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The Academy offers a 33 semester-hour program leading to a Master of Sports Science (MSS) degree. Students may also pursue a combination of any of the master’s degree areas leading to a dual major, for a total of 42 to 45 semester-hours depending upon the area of study.

Academy courses are offered online so that students can conveniently take courses at anytime and from anywhere. Students can also enroll and start their studies anytime.

Master’s Program Details

To start the admissions process, please complete our online application.

If you have further questions, please contact an admissions counselor at: (800) 223-2668 or admissions@ussa.edu.

Students enrolling in the Master’s Degree Program AFTER 1 January 2014 must select one of three academic track options before completing their Core Courses. The three-track options are:

  • Thesis Option (student will be enrolled in the Master’s Portfolio). Students may find complete information about the Master’s Portfolio here.
  • Non-Thesis Option (student takes three additional courses in lieu of writing a thesis or completing a Mentorship and must sit for the Master’s Comprehensive Examination at the end of their program of study.
  • Mentorship Option (student completes a Mentorship in lieu of the Thesis and Non-Thesis options and must sit for the Comprehensive Examination at the end of their program of study.

Students who elect the Thesis Option will be enrolled in the Master’s Portfolio. Students selecting the
Non-Thesis Option or the Mentorship Option will take a Comprehensive Examination at the end of their program of study.

Major Areas of Study

The Academy offers a Master of Sports Science degree with 33 semester hours in the following majors:

  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Health and Fitness
  • Sports Management
  • Sports Studies

Students may take a dual-major by combining any two majors, which require between 42 and 45 semester hours, depending upon the combination.

Sports Coaching

The graduate curriculum in sports coaching prepares students for sports coaching careers at a variety of levels of competition. The program is designed for each student to focus on the demands involved in the leadership and operation of individual and team sports.

Students will develop their own coaching philosophy and focus in areas such as Sports Psychology, Sports Coaching Methodology, and Strength & Conditioning. Students in this area of study may choose to complete a mentorship, thesis, or non-thesis elective track to create a degree that focuses toward their area of interest in the sports world.

Sports Health and Fitness

The graduate curriculum in sports fitness prepares students for careers in either managing a corporate, private, public or hospital-based fitness center or in a direct service fitness-science field. The program also examines various issues in health: from basic nutrition to physical conditions concerned with

various diseased-stated populations. Students enrolled in this program will be required (unless otherwise noted) to complete a mentorship within the Sports Health and Fitness industry. This mentorship allows students to gain practical experience and use the skills that they have acquired in their course curriculum.

Prospective students may want to consider enrolling in the Dual Master’s degree program in Sports Medicine-Health and Fitness. With this 42 semester hour dual program, students enlarge their scope of practice and opportunities. Students attain the injury management background and the sport fitness background to condition and train athletes for performance and health & wellness.

Sports Management

The graduate curriculum in sports management is designed to prepare students for careers of leadership in the field of sport and recreational management.

During the course of study, sports management students gain expertise for multi-faceted sports careers in the fields of facilities management, information technology, front office administration and community recreation. The program provides students the opportunity to garner knowledge and develop skills

though coursework and mentorship experience within the sport industry.

The Sport Management program has received program approval/accreditation through the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). The Academy’s program is one of a small group of academic programs nationally that have received this program approval.

Sports Studies

Besides completing the core courses, which are standard for all academic programs, the sports studies program allows students to the select their own courses in accordance with their area of interest. This makes it possible for students to create a degree that is focused toward their specific goals in sport.

Students will select courses for their major area of study from the departments of Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Fitness and Health, or Sports Medicine. Selections can be made from any combination of 500 or 600 level graduate courses to develop a personalized course of study based upon the needs of each student. In the sports studies curriculum, a student works with an advisor to select courses from any department of their choosing to help build a concentration in their area of interest.

Current Emphasis Areas Available

NCAA Compliance

NCAA Compliance is very broad and multifaceted. It is an important area about which sport administrators, coaches, and practitioners should be both familiar and knowledgeable. Prepare yourself by earning your Master’s degree in Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies or Sports Fitness with and Emphasis in NCAA Compliance. NCAA Compliance involves the study of the rules and regulations that govern collegiate athletics. This emphasis is designed to give students a baseline understanding of what institutions and athletes can do to ensure that athletics programs stay in compliance with collegiate regulations and the tools they use for the same.

To obtain the emphasis in NCAA Compliance, a Master’s degree student may take the following three courses in the non-thesis elective track:

SAM 523 NCAA Compliance (3 sem. hrs.)

