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UJ’s Olympic Centre driving sporting excellence with Global Master’s Degree

Sport can be seen as an instrument or catalyst for social change by fostering peaceful co-existence and inclusion. However, local, regional, national and international sport organisations are often not prepared for an additional role in society that aims at co-creating value for societal transformation.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ), in collaboration with the University of Tsukuba (Japan) and Utrecht University (the Netherlands), decided to set up a highly acclaimed Global Master’s Programme that prepares administrators, managers and leaders for changing global and national landscapes regarding ‘sport management and governance’. The professional preparation will enable graduates to be responsive to societal issues and implement current standards of good governance and organisational integrity.


The Department of Sport and Movement Studies within the Olympic Studies Centre at UJ, is currently hosting eleven South African, Japanese and Dutch students. The department is providing fieldwork trips and offers a variety of lectures on stakeholder engagement, disaster recovery and the global-national articulation of stakeholders such as UN agencies, the corporate sector and NGOs. Various international and national speakers from the Laureus Foundation, Nike South Africa, and the Sport for Social Change Network Southern Africa have provided key insights and learnings. The students also qualified as coaches in the Football4Peace methodology offered by a representative from Brighton University in the UK. The programme started on 25 February 2019.

The curriculum covers broad range of topics in the fields of sport management such as project management, resource development, entrepreneurship and value management. Topics from the sociology of sport include key discourses about sport for development, value-education, socio-political and economic aspects (including mega-event legacies), gender, race and contextual insights into poverty.

“With the URC funding awarded to the programme the students will undertake fieldwork and receive special workshops on the writing of academic articles to ensure authentic and meaningful research in collaboration with UJ academics,” says Cora Burnett, Research Professor and Director of the Olympic Studies Centre.

The unique feature of this programme is this in-depth academic education, to run parallel with continuous social skill labs and trainings, focusing on personal and group development for each student and the group as a whole provided by programme coordinators who accompany them throughout the programme.

“This will be a fruitful collaboration between the global North and global South academics and post-graduate students to produce quality accredited publications as a valued outcome”, says Sofie van den Hombergh, Manager of the Programme: Utrecht University.

The Global Master’s Programme aims at educating the future global sport leaders and global citizens, who can give way to the contribution of (international) sport organisations to societal transformation, from a critical and pragmatic approach.

Cora Burnett
Prof Cora Burnett
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