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The University of Washington’s Master of Education in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership is a one-year program that prepares those for leadership positions within intercollegiate sports.

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The University of Washington College of Education's Master of Education in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership (IAL) is a unique degree program that prepares those who aspire to leadership positions within intercollegiate sports. 

In just one year, you'll graduate with the skills and experience to excel in sports administration. The hybrid structure of the IAL program allows you to gain hands-on experience in athletics and grow your professional network all while taking courses focused on leadership development, the impact of sport on society, and skills needed to work in athletic administrations.  This program addresses the challenges common to athletic administration at all levels while providing a better understanding of the role of athletics within the educational setting. Focusing on college athletics rather than the entire spectrum of sports advances your knowledge of how athletics is uniquely situated within intercollegiate settings and the significant impact it has on student-athletes.

The curriculum bridges theory with practice, drawing on the expertise of UW faculty in the College of Education, Information School, Evan’s School of Public Affairs, Foster School of Business as well as professionals from the UW athletic department and the Seattle sports industry.

Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership M.Ed. - Hybrid

The Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership Program is organized around three broad areas: (1) Leadership Development, (2) Impact of Sport on Society, and (3) Athletic Administration Skills Leadership Development. Cutting across these areas are six themes directly tied to issues and challenges facing intercollegiate athletics:

  • Role of Athletics within Higher Education

  • Enhancement of the Student-Athlete Experience

  • Creation and Maintenance of Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Management of Organizational Change

  • Development of Intercollegiate Athletics Leaders

  • Use of Inquiry and Information in Leadership Decision-making

Guided by our national advisory board, the curriculum is a balanced representation of issues pertaining to different sports, different types of colleges/universities, different regions of the country, and students and leaders from diverse backgrounds.

Hannah Olson
Program Administrator
(206) 685-4926


For detailed info visit our website

Sheridan Blanford (Admin Student, 2016 Cohort, Intern, University of Washington Tyee Club)

"IAL has allowed me to have one of the best summers of my life, thus far. I have not only grown as a student, but IAL has pushed me to grow as an individual, a friend, a professional and future leader. Each class has opened my eyes up to new ways thinking, interacting, presenting, and researching. In addition to all of the critical thinking that has taken place, IAL has opened up networking doors that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I have had the opportunity to meet professionals from all facets in sports ranging from athletic directors, professors, CEO’s and everyone in between. I have made connections that will last a lifetime, and I owe it all to the IAL program. I am very excited to continue my academic year with IAL as we will be exposed to more classes/connections that will heighten my understanding and preparedness to work in intercollegiate athletics as well as have the opportunity to attend the NCAA conference. This experience has been life changing and for this, I am thankful."

Heidi Lewis (Coaching Student, 2016 Cohort, Assistant Coach, Field Hockey, The Catholic University of America)

"The IAL: Coaching program has been a wonderfully enriching experience so far. The mix of in person and online learning is a great match for the often intense and unpredictable collegiate coaching calendar. The summer session was an immersive start to the program that mixed UW’s beautiful campus with an intense learning environment. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from different experiences within our cohort, varying academic perspectives, and from sports industry professionals. As the traditional academic year starts I am excited for the mentorship component of the program to begin. The formalized mentorships not only allow me to grow my professional network, they also provide a structure for intentional and continued learning from the people around me."

Mike Swartz (Admin Student, 2016 Cohort, Intern, University of Washington Sports Information)

"Being part of the IAL program is the best decision I have made in my career. The instructors are extraordinary and provide the students with a diverse range of experience, knowledge, and perspective, training us to think criticially at all times and keep the best interests of our student-athletes at the forefront. I am honoured to have been able to listen adn learn from a who's who of collegiate athletic leaders as I continue to build my professional network, and to be part of an amazing cohort of fellow students. Spending so much time in an intense environment with a group of passionate, committed individuals who are all embarking on careers in the industry is an amazing experience itself, and I know that each one of us will be better leaders in college athletics throughout our careers as a result of the IAL program."

Name Title Employer Class
Lisa Miller Associate Athletics Director / Compliance and Student Services / SWA Portland State University 2013
Katie Cavender Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Communications The Mountain West Conference 2008
Lauren Esbensen Associate Athletic Director / SWA Pacific University 2007
Scott Nelson Assistant Athletic Director, Development Oregon State University 2007