Postgraduate Course

MSc Coaching Science

MSc Coaching Science


The details
Coaching Science
October 2024
1 year
Colchester Campus

Do you strive to be a top-level coach? Do you want to challenge current coaching practice and help people achieve their full potential? Can you inspire confidence and self-belief through coaching? Our MSc Coaching Science will train you in the practical and theoretical elements of coaching science, and you will explore the broad spectrum of areas that underpin both coaching practise and development.

With our state-of-the-art facilities and science-based approach, you will gain a solid understanding of the applied practical skills, psychology, developmental and advanced practise in coaching. Alongside seminar-based teaching, you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in our specialist laboratory facilities and on an optional coaching placement. Coaching placements are undertaken with an employer over 8 – 10 weeks, enabling you to develop your coaching delivery and prepare you for employment.

You will study a broad range of topics, including:

  • Masterclasses in coaching
  • Youth athletic development
  • Skill acquisition in coaching
  • Adapted coaching

You will also have the flexibility to study additional modules from other disciplines in order to deepen your understanding of all aspects of coaching science.

This course sits within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. This provides an exciting opportunity to join a community specifically focused on sport and exercise, allowing us to bring together our internationally recognised research, share knowledge and enhance opportunities for our students.

Sport scholarships

Our Performance Sport Scholarship programme has been created for talented athletes playing at regional, national or international level, and offers a range of benefits. We want students competing in our focus sports (basketball, volleyball, tennis, football and rugby 7s), as well as other team sports and individual athletes, to contribute to our performance sport programme. Our scholarships can include fee discounts of up to 100%, offered to athletes who demonstrate sporting excellence. Athletes who are awarded the scholarship will receive a host of other benefits, including free kit, access to state-of-the-art facilities, performance coaching, the option to live in our Athlete Village (accommodation fees may vary) and a support package valued up to £1,500. These benefits are designed to help athletes focus on their training, and development, and to enable them to reach their full potential alongside their studies.

Why we're great.
  • Our state-of-the-art Essex Sport Arena houses the latest technology and facilities which you will have access to.
  • Work with elite athletes and gain experience in our renowned Human Performance Unit at our Colchester Campus.
  • Spend 8-10 weeks in professional placement, honing your coaching skills.

Our expert staff

As part of our vibrant sports science community you learn from and work alongside internationally recognised academic researchers, including:

  • Dr Ben Jones, is a qualified rugby football Union and Strength and Conditional Specialist with over 15 years coaching experience in both the UK and the US. Ben’s research areas are in exercise science and competitive engineering.
  • Dr John Mills is a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and member of the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology. John works with a range of charities, sports teams, and organisations to examine ways to improve coaching effectiveness, team functioning and the influence of sport on development teamwork and social skills.
  • Dr Jason Moran has published peer-reviewed articles on a number of different topics such as youth athletic development, strength and conditioning and exercise interventions in older adults. His current research projects include the use of resistance training to improve mental health outcomes, evaluating the use of eccentric resistance training in youth and the application of plyometric training across a wide cross-section of populations.
  • Dr Alice Harkness-Armstrong has applied experience as a performance analyst across a range of sports and contexts, including Huddersfield Town AFC and Sunderland AFC Ladies Centre of Excellence, and is currently performance analyst for Northern Ireland Volleyball senior women's team.

We also bring in experts who are currently working in roles such as performance analysis, strength and conditioning coaching, who deliver practical sessions and lectures.

Specialist facilities

Our specialist facilities include our Sport Arena, a dedicated coaching seminar and practical workspace, six specialist sport and physiology labs, two dedicated sports therapy training labs, physiotherapy labs, and an on-campus sports therapy clinic.

  • Gain valuable experience working with elite athletes in our Human Performance Unit
  • Dedicated research facilities, from state of the art treadmills, to 12-camera biomechanics systems, to gas and blood analysis systems
  • World class ESA equipment with AnalysisPro Capture
  • Four 4K IP cameras capturing 360° footage
  • Specialist analytical software Nacsport
  • Go-Pros for coaching sessions
  • Portable HD Cameras with 6m tripod
  • STATSports Apex GPS units
  • Up to 50 metrics, in real-time + post event

Your future

The sports science and coaching sectors are booming and provide a variety of careers for coaching science graduates. Typical career destinations include talent development/identification specialist, early years sports educator, PE teacher, coach education, sports development and academic research.

We have strong links with industry providers who may enable you to deliver coaching practises in a range of coaching environments, challenging you and helping you to further develop your coaching skills set. We also work closely with the University’s Careers Services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall 2.2 in a subject relevant to Sport Coaching or Sport Science, including Sport and Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Physiology, Sports Coaching, Sports Development, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies.

you must have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (child and adult workforce, including child barred list). The DBS check is organised by the University. Please contact our DBS team if you have any questions relating to this.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, inn addition to the DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained


Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.


Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms


Research Project

The research project module is an opportunity for you to carry out an individual scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree specialisation. It will help develop your skills in reviewing synthesising and critically appraising academic literature. You will also be expected to design, analyse and interpret data and present findings in a scientific paper format.

View Research Project on our Module Directory


Further Research Methods in Sport, Exercise and Health

This module will focus on the fundamental assumptions underlying quantitative research, including; research design methods, sampling, and the validity and reliability of measurements in exercise science. Students will master the techniques needed to critically appraise published research and carry out a piece of original research.

View Further Research Methods in Sport, Exercise and Health on our Module Directory


Skill Acquisition and Expertise in Sport

Skill acquisition is commonly described as the voluntary control over movements in an attempt to solve motor skill problems and achieve a task goal. These may vary from catching a ball or riding a bike, to slalom skiing or rhythmic gymnastics. Regardless of the domain, the interaction between the practitioner (eg coach or PE teacher) and athlete when learning these skills is absolutely fundamental to successful performance. Specifically, how can the practitioner create optimal practice conditions to facilitate skill acquisition? This module will firstly enhance your understanding of contemporary theory and research in skill learning and motor expertise. From this, the module takes on a more applied focus, where evidence-based approaches are implemented to critically evaluate their effect on coaching practice.

View Skill Acquisition and Expertise in Sport on our Module Directory


Youth Athletic Development

Due to the variable timing and tempo of biological maturation in children and adolescents, coaches are faced with challenges that are different to those encountered when training adults. The training methods used for enhancing physical performance in youth require a highly precise approach which must account for an individual's training age, rate of growth, resistance to injury and tolerance of workloads. To negotiate this complex combination of factors, the youth coach must be able to determine biological maturation and to select fitness tests and training methods that are appropriate to a given stage of physical development. This module will inform you on how best to physically evaluate the youth athlete and how to construct age-appropriate training programmes that enhance performance and minimise injury risk. In doing so, you will become well-acquainted with the techniques necessary to operate within physical education, clinical, sport and community environments.

View Youth Athletic Development on our Module Directory


Applied Performance Analysis

This module adopts an applied focus to examine how performance analysis and skill acquisition concepts can be integrated into and support the coaching process. Employing a hybrid approach, you will be introduced to a range of performance analysis and skill acquisition principles, before applying these in practice to effectively quantify and analyse performance, and inform and reflect on coaching practice. You are tasked with quantifying physical, technical, and tactical aspects of performance in order to facilitate athlete and team development. You will also develop your skills to capture real-time data during performance and enhance your knowledge and understanding of how one might adjust the coaching practice accordingly depending on the desired output/aims for that session. You will develop the necessary skills to feedback and communicate effectively with key stakeholders in the coaching process, from athletes and coaches to the wider sports science team.

View Applied Performance Analysis on our Module Directory


Coaching Practice Placement

This module offers hands-on experience working as a coach, tutor or support practitioner to develop your underpinning knowledge of key applied practice in coaching. This module centres around a coaching placement where you are supported by a placement supervisor and University of Essex staff. You are encouraged to adopt a reflective approach to develop your expertise and practice. You will develop your core skills / competencies (communication, problem solving, management and professional behaviour) and critically appraise practitioner perspectives within sport coaching.

View Coaching Practice Placement on our Module Directory


Masterclasses in Coaching

Using an interview style format, you will be able to generate pertinent questions and directly engage with expert practitioners working in and around the coaching environment at a range of levels. The module hopes to shine a light on various aspects of professional sport to better equip students with insider knowledge of various aspects and contexts within sport.

View Masterclasses in Coaching on our Module Directory


Developing High-Performance Coach Education

Since the 1980s governments around the world have been interested in improving high performance sporting outcomes. The desire to win Olympic medals has led to the development of state-sanctioned coach education programs in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom to govern coaches and coaching. In this module we will critically explore the history of sports coach education and how contemporary research and theories in both education and coaching science can be used by coaching leaders to improve athlete outcomes related to both performance, and health and welfare. Coaches are often required to manage the development of others and novice coaches within their employment, thus this module prepare you to respectfully work with other professionals and to incorporate educational research to improve coaching and athlete outcomes.

View Developing High-Performance Coach Education on our Module Directory


You will have seminars, lectures, practical work and placements throughout this course. These sessions will comprise a blend of lecturer-led delivery, student-led presentations, discussions of research articles and case-studies, and role-play/problem-based learning scenarios. To reflect the applied nature of the discipline, practicals and applied ‘real-world delivery’ sessions will provide you with skills and techniques relevant to research and applied practice.


  • Written assessments such as literature reviews
  • Research proposals and reports
  • Final research project

These will be completed by oral presentations, practical assessments, personal development portfolios and workshops.


You will have a research project which will be at the end of this course.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, January 20, 2024


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

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Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

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