View of the Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium

This program is a peer-learning network of sports professionals that will help you cultivate an ability to lead and refine critical thinking and problem-solving abilities and better understand current industry issues in law, negotiation, market research and sales.

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Sports Leadership

New! Certificate in Sports Leadership

The Master of Science in Leadership, concentration in Sports Leadership (MSSL) is a unique degree for sports professionals.  When you choose the first online graduate program in sports leadership, you benefit by learning from experts in the fields of sports administration and leadership.  Current students and alumni include collegiate team coaches, senior directors, ticket managers and other professionals representing major league baseball, stadiums, minor league baseball and more.

The MSSL program will enable students to:

  • Apply critical thinking and reasoning skills in the sports industry
  • Negotiate professional contracts
  • Understand civic responsibility as a sports management professional to effectively deal with external forces that arise with the sports industry
  • Manage marketing firms, licensing agencies, major retailers, sports organizations and sporting venues
  • Analyze and apply marketing theories to support communication initiatives, promotions and pricing policies
  • Cultivate an ethical environment and identify shared organizational culture

A Practical and Comprehensive Curriculum

The Master of Science in Sports Leadership (MSSL) provides a 36-credit curriculum that addresses sports leadership from a management perspective and emphasizes the application of ethics and leadership in the contemporary business environment. The knowledge and skills attained through this program will enable sports industry professionals to add increased value to their organizations. Students will cultivate an ability to lead and refine critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Make Connections

During the program you'll establish connections with other students and program faculty. Through a special partnership between Work-in-Sports, an employment search firm for the sports industry, and Duquesne University, students in the MSSL program gain access to the Work-in-Sports database at no charge. Active students are able to search any region in the country by job type and apply to the 3000+ current listings.

A Program Structure That Fits Your Life

The academic year is structured with three semesters per year: a 15-week term in fall and spring and an eight-week term in summer. Courses are entirely online. Read about the program structure to see if it might be a good fit for your goals.

Courses are offered by the Schools of Business and Leadership:

  • The School of Leadership and Professional Advancement is the recipient of numerous honors including the Outstanding Leadership Program Award from the Association for Leadership Educators and Distinguished Credit Program Awards from the Association for Continuing Higher Education.
  • The John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business is included among the 5% of business schools worldwide by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.
  • The academic year is structured with three semesters per year: a 15-week term in fall and spring and an eight-week term in summer. If you take two courses for the fall, spring and summer semesters, the degree can be completed in two years. Courses are entirely online. Students in the Pittsburgh area can also take courses on campus on alternating Saturdays.

For added flexibility, a certificate option is also available. Contact us for details.


"I would have to say this was one of the best decisions I ever made in going back and earning my master's degree. The curriculum gave me a different perspective on leadership and allowed me to take a step back and identify other imperative ways to manage and lead a team. More importantly the diverse backgrounds of classmates within the industry and those outside the industry gave me even a greater appreciation of other ways of making decisions, leading people and managing relationships."

- Steve Swetoha, President, Tulsa Shock

"There are a lot of programs that can teach students the nuts and bolts of sports business and sports marketing. It's unique that Duquesne is trying to incorporate the aspect of leadership into its curriculum. It serves students well to learn to operate and negotiate from a position of ethical strength."

- Mark Hart, Director of Business, Pittsburgh Steelers

This Degree Prepares Graduates for Careers in:

  • Coach
  • Performance Trainer
  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Administrator
  • Operations Manager
  • Marketing/ Communications Professional
  • Recreation Administrator
  • Sports Law Specialist
  • Sport Facilities Manager
  • Sporting Goods Company Sales
  • Public Relations and Promotion

"The backbone for success in any program is its substance, and Duquesne's online sports leadership program is a tremendous way for the busy professional to take their career to the next level with one of the top sports leadership programs in the country."

- Len Komoroski, President, Cleveland Cavaliers