MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate

Strength and Conditioning

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

Join one of a select few CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity)-endorsed strength and conditioning courses in the UK. You’ll develop industry-relevant competences to the highest level.

Upon graduation, you’ll be recognised as a CIMSPA Graduate Strength and Conditioning Coach, highly skilled and able to stand out from the crowd in the employment market.

This is the ideal course for passionate and committed individuals who want to advance their strength and conditioning practice. Many of our module assessments have been designed with industry to provide an experience that develops your subject-specific knowledge that is relevant to your applied practice.

This provides you with the opportunity to critically evaluate, reflect and receive feedback on your current practices that you can act upon to enhance your career prospects.

Designed in collaboration with our key industry partners, the course has a proven track record of helping practitioners progress into the field, via both practice and academic routes.

Focus is on developing your performance as an evidence-based coach, with a strong scientific background. You’ll be challenged and supported to develop your existing expertise to the high standards required by employers, as well as UKSCA and NSCA professional standards.

You’ll be taught by experienced accredited strength and conditioning coaches, who are also research-active lecturers, actively publishing high-quality research in the field.


This course is endorsed by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). On successful completion of the course you’ll hold the professional position of ‘Graduate Strength and Conditioning Coach’. Student CIMSPA membership fees are funded by us throughout your studies, providing you with career advice and further learning opportunities. Once you obtain the ‘Graduate Strength and Conditioning Coach’ title you’ll then need to enter into a professional membership with CIMSPA in order to maintain the qualification.

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What you'll study

What you'll study

MSc degree

The full master’s degree will provide the tools you need to become a well-rounded strength and conditioning coach, able to bridge the gap between theory and practice, as well as helping support the development of the ‘softer’ coaching skills needed to become an effective practitioner.

You’ll gain a thorough grounding in the role of strength and conditioning as part of the wider sports network through modules covering strength and conditioning practices, coaching science and research methods – these will allow you to develop advanced critical skills necessary to work within the field.

You’ll benefit from lectures, workshops and practical sessions, working individually and collaborating with peers from different professional backgrounds, to share and evaluate best practice, and develop your professional network. You’ll also have the opportunity to complete a self-funded British Weightlifting qualification to enhance your development.

It is key that you put what you learn into practice, so we strongly encourage you to fulfil a strength and conditioning practitioner role outside your learning. Roles may be available with our performance Sports Academy teams or through our extensive professional network – please speak to a staff member prior to application.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

The postgraduate certificate and diploma programmes offer flexibility to those working in full-time roles or with other commitments, enabling the achievement of postgraduate qualifications alongside continuing your professional development.

Postgraduate Certificate

The postgraduate certificate will help to develop your knowledge within applied strength and conditioning, and coaching science, so that you have the skills to effectively design and coach strength and conditioning sessions. Please see module overviews.

Postgraduate Diploma

The postgraduate diploma includes postgraduate certificate content, as well as advancing your strength and conditioning expertise for enhanced performance. Please see module overviews.­


Below you’ll find the modules for this course. Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) students will study compulsory modules and choose from a range of optional modules in line with interests and career goals, as outlined below.

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


Students will develop their critical evaluation, analytical and practical skills in the designing, coaching and
monitoring of strength and conditioning programs.

Focus on developing a critical understanding and awareness of the latest strength and conditioning
research and concepts that are prevalent in the field, with a specific onus on how these influence coaches’
own practice.

Progress an enhanced understanding of the relevant testing methods that can be used by strength and conditioning coaches as well as the data analysis methods used to assess athlete or client physical testing capabilities.

Develop a detailed understanding of the specific dose‐response and adaptations to strength and
conditioning training methods, and how this influences training prescription and programming.

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

This module will bridge the gap between your academic preparation and the real-world environment. You’ll be required to source and complete 200 hours of industry-based placement in a pre-approved environment.

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

Acquire new understanding and practical ability to integrate skill acquisition methods into the strength and conditioning environment.

