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  • Richard Southall, professor in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, stands with representatives from HBKU in an indoor modern sport arena in Qatar.

UofSC and Qatar’s HBKU offering joint master’s degree in sport and entertainment management

The University of South Carolina is expanding its global footprint and now offers a joint degree option of its prestigious Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management with Hamid Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Doha, Qatar. The international partnership expands access to South Carolina’s world-class sport and entertainment management degree program to students across the Middle East.

South Carolina's master's degree in sport and entertainment management is one of the best graduate degree programs in the world — ranked No. 7 in the 2020 SportBusiness Postgraduate Course Rankings. The new joint master’s degree is offered by HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering, and graduates will receive diplomas from both South Carolina and HBKU.  

“We are thrilled with the HBKU partnership as it allows us to bring our MSEM program to the MENA region. The collaboration between faculty, students and industry partners provides an exceptional learning environment for students at both institutions,” says Matt Brown, chair of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.

Faculty from the partnering institutions have been collaborating on curriculum design and course delivery so that students at HBKU gain the same knowledge and training as students studying at the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus. In addition to guiding the curriculum, South Carolina faculty are also assisting in the development of internship and industry partnerships that can provide valuable career pathways for graduates.

The timing of the new graduate degree partnership is ideal. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a faster than average growth rate for the field of sport and entertainment management through 2028, and the global sports market is expected to reach a value of more than $600 billion by 2022. Qatar’s sport industry is already valued at more than $20 billion, with rapid growth anticipated as the country prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

With that in mind, HBKU, a member of Qatar Foundation, set out to provide students with a strong path to career success in the growing industry. HBKU selected the University of South Carolina to build the joint degree based on the global reputation of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management and its faculty. The joint degree is already gaining international attention, with students enrolling from Qatar, Lebanon, Syria and other countries across Asia and Africa.

“This joint master’s is one of only a few in the region, giving students the opportunity to achieve their full potential to be leaders of our sport and entertainment industries,” says Dean Mounir Hamdi of the HBKU College of Science and Engineering. “Among the advantages of our international partnership is that students studying toward the degree at HBKU gain the very best educational experience to develop in-demand multidisciplinary skills in addition to having an opportunity to network with peers and industry professionals globally.”

With Qatar’s positioning as a major international sport destination and its ever-expanding sport event portfolio, from the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to the 2030 Asian Games, HBKU joined forces with South Carolina to build specialized capacity. This is in keeping with the university’s goal of addressing both the current and future demand for skills required to enhance the sustainable development of the sport industry in Qatar and the broader region.

The 36-credit hour master’s degree is taught over two years in English and is designed to train students for management roles in sport, entertainment, and venue industries. Students are offered classes taught by both University of South Carolina and HBKU faculty, and the coursework includes a specialized blend of business, finance, law, marketing and entrepreneurship courses.

As the World Cup approaches, students will have opportunities to gain real-world experience. The degree program's faculty are world leaders in mega-event management and will guide students through the complex aspects of international sporting event management.

As the partnership continues and travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are eased, leaders from both universities hope to expand opportunities for international collaboration on research, service projects, curriculum development and other international exchanges of knowledge. The partnership has the potential to strengthen industry best practices and economies on an international scale.


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