Sport Management Programs - Ph.D.

Ph.D. Program in Sport Management & Policy (SMP)

Sport Management and Policy graduate programs prepare graduates for a variety of positions in the sport industry and academia. The graduate curriculum addresses the economic, legal, social, and ethical, issues affecting the sport industry. In addition to the application of business principles our programs study  the place of sport in society, and examine the historical, sociological, psychological, and philosophical dimensions of sport. Examination of governmental and industry policies as they apply to sports is critical to each degree program.

Description of the Program

The Ph.D. emphasis in SMP is designed to provide the candidate with the qualifications for an academic career and research in the sport management and policy disciplines. The program of study is determined by the student and the doctoral advisory committee, based on the student’s background, interests, and career goals.  A minimum  of  thirty hours of course work are required. Students are expected to be involved in research throughout their Ph.D. program. The program requires approximately three years beyond the master’s degree to complete. Requirements for the Ph.D. in SMP

General Requirements

The M.S. and Ph.D. in Kinesiology are programs designed to provide an opportunity to pursue research and advanced scholarly activity in specialized areas of kinesiology. The M.S. programs are designed for students who want an in-depth research experience that involves completing a thesis. Completing requirements for the M.S. prepares a student to pursue a Ph.D. or to pursue a career that involves a background in research. Requirements for the M.S. are provided in the Graduate School Bulletin. In addition, the Department requires that the program of study for the M.S. include a course in research methods (KINS 7150 or equivalent) and one additional research course (a course in statistics or qualitative research methods) appropriate for the student’s research.

The Ph.D. programs are designed to provide the opportunity to pursue research and scholarly activities beyond the point possible in master’s degree programs. These programs prepare students for careers involving research in colleges and universities, government, or business and industry. Requirements for the Ph.D. are provided in the Graduate School Bulletin. In addition, the Department has the following requirements for its Ph.D. programs:

Requirements for Ph.D. Specialization in Sport Management

Advisory Committee:

A doctoral student’s doctoral advisory committee shall consist of a minimum of three graduate faculty members including the student’s major professor who will serve as the chair of the committee. For Exercise Science programs two of the faculty must be in the Department of Kinesiology and, if all three members are in the Department of Kinesiology, they cannot be in the same specialization area (biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise psychology, measurement).

KINS 8990 Research Seminar in Kinesiology:

Research seminars in the individual specializations are required one or two (Fall, Spring) semesters each year providing a minimum of four credit hours earned.

Research Tool Requirement:

Doctoral students in Kinesiology must complete a two-course sequence at the 8000-level or above in statistics (e.g., ERSH 8310 and 8320, or equivalent) or qualitative methods (e.g., QUAL 8400 and 8410, or equivalent). If the student has the equivalent of these courses, higher level courses can be taken. At least the second course in the sequence, or a course for which it is a prerequisite, must be taken on this campus. A grade of “B” or better must be obtained in the second course or course for which it is a prerequisite.

Program of Study:

The program of study is determined by the major professor and doctoral student, based on the student’s background, interests, and career goals. It must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee. For the Ph.D., a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work not including work done for a master’s degree is required (see residence requirement above). The total number of hours required may vary, depending on the number needed to achieve the necessary proficiency in research, breadth and soundness of scholarship, and thorough acquaintance with a specific field of knowledge as determined by the major professor and advisory committee.

Research Experience in Lieu of Master’s Thesis:

If a student is admitted to the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree but without having completed a master’s thesis, or admitted to the Ph.D. program with bachelor’s degree but no master’s degree, the student must conduct, or contribute in a substantial way (planning, data collection, data analysis, writing manuscript) to a research study prior to approval of the dissertation prospectus, to provide an initial, in-depth research experience. A manuscript based on the research must be submitted to a scholarly publication.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants with a baccalaureate and master’s degree in any field of study are eligible to apply to the Ph.D. program in SMP. Complete applications received by February 1 will be given full consideration for admission and graduate assistantships. To be considered for admission, applicants must complete an application for graduate study, submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, submit scores on the GRE, provide three letters of recommendation, a purpose statement, research interests, vita/resume, and complete the department questionnaire.

Minimum Standards

Applicants should have earned a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a 3.5 graduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale). A minimum combined GRE score of 1,100 (Verbal and Quantitative sections, with a minimum verbal score of 500 and a minimum quantitative score of 600) and 4.5 on the Analytical Writing section is required for admittance. Minimum GPA and test scores must offset by demonstrated excellent accomplishment in other areas of the application.  The statement of purpose portion of the departmental questionnaire should reflect the applicants understanding of, and desire to enter into, an academic career in sport management and policy. Prior experience in the sports industry as it relates to the applicant’s research interests should be highlighted. References must include at least two from a professor or instructor that will speak to the applicant’s potential for success as teacher and researcher.

