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MSc Performance Coaching (Online)

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

Performance Coaching (Online)

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Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc part-time: 24 months; PGDip: 18 months; PGCert: 9 months
  • Mode of study Online, Part-time, Stand-alone modules
  • Accreditations Endorsed by UK Coaching

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.

This MSc 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 Performance Coaching MSc is for experienced coaches 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 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 accreditations

    Our MSc 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 sa you complete your MSc 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 and/or context.

  • Flexible learning

    Individual modules can be taken for continuing professional development or grouped for an award such as the Postgraduate Certificate which consists of three modules, and the Postgraduate Diploma which has six modules, or the MSc which has seven modules including an 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.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. You must also have five years' appropriate work experience in coaching, and evidence of successful completion of sport-specific coaching qualifications is expected.

  • 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 sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

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

You must successfully complete six taught modules and an applied coaching project for the award of the MSc. For the award of the Postgraduate Diploma you must successfully complete all the 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.


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    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 including online lectures, podcasts from expert coaches, researchers, and sport professionals, guided independent study and professional practice experiences delivered through the University’s virtual learning platform. Individual tutorials via Skype or phone are available to support your learning journey and supervision of the Applied Coaching Project.

  • Assessment

    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.

  • Course director
  • Key staff

    Stephen Macdonald

    Dr Andrew Kirkland

    Dr Marie Overbye

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  • Fees and costs
    2020/21 fees

    Home/EU students

    Overseas students

    Total MSc course fee



    Your tuition fee will be calculated based on the number of credits you enrol on each year. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

    If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

Typically, coaches who apply for our MSc Performance Coaching degree will already be employed in performance sport. 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. Our alignment with UK Coaching places your qualification within a recognised professional framework.

  • Grow your network of professional connections as you study
  • 96% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey, 2016/17)
Patricia Skowronski
Overall, you get the opportunity to learn a lot about theoretical approaches and apply them in your coaching at the same time.
Patricia Skowronski
MSc Performance Coaching
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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.
Lesley McKenna
MSc Performance Coaching
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