MSc Sport Performance Coaching (Online)

Earn a Masters in Sport Performance Coaching by studying online at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and find the winning formula for your career advancement.

Sport Performance Coaching (Online)

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024
  • Duration MSc part-time: 24 months; PGDip: 18 months; PGCert: 9 months
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery online


Established in 2010 as the first course of its kind in Scotland, this innovative online Masters gives experienced coaches the chance to improve their coaching knowledge and skills through cutting-edge best practice and research. The course is also suitable for coach developers who are seeking to enhance their work with coaches.

This MSc Sport Performance Coaching degree will develop your critical analysis skills, improve your problem-solving abilities and teach you innovative solutions to coaching problems. You’ll examine modern best practice in coaching from case studies, peers and leading coaches. Throughout the course, you'll explore and improve your understanding and practice of coaching, developing the skills to critically reflect on decisions, develop smart strategies and boost performance.

Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence

As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we’ve developed an international reputation for delivering sport courses that get results. We bring together leading academics to deliver high-quality teaching in a range of areas – with a primary focus on your future career prospects. We’re closely aligned with many sports bodies and have formal links with a growing number of organisations who can help to facilitate your learning. Our campus is also home to the National Tennis Centre, National Swimming Academy and headquarters of a number of Scottish sport governing bodies and regionals offices including the Scottish Institute of Sport. 

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

Our Sport Performance Coaching MSc is for experienced coaches and coach developers who wish to extend their expertise alongside their sport-specific qualifications. It will develop your critical analysis and reflective practice skills, enhance your problem-solving capacity and promote innovative solutions for coaching problems.

We’ll help you become a coach or coach developer who can:

  • reflect and challenge personal assumptions and beliefs to improve future performance;
  • critically reflect on decisions in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • recognise and resolve problematic coaching issues through the generation of innovative strategies and solutions;
  • design and implement an optimal learning environment to impact athletes’ performance needs;
  • design and implement a planned and strategic approach to performance improvement;
  • develop and manage appropriate support structures to facilitate improved performance.

Professional accreditation

Coaches from British Canoeing study for the PGDip Performance Coaching as part of the British Canoeing Coaching Diploma (formerly UKCC Level 4).

Work placements

While there are no organised placements, to gain the most from the course it is expected that you will be actively coaching or coach developing while you complete your MSc Sport Performance Coaching degree. This will enable you to explore and critically examine your coaching practice and context using the content provided within each module. Tasks frequently require you to gather and critically reflect on insight from your own coaching.

Flexible learning

Our flexible degree structure means you can study the following modules from the MSc Sport Performance Coaching (Online) individually as stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses:

Individual modules can be taken for continuing professional development or grouped for an award such as:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, e.g. three 20-credit modules).
  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, e.g. six 20-credit modules).
  • Masters (180 credits, including a 60-credit Applied Coaching Project).

The online delivery ensures you can study when and where it suits you and fit study around your current career.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

The staff delivering this programme are experienced coaches and also researchers. See individual staff pages for more information. Staff regularly work with Masters students to assist them to publish research conducted as part of the Applied Coaching Project. Examples include:

Ritchie, D. & Allen, J. (2015). ‘Let them get on with it’: Coaches’ perceptions of their roles and coaching practices during Olympic and Paralympic Games. International Sport Coaching Journal, 2, 108-124. 

Ritchie, D., Allen, J., & Kirkland, A. (2018). Where science meets practice: Olympic coaches’ crafting of the tapering process, Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(10), 1145-1154. 

Macdonald, S. & Allen, J. (2019). An examination of the coach-created talent development motivational climate in Canoe Slalom in the United Kingdom. International Sport Coaching Journal, 6(1), 74-87 

Cooper, D. & Allen, J. (2020).  “I don’t want to give them my brain for the day… and then take it back”: An examination of the coach-created motivational climate in adult adventure sports. International Sport Coaching Journal, 7(2), 175-188  

Carroll, M. & Allen, J. (2021). 'Zooming in' on the antecedents of youth sport coaches' autonomy-supportive and controlling interpersonal behaviours: A multimethod study. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 16(2), 236-248  

Mason L, Kirkland A, Steele J & Wright J. (2021). The relationship between Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull variables and athletic performance measures: empirical study of English professional soccer players and meta-analysis of extant literature. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 61 (5), pp. 645-655. 

