Sport Coaching

Study options



Key facts

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
2 Years
Start date:
23 September 2024

Delivered entirely online

Flexible, part-time study means you can fit it round your busy lifestyle

Innovative approach to applied learning

You’ll work with real athletes to put your knowledge into action

Strong research expertise

Learn from staff who are producing world-class research

Whether you’re coaching Olympic athletes, grassroots teams or talented young players, we’ll help you take your career to the next level. Our MSc in Sport Coaching brings together our wide range of teaching expertise, innovative and internationally important research and professional connections.

The flexible part-time course is suitable for active and aspiring coaches, as well as PE teachers and further education tutors, who are affiliated with any sport around the world. You put the theory into practice in your own day-to-day job.

And as it’s delivered entirely online, you can fit studying round your work commitments and at a time that suits you. We use podcasts, blogs, class discussion boards, presentations, drop-ins and other interactive sessions so you can share your experiences and ideas.

While on the course, you have opportunities to collaborate and engage with key coaching networks, such as UK Coaching, and academics from across the world. There will also be guest lectures and a brokering service to link you with sport organisations for research projects. On the podcasts, you’ll hear from elite-level sports professionals, such as people from the Premier League.

The interdisciplinary approach means you’ll share some of the modules with students on our Masters degrees in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Applied Sport and Exercise Science. This gives you access to a diverse set of specialist staff, including those dedicated to coaching strategy and practice.

Topics will include how to improve performance under pressure and the psychology of leadership and group dynamics. You’ll also analyse data sets on athletic performance and coach decision-making. We’ll dive into different cultural aspects of coaching too, where you can use your own reflections to frame the effectiveness of your coaching philosophies and practices.

A significant part of the course will be devoted to research methods. We get students to produce their own thesis in the style of an academic journal. Many of them go on to see their work published in actual journals.

You can choose your research question and tailor it to your own interests and work. Alternatively, you can align the topic with the research expertise of staff or take advantage of the brokering service we facilitate with coaches and national governing bodies of sport to research important topics that can help them in their pursuit to optimise performance.

Our academics are producing some world-renowned research, including on the psychology of leadership in sport. Researchers also cover issues as diverse as concussion and how it affects sport coaching, along with other contemporary topics such as improving the athlete to coach transition and how to better support women in coaching and sport.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MSc Sport Coaching

Course content

Students enrolled on the MSc Sport Coaching award will benefit from working with experienced, research active and applied practitioners across multiple disciplines. The curriculum is research informed, giving you the opportunity to become aware of the latest work being undertaken in the field of sport coaching and sport psychology. This includes detailed insight into effective coaching strategies such as group dynamics and leadership strategies to encourage greater athlete and coach performances under pressure, as well as an awareness of your own coaching identities. To help develop your knowledge and skills, you will study on some modules with sport psychology students as well as other modules which will just have sport coaching students on. This furthers your experiences, offering more opportunities to interact and learn from others interested in supporting athletes and participants.

To bring learning to life, you will be encouraged to apply theory to real-life coaching situations. As part of our dynamic community of learners, you will benefit from a variety of online approaches to study that will support the exchange of knowledge. These will include reading, listening, producing and viewing online content and interacting with fellow students and lecturers within a dynamic community of practitioners.

MSc Sports Coaching - James Brown

MSc Sports Coaching - James Brown


Graduate James discusses his time on the distance learning MSc Sports Coaching degree.

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The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Effective Coaching 2: Reflective Practice 20 credits
Group Dynamics And Leadership In Sport And Exercise 20 credits
Masters Research Project: Science/Coaching Journal Article Part 2 40 credits
Masters Research Project: Science/Coaching Proposal And Ethics (Part 1) 20 credits

Entry requirements

You’ll normally need an undergraduate Honours degree (grade 2:2 or higher) from a UK university in a related subject such as sports coaching, sports development, physical education, sports science or sports studies, and possess (or be working towards) at least a UK Level 2 coaching qualification or equivalent, alongside evidence of a sustained commitment to coaching practice.

If you have an appropriate degree (or equivalent) in another subject, you’ll also be considered if you have significant relevant employment experience in sports coaching or a demonstrable interest in (or commitment to) areas related to sports coaching as evidenced by possession of (or working towards) a UK Level 3 coaching qualification or equivalent.

If your first language is not English, you’ll need a minimum score of IELTS 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in all bands) or an equivalent qualification.

Louise Graham - MSc Sports Coaching

Louise Graham - MSc Sports Coaching


Student Louise discusses why she chose to study MSc Sports Coaching and why a distance learning degree was the right choice for her.

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The MSc in Sport Coaching is designed to help with personal and professional development. The award demonstrates a high level of knowledge and understanding in relation to coaching practice and research.

Through developing your leadership skills, it can help you progress from being a coach to a head coach or head of coaching. Roles can also include working with national governing bodies of sport.

All students have access to Career Connect, our dedicated careers team.

Gareth Barrett - MSc Sports Coaching

Gareth Barrett - MSc Sports Coaching


MSc Sports Coaching student Gareth discusses how his degree is helping him to progress his career and why he's glad he chose to study at Staffordshire University.

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Teaching and assessment


As a distance learning student, you'll be an active learner interacting with content, your fellow students and your module tutors. Support is available when you need it. You can contact your module tutor, your personal tutor, Information Service staff and subject specialist librarian by phone, email or in person.

Our teaching is supported through our Virtual Learning Environment called Blackboard. This means you can access a range of materials to support your studies wherever you are via your PC, tablet or phone. This includes accessing video, audio and discussion forums where you can debate subjects with your tutors and fellow students.


Assessment includes both informal (formative) and formal (summative) methods, including tutor and peer feedback and self-evaluation. You’ll receive clear guidance on the submission and marking of assessments at the outset of each module you study and be given both verbal and written feedback.

Assessment methods are varied and provide the opportunity to develop transferable skills. In particular, assessments are designed to include elements linked to your real-word experiences as a sports coach and to enable you to call on your own practice and principles.

Learning support

You’re supported throughout the course by specialist tutors within the modules you study and are also allocated a personal tutor during your time with us. We have a well-developed personal tutorial system and staff are only a phone call, email or Skype chat away. In addition, you’re carefully introduced to the online learning process and have access to a subject specialist librarian and course administrator.

As an online student of the University you have access to all our facilities, including our laboratories.

You can also access our recently added Strength and Conditioning facility which supports learning, teaching and research in this area of provision.

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it’s important for you to be able to gauge your progress. So, your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do.

We will normally give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days.

For a given module you will typically need to devote 10-15 hours engaging with the weekly task set up and with assignment related activity, though of course, the actual study time will vary from student to student.

Independent learning

The focus of this course is supported active learning, combining individual study with peer-to-peer interaction to facilitate a learning community approach to your study.

Your study time will consist of a mix of tasks:

  • Watching video-based presentations
  • Reading and discussing set material from a core text
  • Commenting on and critiquing e-journal research with your fellow students
  • Searching for additional resources to support assignment preparation


You will be taught by an expert teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes coach educators and practitioners with sports coaching and industry experience. Our visiting teaching fellows list currently includes experienced performance swimming coach, Louise Graham, and experienced sport coaching and exercise scientist, Ian Freeman, amongst others. 

Dr Alexander Blackett

Head Of Department-Sport & Science

Researcher in sport coaching, I consult with international sports organisations and national sports governing bodies to improve coach education, learning and development provision. I was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Services in 2017.

Alexander's profile

Ashley Gill

Course Director

I am Course Director for Sport and Exercise with oversight of all aspects of postgraduate provision within the department. My role ensures that students have a high-quality experience and that all courses are delivered to a high-standard.

Ashley's profile

Matthew Slater

Professor Of Sport & Exercise Psychology

Matt is a Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology and recognised as an internationally leading scholar on the psychology of leadership and group dynamics.

Matthew's profile

Louise Graham

Visiting Teaching Fellow

Experienced Performance Swimming Coach with a demonstrated history of coaching elite performers. Currently working in swimming development, coach education and coach development on behalf of the governing bodies.

Louise's profile

Ian Freeman

Visiting Teaching Fellow

An experienced sport coaching and exercise scientist with expertise in high performing coaching, athlete/athletic development, and talent pathways.

Ian's profile

Nick Levett

Visiting Teaching Fellow

Head of Coaching at UK Coaching, Nick has over 25 years’ experience, and has previously worked full-time for 14 years at The FA, plus coached within a Premier League academy for 6 years. He now runs his son’s U9 team and a semi-pro men’s group.

Nick's profile


For the course starting on 23 September 2024 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for MSc-Part-time, distance learning
Study option UK / Channel Islands
Part-time £8,865 per course

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totalling 80 credits in your first year of study and the other 100 credits in your second year of study.

You will be invoiced for the modules that you register for each year, so if your study pattern is different from the expected pattern, you will pay more or less each year accordingly.

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:

The module fee does not cover any required core learning resources.

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

Providing you are studying towards a full Masters qualification you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with tuition fees, maintenance and other associated costs. Student loans are available for many of our postgraduate degrees and are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The loan can cover a wide range of postgraduate study options; part-time, full-time and distance learning. 

For more information and how to apply visit masters loan.

Our students

I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish! I felt challenged, yet supported throughout.

I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. I felt challenged, yet supported throughout which I know to be a difficult task when delivering courses to cohorts remotely. I'd definitely recommend the course to others.

Georgia Smethurst

Sports Lecturer at Carlisle College, and Coach Developer at the Football Association

This course has encouraged me to be critically reflective as well as reflexive and directed me to the most current and innovative ideas in sports coaching.

In taking on and completing the MSc Sports Coaching course at Staffordshire Uni, I now feel so much more confident in my understanding and awareness of sports coaching as a profession and have a deeper appreciation of the multi-faceted nature of my hugely rewarding but challenging role.

The course structure, connection with other students and invaluable support from tutors were key to being able to balance studying with my full-time job and coaching roles.

Delving into the world of sports coaching research was a fascinating exercise in learning how theory can be applied to practice, and I hope to use my findings to benefit coach education in my own sport. This course has encouraged me to be critically reflective as well as reflexive and directed me to the most current and innovative ideas in sports coaching.

Alison Earnshaw-Punnett

Head of Sport Performance, Wycombe Abbey School, England Lacrosse Tutor/Assessor and U20 Wales Lacrosse Coach

Staffordshire University gave me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and understanding of my profession, challenging me to seek more in my practice.

The flexibility to work in my own time around my commitments allowed me to balance key aspects of my life and ensure that I wasn't overwhelmed by the pressure of sacrificing work and family commitments. Staffordshire University gave me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and understanding of my profession, challenging me to seek more in my practice.

Andy Groves

Head of Elite Performance at Cheadle Hulme School, and Coach at Sale Sharks Rugby Club. Sport Coaching graduate.

Due to some of the modules of the course, I was actually able to apply them in "real time" within my work with the French Rugby Federation

Staffordshire University gave me the possibility of studying my masters remotely and on a part-time basis. This was fundamental for me as I was based outside of the UK and working full time. The flexibility of the course also allowed me to use my commute time, a 2 hour train to Paris twice a week, as the perfect time to study and work towards my Masters in Sports Coaching.  I had been working in professional rugby before starting the course, though I always knew that in the back of my mind, my undergraduate degrees were not specifically related to Sports and felt that specialising in Sports Coaching would be beneficial moving forward.

James Kent

Performance Analyst at France Rugby and Academy Skills Coach and Technical Analyst at Stade Français Paris

The excellent staff and fellow students were incredibly supportive.

Based in the USA as a full time NCAA College Head Golf Coach I researched for over a year to find the right MSc. program to fit my career, experience and passion for advanced learning and the online MSc in Sports Coaching delivered. As an adult learner, it was a huge challenge for me to return to education, but the excellent staff and fellow students were incredibly supportive. The evidence-based approach to each module has allowed me to understand why I think the way I do, what my team and individual players are influenced by, why they respond to those influences and how I can challenge them to be, and think, better

Suzanne Strudwick

Head Coach Women's Golf Carson-Newman University, Graduate MSc Sports Coaching

I chose the MSc in Sports Coaching because the distance learning package had been recommended to me by some other people and I was able to fit it around my job. I actually quite enjoyed not having face to face contact because it meant I could do it at evenings and weekends and make it fit around my schedule as opposed to having to attend something. It meant that I could do it at my leisure so to speak.

James Brown

MSc Sports Coaching

With great support from the Staffordshire University staff, it was possible to combine work and study.

Being able to study for the MSc. in Sports Coaching while based in Thailand and coaching professionally might sound challenging, however with flexible timetables, very captivating content, and the great support from the Staffordshire University staff, it was possible to combine work and study. Even with a busy full time soccer coaching schedule, the two year part-time online masters offered me a unique opportunity to explore and better understand my athletes’ behaviour, as well as inform my own coaching practice

Fabio Eidelwein

MSc Sports Coaching


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus MSc Part-time, distance learning 23 September 2024 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

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