Master of Sport Directorship

Qualify professionally for one of the most respected and in-demand roles in sport.

MSD Sporting Director scholarships for women in sport and business


We are pleased to announce two new women’s scholarships worth a total of £9,000 for our Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD) course to help increase female representation at board level in sport.

Two scholarships – one worth £6,000 and the other £3,000 – are for the MSD course, which is the world’s only academically validated sporting directors masters-level course, and one of the most direct routes to a career as a sporting director.

A recent report commissioned by the Women in Sport charity revealed that sporting organisations are failing to meet the Code for Sports Governance criteria of at least 30% female representation on their boards. As a response we are offering professional women from a sports or business background the chance to apply for a scholarship for a place on the course this September.

Dr Sara Ward, MSD programme director and a leading academic expert on football governance said: “The Women in Sport report highlights the need for women to be better represented in professional sports bodies. There’s a complex mix of reasons for the gender imbalance, from outright discrimination to a lack of role models and suitably qualified women candidates. But by encouraging more women to upskill for the sports director role we will help more professional sportswomen make that successful transition from the pitch to the boardroom – and hopefully encourage others to do the same.”

These scholarships are open to any woman who meets the required MSD criteria. The first prize of £6,000 and second prize of £3,000 will be awarded as scholarships with the amounts being deducted from the course fees. Applicants should send a 250-word summary and outline of why they should be considered for the MSD scholarship along with a CV to donna.ward@mmu.ac.uk, telephone 0161 247 6078, by 14 July. Winners are to be announced in August.

MSD signs new students to meet growing demand for ‘sporting director’ role

Our Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD) enters its fourth year in September and we are currently inviting professional sports people considering a career in sports leadership to enrol on the course.

Big names among current and past cohorts of the course include Dietmar Hamann and Steve McClaren and the cricketers Vikram Solanki and Ashley Giles, who was appointed sport director of Warwickshire Cricket Club in December 2016. The MSD course has attracted professionals from grass roots sporting organisations, national governing bodies such as the SFA Scottish Football Association and the Rugby Football League, including sports people from less well known sports including archery.

As the world’s only academically validated course for sporting directors at masters-level, the MSD majors on sports governance and best practice, and covers innovation, change, and sports leadership alongside personal development and a selection of master classes and additional extra curricular activities designed to suit sports professionals and business people to cater for the growing demand of the relatively new role of sporting director.

MSD programme director Dr Sara Ward said: “The course is the world’s first fully accredited MSD qualification, and the students emerge from the two-year part-time course among the most qualified individuals in the industry in the governance and management of sporting organisations.

“We have students from law firms, football clubs, sports governing bodies and management companies with interests in a variety of sports. Although we have some very high profile applicants in every year, not everyone is a household name, or a former pro, and we want to ensure we see as many well qualified applicants from every aspect of sport for the next intake.”

With over half of the places on the Master of Sport Directorship September 2017 intake already taken, the university is now inviting further applications to be made as soon as possible from professional sports and business people.

To apply please visit us your details via the form or for more information on the course details visit www.mmu.ac.uk/master-of-sport-directorship/

RFL’s pioneering new Manchester Met course

RFL’s pioneering new Manchester Met course

The Rugby Football League (RFL) director of projects and people Jon Dutton and finance director Tony Sutton kicked off the organisation’s bespoke leadership development programme at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School at the start of 2018.

Running for ten months, ten delegates from the RFL leadership group are attending six half-day sessions at the university, interspersed with workplace projects. Teamwork, coaching and mentoring, change management and leadership will all feature on the RFL’s tailored syllabus.

The Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD) course has attracted a host of high profile professional sports people including St Helens RFC CEO Mike Rush and Mark Bitcon, director of performance at Wigan Warriors.

Stephanie Sturges, programme leader at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, said: “The RFL has made an innovative move to improve its sustainability and leadership structures and we got off to a great start with our inaugural session in January: the feedback from the delegates has been fantastic.

“Forward thinking sporting organisations are now acknowledging that they need to professionalise and actively support progression if they are to lead the way in promoting a successful organisation that leads by example across the whole sport.”

RFL finance director Tony Sutton said: “As Rugby League’s national governing body we want to invest in our people so that we have continued excellent leadership that will future proof us as an organisation and enable the RFL – and all levels of the sport – to operate as effectively as possible.

“This programme is an important step for us. We approached Manchester Metropolitan because they have proved with their superb MSD course and the high calibre of students it attracts that they are the leaders in this field, which merges the best in corporate governance with state of the art leadership in sporting organisations.”

New scholarships to drive women into top sports jobs

Becky Easton Lecture

A ground-breaking scholarship programme aimed at boosting the number of women in top UK sports jobs has been extended to a second year.

Manchester Metropolitan University Business School is to continue its £9,000 Women in Sports Leadership scholarship, which will this year see two scholarships offered to women from a sports or sport-related business background applying for a place on the university’s acclaimed Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) course. The MSD course has attracted some high profile names including Manchester City Women and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, and veteran Liverpool midfielder Becky Easton.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s Dr Sara Ward, programme director for the MSD course, said: “There is a palpable momentum for change now, and the new rules upping female representation on the boards of national sports bodies will be pivotal in ensuring that we go beyond the 30% threshold of female board members that IS required. As we see more women in sports leadership roles, the aim is that diversity will become integral to sports organisations, rather than an afterthought.”

The scholarships provide much reduced fees for two female MSD students and were launched in 2017 in response to a survey by the Women in Sport organisation. Under UK Sport and Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance, which came into effect in April last year, national sports bodies must now ensure that their boards are made up of at least 30% women in order to receive public funding. The Women in Sport organisation, which campaigns for gender equality in sport, has called for a further push to promote equal representation of women on national sports bodies.

Dr Ward added: “The Women in Sports Leadership scholarship was a success last year. We welcomed seven new female students on to the MSD course and we have already seen a rise in the number of applications from women for the new course which kicks off in September. By encouraging women to upskill for the sports director role we will help more professional sportswomen equip themselves for those vital leadership roles, and encourage others to do the same.”