EdD/PhD, Sports Leadership Specialization

Study Format Online
Program Length 61-67 credits*


*INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: In addition to the base program curriculum listed below, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course.


Specialization: Sports Leadership (30 hours)

  • EDL 7120 Research-Based Decision Making
  • SPML 6090 Sports Administration

Pick four:

  • LDR 6010 Pursuit of Leadership Excellence
  • LDR 6020 Critical Issues in Leadership
  • LDR 6030 Leadership Theories and Professional Practice
  • LDR 7010 Developing the Organization's Human Capital
  • LDR 7020 Leading the Knowledge Enterprise
  • LDR 7030 Promoting and Leading Change
  • LDR 7040 Creating & Leading a Learning Organization
  • LDR 7050 Strategic Forecasting and Planning

Pick four:

  • SPML 6010 The Essentials of the Law in Sports
  • SPML 6020 The Economics of Sports
  • SPML 6040 Sports Finance
  • SPML 6050 Leading in a Time of Change
  • SPML 6060 Leveling the Playing Field: Diversity in Sports
  • SPML 6070 Sports Promotion
  • SPML 6110 Facilities and Events Management
  • SPML 6120 Dynamics of Coaching
  • SPML 6130 Social and Historical Foundations of Modern Sport
  • SPML 6000 Organization & Administration of Recreation & Leisure Programs
  • SPML 6150 Philosophy & Educational Value of Sport
  • SPML 6160 Assessment & Evaluation of Recreation & Leisure Programs
  • SPML 6170 Current Issues in Recreation & Leisure
  • SPML 6180 Foundations & Theoretical Perspectives of Recreation & Leisure

Foundations/Philosophy/Ethics (12 hours)

  • FPR 7300 Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge (PhD only)
  • FPR 7010 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Leadership (EdD only)
  • EDL 7140 Organizational Change
  • EDL7210 Policy Analysis

Choose one:

  • EDL 7300 Ethics for Educational Leaders
  • SPML 6030 Sports Leadership & Ethics (recommended)
  • OLDR 6820 Leadership, Politics, Power & Applied Ethics

Research and Statistics

For the EdD, Practitioner Track (10 hours)

  • RES 7810 Methods of Action Research Inquiry
  • RES 7600 Survey Research
  • RES 7900 Research Design (4)

For the PhD, Researcher Track (16 hours)

  • RES 7900 Research Design (4)
  • RES 7605 Quantitative Analysis
  • RES 7700 Qualitative Research
  • RES 7800 Mixed Methods Research

Choose one:

  • RES 7600 Survey Research
  • RES 7620 Advanced Topics in Statistics
  • RES 7710 Advanced Topics in Qualitative Analysis

Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation (9 hours)

  • COMPS 7000 Comprehensive Exam (fee)
  • DISS 7010, DISS 7020, and DISS 7030
  • DISS 8000 Dissertation Supervision (fee)

Course Descriptions: Sports Leadership Specialization

EDL-7120 Research-Based Decision Making 

The analysis of the methodological and statistical components of existing research data to enhance and facilitate the educational decision making process. Particular attention is given to applications regarding issues of educational policy.

SPML-6090 Sports Administration

This course is designed to emphasize the practical application of concepts, principles, and practices between sports organizations and community associations as it relates to the role of sport leader and administrator. Students will be required to review course materials, participate in discussion forums, and conduct research to acquire a thorough understanding of sports administration principles and theories.

LDR-6010 Pursuit of Leadership Excellence

In this course, concepts, skills and strategies for the enhancement of personal and professional leadership are examined. One’s fundamental leadership beliefs and assumptions are explored along with organizational performance and achievement.

LDR-6020 Critical Issues in Leadership

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the critical issues faced by leaders in every organization in the 21st century. Current, relevant, and timely resources are explored to provide students with opportunities to analyze both organizations and their leadership.

LDR-6030 Leadership Theories and Professional Practice

In this course, students explore and examine contemporary and classical leadership theories and their application to a variety of professional settings; students assess and evaluate organization’s leadership platform, policies and professional practices.

LDR-7010 Developing the Organization's Human Capital

In this course, students examine and explore human resources policies and practices; administrative supervision strategies and effective communication techniques; job performance, employee development and deployment, diverse work force, employment law, training and development, harassment and health issues and disabilities and discrimination.

