Sports Coaching MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Sports Coaching MSc/PGDip/PGCert

School of Sport and Wellbeing


Post- graduate





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Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year, Part-time: Minimum two years (also available by blended learning)

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The MSc Sports Coaching degree is the new programme developed to support the strategic objectives outlined in the UK Coaching Framework. Sports Coach UK have provided the strategy for the UK to be considered the number one coaching system in the World by 2016. Our challenge is to support this and produce postgraduates with a high degree of knowledge and understanding so that they can challenge and innovate their own coaching practice. This will require knowledge of leadership, communication, pedagogy, allied sport sciences and relevant management principles. Students will be afforded the opportunity to work in an environment relevant to their developmental needs.

Entry Requirements

Students require a good honours degree (or equivalent) in which a major part of their studies has incorporated aspects of sports coaching or related disciplines (e.g. sport science). Other graduates who can demonstrate a commitment to the study of sport or who have significant experience in the sport industry will also be considered for entry. Students where English is not the first language need to demonstrate their ability in the English language through obtaining an IELTS score of 6.0 or above or equivalent.

Applications from individuals with non-standard qualifications, relevant work or life experience and who can demonstrate the ability to cope with and benefit from degree-level studies are welcome.

Programme at a Glance

PG Cert

  • Philosophy to Practice (Compulsory) 40 Credits
  • Contemporary Practice in Sport (Compulsory) 40 Credits

PG Dip

  • Research Methods in Sport (Compulsory) 20 Credits
  • Analysis of Coaching and Performance  (Compulsory) 20 Credits


  • Dissertation for Sport (Compulsory) 60 Credits

Postgraduate Advice Event

Find out more about Postgraduate courses at our Postgraduate Advice Event on 9 November 2017

Further Information

The full-time MSc in Sports Coaching course is a 12 month programme comprising three parts. The first two parts are the taught element and the final part is the research element. The taught element focuses on key aspects of sports coaching. In addition, students will have the opportunity to engage in consultancy or sport-specific placement. For full-time students, the taught element is normally completed over a nine month period starting in October. Part-time students will normally attend on a one day per week basis and complete the taught element in two years. Students who complete the taught element of the programme, in part or in its entirety, may graduate with either a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Sports Coaching.

Students wishing to complete the MSc in Sports Coaching must complete the research element. The research element comprises a dissertation. Full-time students will normally complete this in the three months that follow the taught element, whilst part-time students complete this during the course of an academic session.

An integral part of the course is the Consultancy Project, which is an opportunity for students to work on a “live” sports coaching / coaching science project for an external client, agreed using a project specification negotiated between the student, client and academic supervisor.

Taught modules:

The Coaching Environment considers such subjects as the role of coaching in the wider social context. Also, issues pertaining to ergogenic aids and the media will be examined within this module. Furthermore, an examination of effective coaching systems will be considered in relation to external influences.

The Coaching Process focuses on the mechanics of session design right through to the consideration of global periodised training systems. This is placed within the context of skill development. Moreover, talent recruitment and development form a significant proportion of the module, as well as health and safety and effective planning.

Coaching: From Philosophy to Practice examines the effects of our values and beliefs and how these translate into specific behaviours. Factors that influence self-awareness will be discussed in relation to personal philosophy and coaching behaviours. The module will also focus on leadership behaviour as well as communication and pedagogical tools for effective leadership.

Analysis of Coaching and Performance provides a focus on performance analysis. This is referring not only to the performer that you are working with, but also personal performance as a coach/leader/manager. Such factors as interpersonal skills will be deconstructed and evaluated in relation to effective coaching practice. The main focus however will be to critically review the industry standard equipment used for analysis of performance. Issues of the link between analysis and intervention planning will be explored.

This information can then be placed into context by fulfilling a placement or consultancy project, culminating in a Masters dissertation.

The Consultancy Project offers students the opportunity to apply the theoretical and practical knowledge that they have developed within the programme in a relevant, practical context. Previous students have worked on projects with a range of organisations, including professional sports teams, local authority and private sector providers and grassroots sports clubs.


Overall the course has been the most valuable learning experience I have engaged in. This was not necessarily due to the content that was covered (although it was excellent) but down to the staff, their knowledge, experience and the learning environment that was created. I felt the assignments offered a good mixture of assessments and particularly thought the debate in the Coaching Environment module was a good idea.