Application Procedure

1. Steps for Applying to the Graduate School

To apply to the Graduate School, access the Graduate School application web page. Read the information on the application procedure. The link to the online application is at the bottom of the page. At the bottom of the first page of the application, you must select a major. You will select one of four options Kinesiology MS, Kinesiology MS-nonthesis, Kinesiology PhD. or Kinesiology Nondegree. Once you select one of these options, you will be asked to select a specialization. If you are applying for a master’s degree program, select Kinesiology MS or Kinesiology MS-nonthesis. The MS programs are research-oriented programs designed for students who want an in-depth research experience that involves completing a thesis. If you are interested in continuing for the PhD at UGA or another institution, you should select this option. The specializations available for Kinesiology MS are: biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise psychology, measurement, motor behavior, pedagogy, and sport management and policy. The MS-non-thesis programs are professional programs designed for students who do not plan to conduct research as part of their career and do not plan to continue for a Ph.D. The specializations available for the MS-nonthesis are: athletic training, clinical exercise physiology, general exercise science, motor behavior (adapted physical education), pedagogy and sport management and policy. Students interested in a doctoral program should select Kinesiology PhD. Specializations available include biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise psychology, measurement, motor behavior, pedagogy, and sport management and policy. If you are interested in athletic training or exercise epidemiology, please contact a faculty member with expertise in your area of interest prior to completing the application. If you are not interested in completing a degree, but only in taking some courses, you should select the Kinesiology Nondegree option.

Follow all the steps for submitting your online application, registration fee, transcripts (using the transcript request form), test scores and three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be electronically submitted as described in the online Graduate School application.

  1. Make arrangements to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test if you have not already done so. The GRE is required for all graduate students and the scores should be sent directly to the Graduate School.
  2. International applicants whose primary language in not English must also arrange to take the Internet-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which includes a speaking of English score. The English speaking score is required if applying for an assistantship. Have your scores sent directly to the Graduate School.

When your file is complete you will receive confirmation from the Graduate School.

2. Steps for Applying to the Department of Kinesiology

Send electronic copies in Word or Adobe pdf format as e-mail attachments to the graduate coordinator’s If you are interested in an assistantship, the Application for Graduate Assistantship form (below) should be filled out online, and submitted electronically (using the Submit by E-mail button).

Application for Graduate Assistantship

Purpose Statement: In a typed statement describe your interest in Kinesiology, graduate education goals, and career objectives.

Research Interests:If you are applying for entrance into a thesis program (M.S. or Ph.D.), provide a brief statement of your research interests.

Interest in The University of Georgia: In an attached statement, indicate why you are applying to the graduate program in Kinesiology at UGA (e.g., reputation of program, to work with a particular professor, recommended by friend or college professor, location of University, etc.).

Vita/Resume: In a resume or vita summarize your work experience, certifications held, college distinctions (honors, scholarships, activities), title of Master’s Thesis (if applicable), experience with computer use and research, and professional publications and presentations.

When your file is complete, it will be reviewed by the Department and a recommendation on admission will be made to the Graduate School. They, in turn, will send out the official acceptance or denial letter. A student may not register for classes unless they have been notified of admission by the Graduate School.

Departmental assistantships are chosen once a year for the coming academic year. Students with an assistantship must be enrolled during the academic year. Applications are reviewed starting around February 1. Usually 80% of the assistantships are awarded during the month of March and the remainder during April. A prospective graduate student cannot be awarded a teaching or research assistantship until he/she has been admitted to a degree program in the University.

All other financial aid information can be requested from the Office of Student Financial Aid at their web site:

The following deadlines are in effect for completed admission files (all materials):

Decisions concerning admission into the Kinesiology Department are made in February, March or April for Summer or Fall Semester admittance. Students are rarely admitted to start in the spring semester.

The deadline for receipt of applications for admission and for an assistantship is February 1. The deadline to be admitted and not considered for an assistantship is April 1. Applications received after April 1 are rarely considered.

International Applicants
February 1 to be admitted and considered for an assistantship. March 1 to be admitted.


Graduate teaching assistantships are available in the Department of Kinesiology. Duties involve the teaching of activity courses in the required physical education activity program or teaching undergraduate sport management courses. Other assistantship opportunities are available in the Department of Recreational Sports and with the UGA Athletic Association. Information on Assistantships

Program Faculty

Thomas Baker, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Sport Management, University of Florida
J.D., Loyola University School of Law
Area of Expertise: Sport Law
Research Interests: Sport Law and Risk Management

Kevin K. Byon, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Sport Management, University of Florida
Areas of Expertise: Sport Marketing
Research Interests: Sport Consumer Behavior, Sport
Sponsorship, Sport Tourism, Measurement and Statistics

Rose Chepyator-Thomson, Professor
Ph.D., Physical Education/Educational Policy, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Areas of Expertise: Global and policy issues in sport and physical activity, multiculturalism in schools and higher education, and Globalization and African Sports
Research Interests: Gender, Race and Ethnicity in Physical Education and Sport; urban and transnational diversity in Physical Education and sport; international sport and public policy; colonialism and post colonialism in context of African sporting bodies

Billy Hawkins, Associate Professor, Program Coordinator
Ph.D., Sociology of Sport and Cultural Studies, University of Iowa
Area of Expertise: Sociology of Sport, Cultural Studies
Research Interests: Race and Sport, Religion and Sport, Collegiate Athletics

James J. Zhang, Professor and Director
International Center for Sport Management
Ph.D., Measurement/Sport Administration, Springfield College-Massachusetts
Areas of Expertise: Sport Consumer Behavior, Sport Organizational Behavior, Research Design, Measurement, and Statistics
Research Interests: Applied Measurement and/or Applied Studies Examining Sport Consumer and Organizational Behavior


If you have any questions or problems, please contact Dr. James Zhang (program coordinator) at 706-542-4420 or or the graduate coordinator’s assistant (graduate coordinator’s assistant) at or 706-542-4378.


UGA Graduate School Information