15 Majors Involving Sports (With Job Details)

Updated March 10, 2023

A person helps someone with a proper squat form to lift an overhead weight bar. They are in a gym setting with weights and exercise equipment.

There are many sports-related jobs that don't require you to be an athlete to pursue. Some sports-related disciplines in college can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to pursue a career in sports.

In this article, we discuss 15 majors that involve sports, what you learn when taking classes in these fields and what careers you can pursue after graduating.

What are sports majors and what courses do they include?

Sports majors are degree programs that provide students with in-depth knowledge of areas like sports management, sports marketing, sports science and sports medicine. These major programs qualify graduates to pursue jobs with sports organizations or teams, sports-related healthcare facilities, media groups or educational institutions. Here are some examples of potential courses students take in sports degree programs:

  • Anatomy and physiology

  • First aid and CPR

  • Kinesthesis

  • Psychophysiology

  • Muscle mechanics

  • Health and nutrition

  • Dietetics

  • Rehabilitation and treatment

  • Sports marketing and promotions

  • Sports journalism and media

  • Sports event management

  • Sports facility management

  • Accounting and finance for sports facilities

Related: 29 Careers in Sports (With Duties and Salaries)

15 majors involving sports

There are a variety of majors involving sports that students can pursue at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree levels. Here are 15 examples of sports-related majors and the types of jobs you can pursue with each:

1. Exercise science

The main focus of an exercise science major is the process of human movement, also called kinesiology. In this major program, students learn about the fundamentals of kinesiology and anatomy and physiology. Students also learn about biological processes, sports nutrition, rehabilitation and how to apply their exercise science knowledge through the creation of workout and nutrition plans for individuals of different ages with varying health needs.

These are some examples of jobs you can pursue with an exercise science degree:

  • Athletic trainer

  • Personal trainer

  • Fitness coach

  • Fitness instructor

  • Physical education teacher

  • Athlete scout

  • Sports director

2. Exercise physiology

Exercise physiology major programs help students learn about how the human body reacts to different physical activities or levels of intensity. You can obtain an exercise physiology degree at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Courses typically include foundations of exercise physiology, anatomy and physiology, Kinesiology, health and wellness, exercise physiology lab and sports performance.

Here are some examples of jobs you can get with an exercise physiology degree:

  • Exercise physiologist

  • Physical therapy assistant

  • Strength and conditioning coach

  • Personal training

  • Rehabilitation specialist

3. Athletic training

An athletic training program helps you develop the knowledge and skills you need to provide first aid and rehabilitation to athletes. Colleges and universities can offer athletic training degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. In an athletic training program, you may complete courses like anatomy and physiology, first aid and CPR, exercise science, kinesiology, sports medicine, nutrition, rehabilitation and field experience courses where you help professional athletic trainers at school sporting events.

The athletic training major also prepares you to pass the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification exam. Any student who passes the exam can find working positions as an athletic trainer after college or university.

Here are some examples of athletic training jobs you can pursue:

  • Middle school athletic trainer

  • High school athletic trainer

  • College athletic trainer

  • Recreational athletic trainer

  • Sports team athletic trainer

  • Sports league athletic trainer

Read more: How to Become an Athletic Trainer (with FAQs)

4. Physical therapy

Colleges and universities typically offer physical therapy degrees at the master's and doctorate degree levels, with doctorate degree holders qualifying for physical therapist positions and those at the master's degree level qualifying for supportive physical therapy roles.

To prepare you for a master's or doctorate in physical therapy, you first need to complete a bachelor's degree in an area like exercise science, sports science, athletic training or another relevant area. Courses typically include anatomy and physiology labs, kinesiology, exercise science and physiology, sports medicine, physics and clinical experience working with experienced physical therapists and their patients.

These are some examples of the jobs you can obtain with a physical therapy degree:

  • Physical therapist (with doctorate)

  • Sports physical therapist (with doctorate)

  • College or university sports physical therapist (with doctorate)

  • Physical therapy assistant

  • Athletic trainer

Read more: Physical Therapist: Job Description and Requirements

5. Sports communication

Sports communication major programs provide students with in-depth knowledge about sports broadcast and print journalism, radio hosting or on-air announcing. This major also includes courses about public relations for sports teams or leagues and additional sports communication topics like photography and fan engagement. Majoring in sports communication at the bachelor's or master's degree levels can help you learn how to produce a variety of content for sporting events.

These are some examples of sports-related jobs you can achieve with this degree:

  • Public relations specialist for sports teams or athletes

  • Sports league broadcasting announcer

  • Sports TV host

  • Sports radio show host

  • Sports writer

  • Sporting event photographer

  • Sports marketing specialist

6. Sports management

Offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels, sports management major programs give students in-depth insights into sports management and best practices. Courses may include introduction to sports management, sports accounting and finance, sports media, sports marketing and advertising, sports facility management, sports history and business communications.

