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 Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021, January 2022, September 2022, January 2023
  • Duration MSc part-time: 24 months; PGDip: 18 months; PGCert: 9 months
  • Mode of study Online, Part-time, Stand-alone modules


Endorsed by UK Coaching

UK Coaching Logo   

Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence

The first course of its kind in Scotland, this innovative online Masters gives experienced coaches the chance to improve their coaching skills through cutting-edge best practice and research. Our teaching is aligned with the UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) Level 4 certification process and is endorsed by UK Coaching. 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 examine 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 on 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

Our MSc Sport Performance Coaching degree is endorsed by UK Coaching and is aligned with the UKCC level 4 certification process.

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

Work placements

To gain the most from the course it is expected that you will be actively coaching 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

Individual modules can be taken for continuing professional development or grouped for an award such as the Postgraduate Certificate which consists of 60 credits (e.g., three 20 credit modules), and the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits e.g., six 20 credit modules), or the MSc consisting of 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 MSc 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.

What our students said

Gerard Jones
Gerard Jones
MSc Performance Coaching (Online)
The MSc Performance Coaching is a fantastic course! I love how you can study whilst coaching through 'distance-learning' and the online modules which makes it easier to study and apply what you're learning into your everyday practice.
Read Gerard's story
Patricia Skowronski
Patricia Skowronski
MSc Performance Coaching
Overall, you get the opportunity to learn a lot about theoretical approaches and apply them in your coaching at the same time.
Read Patricia's story
Lesley McKenna
MSc Performance Coaching
I never considered I would have so much in common with a football or a triathlon coach and we can bounce ideas off one another and compare methods.
Read Lesley's story

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

Which course would you like to apply for?

MSc Performance Coaching

Search for another course