This course is designed to give the student a working knowledge of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) compliance issues. It will present an overview of rules, eligibility, bylaws, and practices and procedures of the NCAA. This course requires a class paper.

SAM 524 NCAA Rules and Procedures (3 sem. hrs.)

Examining and analyzing the bylaws, policies, and procedures of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is at the heart of this course. Students will be introduced to specific cases to develop a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the NCAA, what it is, and how it functions. This course requires a class paper.

SAM 592 Introduction to the Business of Sports Agents (3 sem. hrs.)

This course is designed to examine the role of the sports agent in the world of sports. An emphasis is placed on NCAA rules and state regulations surrounding recruitment by agents and the potential pitfalls an athlete could face. A thorough understanding of the sports agency profession is provided, including the techniques necessary to operate successfully in the profession. This course requires a final exam.

Olympism

The emergence of the modern Olympics has led to an era of sport history that transcends sport. The gathering of athletes for this multi-sport competition has been used to promote world peace, international cooperation, education, and physical fitness for the past century. Prepare yourself by earning your Master’s degree in Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies, or Sports Fitness with an Emphasis in Olympism. The Olympism emphasis will allow the student to learn the historic, sociological, and administrative aspects of the Olympic movement.

To obtain the Emphasis in Olympism, a Master’s degree student will take the following three courses:

SAB 622 Structure and Function of the Olympic Games (3 sem. hrs.)

The structure and function of the Olympic movement, starting with the International Olympic Committee and moving through the national governing bodies to international sports associations, is the focus of this course. It emphasizes the unique characteristics of the Olympic Movement and various political, social, and economic impacts on the Games. This course requires a final exam.

SAB 651 Issues in the Olympic Movement (3 sem. hrs.)

The impact of contemporary issues on the Olympic Movement, whether they are governmental, intellectual, societal, cultural, political, or economic, is the focus of this course. Through selected readings, factors such as race, gender, religion, nationalism, drug use, commercialism, and violence and their influence on the Olympic Movement are taken into consideration. This course requires a class paper.

SAB 667 Olympism (3 sem. hrs.)

This course examines the growth and development of the modern Olympic Games through the eyes of their founder, Pierre de Coubertin. The International Olympic Committee has published selected writings by de Coubertin that include the search for a vision, the events leading up to the Olympic renewal, historical perspectives of the Olympics, the philosophical and educational dimensions of Olympism, and the Olympic Movement. This course requires a class paper.

Personal Training

Traditionally, personal training has been associated with one trainer and one individual or client with the goal of improving his or her appearance or health: a simple and straightforward relationship. However, personal trainers are increasingly venturing into multiple areas of sport. Trainers are now expected to improve performance and reduce blood pressure for a client, while managing a training facility in addition to coaching a youth basketball team. Likewise, coaches and administrators are venturing into the personal training field in order to work one-on-one with athletes. By earning a Master’s degree in Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies, or Sports Health and Fitness with an emphasis in Personal Training, you will be able to study a specific area of sport while learning the fundamentals of personal training, allowing you to gain the skills necessary to work one-on-one with any population, from elite athletes to the elderly.

Fitness & Health majors and dual majors (ONLY) must substitute SAD 546 Seminar in Sports Medicine for SAD 556 Issues in Nutrition & Health in the Personal Training Emphasis. Students in other majors and dual majors will take SAD 556.

SAR 526 Personal Training (3 sem. hrs.)

This course will combine sports science and entrepreneurial principles toward the design and implementation of a personal training business. This course requires a final exam.

SAR 587 Management Strategies in Health and Fitness (3 sem. hrs.)

The study of the basic concepts, theories, and organization of management as applied to the field of health and fitness. Topics include organizational structure and function, program development and administration, human resource management, financial management, inventory control, information management, insurance issues, and legal considerations in health and fitness. This course requires a final exam.

SAD 556 Issues in Nutrition and Health (3 sem. hrs.)

This course covers the principles of sound nutrition as they relate to the athlete as well as to the average individual in our society. In addition, it covers physiological aspects: how nutrition affects the body in terms of optimal health. This course requires a final exam.

Sports Psychology

Human behavior is dynamic and complex. Therefore, it is important for sport administrators, coaches, and practitioners to gain knowledge regarding human behavior and elite performance. Prepare yourself by earning your Master’s degree in Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies, or Sports Fitness with an Emphasis in Sports Psychology. Sports Psychology entails the scientific study of human behavior in sport and exercise and the practical application of information in sport and exercise settings (Gill & Williams, 2008).

