Sport studies examines sport in the contexts of historical and contemporary culture. It looks at sport’s cultural relationship with education, the economy, families, the media, and politics, and considers race, class, and gender differences in the sport experience.

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 interest 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 course work from the Tippie College of Business to strengthen their sport management interests.

Why Study at 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 thinking about a career in sports journalism, sports information, or sport management, you’ll have the option to choose course work that will help you prepare for jobs in those areas. Students in this major also have the option to prepare to earn coaching authorization in the state of Iowa.

Course Work

Required course work for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree 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.

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 American Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the sport studies major and graduating with honors.

Minor in Sport Studies

See American Studies in the UI General Catalog.

Admission Requirements

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

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 600 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.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The Sport Studies faculty at Iowa includes scholars and teachers of established national and international renown and a new generation of experts in the area of sport and the media. All majors have the opportunity to take courses with the top professors in the field and also are advised by them.

Iowa has excellent facilities for students interested in athletics, including a comprehensive Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) with two pools, a climbing wall, a diving well, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and a spa. Fitness programs include classes in cardio training, Zumba, yoga, and kettlebell.

The Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex features eight indoor and 12 outdoor tennis courts, an indoor turf field, and opportunities to rent camping and cross-country skiing equipment. Multiple fields for soccer, field hockey, and other sports surround the building. Iowa rec facilities also include a new boathouse (for the men's and women's rowing teams) and multiple fitness centers across campus.

If you also like to watch from the sidelines, Iowa has 22 men's and women's varsity athletic teams (known as the Hawkeyes) that provide year-round spectator action. We're a Division 1 NCAA school in the Big Ten Conference.

The Adler School of Journalism and Mass Communication is home to one of the finest student-run campus newspapers in the nation, The Daily Iowan, which includes a fine sports department. The SJMC also sponsors a campus radio station, KRUI, with sport programming as an important component.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and 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.


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

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and designate your "sport studies interest" on the application.


Sport Studies (BA)
Sport Studies
Areas of Specialization
Coaching Authorization
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan