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What makes Sports Coaching MSc at Worcester special?

Sports coaching can be an incredibly valuable and fulfilling career for those who have an interested in helping others to learn and develop in their sport.  This course will help take your coaching to the next level by developing a deeper understanding of the theories that underpin your practice and the credibility of the evidence relating to particular approaches.  Our students regularly tell us that this course has revolutionised their approach to coaching. 

The UK Government, UK Sport and Sport England have aligned their various strategies to place the coach as a key figure in providing support, growth and development to a wide range of people at various stages of their lifespan. ‘Coaching is Changing’ and the Sports Coaching MSc enables you to develop your coaching whether you are more interested in high performance, mental wellbeing or participation.

The course features an extensive Professional Placement element which enables you to develop your practice in an applied environment – either of your own choosing or facilitated through our extensive network of providers including our own professional sport franchises (Worcester Wolves Basketball and Severn Stars netball).



Key features

  • Full and part-time study options
  • Flexible modular structure allows you to study at your own pace
  • Choose from multiple pathways: Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Master's Degree
  • Choice of assessment topic, so you can tailor your assignments to your personal and professional interests
  • Professional Placement to apply contemporary research and theory to sports coaching environments

We are proud of our strong reputation for sporting excellence. Our mission is to enhance the knowledge, skills and understanding of our students so they can continue to make a meaningful contribution to society at all levels.

Mick Donovan, Head of School

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Students will normally have a 2:1 classification in a sport related degree.

Students who hold a sport-related degree classification of either 2:2 (or below), or, a non-sport related degree will be considered on a case by case basis and may be required to submit a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate coaching experience.

The IELTS score for international applicants is 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component). Other English Language qualifications will be considered. For more information please click here.

Admissions procedures

All applicants will be interviewed.

Due to the nature of the programme, all students must complete a criminal records disclosure check prior to the start of the course.

Other information

Mature Students

We value diversity in our student body and applications from mature students are very welcome. Students with few or no formal qualifications should contact the Admissions Office. Please provide Admissions with details of your age, any work undertaken, including caring or organised voluntary work, and any other relevant experience.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Candidates with an acceptable academic background and/or relevant work experience may apply for Accreditation of prior learning (APL) and experience (APEL). It is advisable for candidates to discuss this with the Course Leader initially. The programmes follow our Policy for Accreditation of Prior Learning.

Please contact the Admissions Office for further information or guidance on 01905 855111.

Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 


  • Athlete and coach learning
  • Leading People in sport
  • Contemporary issues in sports coaching
  • Professional placement
  • Sports Research Project
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The ‘heart’ of the MSc Sport (Coaching) concerns the coach primarily as an educator.  Therefore, the course focus explores the latest research and practice concerning how to help our athletes learn and develop.  On the course you will explore different perspectives on how athletes learn and critique the underpinning evidence relating to these competing perspectives.  We also explore how coaches learn and analyse the ways in which National Governing Bodies, education institutions and non-governmental organisations (e.g. UK Sport and UK Coaching) currently structure learning opportunities for coaches.

The course addresses a number of other theoretical and practical perspectives examining leadership, inclusive practice and a range of other contemporary issues such as the use of technology and athlete-centred coaching.  There is also a strong focus on developing understanding of research methods.

Every element of the course will be related to your coaching practice so the content of the programme evolves with every cohort.

Teaching and Learning

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of workshops, seminars and practical sessions. In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are throughout the academic year.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 8-12 contact hours of teaching if you are studying full-time. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and towards the end of the programme you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 25 hours of personal self-study per week if you are studying full-time. Typically, this will involve reading, data collection, small group working and observation of coaching sessions.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes Dr Don Vinson, Dr Andy Cale, Dr Rachael Bullingham, Dr Christian Edwards, Polly Lasota.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 100 per cent of course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include eportfolios, presentations, essays and frequent opportunities to negotiate assessment task formats.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme Specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.


Dr Don Vinson

Don's specialist area is sports coaching.  He is driven by balancing his roles as teacher, researcher and practitioner, applying his expertise in learning and pedagogic theory to all areas of his work.

Don has written extensively in the area of sports coaching, performance analysis, leadership and higher education pedagogy. He has secured over £100,000 in external project funding. Don reviews for a wide range of academic journals and is Associate Editor of the Graduate Journal of Sport, Exercise and Physical Education Research. Don is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and also holds a University Teaching Fellowship from the University of Gloucestershire.

Don has worked with a large number of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) including the Football Association, British Cycling, British Gymnastics, British Rowing and the British Equestrian Federation.  Don has also consulted for many influential bodies within the sport sector such as UK Sport, UK Coaching and the League Managers’ Association.  Don will convene iTGfU 2020: Inclusion, Integration and Implementation - the 7th International Teaching Games for Understanding conference at the University of Worcester in July 2020.