Tomas Davis


The aims of the Master of Science in Sports Coaching are:

  • Develop your ability to critically interrogate theories that inform sports coaching principles and practices
  • Provide a theoretically-derived platform for effective coaching management and delivery in relation to the UK Coaching Framework
  • Prepare and develop you for a career in Sports Coaching and the wider sports industry by developing professional and transferable skills
  • Develop your critical evaluation of their own practice and that of performers with the intention to engage in innovative activities linked to enhancing performance of self and performer
  • Develop your ability to conduct research in the area of sports coaching

On successful completion of each award, you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse the use of interdisciplinary knowledge and competencies in relation to the successful management of coaching programmes
  • Critically reflect upon the student’s coaching philosophy and relate these to coaching practice
  • Critically examine the periodised planning of coaching sessions and global training systems in relation to the relevant coaching pathway
  • Synthesise cutting edge coaching solutions and programmes in relation to the relevant coaching pathway.
  • Employ a critical perspective to problem solving and decision making
  • Appraise your own personal and career development needs through self-reflection, action planning and implementation
  • Take control of your own intellectual development through the process of research, analysis and presentation
  • Use your knowledge and understanding to synthesise innovative interventions based on appropriate objective analysis of the performer/s
  • Display mastery of a specialised area of knowledge within sports coaching and allied disciplines through an independent study


I particularly learnt a lot about the coaching philosophy - the importance of having one. I have introduced this notion to my current organisation. I found the coaching philosophy module most useful. It has definitely had a huge impact on the way I coach and how effective I am. I would highly recommend the MA Sports Coaching course to every aspiring coach.

John Stoszkowski: Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Development. John joined the School of Sport and Wellbeing in 2010 from his role as Regional Coaching Development Manager at The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA). At The PGA, John facilitated the implementation of a learner centred approach to player and coach development whilst developing the England Golf player development and talent pathway. He established county academies in 8 counties across the North of England and was also responsible for developing and managing a regional coach development, education, and mentoring programme in line with the National Club Coaching Programme. Prior to this, he was Regional Development Officer (North West of England) at The English Golf Union. John teaches on The Coaching Environment module.

Cliff Olsson: Senior Lecturer and Course Leader BA hons Sports Coaching. Cliff's main teaching responsibilities are in coaching practice and international development and aid. In addition to his main teaching responsibilities Cliff works closely with UK Sport as a Sport for Development Consultant and the Football Association delivering coach education programmes. Cliff delivers on Coaching from Philosophy to Practice and the Coaching Environment and supports students with dissertations and consultancy projects.

Clint Godfrey: Senior Lecturer and Course Leader BA hons Sports Development. Clint was previously employed for approximately six years within local authority sports development settings. His roles have ranged from community sports coaching to managing a sports development teams that had the specific responsibility for developing and providing opportunities for people to engage in sport and physical activity. From 2004 to 2007 he was employed as a Development Manager for Sport England. Clint's role included supporting various National Governing Bodies of sport with their CCDP National Investment Strategies and managing the Community Club Development Programme (CCDP) projects in the North-West. Clint leads the consultancy module and supports students with dissertations.

Craig Wright: Craig is responsible for the academic management and development of the MSc Sports Coaching programme within the Division of Sports Development and Coaching. His teaching and practitioner focus is in applied sports coaching and coaching science. This includes performance analysis, performance assessment, strength and conditioning. Within the school Craig has led on the use of coaching observational analysis, match and notational analysis and has established and supervised a number of student placements and internships with professional sports organisations across the northwest.

Daniel Massaro: Daniel contributes across a number of modules on the MSc programme. He has been teaching sports coaching related topics for 17 years and is a highly valued member of our team. Danny is currently a professional Squash coach and works at all levels including Elite. He coaches his wife who is currently World Number 2 and recently the first English winner of the British Open for 22 years. Danny has a portfolio of National level junior players who represent England in squash at U15, U17 and U19 levels. Danny also specialises as a psychologist for performers across many sports. He travels the world coaching at various events which brings up to date experience to his lecturing content. Danny is also a coach educator working alongside a number of UKCC level 4 coaches. Last year Danny was one of only five staff members from across the University to win an award for teaching from our Student Union. Danny is still a competitive squash player, competing for England over 35’s.

