Intersection of Sport and Education

The Cultural Studies of Sport in Education (CSSE) is designed for students interested in examining the intersection of athletics and academics within the U.S. educational system.

Focus of Study

We investigate the ways in which institutionalized sport both conflicts with and complements the educational missions of American K-12 and post-secondary schools. The course of study includes:

  • the philosophy of education;
  • physical education and modern sport in the United States;
  • pedagogical practices of teachers and coaches;
  • issues related to urban education;
  • the sociology of sport; and
  • the academic and athletic identification of student athletes in relation to the social categories of (dis)ability, race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality.

Students also engage in projects that evaluate the policies of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), legal rulings such as Alston and Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), and in research related to the motivation and achievement of student athletes at the secondary and intercollegiate levels of competition.

Program Structure

Twenty-four units are required to complete the Master of Arts degree with the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education concentration.

Students enroll in program-specific core courses, BSE-wide core courses, and conduct an original research project. The remaining coursework will be based upon a student's specific interests, career ambitions and research agenda.

Other requirements include:

  • completion of a Master's capstone project. This provides students with opportunities to hone their academic writing skills, to create a lasting body of work that they can point to after completing the program, and to investigate a particular series of research questions that they find most interesting.

Entrance Requirements

There is no typical CSSE student. Prior teaching experience is not required. Previous students have included:

college, professional and/or Olympic athletes

coaches and trainers at the youth, secondary or intercollegiate level;

directors and grant writers for community-based sports programs;

public school teachers and administrators;

academic advisors, learning specialists and tutors; and

athletic administrators, policy makers and researchers.

Type of Program (M.A.)

Graduates of this program earn a Master of Arts degree in education with an emphasis in the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education.


CSSE graduates have typically gone on to careers in teaching and coaching, academic support services for student athletes, and athletic administration, including as athletic directors. Our unique course of study has also catapulted students who wish to pursue more advanced degrees into a wide range of areas, including education, business, law, and medical schools, as well as public policy programs. An increasing number of our graduates pursue doctoral degrees in the fields of American studies, anthropology, psychology, or sociology.


Derek Van Rheenen
Adjunct Professor, Director, Cultural Studies of Sport in Education

2121 Berkeley Way, Room 4230

(510) 642-0605