Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Administration is a full-time on-campus program that can be completed in four to five (4-5) years. Coursework focuses on research design, methodology, statistics and sport management theory. Students also complete a set of independent studies each year within the program, including successful completion of comprehensive exams and a dissertation. Students have the opportunity to present their research at national and international conferences and publish in top journals.
Features of the Program
Internationally recognized faculty with a wide range of interests.
Our graduate faculty members are thought leaders in the areas of (1) Sport Marketing and (2) Social Work and Mental Health in Sport. In the past decade, they have collectively published more than 60 articles, books and book chapters, and presented research on three continents. Our faculty includes a NASSM Research Fellow, NAK Fellow, and AKA, SMA Stotlar, and Sutton Award winners. The small number of students allows ample opportunities for faculty interaction and individualized mentoring.
Prime research location.
Atlanta has played host to some of the biggest sporting events in the U.S., including the CFP National Championship (2018) and Super Bowl (2019), and is set to host the FIFA World Cup (2026), all taking place in one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums in the world. Students in our research-focused program will benefit from our existing partnerships with Advisory Board members and others.
Historic program at a thriving downtown university with a diverse student body.
Recognized for its diversity, innovative programming and growing footprint in downtown Atlanta — including a reimagined and retrofitted Olympic Stadium — Georgia State is experiencing a transformation. With roots dating back more than 30 years, Sport Administration is a respected program throughout the university.
Focus on training to be a scholar and an educator.
Students in the program will receive training and mentorship in both teaching and research. Students will take rigorous research methodology courses and have the opportunity to not only work with our esteemed faculty as graduate research assistants (GRAs) but also work to establish their own line of research where they learn to lead projects from study conception to publication. Students also receive mentorship in pedagogy through one-on-one work with faculty within a professional learning community. Students will have the opportunity to be instructor-of-record for undergraduate courses in sport administration and work with faculty to design their own course content, assignments and assessments.
Beth Cianfrone, Ph.D.
Dr. Beth A. Cianfrone is a professor of sport administration. Her research interests are sport marketing communication and consumer behavior. She focuses on how organizations leverage their brands through forms of marketing communications, such as corporate sponsorships, advertising, social media and e-commerce, and the consumer response to the messages.
Cianfrone is a member of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), Sport Marketing Association (SMA), and the Atlanta Chapter of Women in Sports and Events. She served on numerous editorial boards, including the Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Applied Sport Management, Journal of Global Sport Management and Sport & Entertainment Review.
She has been recognized for her scholarship and teaching and is a NASSM Research Fellow (2015), recipient of SMA’s Stotlar Award (2019) and Sutton Award (2022), National Academy of Kinesiology Fellow inductee (2022) and College of Education & Human Development’s Outstanding Faculty Researcher Award (2023).
Lauren Beasley, Ph.D., M.S., L.M.S.W.
Dr. Lauren Beasley is as an assistant professor of sport administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in American studies and Latin at the University of Texas at Austin, her master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s in sport psychology and motor behavior from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She completed her Ph.D. in sport management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) with experience in case management, individual, family and group therapy.
Beasley’s research lies at the intersection of social work in sport, with a recent focus on the social work profession in sport, mental health programming in sport organizations and the physical and mental health literacy of athletes and other sport stakeholders. She has expertise in qualitative research, holding a graduate certificate in qualitative research methodology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
She is a current member of the North American Society for Sport Management, the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports and the National Association of Social Workers. Beasley is one of the only licensed behavioral health professionals with an appointment in a sport administration program and brings a needed interdisciplinary lens to the study of mental health in sport.
The Sport Administration concentration began in 2016.
“The training received during my Ph.D. studies at Georgia State has proven invaluable throughout my career, maximizing my impact in academia and the sports industry. I was equipped with the skills necessary to conduct rigorous research presented at national and international conferences, published in peer-reviewed journals and delivered to industry partners in the fulfillment of grants and consultancy projects. Additionally, I received indispensable guidance and feedback as I gained hands-on experience teaching various undergraduate courses. Most importantly, the dedication of the faculty toward the Ph.D. students in their personal and professional development throughout the program made my experience at Georgia State one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
—Armin Marquez, Ph.D. ‘20, Lecturer & Internship Coordinator, Indiana University Bloomington
“After leaving the Sport Administration Ph.D. program at Georgia State, I felt prepared for a career in academia. The faculty at Georgia State were wonderful to work with and provided guidance as I navigated the path from a career in the sport industry to academia. I appreciated the personal investment from the faculty and staff and am thankful for the opportunities I was afforded from my experience at Georgia State.”
—Kelly Elliott, Ph.D. ‘19, Assistant Professor, Coastal Carolina University
If you have a passion for sport management research and a desire to pursue a career in academia, the Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Administration program may be right for you.
If you meet the following requirements, consider applying*:
Graduate GPA ≥ 3.30
GRE scores: Verbal ≥ 155 and Quantitative ≥ 151; TOEFL for international applicants
Strong desire to contribute to solving problems facing the sport industry in the areas of sport marketing, consumer behavior, public policy, sustainability or communication
Strong background in sport management or related field at the master’s level
*Meet with a potential research faculty advisor prior to applying.
Graduate Assistantships in Teaching or Research
Tuition waivers and competitive stipends are available to students who teach in the department’s thriving undergraduate program. Additionally, graduate research assistantships (which include waivers and stipends) are open to students with research interests in the following:
Mental Health in Sport — Students whose interests include social work in sport, mental health policy in sport organizations or mental health literacy of sport stakeholders will study with sport administration faculty, including a licensed behavioral health professional, from an interdisciplinary lens.