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Education Specialist (EdS)
in Leadership in Sport and
Athletic Management

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Courses start every Monday

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Take the first step in your National University journey

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230K+ Alumni Worldwide


Just as teachers are now in greater demand than ever before, educational leaders are needed to manage and assist schools, school districts, state educational boards, and institutes of higher learning as they work to improve their instructional capabilities. This specialization prepares professionals for the growing discipline of sports and athletics management through practical application and doctoral research on the key influences impacting the field. The coursework provides a foundational understanding of communication, leadership, and research methods, while the specialty studies combine science-based academics and real-world experience with an emphasis on the ever-changing financial, legal, political, and marketing concerns within the sports industry.

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Admission Requirements 

A conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service.


The Education Specialist (EdS) program requires two foundational courses, two research courses, six specialization courses, and one capstone course for a total of 33 credit hours. Both the Education Specialist (EdS) and Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) require that all other courses be completed prior to starting the capstone course. The estimated time needed to complete this program is 23 months.

Course Details

Course Listings

Your communication abilities have a big influence on your professional reputation. In this course, you’ll develop skills to establish yourself as a competent professional with strong communication skills. You’ll learn competencies related to written, oral, and visual forms of communication appropriate to specific media and audiences. You’ll also explore how the iterative nature of preparing communications and integrating feedback into your work products can support your development and advancement as a professional.

Leadership during times of change can be challenging. This course supports your professional development as an effective leader of educational organizations during periods of change. You’ll explore strategies and techniques for self-reflection, evaluating culture, integrating stakeholder feedback, and incorporating data as part of improvement processes. To conclude the course, you’ll synthesize these skills to design a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses a specific problem within an educational organization.

This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

Select One of the Following Two Research Courses:

A focus on qualitative research methodology and the designs and methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You’ll examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness, and the responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.

An exploration of quantitative research methodologies and associated designs and methods. You’ll examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. Topics for examination include feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You’ll also look at the components of quantitative research designs that support meaningful studies within the field of education.

As the capstone to your EdS studies, you’ll work with a specific educational program relevant to your current or future professional aims. You’ll review the related literature and evaluate data to inform your development of potential solutions and future areas of research related to your identified problem. Finally, you’ll reflect on your personal learning journey throughout the EdS program.

Specialization Courses

SM-7100 Development of Human Resource Strategies in Intercollegiate Athletics

This course presents the latest human resource strategies used to address everyday problems that arise with the coaches, staff, and personnel of an intercollegiate athletic department. You’ll develop a working knowledge of human resource policy and procedures and how they affect employees in your organization. Topics include recruitment, hiring, retention, planning, Title IX compliance, and related management strategies.

SM-7103 Intercollegiate Sport Governance

In this course, you’ll gain a knowledge of governance and politics within sport organizations that govern intercollegiate athletics. You’ll analyze how people involved in governance set the tone for an organization and how individual sport bodies fit into the greater industry. You’ll also develop a working knowledge of what organizations do and their purpose in the administration of an intercollegiate department.

SM-7106 Legal Aspects of Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics

Doctoral students in this course study Title IX’s structure and requirements as they apply to intramural, recreation, interscholastic, and intercollegiate athletic programs. The philosophical, historical, and conceptual accounts of this law and its effects upon these programs will be explored. You’ll also examine the social, legislative, and judicial environments in which Title IX has grown and matured over the last three decades, and how current trends and demographics have affected sports programs throughout the nation. An experiential learning model is used whereby you’ll apply your personal experiences to your research into the legal aspects of equity in today’s interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics.

SM-7109 Sport Compliance

Here you’ll study rules and regulations associated with intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA I, II, and III levels, NAIA, and NJCAA. The course focuses on the key components of compliance, including recruiting, eligibility, amateurism, and financial aid. Topics include strategies used to maintain institutional control, the differences and similarities of the five different associations (NCAA I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA), and the various groups that govern NCAA legislation.

SM-7112 Advising the Student Athlete

This course explores the role and function of academic advisors in the lives of student-athletes. You’ll examine existing student-athlete retention programs in college and universities to understand their components and effectiveness. Recognizing learning differences in students with learning disabilities or disorders will also be explored. The goal is to find academic services and counseling programs that help students in need reach their greatest potential.

SM-7115 Facility Management and Programming

In this course, you’ll focus on the principles, responsibilities, and issues involved with the management of athletic facilities. Activities include personnel and risk management, merchandising, quality assurance, and issues affecting the local community. Additional coursework and discussion includes the environmental issues and factors relating to the operation of facilities and the presentation of sporting events.

SM-7118 Financial Administration of Sports Facilities and Programs

In this course, you’ll explore the basic financial principles and concepts in interscholastic athletic programs. Coursework and instruction include exercises in marketing, revenue management, documentation and technological practices, and strategies for long-range planning. The course culminates with your development of a fundraising plan in the role of a sports administrator.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop skills to support educational practices across diverse instructional and organizational settings
  • Communicate with diverse audiences about educational theories, research, and practices
  • Analyze professional skills, dispositions, and technology options for learning and educating diverse groups
  • Apply evidence-based solutions for addressing educational, organizational, and societal issues
  • Analyze current research, theories, and instructional practices in educational and organizational environments

Why Choose National University

  • Four-Week Courses
  • 190+ Degree Programs
  • Online or On-Site
  • Year-Round Enrollment
  • Military Friendly

We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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Program Disclosure

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