Here are some examples of jobs you can pursue with a sports management degree:

  • Sports team manager

  • Athletic director

  • Sports agent

  • Sports recruiter

  • Sports complex manager

  • Sports facilities manager

7. Sports and fitness administration

Sports and fitness administration degree programs, typically offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, provide students with a broad scope of knowledge in key areas relating to sports administration. Courses include sports ethics, sports event planning, sports economics, sports communication, facility management and sports marketing practices.

Review these examples of jobs you can pursue with a sport and fitness administration degree:

  • Sports game scheduler

  • Sporting event planner

  • Sports facility manager

  • Athletic director

  • Sports facility marketing specialist

Read more: What Is Sports Management? Plus 10 Jobs in This Industry

8. Sports studies

Offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels, sports studies programs give students a broad education in how sports relate to elements of culture, economics and other factors. Because of this, courses vary from sociology, sports history, sports psychology, sport theory, sport culture or sports in the modern world.

Here are examples of jobs you may pursue with a sports studies degree:

  • Sports data researcher

  • Sports statistician

  • Sports professor

  • Sports communication specialist

  • Sports marketing specialist

  • Sports public relations coordinator

9. Physical education

Students who pursue physical education degrees learn about a variety of subjects like teaching different age groups about physical fitness and learning how to coach others to succeed in their exercise goals. Courses may include motor learning, anatomy and physiology, coaching tactics, exercise physiology and kinesiology.

These are some jobs you can achieve with a physical education degree:

  • Elementary school PE teacher

  • Middle school PE teacher

  • High school PE teacher

  • School sports team coach

  • Recreational sports team coach

10. Health sciences

A health science major provides students with foundational knowledge they need to work in entry-level health roles or pursue additional education to become physical therapists. Colleges and universities can offer the health science major at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Courses usually include nutrition and dietetics, anatomy and physiology, human health and wellness, psychology, care and prevention and rehabilitation practices.

Here are a few sports-related job examples you can pursue after completing a health science degree:

  • Physical therapist (upon completion of a physical therapy doctorate)

  • Fitness instructor

  • Personal trainer

  • Sports nutritionist

  • Parks and recreation manager

11. Professional golf management

Some colleges and universities offer a professional golf management degree in collaboration with the sports organization PGA of America. Courses for this major typically include an introduction to professional golf management, an introduction to golf course operations, teaching golf turf grass management, principles of horticultural, business management courses and instructional courses that allow students to enhance their golf-playing skills.

These are some examples of the jobs you can pursue with this degree:

  • Golf course facilities manager

  • Golf instructor

  • High school golf coach

  • College golf coach

  • Professional golfer

12. Parks and recreation

Parks and recreation major programs allow students to learn about how to create and oversee programs for city governments and community organizations. This includes creating recreational sports leagues for youths, adolescents and adults. It also includes information about park maintenance and upkeep. Typical courses for this major may include recreation management, park management, interpersonal communications, motor learning and fitness, activity coordination, conflict resolution and maintenance practices.

These are some sports-related jobs you can apply for with a parks and recreation degree:

  • Public sports facility coordinator

  • Recreational sports team coach

  • Director of recreational sports and activities

  • Recreational sporting events planner

13. Leisure facilities management

A leisure facilities management degree prepares students to oversee activities in leisure facilities like recreational fitness centers, parks, pools, golf courses and community centers. Courses may include the fundamentals of leisure facilities management, customer service, business management, budgeting, leisure facility event planning or facility maintenance and upkeep.

Here are some examples of sports-related jobs you can pursue with a degree in leisure facilities management:

  • Fitness center manager

  • Recreational sports manager

  • Recreational sports coach

  • Outdoor activities coordinator

  • Personal trainer

Related: What Is a Sport and Leisure Management Degree? (Plus 8 Jobs)

14. Occupational therapy

Offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels, occupational therapy degrees help students achieve supportive and entry-level roles (master's degree level) and licensed occupational therapist roles (doctorate degree level). Throughout their education students take courses in a variety of subjects including anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, kinesiology, motor skills, motor planning, occupational therapy therapeutics, treatment planning and clinical experience with a qualified occupational therapist.

Here are some examples of sports-related jobs you can get with an occupational therapy degree:

  • Sports rehab occupational therapist

  • Sports rehab occupational therapist assistant

  • Sports team occupational therapist

15. Sports medicine

A sports medicine major program allows students to combine their passion for sports with science and medicine. Typically offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels, sports medicine degrees help students study a broad range of subjects relating to sports injuries, preventative measures and rehabilitation practices. Courses may include introduction to sports medicine, anatomy and physiology, exercise science and physiology, psychology of injury, preventative strength and conditioning and rehabilitation planning.

Those with sports medicine degrees can pursue a variety of jobs, including:

  • Sports complex strength and conditioning specialist

  • Sports team athletic trainer

  • Exercise physiologist

  • Sports team coach

  • Sports physical therapist

  • Sports medicine physician

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