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Sport Management Doctoral FAQ

Sport Management is a growing academic discipline in the United States as well as globally.  The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sport Management at Troy University is a terminal degree focusing on student comprehension and interpretation of contemporary, theoretical and applied studies within the field of Sport Management. The mission of the program is to prepare the graduate for a broad range of sport management-related positions to include, but not limited to higher education, research, professional or amateur athletics, and professional sport industry. 

The doctoral program in Sport Management is the only Ph. D. program that is offered primarily online in the United States. The program concentrates on developing students to generate the research, critical thinking, and teaching skills necessary for them to be successful in the sport industry and higher education. The coursework in the Ph.D. program provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of sport management that is intended to build upon each student’s interests. Through areas of specialized coursework and doctoral seminars taught by graduate sport management faculty members, the program offers flexibility for students to analyze a wide variety of opportunities and interests within the discipline of sport management (i.e., organizational management, finance, legal aspects, and marketing of sports).

The Ph.D. in Sport Management program at Troy University serves two primary populations: the sport practitioner and the future sport management educator.  Thus, the graduate will be prepared to apply research to the sport industry, contribute to the advancement and dissemination of scholarly research, and/or educate future sport managers. As such, the Sport Management Ph.D. program at Troy University is designed to address the challenge by industry and educational institutions to train high quality academicians with a sport management background. Students will be offered the chance to develop and produce original theoretical-specific knowledge that is germane to the sport industry and academy. Such research-oriented endeavors will permit the doctoral students to be in the middle of new advances in sport management.

The following are frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) regarding the program.  For more information, you are invited to go to the Troy University Graduate School website.


  1. Who is the contact for questions?
    Dr. John Miller at

  2. Is there anything I can do prior to applying that will help in being considered for the Ph.D. Sport Management program at Troy University?
    A Ph.D. program is by nature a research-oriented degree where students will be expected to be actively engaged in research teams with faculty members and other doctoral students. The applicant must exhibit a research focus in an area in or closely related to Sport Management.  It is strongly recommended that the applicant’s written sample show this focused area.  It is essential that the applicant peruse the School of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management faculty website to discover the research agenda of the doctoral directive faculty members. The applicants must identify a doctoral directive faculty member who they believe aligns with their own research interests.  It is crucial that the applicant to reach out the faculty member with whom they would like to research and study to determine the faculty members’ interest prior to application (see question 12).  A list of doctoral directive faculty members may be found on the School of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism website at

  3. What type of background should I have to apply for the Ph.D. Sport Management program at Troy University?
    Students come from a variety of educational backgrounds. As a result, there are no standards that typify a successful doctoral student.  While many applicants may possess an undergraduate or graduate degree in Sport Management, it is not a necessity.  What the applicant needs to show is an unmistakable research focus in sport Management that mirrors the research agenda of a doctoral directive faculty member.

  4. What does “doctoral directive faculty” mean?
    The Sport Management doctoral directive faculty at Troy University possess established research agendas through scholarly publications and presentations over a period of time. These faculty are tenured or at the Associate Professor level. Generally, these faculty will serve as the student’s major advisor and dissertation chair. Importantly, the student will have the same or similar research interests as the doctoral directive faculty member.  As such, the faculty member and student will most likely work on the submission of scholarly publications and presentations.

  5. How do I apply for the program?
    For All U.S. Applicants
    All applications for applicants from the United States may be started online at This page will ask for information such as name and address. Additionally, there is a $50 nonrefundable admission fee required.  Once the admission fee has been completed the applicant should mail or drop off (if in the areas) all transcripts and entrance exam score to:
                            Troy University
                            RE: Transcripts
                            100 University Park
                            Troy, AL 36082

    The applicant should also mail, email or drop off your letters of reference, statement of intent, writing sample, and resume to:
                            Jessica Kimbro
                            Director of Graduate Admissions
                            11 Adams Administration, Troy University Troy, Alabama 36082
                            (334) 670-3178

    For All International Applicants
    All applications for applicants from the United States may be started online at This page will ask for information such as name and address. Additionally, there is a $50 nonrefundable admission fee required.  Once the admission fee has been completed the applicant:

    1. On F1 or J1 visa, must fill the international application on-line:
    2. Complete set of documents are required for this program such as entrance exam scores (see below), letters of reference, statement of intent, writing sample, and resume as well as a current financial (not more than 6 month old) bank statement in the amount of $23,000 UDS or an equivalent in nation currency. Also if the financial documents are not on the applicant's name, the Sponsor Letter required as well.
    3. All international applicants must send copies of all required documents such as entrance exam scores (see below), letters of reference, statement of intent, writing sample, and resume as well as a current financial to  
    4. If any documents are missing, Mrs. Stephanie Appleby will send an e-mail with the request to submit missing document(s) to the applicants.

