can be found on the MSM catalog page.