The M.S.S. degree with an Emphasis in Sports Psychology is designed for individuals who are interested in learning about the principles and theories associated with Sports Psychology and how individual characteristics and social situations interact to produce behavior in sport settings.

To obtain the Emphasis in Sports Psychology, a Master’s degree student will take the following courses:

SAB 563 Psychological Aspects of Sports Medicine or SAB 566 Psychological Aspects of Health and Fitness Programming

SAB 563 Psychological Aspects of Sports Medicine (3 sem. hrs.)

This course is a study of the psychological and sociological aspects of Sports Medicine. Emphasis will be given to the application of knowledge to the counseling of athletes coping with sports injuries and to the development of motivational strategies for rehabilitation and return to physical activity. This course requires a class paper.

SAB 566 Psychological Aspects of Health and Fitness Programming (3 sem. hrs.)

This course is a study of the psychological and sociological aspects of health and fitness programming and the application of this knowledge to the development of effective motivational and behavioral modification strategies. This course requires a class paper.

SAB 657 Psychology of Elite Performance (3 sem. hrs.)

This course examines the psychological factors that are most critical to elite sport performances. Special emphasis is focused on the physical, mental, and emotional variables related to optimal performance conditions. Theory and practice for athletes and coaches will be discussed. This course requires a final exam.

SAB 659 Group Dynamics in Sports (3 sem. hrs.)

In depth study of the influence of teams on the individual performance and the influence of individuals on team performance in sport and exercise settings. Particular focus on interpersonal aspects such as cohesion and leadership. This course requires a class paper.

In addition, students who major in Sports Coaching are still required to take SAB 568 Sports Psychology as a major course.

Sports Hospitality Management

The travel industry is the world’s largest industry and the most international in nature. Specifically, monetary receipts have escalated above $1 trillion (USD) and over 1 billion individuals have traveled throughout this world (Kotler, Bowen, & Makens, 2010). Associated closely with the tourism and hospitality industry is the sport business industry. It has been estimated the sports business industry produces $400 billion (USD) globally per year (Sports Business Journal, 2010). Therefore, services and products available for individual consumption dictate the success of companies associated with sports hospitality management. From food service to marketing and management, and the accessibility of Internet commerce, mangers must be prepared to offer the highest quality of services and products to consumers in order for financial success to be achieved.

The M.S.S. degree with an Emphasis in Sports Hospitality Management is designed for individuals interested in gaining knowledge about sports hospitality management.

To obtain the Emphasis in Sports Hospitality Management, a Master’s degree student will take the following courses:

SAM 530 Food and Beverage Service Management for Sport Clubs (3 sem. hrs.)

The course covers the origin, production, storing, marketing, and control of food and beverages in the hospitality industry. Topics integral to the successful management of restaurant and food service organizations are also covered. This course requires a final exam.

SAM 534 Membership and Marketing for Sport Clubs (3 sem. hrs.)

Study of marketing as it applies to the sports and leisure industry. Also examines the role of marketing in strategic planning. This course requires a class paper.

SAM 533 Sports Club Management (3 sem. hrs.)

Covers the scope of club services, which includes personnel, small business operations, recruitment, leadership, and risk management. This course requires a class paper.

Recreation Management

Recreation and leisure are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. With hectic lives and busy careers, people are looking to escape on extended vacations to exclusive resorts or even just a weekend hike or fishing trip. Participation in recreational activities on a daily basis have a positive impact on not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. Recreational activities allow you to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life.

The M.S.S. degree with an Emphasis in Recreation Management is designed for individuals who are interested in the history, philosophy, and effects of recreation on our society, as well as potential careers in the field of Recreation Management.

To obtain the Emphasis in Recreation Management, a Master’s degree student will take the following courses:

SAM 535 Introduction to Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (3 sem. hrs.)

A survey of the concepts and issues related to leisure, parks, recreation, and tourism in American society. Also, the effects of recreation and leisure on social, individual, and environmental aspects of our society will be examined. This course requires final exam.

SAM 536 Philosophy and History of Recreation and Leisure (3 sem. hrs.)

This course is designed to discuss philosophies and contemporary social issues concerning recreation and leisure. Also, the history of recreation and leisure will be discussed. This course requires a class paper.

SAM 537 Introduction to Recreational Sport Management (3 sem. hrs.)

Explores concepts and applications of effective recreational sport programming and administration. Information concerning careers in recreational sport management will be presented. This course requires a final exam.