Sports Coaching

Study options



Key facts

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
2 Years
Start date:
12 September 2022

Delivered online and flexible part-time study

The only UK-based sports coaching course that’s taught fully online. Study when it suits you.

Get Connected

We have strong links with leading sport and business organisations

Expert coaching team

Our lecturers and tutors will engage, inspire and support you

Our MSc in Sport Coaching has been developed for active and aspiring coaches whose work, family commitments or location mean attending university would be challenging. Delivered online, the course is completed over a minimum of two years by part-time study.

The professionalisation of sports coaching across the world has brought with it a desire for current and aspiring coaches to continually develop themselves. The expectations and demands for coaches practicing at participatory, developmental and elite levels now requires you to be knowledgeable and proficient in multiple disciplines. This course equips coaches to further develop your critical reflective skills whilst enhancing your interdisciplinary understanding of pedagogy, psychology and sociocultural issues for sport coaching.

This course welcomes students affiliated with any sport from across the world at any stage of your coaching career. This results in a diverse learning community and that facilitates the development of forward-thinking coaches. Internationally renowned researchers and applied practitioners guide you through the course which is designed to offer academic recognition towards professional development in sport coaching and complements coach certification awarded by national governing bodies of sport. The course is thus designed to meet the increasing demands employers place on coaches to be better prepared for the challenges of coaching by becoming more innovative in your practices that are empirically informed.

The course is part-time, starting in early September each year and finishing two years later in late September.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MSc Sports 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.


In Effective Coaching 1: Strategy and Practice (20 credits) you develop a critical understanding of both your coaching philosophy and different approaches to the coach-athlete relationship. Contemporary topics that influence modern day coaching practice are introduced, examined and assessed.

The module Advanced Research Methods and Data Analysis (40 credits) develops and enhances research methods, statistical and qualitative analysis skills. Key analytical techniques will be addressed via data sets that are provided to you and which allow you to demonstrate your growing understanding of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research in the area of sports coaching

The module Group Dynamics and Leadership in Sport and Exercise (20 credits) covers the application of social psychological theory to sport and exercise settings, with a focus on audience effects, groups, and leadership, and on how these processes may impact on the performance of athletes, coaches, trainers and managers. Adopting a social psychology framework, the module will examine contemporary approaches related to the impact of audiences, group dynamics and cohesion in the performance domain.

The Effective Coaching 2: Reflective Practice (20 credits) module examines different approaches and practices related to reflective practice to allow you to develop an advanced and critical understanding of reflective practice in sports coaching. The role of experiential learning, mentoring and technology to modify existing coaching practice and support professional development lies at the heart of the module.

The Skilled Performance Under Pressure (20 credits) module uses psychophysiological interpretations of how athletes interact with motivated performance situations to explain skilled performance under pressure. First, the module will explore historical and contemporary approaches to understanding skilled performance. Second, recent approaches to understanding skilled performance under pressure will be explored. Finally, investigation will take place of the psychophysiological markers of the human reaction to stress in the context of their relationships to skilled performance under pressure by examining the use cardiovascular reactivity as an indicator of adaptive and maladaptive responses to stress.

The module is the Masters Research Project: Coaching Proposal and Ethics (Part 1) (20 credits) involves the planning of an empirical research project. Guided by a supervisor with expertise in your chosen research area, students are advised to consider and accommodate ethical practices and to promote elevated levels of rigour that are cornerstones in quality empirical research outputs.

The final module is the Masters Research Project: Coaching Journal Article (Part 2) (40 credits) allows students to be supported in conducting an empirical research study aligned to sport coaching in a discipline of your choice. Typically, students are encouraged to write their thesis in a peer reviewed journal style, and where appropriate, submit for publication. A formal presentation and oral examination of the research is a key feature of the module.

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.

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.

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.




The main focus of the MSc Sports Coaching is personal development. Successful completion of the award demonstrates a high level of knowledge and understanding in relation to professional practice and research.

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

8 Myths of distance learning degrees at Staffordshire University

8 Myths of distance learning degrees at Staffordshire University


In this video we debunk 8 of the key myths regarding distance learning degrees at Staffordshire University.

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.

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.

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

Dr Alexander Blackett

Senior Lecturer

Alex's diverse coaching experience ranges from Stoke City Ladies FC to coaching football in New Zealand on their International Player Development Progamme and across the Midwest States of the USA. Alex's interests lie in analysing sport coach le…

Alexander's profile

Jamie Gillman


Jamie's research is broadly focussed on the areas of social identity and stress. He is particularly interested in the psychophysiological reactions to a pressured situation (e.g. sporting performance, exams, presentations, interviews) and how we…

Jamie's profile

Ashley Gill

Course Director

I have a multidisciplinary approach to sports education and aim to facilitate the learning of students to develop subject specific knowledge, and an overall understanding of sport and exercise.

Ashley's profile

Matthew Slater

Associate Professor

Matthew is a senior lecturer (FHEA), researcher, published author, and chartered psychologist (CPsychol). He specialises in the psychology of leadership and team functioning.

Matthew's profile

John Erskine

Senior Lecturer

John Erskine has been teaching at the University for 20+ years and is a member of the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences. His teaching expertise lies in the areas of exercise psychology and on how skilled behaviour is acquired in sport.

John's profile


For the course starting on 12 September 2022 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for MSc-Part-time, distance learning
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Part-time £8,235 per course £8,235 per course

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totalling 90 credits in your first year of study and the other 90 credits in your second year of study. If you follow this pattern of study you will pay the same fee for each 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

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.

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 Graduate 2018

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


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus MSc Part-time, distance learning 12 September 2022 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

Have you considered?

Applied Research MSc

Study options
Full-time, blended learning
Part-time, blended learning

Applied Sport and Exercise Science MSc

Study options
Part-time, distance learning

Clinical Biomechanics MSc

Study options
Part-time, blended learning

Healthcare Science Professional Doctorate

Study options
Full-time, blended learning
Part-time, blended learning

Secondary Physical Education PGCE

Study options

Sport and Exercise Psychology MSc

Study options
Full-time, distance learning
Part-time, distance learning
Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020