LDR-7020 Leading the Knowledge Enterprise

Leading the Knowledge Enterprise is a course that introduces students to the exciting and sometimes hard to define field of knowledge management. The role of the leader is emphasized, especially as it relates to identifying and leveraging the intellectual capital of an organization; promoting and facilitating knowledge sharing and innovation; intellectual assets, knowledge management strategy, knowledge management cycle and knowledge taxonomies.

LDR-7030 Promoting and Leading Change

Effective change leadership requires an understanding of the basic principles and practices underlying innovation, change processes and sustainability in organizations. The focus of LDR-7030 is initiating, implementing and ensuring continuation of change as a key leadership challenge. Various change theories and principles are examined with an emphasis on the leader’s role in capacity building, creativity, organizational strengths and style. Participants are encouraged to develop a more situated and experience informed approach to change in the organizational front lines.

LDR-7040 Creating & Leading a Learning Organization 

In this course, students explore and examine the five disciplines of learning organizations; characteristics of learning organizations, growth cycles, building capacity and sustainability.

LDR-7050 Strategic Forecasting and Planning

This course examines strategic planning models, forecasting methods, trend analysis, futuring, problem-based learning, return on investment, organizational health and effectiveness, cost/benefit analysis and research and planning.

SPML-6010 The Essentials of the Law in Sports

This course introduces legal issues, and professional ramifications in field of sports management through the examination of regulations, government intervention, and ethically pertinent scenarios. This course allows learners to acquire a thorough understanding of legal considerations, which affect the interaction of league officials and athletes, their professional behavior, and what laws are established to protect their rights and assure they accountable for their actions.

SPML-6020 The Economics of Sports

The domain of sports, most notably, professional sports, has been elevated to one of the highest rungs of the financial ladder by having entered the world of professional entertainment industry. In the 21st century, sport has secured its place as one of the paramount forms of entertainment from Friday night high school football games to the Olympic venues. To function as an administrator within this profession, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic role of economics. In this course, students explore and examine the concepts and models of micro and intermediate economics as related to the business of sport.

SPML-6040 Sports Finance 

In this course, students develop a framework with an in-depth analysis of the various tools, techniques, ratios, formulas, and other finance-related information, complex financial concerns in the sports workplace.

SPML-6050 Leading in a Time of Change 

This course introduces students to the valuable change management process in the dynamic world of sports leadership and management, preparing them to use and apply these skills practically with an understanding of varying concepts, theories and opinions.

SPML-6060 Leveling the Playing Field: Diversity in Sports 

This course is designed to teach students what diversity is and how it applies to sports in general and more specifically to gender, race, and various cultures. The course will help Learners understand the unique challenge for sports leaders to better understand diversity and through this understanding help “level the playing field.”

SPML-6070 Sports Promotion 

Explore and examine the relationship between the mass media and the sports industry. Topics include sports broadcasting, print media and the development of public relation tools such as media guides and press releases, effective principles, theories, practices and methods involved with all aspects of sports communications.

SPML-6110 Facilities and Events Management

Examines the principles and practices necessary to plan, develop, promote, operate and maintain sporting events, athletic centers and recreational facilities. Emphasis is on issues concerning personnel, finance, profitability, security, concessions, convention centers, event scheduling, equipment management, facilities maintenance and topics related to liability and risk management.

SPML-6120 Dynamics of Coaching 

Coaching requires leadership abilities, social awareness, expertise in athletic components, and the ability to transcend these principles through recognized methodologies. This course focuses on the major coaching theories and models, methods, practices, and outcomes. Topics include study of first principles in coaching, coaching cases and analyses, great coaches, coaching decision making, and other contemporary issues.

SPML-6130 Social and Historical Foundations of Modern Sport

Sports are integrated into society and enjoyed throughout the world on a cultural and competitive level. This course examines the social, political, cultural, philosophical, psychological, historical and practical aspects of sport history and evolution.

SPML-6000 Organization & Administration of Recreation & Leisure Programs

This course provides an overview of principles and practices related to effectively managing a recreation and leisure program. Issues of branding, marketing, media, and personnel selection and development are considered.

SPML-6150 Philosophy & Educational Value of Sport

This course will build on Foundations & Theoretical Perspectives and provide students academic opportunities to identify and establish their personal and professional ideals and dispositions in relation to the academic literature and the mission/vision of their educational, recreational, and professional setting. Academic/co-curricular connectivity of sport and society.

SPML-6160 Assessment & Evaluation of Recreation & Leisure Programs

This course explores and examines the purpose and added value of assessment and evaluation in the recreation/leisure settings. Basic procedures and designs are used to develop a professional program evaluation/assessment plan. Cycle of evaluation/assessment, needs assessment, program planning and design, outcomes, objectives, findings, reporting for data driven decision-making.