  1. What are the deadlines for application?
    In order to be given full consideration, the applicant is encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  There will be two opportunities to enter the program: fall and spring.  While the majority of applicants will enter the program in the fall, it is possible that applicants may be admitted in a spring semester providing a major advisor has a student opening.

  2. What are the minimum TOEFL scores that an international student must achieve for consideration?
    TOEFL scores are required for all international students; this requirement is waived if the student has earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution. Students scoring 80 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL Test, 213 or higher on the Computer-based Test, and a 550 or higher on the Paper-based TOEFL Test will be given full consideration for admission into the Doctoral Program.

  3. What entrance exam(s) is required and what is the minimum score for consideration?
    Official scores from nationally standardized aptitude examinations, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT), GMAT, or LSAT must be submitted at the time of application. All entrance exams must have taken place within 5 years of submission to the program.  Applicants achieving the minimum scores on the submitted entrance exam will be given full consideration for admission into the Doctoral Program.  Minimum scores are presented below. 
    • Miller’s Analogy Test MAT = 399 total score
    • GMAT = 540 total score (verbal and quantitative)
    • LSAT = 157-158 total score
    • GRE = 297 on the Revised GRE (verbal and quantitative only) or 1000 or higher on the Non-Revised
    • GRE (verbal and quantitative score totals only)

  4. After the entrance exam score has been submitted, are there any other documents that are needed for consideration into the program?
    The applicant must submit the following materials to the Troy University Graduate School:
    1. Troy University Graduate School Application Form
    2. One official transcript per each institution of higher education ever attended.
    3. Three (3) Letters of Reference or completion of a reference form
      1. Each individual must address the applicant’s readiness to enroll in a doctoral program.  It is recommended that such individuals be previous undergraduate or graduate professors, advisors or others who can substantiate the applicant’s academic preparation for admittance to a doctoral program.
    4. Statement of Intent.  The statement of intent should:
      1. Identify a TROY Sport Management doctoral faculty member to serve as potential research advisor and explain how your research interest correlates with the faculty member’s research agenda. The identification of more than one doctoral directive faculty member is not allowed.
      2. Include details on your rationale for pursuing a Ph.D. in Sport Management.
      3. Include details regarding your career goals and research interests.
    5. Writing Sample
      1. The goal of the writing sample is to measure the applicant’s ability to write clearly and succinctly in an academic fashion. The writing sample may include a thesis completed by the student, a significant research or case study class project, preferably written at the graduate level.  It is expected that the applicant be either the first or second author if the submission was a group project.  The paper must be double spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman font with 1 inch margins on all sides. Since the American Psychological Association (APA) style is followed in all written assignments in the Ph.D. program, it is recommended that the sample also be written in APA format. However, other writing styles, including but not limited to Chicago, Modern Language Association (MLA), Turbian, AMA Manual or other accepted research writing styles, will be considered.
        NOTE: The writing sample could also include an accepted or published research that the applicant was either the sole or co-author of a research project. The applicant must submit a pdf of the paper or a link as proof of publication.
    6. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  5. After the entrance exams and all other documents have been submitted, what are the next steps?
    If the applicant meets the minimum score on an entrance exam, applications for admission to the doctoral program will be reviewed in a holistic manner and voted on by members of the doctoral admissions committee on a regular basis. Factors included in the holistic approach will be the applicant’s transcripts, entrance scores, TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students, sufficient preparation to enter graduate study, professional experience, willingness of departmental faculty to work with the student, letters of recommendation, the applicant’s statement of career objectives, and a face-to-face or phone interview.

  6. What faculty members comprise the doctoral admissions committee?
    The Doctoral admissions committee will be composed of all Sport Management faculty members with doctoral directive status.  Once all of the application information has been received from the Graduate School, the Sport Management doctoral admissions committee will review all eligible applicants. Additionally, all eligible applicants may be required to schedule a phone or Skype-like interview with the committee.  After the committee considers all aspects of the applicant’s packet, it will make a recommendation regarding an applicant’s admission into the Ph.D. in Sport Management Program. After a decision has been made, applicants will be notified of their status.

  7. How many students will be accepted into the program per year?
    It is important for the applicant to note that no doctoral directive faculty member will accept no more than two students per year. However, since there are two opportunities for admission (fall and spring), should students not be admitted into the program for a semester, they may be considered for the following semester if an opening exists. All applicants are strongly encouraged to read about the backgrounds and interests of the doctoral directive faculty members to at and contact the faculty member who best represents the applicant’s research interest prior to applying to the program 

  8. Will teaching assistantships be available?
    Yes. However, only those applicants who have been accepted into the program may apply for a teaching assistantship through the Troy University job website. Previous experience in teaching as a graduate student, particularly in sport management or related areas, is highly beneficial for students applying for these positions.  Generally, the teaching assistantships will be for two years with competitive salary and benefits. 