Dr Andy Cale

Andy has a wide and vast experience in Higher Education, Sports Coaching and Sports Psychology. He has worked in Professional Football as a Sports Psychologist, has managed and coached in the Champions League, has worked for the Football Association as Head of Player Development and Research and worked as a Senior Football Manager in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Andy uses all these different experiences to help students learn and develop as people and coaches.


Dr Rachael Bullingham

Rachael is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Course Leader of the Physical Education and Outdoor Education BSc at the University of Worcester.  Rachael’s PhD analysed the experiences of openly lesbian athletes participating in team sports, this led to the publication of Out in Sport which offers an up-to-date examination of homophobia in sport. 


Dr Christian Edwards

Dr Christian Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science and one of the School’s Academic Integrity Tutors. He is a member of the Gender, Identity and the Body research interest group and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Christian teaches on sociological, psychological and research methods modules within the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Christian also supports postgraduate students on the MRes Socio-Cultural Studies of Sport and Exercise programme.

Christian’s principal research interest is on the psychology of resistance exercise, specifically psychological strategies' influence on strength performance and muscularity-orientated body-image. He has published his work in, and reviews for, a number of leading international academic journals in this area. In addition to his work in this field, he also collaborates on projects focused on workplace physical activity and well-being.

Alongside his academic role, Christian is a cycling coach.

polly-lasota new

Polly Lasota

Polly's background was as a School Sports Development Officer, with teaching responsibilities, under the previous School Sports Partnership framework. Polly facilitated the development of Physical Education and School Sport across 24 schools (primary and secondary education). The role included coordinating sports leadership and volunteering schemes; managing a wide range of external coaching provision for extra-curricular programmes and supporting gifted and talented performers.

Polly was also Chair of a tennis club for three years and part of the Gloucestershire Hockey Association coaching team for the JDC and JAC player development system. Polly is now studying for her PhD with a focus on professional learning and development pedagogies for coaches with disabilities.


Where could it take you?


An MSc in Sports Coaching will provide students with opportunities in many areas of sport and/or coaching, and other areas of employment as well.

This degree is useful for a wide range of occupations, such as:

  • Professional sports coach 
  • Fitness instructor
  • Physical education teacher
  • Sports coach
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Coach development officer
  • Sport development officer
  • Sports coaching lecturer
  • Recreation officer
  • Self-employed coaching consultant
  • Researcher
  • Performance analyst

Victoria Huckle, Professional Rowing Coach

"My time studying the MSc Sports Coaching at Worcester has been an integral part of my personal, professional and academic journey, completely transforming my thinking and practice.

The content, delivery and application of modules was stimulating and insightful, ensuring that I left every lecture, practical and tutorial inspired by contemporary material, exciting conceptual and theoretical underpinning and thought-provoking discussion.

The commitment of staff to the growth and development of every individual is outstanding. Tutors do not only work tirelessly to help develop critical thinking and academic writing skills, but go above and beyond to support and mentor, offering guidance and advice to ensure development as a practitioner too. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and their commitment to my continuing journey is something for which I will be forever grateful.

Aside from gaining the qualification, over two years I have gained true friends for life, completely transformed the lens through which I look at coaching as a discipline, opened doors as a practitioner that I never dreamt could be opened, and ignited a true passion for learning that has inspired me to pursue further study. A fantastic journey that will always stand out as key in understanding why I do what I do."

Dr John Alder

Senior Performance Pathway Scientist, English Institute of Sport

“The MSc in Sport Coaching at University of Worcester fuelled a growing curiosity about all things coaching that grew out of a general dissatisfaction with my own practice.  Through the programme, staff challenged my deeply held assumptions and beliefs about how athletes (and people) learn and develop, and this fundamentally changed the way I saw our athletes, my coaching and me as the coach. 

Significantly, the flexibility provided by being able to study the MSc part-time afforded me the opportunity to continue teaching and coaching alongside my study, facilitating a playful interaction between theory and practice – something integral for any learning coach. 

Springboarding from my MSc, I’ve had the fortune to work in sport across the tertiary education, professional sport, Governing Body and government sectors across three continents.  Central to my career has been some special staff from the University of Worcester, some of whom have since become mentors and life-long friends.”

Sport Coaching graduate successes

Ollie Dudfield – Head of Sport for Development and Peace, The Commonwealth Secretariat

Andy Elleray - England Youth International Women's Goalkeeping Coach, Football Association

Dr John Alder - Head of Performance Pathways, English Institute of Sport

Victoria Huckle – Rowing Coach, Team UK Invictus Games

Marieanne Spacey-Cale MBE, Head of Girls and Women's Football/Head Coach Southampton FC

Dr Sarah-Kate Millar – Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching, University of Auckland

Matthew Lewis – Performance Analyst, Norwich City FC

Ross Ensor – Academy Coach, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

John Major – Community Cricket Coach, Yorkshire County Cricket Association

Ed Cope – Learning Design and Development Manager, Football Association


How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Postgraduate loans

The Government will provide a loan of up to £10,609 per student for postgraduate Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs.

For full details visit our postgraduate loans page.

How to apply