Class is in session—at the ballpark!—with new sports comm certificate

photo of cell phones superimposed over a crowd of sports fans

Ever dream your coursework could include studying the Green Bay Packers or the Chicago Cubs? What about learning to write for Sports Illustrated or to promote a sports franchise?

All this could be possible through the School of Journalism and Mass Communications’ brand-new Sports Communication Certificate. It combines high quality journalism and marketing communications instruction with career exploration in a 12-credit package. This Summer Term, students can take two of the required courses, then officially apply for the program in the fall.

“This certificate is like a centralized hub for journalism majors and nonmajors alike with interest in the sports world,” says Doug McLeod, journalism professor and creator of the certificate. “It will offer solid background knowledge along with professional opportunities.”


This summer, students will get an early start on the certificate by taking Introduction to Sports Communication, Journalism 150 (June 17-August 11), and Sports Marketing Communications, Journalism 350 (in session through June 16).

The fully online introductory course provides an overview of sports communication. Students will study sports writing and reporting, broadcasting, marketing communications, and public relations. They’ll also learn about sports and society, tackling tough race issues as they explore Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, the use of Native American team names, and inherent bias in sportscasting. The course also covers career development.

In Sports Marketing Communication, students will visit the Milwaukee Brewers and Madison Mallards ballparks and get hands-on experience through project-based learning. Hot dogs optional.

cell phones with photos of footballs players superimposed on a crowd of sports fans
Students study sports writing and reporting, broadcasting, marketing communications, and public relations.


The certificate requires the 3-credit introduction course, a 3-credit skills course, a 3-credit sports and society course, and 1 credit of an internship or careers class. An additional 2-3 elective credits tailor the program to the student’s interests—another skills course, another sports and society course, or an additional internship or directed study experience.

These courses, as well as others contributing to the certificate, will be offered in subsequent summers.

“With this sports certificate, you’ll definitely have experiential learning,” says McLeod. “And we have some amazing opportunities right here in town.”

headshot of Professor Doug McLeod
Professor McLeod says with this certificate, students will gain real world experience in sports journalism.

Students can get experience in sports communication through student media such as the Badger Herald, the Daily Cardinal or WSUM. They can also intern at the Big Ten Networks, Rotowire or UW Athletics.

“Students will be able to network and gain a lot of connections in the sports world,” he says. “Outside of team organizations, we have great connections to high-end sports marketers in Chicago, for example, who are interested in having interns from Madison and ultimately hiring people.”

McLeod adds, “People all over campus and beyond are excited about this program. We’ve even had a hockey mom up in Canada text her son to say ‘Hey, you should do this!’”

For more information on the Sports Communication Certificate, contact Doug McLeod, dmmcleod@wisc.edu.

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