Andy Procter: Senior Lecturer and Course leader for Sports Coaching Top-up Programme. Andy contributes across a number of modules on the MSc programme.

Bobby Crutchley: UCLan graduate, Bobby Crutchley, is Head Coach both of the England and Great Britain Hockey teams. He is a former England International hockey player, winning 80 caps for England and Great Britain between 1993 and 1999. Following this, Bobby hung up his stick and took up hockey coaching full-time at the University of Bath.


How to Apply

You can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2018/19

Full-time: TBC
Part-time: TBC

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

Details of the UK Government postgraduate loan scheme for students commencing a Masters Postgraduate programme for the 2017/18 academic year.

View further information

Case Studies

Industry Links

The School of Sport and Wellbeing has strong links with a large number of sports organisations, including professional sports teams, public and private sector sports providers and grassroots sports clubs. We regularly invite guest speakers from industry to speak to students within the modules on this course.

This represents a valuable opportunity for students to meet potential employers and learn about life in the sports industry. For example, we have had guest lectures given by representatives of Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club, Bolton Wanderers Football Club, Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Lancashire Football Association, The Rugby Football League and Preston City Council.

The MSc Sports coaching also benefits from a number of unique opportunities within the school. Within the school there are strong links with The Institute of Coaching and Performance (ICaP) which is Chaired and Directed by David Collins. The school is also responsible the delivery for the PGDip in Elite Coaching (UKCC Level 4 Coach Education: Pentium Group). As both ICAP and PGDip are central to the school there are a number of opportunities to share current research and practice from within the elite coaching environment.

Learning Environment and Assessment

All face-to-face delivery will use several types of media to encourage learning. The main vehicles will be through seminars, debates, practical workshops and problem-based learning. This will be supported with some electronic learning activities and resources. Those who choose the blended mode of delivery will be taught through a combination of interactive electronic learning activities and face-to-face delivery on residential blocks (for example weekends).

The use of guest speakers on the course is designed to facilitate networking opportunities for students to meet with potential employers.

Every effort will be made to apply theory to practice, and in some cases, practice to theory. There will be a requirement for independent learning throughout the programme, culminating in the Dissertation.

There are no examinations on this course. Every effort has been made to ensure that assessments are relevant to the coaching sector. For example, coach reports, case study reports, debates, critical reflections and presentations are used throughout the programme.


The undergraduate programme has a number of well-established international opportunities and experiences which post graduate students have had the opportunity to engage with. From study exchanges in Europe to summer exchanges in the United States and Canada there is a wide variety of opportunities to live, study and work overseas.

We have had students engaged in a range of roles in various parts of the world that include teaching in Tanzania, coaching football in Dubai, working at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Zambia and working for Sport for Development charities in Cape Town South Africa.

Graduate Careers

Graduates from the course have obtained positions within the public, private or voluntary sector of sport in a range of coach, coach development, coach education, coach mentoring, management and academic roles. Examples include:

  • Lecturers at FE/HE colleges: Myerscough College, Burnley College, Accrington and Rossendale College.
  • Football Coach / Coach Educator: Beijing International Junior Football League.
  • Norwich City Community Sports Foundation: Football Coach.
  • Head Coach Great Britain & England men's hockey team.
  • Performance Analyst Internships: Bolton Wanders Football Club / Blackburn Rovers Football Club.
  • Cricket Coach at Twenty20 Cricket Company
  • Multi Sports Coach/Sports Co-ordinator for National Deaf Children Society.
  • Head Swim Coach / Coach Educator – North West Swimming.
  • National Player Development Manager, Rugby Football League.
  • England Regional Performance Coach with The Rugby Football League.
  • Lecturers at UCLan
  • PhD Students at UCLan

Progression Routes

A number of graduates progress into roles in local county, city council sport development programmes or sports management positions. A high proportion of students also progress onto teaching and support roles in secondary, FE and HE institutes. Some students progress into support roles at high performance sports clubs as coaching staff and performance analysts. A suitable progression would also be into a research role, such as PhDs and professional doctorates.

With a Masters often cited as a pre-requisite for jobs such as those at EIS, it has undoubtedly helped from that perspective. The content itself has changed both my understanding of coaching from a theoretical perspective and also heavily influenced the way I coach. A fantastic and well developed course I would recommend to others (and have done).

Andy Hill