MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate

Sports Coaching

Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time and part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

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Course overview

This programme will support you to take your coaching to the next level by becoming a theoretically informed and evidence-based coaching practitioner.

You’ll benefit from a range of academically stimulating and industry-relevant modules, delivered by lecturers and professors who are also coaching practitioners for international, national and local clubs, as well as our own performance Sports Academy teams.

The course is ideal for recent graduates, as well as coaching practitioners in high-performance sport and those in development coaching roles, who want to develop in an academic environment, whilst applying theory to practice in real-world employment or extra-curricular settings.

As an MSc student, you’ll undertake a significant piece of research in your final year, contributing new knowledge to an area of your own work or wider coaching environment.

With both full and part-time learning options, you could study alongside existing employment or other commitments.

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What you'll study

What you'll study

MSc degree

The course has been designed to engage you in the process of applying theoretical principles to your practice, enabling you to develop as an academically informed reflective practitioner.

Industry-informed and relevant modules will support you to develop a deeper understanding of coaching, coach education and high-performing coaching environments, focusing on the practical nature of the discipline.

You’ll be encouraged to focus on your existing coaching context, with opportunities to tailor your assessments to help meet the demands of your professional role.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

These qualifications form part of and are at the same level as the full master’s degree. They provide the ideal opportunity for you to develop your professional expertise via shorter part-time qualifications to fit around commitments, whilst allowing flexibility to progress each qualification through to the next level, including the full master’s degree.

Postgraduate Certificate

The Postgraduate Certificate includes the initial group of core modules.

Postgraduate Diploma

The Postgraduate Diploma includes these core modules alongside focused research in a coaching context that could reflect your current role or future ambitions.

MSc degree

The full MSc includes all of the above plus your dissertation.


Below you’ll find the compulsory modules for this course. You’ll also be able to choose from a range of optional modules to suit your interests and career goals.

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Compulsory modules

Students will develop and undertake a research project of their choosing.

You’ll reflect your personal learning needs, potential future mentors and peak coach experiences to date.

Understand coaching philosophy and coaching behaviours and decision-making.

Developing reflective practices and their use in coaching.

Prepares students to review current research and conduct their own research projects in the area of coaching.

Optional modules

Students will consider current knowledge on how to develop coaches, through a range of coach education strategies.

This module allows postgraduate students to complete a work-based project defined by a learning contract and negotiated between the learner themselves, a university tutor-facilitator and often the student’s employer.

Students will develop a critical understanding and appreciation of how to work effectively within industry and multi-disciplinary/inter-disciplinary teams.

This module focuses on the use of learning theories and pedagogic principles as a conceptual lens through which to view practice. It provides practitioners with an opportunity to increase their understanding of the field of pedagogy in order to develop a conceptual base from which to refine and critique their practice. Students enrolled on this module will be required to design and deliver a presentation to provide practitioners with underpinning knowledge that will allow them to develop more pedagogically aware practice.

You will undertake an extended literature review in an area of your choice, supported by an academic supervisor.

This module will bridge the gap between the student’s academic preparation and the real world environment. Students are required to source and complete 200 hours of industry- based placement in a pre-approved environment.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

Further details

One year, full-time

You can study each of these qualifications full-time and subsequently complete each within one year.

Two-three years, part-time

Alternatively, we offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final master’s degree differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops, practical sessions and online delivery – alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour.

The course is taught in English.

Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MSc degree11%0%89%
Postgraduate Diploma15%0%85%
Postgraduate Certificate14%0%86%

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you are studying.

You'll be assessed through a mixture of practical exams and written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment.

Feedback will be given in written form, with the option to discuss all feedback with academic staff.

Written examPractical examCoursework
MSc degree0%31%69%
Postgraduate Diploma0%34%66%
Postgraduate Certificate0%19%81%

This master’s course is made up of two  semesters, within which you’ll study compulsory and optional modules on different topics.

Semesters normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled teaching generally takes place across block weekends (Friday – Sunday)
  • Delivery on the teaching weekends is normally scheduled between 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Part-time students typically study for fewer block weekends across an academic year
  • Attendance dates and timetables are available before enrolment to support the arrangement of annual leave where required


Your career

To support you to apply theory to practice, we recommend you to be working in a coaching role alongside your studies. Students sometimes secure voluntary roles with our own performance and development sports teams on campus to support their learning, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Career destinations for the degree include:

  • Professional sports coach
  • PhD study
  • School sport coach
  • University or college lecturer
  • Community or developmental coach

The Hartpury Sports Business Hub

Boost your employability, expand learning and networks, and gain real-world experience in the sports industry.

Managed out of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, the Sports Business Hub provides students and staff the opportunity to engage with key local and regional sports organisations to complete live briefs and real-world research consultancy. The Hub provides access to a range of organisations including Active Gloucester, Sport Wales, Bream RFC and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club as well as multinational corporations and independent businesses.

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Two people in Hartpury gym

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Sports Academy

Our new world-leading Sports Academy provides students with the opportunity to utilise industry-relevant equipment and facilities. Our new performance analysis suite and IP cameras in both outdoor and indoor spaces support the capturing of coaching sessions followed by exploration and development of practice.

Female student in Hartpury library - the University Learning Centre

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis.


Students with non-relevant qualifications but with sufficient work experience or professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information:

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our student finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Studentship scheme

Our Postgraduate Studentship Scheme provides a fantastic development opportunity, enabling you to complement your postgraduate study with important real-world research within a paid position at Hartpury.

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Performance Sports Academies

Find out costs and details for joining one of our Sports Academies.

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Find out costs and details for joining the Hartpury gym.

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Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2020.