Sport Leadership and Professional Development MRes/PGDip/PGCert

Sport Leadership and Professional Development MRes/PGDip/PGCert

School of Sport and Health Sciences


Post- graduate




Online Only

Contact UCLan

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

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year, Part-time: Two-Three years

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:

    Online Only

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The Master of Research degree in Sport Leadership and Professional Development is a course aimed at current and aspiring sport and education professionals that are leading people and/or projects.  Alongside gaining a unique qualification you will develop your critical thinking skills so that you are best placed to evaluate the work that you lead.

As a leader of people or projects you and your work-related practice will take centre stage throughout the duration of your Master’s degree.  Experienced staff members will guide your development and encourage you to think about the effectiveness of your practice and how to develop strategies to ensure that you and your organisation achieve your ambitions.

With a focus on strategic sport leadership, the reflective sport leader and leading research/ work based evaluation, the course aims to provide you with the confidence to analyse sport and education related practices and to equip you with further knowledge and skills for a successful career in contemporary sports environments.

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Entry Requirements

Specific entry requirements for the course are a recognised British Honours degree (or its equivalent- at the level of lower second class or above).

Students with non-standard qualifications or who have extensive work experience within appropriate sport and education settings will be considered on a case by case basis and are encouraged to apply.  We may need to interview non-standard applicants.

Students will be expected to display communication skills appropriate to an Honours graduate. In particular, students whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate competence in the language. The normal minimum standard required is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Applications from all candidates will be considered on their merits.

Programme at a Glance

Semester 1

  • Strategic Sport Leadership
  • The Reflective Sport Leader

Semester 2

  • Research Methods for Sport Leaders
  • Research Foundations for Sport Leadership

Semester 3

  • Dissertation / Work based evaluation project

Further Information

The course consists of four modules followed by a dissertation / work based evaluation.  The first two modules are: Strategic Sport Leadership and The Reflective Sport Leader.  By completing these two modules you would be eligible for the Postgraduate Certificate in Sport Leadership and Professional Development.

The Strategic Sport Leadership module aims to develop critical awareness of various leadership approaches and frameworks in order to critically appraise their relevance and effectiveness within an appropriate sporting environment.  The module also aims to enable students to critically analyse theory and practice in relation to prevailing cultures within organisations and the implications of change.

The aim of the Reflective Sport Leader module is to provide students with the opportunity to become better critical thinkers, critically reflective leaders and problem solvers. It aims to help leaders to develop confidence in their perceptions and learn to question their values, beliefs, assumptions and interpretations of their leadership context from their position of competence. These are followed by the Research Foundations for Sport Leadership and Research Methods for Sport Leaders modules.  By completing these two additional modules students would be eligible for the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Leadership and Professional Development.

The Research Foundations for Sport Leadership module focuses on developing awareness of conducting ‘insider’ practitioner inquiry and informing methodological decisions.  It seeks to broaden the students’ appreciation of how these foundations should influence the collection of data and subsequent analysis.  The module seeks to develop an understanding of research ethics and tensions and the value of reflexivity within their research.

The aim of the Research Methods for Sport Leaders module is to enable students to critically analyse a range of methods that are used in practitioner research, to be able to locate these beside methodological decisions and critically analyse approaches that are adopted to analyse data in order to inform practice.  The module will also aim to support the students’ development as researching practitioners and help them to refine a research strategy.

The programme will culminate in the completion of the dissertation/ work based evaluation.  The aim of this module is to allow sport leaders to relate the knowledge and understanding that they have acquired on the programme in order to undertake a significant piece of research/work based evaluation within a relevant sports setting.  It also aims to provide the students with an opportunity to exhibit their skills to enhance and develop an area of their work and to make a meaningful contribution in practice.  Upon successful completion of this module participants will be awarded the Master’s degree.

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, 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 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Industry Links

Staff from the course have extensive experience of working in the sports industry in leadership positions; this includes working in the public and private sector for professional sports clubs, schools, other educational settings, organisations such as Sport England and National Governing Bodies of Sport.  Our team also have experience of developing and leading sports enterprises.  Through this extensive network of contacts we are ideally placed to support you to enhance your professional relationships in the sports industry.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The course has been structured in a way that prioritises the needs of the busy sports industry professional. The course is delivered fully via our digital/online learning platform. These sessions will be supplemented with resources and activities that participants will be encouraged to engage with on a regular basis.  UCLan staff will adopt a flexible approach to supporting your development in-between sessions and will be accessible via email/ phone/ video calls.

Staff that deliver on the course have a diverse range of experience of leading and researching in professional sport, sports education, sports enterprise and community sport.


This course will aid the short to long term development of the new and experienced sports professional or sports educator.  It will also give people the knowledge and skills to progress to doctoral level study and is ideally placed to aid your progression in this field.