New 4+1 program unveiled for Sports Administration


Sports management students can now complete their graduate degree earlier. Freshly approved this February, the Sports Administration and Leadership track now offers the option of a 4+1 degree program. This is an accelerated degree program that allows students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. 

“We have had a sports management degree in undergrad for probably ten years that’s pretty popular, and we’ve had a sports administration and leadership master’s program,” said professor Shelly Gardner, director of the Sports Administration and Leadership program (SAL). Gardner said the SAL program is geared toward graduate assistant coaches. 

The 4+1 program was approved so that sports management undergraduate students can start their graduate degree during their senior year of college. Gardner said the program is great for students who will be here for five years anyway, such as athletes.

According to Gardner, over half of the students enrolled in the undergraduate program are athletes.

The master’s program for graduate assistants has existed on campus since 2010, but the 4+1 program has been in the works for around two years. 

“We have so many students that go to grad school from Augie, [and] that might be our niche in grad school—having a program that students can start their senior year and continue on and get a graduate degree in just one year,” Gardner said. 

The Business Administration program already has a 4+1 program for Master’s in Professional Accountancy. 

The program had to get approval from the head of finance, the Curriculum Council, the personnel council and the dean of students. 

Gardner said, “It really was the right thing to do for students, and it wasn’t that much of a change, so it was a natural next step.” 

Junior Nolan Aasen is currently in the 4+1 program. Aasen said that Gardner and the registrar, Joni Krueger, worked to create the program with him specifically in mind. 

“It was put into her mind that we should really try to have a 4+1 for Nolan by the time he got to be a senior,” Gardner said. “He was really our goal, our target. It wasn’t developed around him, but he was an internal goal for Joni and I.”

Aasen didn’t know the master’s program was being added until the he received an email about it. 

“I was talking to my parents about beginning to look at grad schools, and then a couple days later the email came out, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome,’ Aasen said. “I had no idea they were planning on adding it, so it worked out pretty well.”

Aasen is excited that he can stay at Augie, because he loves the professors and opportunities here. “If you ever think of something being the Augie advantage, that’s it right there, where one student they’re trying to get something specifically done for, so that was really awesome,” Aasen said.

Junior Nate Velander plans to apply for the 4+1 program this spring. He was drawn to the program because of its convenience. He said he liked that he could get it done in five years and that the faculty is willing to work with students, no matter where they are in their academic careers.

 “I like the staff here, so I’d like the opportunity to pursue a master’s with faculty I’m familiar with,” Velander said. 

The one- and two-year programs are still options for those who interested in a quicker graduate degree or a longer, less-intensive program. However, the 4+1 program is available to students who are currently completing their undergraduate requirements. 


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