Sports Coaching

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma


The Sports Coaching course is for 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.

Key information

  • Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Justine Allen

Sport Postgraduate Recruitment Team School of Sport
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 466498

View fees and finance

Course objectives

In addition to the sports-specific coaching skills, you will be developing in your practice, we 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.

What makes us different?

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

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.

Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ experience lead coaching including responsibility for planning, implementing, analysing and revising annual coaching programmes and be able to demonstrate their responsibility for preparation, delivery and review of coaching sessions. Evidence of successful completion of sport-specific coaching qualifications is expected (e.g. UKCC Level 2 or equivalent). Successful applicants are expected to be actively engaged in coaching during their studies on the MSc Sports Coaching.

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Business, Finance and Sport and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto this Master's degree.

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: 6.5 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

You can study either full-time or part-time to Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc levels.

You must successfully complete seven 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 
  • Coaching Concepts 
  • Coaching as Learning  
  • Research Methods  
  • Professional Practice 
  • Dissertation 
  • Performance Analysis and Planning or Understanding Performance

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 course outline, module details, procedures and assessment criteria. In addition, module outlines 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.


  • The Coaching Process (SPSP052)
  • Coaching Concepts (SPSP050)
  • Coaching as Learning (SPSP054)
  • Performance Analysis and Planning (SPSP062)
  • Professional Practice (SPSP049)
  • Research Methods (SPSP039)
  • Understanding Performance (SPSP057)
  • Dissertation (SPSP10)

Recommended reading

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.

Modes of study

Certificate: six months
Diploma: nine months
MSc: nine months

Certificate: 12 months
Diploma: 24 months
MSc: 24 months

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

  9-10 10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5
Tues Research Methods   The Coaching Process  
Fri Coaching as Learning          

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


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. 

Academic strengths

This course is delivered by a team of highly qualified academics with coaching experience and research interests that complement and support teaching activities.

Our staff

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.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The climate for developing sport and coaching in Scotland and the UK has never been more positive. With major international events like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games being hosted here over the next decade, coach education and development have become a major focus for policy and funding decisions by the UK Government. The establishment of the UKCC across four levels and different coaching contexts has provided an opportunity to modernise existing coach qualification and learning programmes.

Graduates fulfil roles in a wide range of sport and non-sport related organisations. For example:

Sport Governing Bodies

  • Programme Manager
  • Coaching Manager
  • Swimming coach
  • Strength and Conditioning coach

 Local Authorities

  • Sports Development Officer
  • Active Schools Co-ordinator


  • Physical education teacher
  • High school coach
  • University lecturer
  • University coach development officer
  • Director of Sport
  • Researcher


  • Self-employed business
  • Full- or part-time coach

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £13,950
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
2015/16 Overseas £13,500
2015/16 Home/EU £4,500


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Scholarships & funding

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan 

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS.  More information

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit:

Scholarship finder
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