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these qualifications but with significant professional experience are encouraged to apply. You should be an active practicing coach with an appropriate sport-specific qualification. 

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 56 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Course details

Boost your skills, grow your network and develop your career in coaching with this specialist online course.

You must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules and an applied coaching project for the award of the MSc. For the award of the Postgraduate Diploma you must successfully complete 120 credits worth of taught modules. For the Postgraduate Certificate you must successfully complete 60 credits worth of taught modules. If you are interested in CPD only you can take individual taught modules.

If you are interested in PG Certificate or Diploma or CPD modules, please contact the Programme Director to discuss module options.


The modules below are for the 2022-23 academic year. The January intake has since been withdrawn and is no longer offered.

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


This online Masters degree is designed to be flexible and fit with your professional and personal commitments.

You’ll learn through a guided programme of study that includes:

  • listening to short recorded presentations
  • reading and reflecting on cutting edge research and literature related to coaching
  • sharing views and ideas with classmates and staff through asynchronous discussions
  • examining your own coaching practice, context and thinking through learning and assessment tasks that prompt you to gather insight and reflect on what you do and why
  • learning from expert coaches, researchers and professionals through podcasts and short presentations.

How you'll learn online

All teaching is delivered through the University’s virtual learning platform.

Staff are responsive to requests for assistance and will assist you with your learning journey, including supervision of the Applied Coaching Project. Individual tutorials via online platforms (such as Teams) or phone are available.


Although no specific fieldwork is organised, as active sport coaches, you will have an ongoing opportunity to apply your academic studies into their practical contexts.


Module outlines include details of specific content and assessments. All assessment procedures are in line with institutional policies and will be conducted in such a way as to adhere to adult learning principles. This means that content and learning demonstrate relevance, problem solving, learning by doing and a strong element of self-direction and ownership.

Classroom hours

This course is delivered entirely online to allow students to fit their learning around their sport coaching commitments. 

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2024-25 fees
  UK and Republic of Ireland students International students
Total MSc course fee 




2023-24 fees
  UK and Republic of Ireland students International students
Total MSc course fee



This course is only offered on a part-time basis. The total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate it was set in your year of entry.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

Typically, coaches who apply for our MSc Sport Performance Coaching degree will already be employed in sport or coaching related roles. We anticipate graduates from the course will better understand themselves, their coaching practice and wider coaching context which prepares them to fulfil high performing coaching or coach development roles in their sport.

We've helped coaches everywhere boost their skills and advance their careers.

  • Grow your network of professional connections as you study
  • 96% of our graduates were in employment or further study 15 months after graduation (Graduate Outcomes 2020/21, HESA)

What our students said

Steven McGinnis
Steven McGinnis
Northern Ireland
MSc Sport Performance Coaching
When I was looking at remote study options, Stirling’s course offered me the content and flexibility I needed. This course was excellent from a personal and professional development challenge. Not only did it broaden my coaching, but it helped me realign the ‘what’ and ‘why’ I coach the way I do. It reinforced my values and principles along with coaching practice and studies. Whether you're an aspiring coach or someone well-experienced in your role, this course has something to offer you.
Read Steven's story
Alex Mollin
Alex Mollin
UK and ROI
MSc Sport Performance Coaching
I would highly recommend this programme to any coach seeking further studies. It has provided me with a valuable range of personal and professional development opportunities.
Read Alex's story
Charlie Ovey
Charlie Ovey
MSc Sport Performance Coaching
The course covered a broad range of topics that have allowed me to expand my professional responsibilities and aspirations. I have been able to improve my performance in my existing role while putting myself in contention for other positions.
Read Charlie's story

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