Undertake critical discussion of research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Develop and undertake a research project of their choosing. This will allow students to further research a topic within strength and conditioning that is of personal interest/importance.

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 including lectures, practical sessions, seminars and group tasks scheduled 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 degree10%11%79%
Postgraduate Diploma16%0%84%
Postgraduate Certificate16%0%84%

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you’re studying. However, postgraduate modules on this course normally involve 24 hours of taught contact time with staff per module.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of practical assessments, oral presentations 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.

Written feedback will be provided to you for each assessment that you submit and you’ll be able to discuss your feedback by arranging a tutorial with the respective module leader.

Written examPractical examCoursework
MSc degree0%36%64%
Postgraduate Diploma0%48%52%
Postgraduate Certificate0%75%25%

The full-time master’s programme is taught over three semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching across two semesters and then assessment weeks.

This programme has been designed to fit around those working, volunteering or completing internships within the sector.  As such, timetables have been designed carefully to provide you with sufficient time to perform external opportunities and responsibilities. Timetables are normally available during registration.

It is recommended that you discuss potential timetables and how this may fit alongside working or volunteering with a member of Hartpury staff in person prior to beginning the course or during the induction days.


Work placements and experience

It’s important that students on this course are developing their applied coaching skills. It’s therefore expected that all students undertake some form of applied practice within the field during their studies.

Due to the diverse locations that our students travel from, they normally prefer to organise experiential opportunities nearer their home. However, you will be able to utilise our extensive industry connections, as well as our own performance Sports Academy teams, to secure a role, locally or nationally. Please speak to a member of staff prior to submitting your application.

Throughout the course, you’ll be informed of paid and volunteer positions that become available and for which you may wish to apply.

Additional qualifications

During the course you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a self-funded British Weightlifting Coaching qualifications at a discounted rate. These will likely take place over weekends and will be run on a first-come first-served basis.  Details of dates of the courses and the associated costs of these will be released throughout the academic year.

Graduate destinations

As a graduate strength and conditioning coach, you’ll have many potential career opportunities. During the course, you can make the most of our sports and careers teams for advice about your future. Recent graduate destinations for our students have included:

  • Professional sport
  • Head of athletic development in schools or clubs
  • PE school coach
  • Academic researcher (PhD)
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Business owner

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.

Find out more


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:

Strength and Conditioning Gym

Our specialist Power Gym, part of our £8.8million Sports Academy developments, will allow you to develop your practical strength and conditioning skills using real-world equipment and technologies that are utilised by coaches to enhance strength, power, speed and injury prevention qualities.

Hartpury Performance Gym

The Hartpury Performance Gym is a dedicated strength and conditioning facility used by learners for teaching and research activities to develop the key practical skills needed for testing, prescribing training and coaching athletes/clients.


Our laboratories are modern and well­ equipped, providing the ideal spaces for teaching and research. During the course you will have access to our Human Performance and Biomechanics Lab which will provide you with both supervised and independent opportunities to develop your skill-set using the latest equipment and software for research, as well as within day-to-day strength and conditioning practice.

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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Short courses

You’ll have the opportunity to undertake British Weightlifting qualifications during your course at a subsidised fee. Please enquire prior to application for the most up-to-date costs.

Clothing and footwear

Although you don’t need to purchase specialist kit for this course, it is essential that you have typical sports kit including trainers, shorts/trousers and a T-shirt in order to participate and contribute to sessions.

If you would like to purchase Hartpury-branded clothing, you can order this from our online shop:

Visit Hartpury shop

Performance Sports Academies

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

Explore Sports Academies


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.

£8.8million recent investment in facilities

Our specialist Power Gym, Human Performance and Biomechanics labs will enable you to develop your practical skills using industry-standard equipment that’s utilised by professional coaches to enhance strength, power, speed and injury prevention qualities.

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 MSc Strength and Conditioning students who graduated in 2020.