School of Applied Sciences

The University of Mississippi

Online Graduate Certificate in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration

Charlie Ball-Burrell, UM assistant athletics director in the FedEx Student-Athlete Success Center, is joining the new graduate certificate in intercollegiate athletic administration program this summer. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Certificate Summary 

The Intercollegiate Athletic Administration (IAA) Graduate Certificate is a fully online program that includes four courses totaling 12 hours of graduate-level course work. Courses are offered in 8-week terms so that learners may complete the certificate in as little as 16 weeks or as long as two years. The IAA certificate program is designed for individuals that are seeking an advanced understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration. In this program, students will develop current knowledge of the NCAA as an organization and an awareness of potential career paths in the intercollegiate athletics industry. The program is tailored to enhance professional competencies in NCAA governance, internal operations, external operations, and leadership skills with emphases in collegiate athletics organizations. 

Certificate Objectives 

The primary objectives of the Graduate Certificate in Intercollegiate Athletics options are to: 

  • Develop current knowledge of the NCAA as an organization and awareness of potential career paths in the intercollegiate athletics industry 
  • Identify and explore the multifaceted roles intercollegiate athletics plays as part of the mission of higher education at a variety of institution types and the different levels of NCAA athletics 
  • Gain advanced knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to flourish in specialized areas within intercollegiate athletics departments. 

Certificate Courses 

SAS 600 – NCAA Governance 

Explore the formation and evolution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  Topics will include intercollegiate athletics role(s) in higher education, existing NCAA committees, a review of the current NCAA Governance structure and legislative process, contemporary issues facing the Association and its member institutions, differences between athletic divisions and varying campus athletics structures including reporting lines, role of the Faculty Athletics Representatives and Athletics Boards. 

SAS 601 – Internal Operations in Intercollegiate Athletics 

This course is designed to explore internal functions of sport organizations from an integrated viewpoint, including business operations, fiscal operations, leadership and management challenges, human resources and personnel management, policy development and governance, athletics academic advising and compliance. Examination of contemporary structures, functions and issues is designed to assist the sport leader with decisions related to athletic department internal operations. 

SAS 602 – External Operations in Intercollegiate Athletics 

This course is designed to explore multiple components within intercollegiate athletics that are considered external operations. The course will examine key concepts in marketing, productions, communications, facilities, event management and revenue development. Further, the course would examine how these components interact with each other, the broader athletics department and the academic institution. 

SAS 603 – Leadership in Intercollegiate Athletics  

Examine leadership styles and challenges in intercollegiate athletics. The course content is designed to help students explore personal and professional leadership theories, ethical dimensions in leadership, and to apply critical thinking skills in the intercollegiate athletics profession. 


Learners may begin course work in any of the following five academic start dates during per year: First Fall (August 23), Second Fall (October 20), First Spring (January 24), Second Spring (March 29) and Full Summer (June 1). Learners may progress such that they complete the certificate requirements in as little as 16 weeks or as long as two years.  

Applications Requirements 

The applicant must hold an earned baccalaureate or graduate degree from an accredited institution and intend to participate in courses leading to a graduate certificate.  

In evaluating applications, the Admissions Committee takes into consideration the applicant’s grades and rank in his or her undergraduate degree. Additionally, the committee will review optional supporting documents such as letters of recommendation, statement of interest, and professional and personal accomplishments. Application:  

The IAA Certificate Program requires official score reports for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) before admitting an applicant whose primary language is not English. The minimum score required is  > 80 on the iBT TOEFL, > 6.0 on the IELTS or > 110 for the Duolingo (DET). For further details on the English language requirement, please visit the OGE – Office of International Programs page ( 

Career Outlook

College athletics provide incredible opportunities for people trying to get a career in sports. There are over 1000 NCAA athletic programs across three divisions (I, II and III) and thousands more competing in the NAIA and junior college levels. Those interested in leadership positions within successful athletic departments will discover a great deal of potential, fulfillment, and room to grow. 

  • Over 90% of employers surveyed (January, 2021) recognize the benefit of an athletics-related graduate certificate 
  • The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $95,410 in May 2019 

Online Learner Experience 

All learners will be able to access the courses anytime and anyplace with a computer or phone with an Internet connection. Professors and learners will utilize Blackboard as the primary learning management system. Blackboard will allow professors to post course information such as their syllabi, PowerPoint and lecture materials, notes, assignments, tests, announcements, and discussion forums. The discussion forums will enable all learners and professors to post questions, answers, and comments 24/7 and from any location around the globe. 


A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for courses counted towards the certificate. Graduate School policy regarding repeating courses apply. No course may be repeated more than once, and no more than two courses may be repeated and applied toward the certificate. The time limit for completing the IAA certificate is two years. 

Certificate Outcomes 

Upon completion of the IAA certificate program, learners will be able to: 

  • Explain and discuss the NCAA governance structure and ways intercollegiate athletics departments are structured within the framework of higher education. 
  • Compare and contrast how different divisions within intercollegiate athletics departments interrelate with the NCAA, conference offices and each other to accomplish the shared mission of the athletics department and institution.  
  • Describe the role an intercollegiate athletics department plays within the mission of higher education and variances in that role at different levels of intercollegiate athletics. 
  • Critique common internal and external operations in intercollegiate athletic departments. 
  • Present elements of the decision-making process and ethics as it pertains to leadership. 
  • Express a personal leadership philosophy and how it relates to intercollegiate athletic administration. 

Estimated Cost of Certificate 

The current tuition cost for one graduate semester hour is $465 + $75 fee for online programs. Each 3-hr course is $1,620 ($1,395 in tuition + $225 online fee). The total estimated cost of the certificate program is $6,480, not including technology requirements, application and capital improvement fees. This estimate is based on the most recent Fall and Spring tuition and fee information and is subject to change. 


Email Andy King ( if you have questions or would like to schedule a meeting.