The Sports Coaching course is for experienced coaches who wish to extend their capacity by engaging in learning experiences which promote analysis and critical reflection of their coaching practice. It will develop skills of analysis, critical reflection, problem-solving and managing the coaching process. Your work will be grounded in coaching practice and research, considering case studies and learning from peers and leading coaching practitioners. You will be expected to be actively involved in coaching during the course.
In addition to the sports-specific coaching skills you will be developing in your practice, we aim to develop coaches who:
- can analyse and reflect on their coaching practice.
- evaluate and adjust their coaching process.
- amend their coaching practice to take account of each individual.
- understand the socio-ethical context of their coaching practice.
- develop the capacity to make decisions under pressure.
- have clear personal development goals.
A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (5.5 in all bands).
This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS,
full details of how to apply for PTFL
Full details of the PTFL fund and how to apply online can be found here:
For further information on possible sources of funding, visit:
Modes of study
Certificate: six months
Diploma: six months
MSc: nine months
Certificate: 12 months
Diploma: 24 months
MSc: 24 months
Course start date
Structure and content
You can study either full-time or part-time to Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc levels.
You must successfully complete six taught modules (120 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits) for the award of the MSc. For the award of the Postgraduate Diploma students must successfully complete all the taught modules. For the Postgraduate Certificate students must successfully complete 60 credits worth of taught modules.
- The Coaching Process (15 credits)
- Coaching Concepts (15 credits)
- Coaching as Learning (15 credits)
- Planning the Coaching Process (15 credits)
- Research Methods for Sport (15 credits)
- Professional Practice and Development (30 credits)
- Dissertation (60 credits)
- One Option Module within the School of Sport (15 credits)
In addition to the sports-specific coaching skills you will be developing in your practice, we develop coaches who:
- Critically analyse and reflect on their coaching practice.
- Continuously evaluate and adjust their coaching process.
- Foster optimal learning environments taking into account each individual.
- Understand the socio-ethical context of their coaching practice.
- Have the capacity to make decisions in complex situations and solve problems in innovative ways.
- Identify areas of practice that could benefit from research, and design, conduct and evaluate an appropriate investigation.
Delivery and assessment
A flexible approach to learning and assessment will characterise this degree. Knowledge and understanding are acquired and enhanced through lectures, seminars, group work, presentations, staff/student tutorials, guided independent study, professional practice experiences and through the University’s virtual learning environment – Succeed. Accessibility of the curriculum is in line with institutional policies and it is anticipated coaches with disabilities, as well as coaches of athletes with disabilities, will form part of the cohort on a regular basis. Students receive a School handbook describing the programme outline, module details, procedures and assessment criteria. In addition, module handbooks include details of timetable, content, and assessments. The 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. Assessment involves a mixture of coursework, presentations and written examinations, and will vary according to the context of each module.
Students will be provided with a list of key texts and journal articles for each module. They will be expected to read assigned chapters and articles prior to class sessions and be prepared to discuss relevant readings during the classes.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
||The Coaching Process
||Option Module Lecture
||Coaching as Learning
||Research Methods for Sport
- Dissertation (SPSP10)
- Planning the Coaching Process (SPSP36)
- Research Methods for Sport (SPSP39)
- Professional Practice and Development (SPSP41)
- Coaching Concepts (SPSP50)
- The Coaching Process (SPSP51)
- Coaching as Learning (SPSP54)
One module from within School of Sport taught postgraduate provision or by agreement with the School (15 credits).
Dr Justine Allen
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Sports Studies was ranked 1st in Scotland and 5th in the UK with 85 percent of publications classed as ‘International Level’ and 15 percent as ‘World-leading’.
A particular strength of this course is the focus on real practice enabled by the knowledge and coaching experience of module tutors. Amongst the course tutors are those who have considerable coaching experience, links with National Governing Bodies of Sport, and have provided consultancy support to a wide range of sport organisations. This offers students a unique insight into real life practice and opportunities to access a network of industry contacts.
As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence we are closely aligned with many sports organisations and have formal links with a growing number of organisations with regard to facilitating student research projects, work experience and guest lectures.
This course is delivered by a team of highly qualified academics with coaching experience and research interests that complement and support teaching activities.
Dr Justine Allen is an experienced coach and facilitator of coach and athlete education workshops. She has more than 15 years experience in researching sport participation and coaching. She has a PhD in Sport Psychology and has led numerous research projects through all phases from conception, design, implementation, and analysis to dissemination via reports, publications, and presentations. Dr Allen is skilled in the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods.