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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Degree Programs

Sport and Entertainment Management, M.S.E.M.

The Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management (MSEM) is a 36-credit hour degree program that is designed to train students for management and leadership roles in the sport, entertainment and venue industries.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Students electing the thesis option must complete 27 credit hours of required courses, at least nine credit hours of electives and pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of the course work and thesis.

Students electing the non-thesis option must complete 21 credit hours of required courses, at least 15 credit hours of elective course work (with a maximum of nine credit hours outside of the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management), and pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of all course work. Students selecting the non-thesis option may (but are not required to) enroll in HRSM 795 Field Project in Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management for six elective credit hours.

What Makes Us Unique

  • Our graduate curriculum has the most comprehensive emphasis on venue management (arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters, etc.).
  • Geared toward the development of potential and current managers, we expand your management and leadership skills.
  • You will experience both personal and professional growth, while being supported by outstanding faculty with years of practical experience in the sport, entertainment and venue industries — marketers, venue managers, promoters, lawyers, and agents.
  • The atmosphere cultivates long-term networking opportunities that lead to expanded career opportunities, while gaining study and work experience in outstanding local venues such as the Colonial Life Arena, Carolina Stadium, Williams-Brice Stadium and the Township Auditorium. You will also gain access to local sport and entertainment organizations including South Carolina Athletics, the Columbia Blowfish, IMG College, AEG, and Live Nation.
  • Our curriculum is suitable for both those who have and those who do not have an academic background in business.

All applicants for the master's program must apply through The Graduate School. For more detailed information about the specific degree requirements, please visit the academic bulletin.

Admission Requirements

Graduate students are admitted through a cooperative effort between The Graduate School of the University of South Carolina and the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management. The Graduate School uses an online application process and there is a $50 fee to apply. Prior to beginning the online application process, it is helpful to have gathered the required supporting documents and the contact information for those who will be writing letters of recommendation in support of your application. The following supporting material is required with the application:

  •  A current resume.
  • Statement of Career Objectives. This is a one to two page statement that specifically addresses how the department's Master's curriculum will help the applicant achieve these objectives.
  • At least two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a current or former professor that can comment on the applicant "s ability to succeed in graduate studies. The Graduate School requires all letters of recommendation to be submitted through the online portal. Upon submission of your application, the online system will contact your recommenders by email, with instructions for submitting their recommendation.
  • One official transcript from each college or university attended (undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate). Successful applicants generally have a GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Such a GPA, however, does not guarantee admission. Official transcripts are sent directly from your institution to The Graduate School, or submitted in an envelope sealed by your institution. Opened copies of your transcript are not official. It is important that you submit your online application BEFORE you request your transcripts to be sent to The Graduate School.
  • While all applicants are required to submit official transcripts, we encourage applicants to upload unofficial transcripts to the online application. These unofficial transcripts significantly assist the department in evaluating your application, and may allow for a quicker admission decision.
  • International applicants must provide official documents, but DO NOT submit your original copies. Instead, send certified copies and/or bring your originals to the Graduate School upon arrival. Please submit official transcripts to:
    The Graduate School
    University of South Carolina
    901 Sumter Street, Suite 304
    Columbia, SC 29208
  • Official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Successful applicants generally score at least 300 (verbal and quantitative combined) on the GRE Revised General Test or an equivalent score (verbal and quantitative combined) on the GMAT. For those who took the GRE General Test prior to August 1, 2011, successful applicants generally score at least 1000 (verbal and quantitative combined). These scores, however, do not guarantee admission. GMAT/GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted under any circumstances. While all students are required to provide official test score reports, we encourage applicants to upload unofficial test score reports to the online application. These unofficial test score reports significantly assist the departments in evaluating your application, and may allow for a quicker admissions decision. Please note that it may take several weeks for your test scores to be processed and sent to the University. Therefore, it is important to take the test early in the application process. Please make sure that you use the correct Institutional Code for the University of South Carolina - Columbia when indicating where you would like your scores delivered. The institutional codes for the following tests are GRE – 5818 and GMAT – JV2.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. International applicants who have received a degree from a college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS. Test scores are valid for two years only. The Institutional Code for the TOEFL is 5818. Applications will not be considered until all components of the application have been received by The Graduate School.

Work Experience

The Master of Sport and Entertainment Management (MSEM) program prefers applicants have at least one year or more of full-time work experience before applying. However, applicants who do not have this experience may still apply and be admitted to the program.

Financial Aid

The Sport and Entertainment Management Department offers a limited number of graduate assistantships to MSEM students. There is an item on the online application form on which applicants can indicate their desire to be considered for an assistantship. Indicating yes on this item is all that needs to be done in order to apply for an assistantship. Students awarded a graduate assistantship will assist with research, teaching, and/or other departmental tasks for 10 – 20 hours per week in exchange for a stipend; in addition to the stipend, out-of-state students awarded a graduate assistantship will receive in-state student tuition rates. Other financial aid may be available outside the department. Applicants should contact The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Application Deadlines and Entry Terms

MSEM students begin their programs of study in the Fall semester. July 1 is the latest date that online applications may be submitted for admission to the program. To be eligible for departmental graduate assistantships, the application must be submitted by April 1. Admission to the program is competitive and limited to 30 new students per year. Application deadlines are firm and all materials must be submitted by these deadlines. Applications from international students must be submitted 30 days prior to these deadlines.

For students without undergraduate degrees in sport management, entertainment management, business administration or a related discipline, prerequisite courses in the areas of sport and entertainment finance, sport and entertainment marketing, and sport and entertainment accounting must be taken. These courses are offered during the Summer II term at the University of South Carolina and must be successfully completed prior to a student beginning the program in the Fall. Dates for the Summer II term are listed on the Official Five-Year Academic Calendar.

Deadlines for financial aid other than departmental graduate assistantships may differ from those listed above. For these deadlines, please consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Any questions about the application process should be addressed directly to:

DeAnna A. Risher
Graduate Program Liaison
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
803-777-2053
risherda@mailbox.sc.edu