Sport studies examines the meaning, history, and culture of sport. Course work provides students with the critical skills necessary to understand sport’s relationship to media, economics, politics, and education. A focus on race, class, and gender in sport is central to the major.

The sport studies major provides an excellent basis for pursuing careers in sports journalism, sports broadcasting, sports management, sports information, and coaching.

Our courses lay a solid foundation for students who want to pursue a graduate degree or combine their sport studies with an emphasis on journalism, American studies, business, history, women's studies, African American studies, or sociology.  Many sport studies students with an interest in sport and the media choose a double major with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC). Others choose to add coursework from the Tippie College of Business to strengthen their sport management interests.

Why Iowa?

Iowa’s sport studies program is administered by the Department of American Studies and uses a multidisciplinary approach to study sport and its cultural aspects in a variety of contexts.

The program fosters a spirit of inquiry and calls on students to broaden their perspectives. It emphasizes skills in cultural analysis and critical thinking and offers a focus on the experiences of marginalized groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, older adults, and women in athletics.

If you’re interested in a career in sports journalism, sports information, or sports management, you can tailor your coursework to help you prepare for jobs in those areas. Students in this major also may prepare to earn coaching authorization in the state of Iowa.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Sport Studies
Sport Studies
Areas of Specialization
Coaching Authorization
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our  Pomerantz Career Center  offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Many sport studies students use their experience to prepare for graduate school. For others, the required second area of concentration or minor serves as an introduction to careers in a number of fields, such as sports journalism or sports information, sport management, and coaching.

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple study abroad programs and undergraduate research opportunities.

The UI Division of Recreational Services offers multiple opportunities to participate in intramural and club sports on campus.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the  Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


Required course work for the BA program in sport studies includes:

  • Inequality in American Sport
  • Understanding American Cultures
  • A course on diversity in sport
  • A course on international dimensions of sport
  • A course on contemporary sport in America
  • A course on the history of sport and leisure in America
  • Four or more elective courses chosen from a list of approved courses in sport studies and related disciplines (e.g., journalism, American studies, economics, health and human physiology, history, sociology)

You’ll also complete five or more courses in a discipline outside sport studies, such as journalism and mass communication, American studies, business, or gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. You’ll choose your outside area in consultation with your adviser. If your adviser approves, you may choose to earn a minor in another discipline rather than completing an outside specialization area.

Students also must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

Coaching Authorization

If you’re interested in coaching, you’ll be able to complete additional course work that will qualify you for coaching endorsement from the state of Iowa. Instead of completing an outside specialization area, you’ll complete the following courses:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Basic Athletic Training
  • Human Growth and Motor Development
  • Theory and Ethics of Coaching

Once you complete the coaching authorization requirements, you’ll need to apply to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners

See Sport Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the sport studies major or minor and graduating with honors.