  9. What are the research expectations of an applicant accepted into the program?
    Students, in collaboration with their major advisor, will be expected to assist in submitting proposals for presentations at national and international conferences. Moreover, it will be expected that students will work with their major advisor to assist in writing and submitting for publications prior to embarking on the dissertation process. Exposure to writing and submitting research projects prepares doctoral students to understand and perform basic and applied research in their specialty area. It is expected that students who take advantage of the research opportunities available to them, while enrolled in the program, will assist them when applying for positions. The student may assist their major advisor in writing grant proposals to fund potential research. The student may also write their own grant proposal to fund their own research.

  10. What is the background of the Sport Management faculty at Troy University?
    From a research review, collectively, the current Sport Management faculty at Troy University have published 15 textbooks, more than 80 textbook chapters, over 360 peer-reviewed manuscripts and given more than 650 national and international peer-reviewed presentations. Currently, TROY Sport Management faculty members serve or have served as Editor or Associate Editor of 8 peer-reviewed journals in the sport management field and over 20 Editorial Boards. Finally, TROY Sport Management faculty members have served on nearly 160 doctoral dissertation committees.

    In regards to service and reputation of doctoral directive faculty, two of the present faculty members have previously served or have presently been elected as the President of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), considered the flagship organization in academic sport management.  Additionally, another faculty member has served as the President of the Sport and Recreation Law Association, the foremost organization for the study of legal aspects of sport in the sport management academy.  Finally, and importantly, a faculty member has served on the Board of Commissioners for the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) which is the only accrediting body of academic sport management programs in the world, while another faculty member has been the team leader for three COSMA onsite visits to other university sport management programs.  This is unique in that only individuals with a great deal of experience in curriculum development in sport management programs are asked to evaluate other sport management programs.

  11. How many credits will I be able to transfer as a beginning Ph.D. student?
    Traditionally, a doctoral degree constitutes a minimum of 90 credit hours past a person’s baccalaureate degree. As such, the Ph.D. degree in Sport Management at Troy University requires a minimum of 90 credits beyond a baccalaureate degree. In order to satisfy the 90 credits past a baccalaureate degree, no more than 30 credits of a Master’s or juris doctorate (J.D.) completed degree from another regionally accredited institution of higher education will be accepted, but NOT as transfer credits. Thus, the student must take and pass a minimum of 60 credit hours in the Sport Management doctoral program at Troy University.

  12. How many credits will I be able to transfer from another Sport Management doctoral program?
    Students must complete the admissions application packet as described previously. In addition to the maximum of 30 hours from a Master’s or juris doctorate (J.D.) degree from another regionally accredited institution of higher education, a maximum of 24 credits from another Sport Management or a related program doctoral program will be allowed to transfer to the Troy University Sport Management Sport doctoral program. All transfer courses must be comparable to Troy University’s graduate courses and must be approved by the doctoral admissions committee.

  13. If I am accepted into the Ph.D. program and have received my Master’s degree from Troy University in Sport and Fitness Management, will I be able to take the same classes at the doctoral level?
    No.  All of the doctoral core, research, and statistic classes will be offered online at the doctoral (8800) level, while the elective classes will generally be at the Master’s (6600) level. Duplication of classes the student took in their Master’s in Sport and Fitness Management at Troy University will not be permitted.  Students are encouraged to communicate with their major advisor to determine proper elective classes. 

  14. What is the importance of being part of the Ph.D. Sport Management program at Troy University?
    According to a leading figure in Sport Management, Dr. Bob Baker, Troy University’s proposed Ph.D. in Sport Management has the potential to fill a large, documented void in Sport Management education by providing a heretofore unavailable reputable online Ph.D. program that meets the needs of working professionals in the sport industry. In addition to preparing aspiring university faculty, executives and leaders in the sport industry who wish to advance their knowledge and understanding of Sport Management would have their needs met through this Troy University Ph.D. program.

  15. How will this program assist those in military services who wish to pursue a terminal degree?
    Service members may want to pursue a doctorate in Sport Management.  However, due to military obligations, current members as well as veterans are often challenged in finding a program that can satisfy their desire for an advanced education.  The proposed doctoral program in Sport Management, offers a format which will allow current members of the armed forces to fulfill their military obligations while providing them with an advanced educational opportunity to prepare them for life after the military.  Specifically, a doctorate in Sport Management from Troy University will allow military personnel to take their love of sport along with their previous experiences in leadership, management, organization, and operations and combine them with a curriculum that is designed to further enhance understanding and knowledge of areas including advanced leadership theories, organizational behavior, marketing, management and ethical and legal issues of sport management. 

  16. Will all the classes in the program be offered only online?
    The opportunity to take all of the classes, including all doctoral core, elective, research, and statistic classes online exists.  In some cases, the student may take elective and/or cognate classes in the traditional manner if they live in close proximity to the Troy campus. The students must work with their major advisor in scheduling all classes. 