SPML-6170 Current Issues in Recreation & Leisure

This course explores and examines the purpose and added value of assessment and evaluation in the recreation/leisure settings. Basic procedures and designs are used to develop a professional program evaluation/assessment plan. Cycle of evaluation/assessment, needs assessment, program planning and design, outcomes, objectives, findings, reporting for data driven decision-making.

SPML-6180 Foundations & Theoretical Perspectives of Recreation & Leisure

This course explores and examines the purpose and added value of assessment and evaluation in the recreation/leisure settings. Basic procedures and designs are used to develop a professional program evaluation/assessment plan. Cycle of evaluation/assessment, needs assessment, program planning and design, outcomes, objectives, findings, reporting for data driven decision-making.

Course Descriptions: Foundations/Philosophy/Ethics

FPR-7300 Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge (PhD only) 

This course provides an orientation to the nature, uses and limitations of science with the aim of achieving and understanding of the variety of approaches to research design and developing conceptual frameworks. With regard to the metatheory of knowledge, particular attention will be paid to the following topics: the relationship between theory and observations, the role of the researcher’s values in knowledge generation, how the research conceptualizes the relationship between researcher and subjects, the standards that are used to appraise theories, the theory of reality (ontology) and of how to know that reality (epistemology) that underlies critical theories, and how different methods of data gathering and data analysis influence the generation of scientific knowledge

FPR-7011 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Leadership

Study of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of education and leadership, including analysis of the aims and goals of education, processes of attainment, content and curriculum, and the socialization function of education, schooling and complex organizations. Develop an understanding of the intersections between theory/philosophy, ethical perspectives and the development of policy, practice and institutions.

EDL-7140 Organizational Change

Application of change theory to large and small organizations. Leadership strategies for successful change implementation.

EDL-7210 Policy Analysis

Educational policy-making at the macro (national, regional and state) and micro (local and institutional) levels. Selected educational policies.

EDL-7300 Ethics for Educational Leaders

Ethical theories and practice of school district leadership.

SPML-6030 Sports Leadership and Ethics 

Sports Leadership and Ethics is designed to prepare learners to evaluate business principles, theories and responsibilities in the field of sports management, with an increased understanding of acceptable practices, human capital, and professionalism. In addition, this course provides learners with an understanding societal reasonability, common moral and ethical values, and how they are applied to varying sports leadership scenarios.

OLDR-6820 Leadership: Politics, Power and Applied Ethics

In this course students will examine the ethical dilemmas of leadership, the foundations and context of moral choice and the moral implications of decision making. In doing so, the purpose is to make visible the ethical challenges and decision criteria facing leaders, the role of politics and power in organizations and the leader’s ability to promote and infuse organizational ethics and integrity into the culture.

Course Descriptions: Research and Statistics

RES-7810 Methods of Action Research Inquiry

Principles and application of action research planning, implementation and reflection in educational environments. Exploration of collaborative, participatory and individual approaches to action research methods that can be utilized to improve schools and/or organizations.

RES-7600 Survey Research 

This course introduces students to survey and instrument development including issues related to operationalizing variables, survey construction, sampling, coding, analysis, and evaluating the reliability and validity of survey research methods.

RES-7900 Research Design

Principles of research theory, methods, inquiry, problem formulation, data collection, literature searches, and ethical considerations. Emphasis on how to design a doctoral-level research study.

RES-7605 Quantitative Analysis

An introduction to quantitative analysis of data. Statistical software will be used to explore descriptive and inferential statistics using both non-parametric and parametric techniques.

RES-7700 Qualitative Research

An examination and application of qualitative research approaches with focus on research design, the role of the researcher, data collection and analysis, and writing from a qualitative perspective.

RES-7800 Mixed Methods Research

This course explores the theory, design, and application of mixed methods research.

RES-7620 Advanced Topics in Statistics

An introduction to advanced statistical concepts including multivariate analysis, linear models, hierarchical linear models, factor analysis and data management. Students will use statistical software packages and will learn to write basic syntax for custom analysis.

RES-7710 Advanced Topics in Qualitative Analysis

This course will prepare students to utilize naturalistic inquiry in their own research, most immediately, the dissertation experience. Students will be able to reflect on choices of inquiry paradigms, the goodness of fit between the problem and the approach chosen to explore it, the selection of appropriate instruments, and the role of the writer in the presentation of findings.

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