  17. How will the online classes be scheduled?
    All of the online classes will be offered through Troy Online.  In regards to scheduling, the classes will be offered in terms of nine weeks.  Presently, Troy University offers five, nine-week terms in which students may take a maximum of 6 credit hours per term. The student may take more than the maximum with administrative approval.

  18. How long will it take for a student to complete the Ph.D. program in Sport Management?
    Consistent with other terminal degree programs at TROY, the Sport Management doctoral student will have a maximum time for degree completion of eight years, inclusive of completing dissertation requirements. However, it is important to note that a full-time student (i.e., taking 6 credits per term) may be able to complete coursework in two (2) years. Additionally, dissertation may require 1-2 years to fully complete. As a result, students can finish the program in as little as three (3 years). To do so, the students must communicate with their major advisor on a regular basis.

  19. What are the cognate or concentration areas offered in the Sport Management Ph.D. program?
    The Ph.D. Sport Management program at Troy University not only provides the flexibility of taking classes online but also allows the student flexibility to determine their specific area of concentration. To do so, the students will be required to work closely and receive approval from their major advisor for the classes. Generally, the cognate/concentration area will reflect the classes taken outside of the doctoral core and the topic of the dissertation.  A doctoral program completion requirements and suggested class guidelines are presented in the following information.

  20. What is the minimum cumulative grade point average the student must maintain to stay in and graduate from the program?
    The student must maintain a cumulative minimum of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

  21. What is the process for the comprehensive examination?
    Sport Management doctoral students are required to successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive examination prior to generating a dissertation proposal and subsequent research study. Students must inform their major advisor of their intent to take the comprehensive examination in ample time to permit the development of the examination questions and for the preparation of the student for those questions. The comprehensive exam will consist of a written and oral components, questions. Once a student has completed the written portion of the comprehensive examination, an oral examination with the student’s comprehensive examination committee will be scheduled. The oral examination must be conducted in such a manner (i.e. WebEx, Skype, BlackBoard Collaborate or other acceptable technological means) that there is visualization between all involved parties.  Performance on both the written and oral components of the exam must be acceptable to the comprehensive examination committee for the student to receive a passing grade.  

  22. How many dissertation hours are required?
    issertation credit hours may exceed but may not be less than the minimum of 18 term hours. The number of hours the student takes per term should be in agreement with the major faculty advisor. Students must be continuously enrolled for a minimum of 1 credit hour in Dissertation (HSTM 8860) per term, after being admitted to candidacy, during and including the term in which they successfully defend their dissertation.

(Must be in consultation with major advisor)

First Year (Fall)

Take Doctoral Core courses (Term 1 and Term 2) (6 credits)
Take one cognate or statistics elective class (Term 1 and Term 2) (6 credits)

Total for Semester 12 credits
First Year (Spring)

Take Doctoral Core courses (Term 3 and Term 4) (6 credits)
Take Research Methods for the Ph.D. Student (Term 3) and Seminar in Applied Statistics in Sport Management (Term 4) (6 credits)

Total for Semester 12 credits
First Year (Summer)

Take Doctoral Core course (Term 5) (3 credits)
Take one cognate or statistics elective class (6) (3 credits)

Total for Semester 6 credits
Second Year (Fall)

Take Specialized Studies class (Term 1 and Term 2) (6 credits)
Take one cognate or statistics elective class Term 1 and Term 2 (6 credits)

Total for Semester 12 credits
Second Year (Spring)

Take comprehensive final examination (Term 3)
Propose Dissertation (Term 4)

Total for Semester 2 credits (1 is the minimum number to be enrolled for dissertation)
Second Year (Summer) Conduct Dissertation Research Project (Term 5)
Total for Semester 6 credits
Third Year (Fall) Conduct Dissertation Research Project (Term 1 and Term 2)
Total for Semester 6 credits
Third Year (Spring)

Conduct Dissertation Research Project (Term 3)
Defend Dissertation (Term 4)
Graduate Spring Semester
4 credits

Grand Total 60 credits minimum

Full-time enrollment in a term equals 6 credit hours. Part-time enrollment in a term is 3 hours

The above schedule pre-supposes students will take and pass 6 credit hours in Terms 1-5 in the first year and Term 1 in second year until dissertation. 

Dissertation credit hours are variable per term as agreed upon by major advisor and student. 

The student must complete minimum of 18 dissertation credit hours, successfully defend the dissertation, and receive Graduate School formatting approval to graduate.

The student is responsible of adhering to the Graduate School deadlines for dissertation submission.

The student must be enrolled in a minimum of one credit hour per term during the dissertation process, including the time leading up to dissertation proposal stage.

Students are encouraged to attend the appropriate graduation ceremony on the Troy campus.

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