Postgraduate Course

MSc Strength and Conditioning

MSc Strength and Conditioning

Overview

The details
Strength and Conditioning
September 2024
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Our MSc Strength and Conditioning course will provide you with the practical set of skills and theoretical knowledge needed to excel as a coach to physically develop athletes of all levels. With research-informed teaching and an applied focus, this course is ideal for you if your ambition is to work in sport or to further develop the practice of individuals already in applied environments.

Through a combination of face-to-face teaching and distance online learning, this course adopts a blended learning approach. You gain practical hands-on experience in our specialist strength and conditioning facilities, as well as learning the theoretical approaches through online lectures. Our seminar-based teaching gives you a virtual platform to participate in small group discussions and share expertise and knowledge. By studying this course, you will learn to:

  • design and deliver training programmes that improve sports performance
  • understand the physiological adaptations associated with exercise and how they can be targeted through programme design
  • monitor athlete progress within the training process
  • analyse movement demands for a sport and use this information to support athlete development
  • coach a variety of exercises whilst facilitating athlete learning
  • interpret research so to inform your own practice as a Strength and Conditioning Coach

This course is also available to study on a part-time basis.



Do I need a Student visa?

Please note that students will not be able to acquire sponsorship for a Student visa to study in the UK for this course, in accordance with Home Office regulations. They should be able to enter the UK for the short periods required using entry clearance as a Standard Visitor. This is due to the mostly distance learning nature of the course. Further guidance in relation to seeking entry clearance to the UK as a Standard Visitor is available on our international webpages.

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 and football), 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 may also 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.
  • Gain the practical skill set and theoretical knowledge to excel as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in elite sport.
  • Study online on a blended learning course – tailor your studies to your own timetable anywhere in the world.
  • We are 23rd in the UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).

Our expert staff

This course offers research-led study and high-quality teaching from lecturers with experience working as strength and conditioning coaches in elite sport. We are 23rd in the UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure. Research Excellence Framework 2021). As part of our vibrant sports science community, you will learn from and work alongside internationally recognised academic researchers with industry links to professional organisations such as The Royal Ballet School, England and Wales Cricket Board, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and Leicester City Football Club.

Key academic staff for this course includes:

  • Dr Louis Howe - a UKSCA-accredited strength and conditioning coach with over a decade of experience working with international athletes from a variety of sports. Louis' research focuses on resistance training and its impact on health and performance.
  • Dr Jamie Tallent - a UKSCA-accredited strength and conditioning coach. He has experience of working with international-level athletes and has research collaborations with numerous world-leading organisations.
  • Dr Jason Moran - a UKSCA-accredited strength and conditioning coach with a research focus on youth athletic development and plyometric jump training for performance enhancement. In addition to over 15 years of experience in training athletes across a number of different sports, Jason has authored and co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on a variety of different topics.

Specialist facilities

Our specialist facilities include our Sport Arena, strength and conditioning facility, specialist sport and physiology laboratories, dedicated physiotherapy and sports therapy laboratories, and on-campus sports therapy clinic.

You will also:

  • have access to a wide range of specialist strength and conditioning equipment for training and testing purposes within our state-of-the-art Human Performance Laboratory
  • have opportunities to gain valuable experience working with elite athletes in our Human Performance Unit
  • be able to use our dedicated research facilities, from an isokinetic dynamometer to 12-camera 3D motion analysis system, to gas and blood analysis systems
  • have the chance to conduct your final-year research alongside academics and PhD students in dedicated research facilities

Your future

Upon graduation, you'll be well equipped for a career as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and to be able to work with athletes at any level. Typical career destinations include professional sport, youth sport academies, sports coaching, the health and fitness industry, teaching and academic research.

We have great industry links and 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 2:2 degree in one of the following subjects:

  • Human Biology
  • Physical Education
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • Sport and Exercise Science
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Therapy

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 degree in a similar relevant discipline.

Do I need a Student Visa?

Please note that students will not be able to acquire sponsorship for a Student visa to study in the UK for this course, in accordance with Home Office regulations. They should be able to enter the UK for the short periods required using entry clearance as a Standard Visitor. This is due to the mostly distance learning nature of the course. Further guidance in relation to seeking entry clearance to the UK as a Standard Visitor is available on our international webpages.

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 in all components.

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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

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

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
Core
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.
Compulsory
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.
Optional
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

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

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Research Project
(60 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Planning and Implementation of the Training Process
(30 CREDITS)

This module will present to students, through a wide range of theoretical, empirical and practical evidence, methods that can be used to design, monitor and implement techniques to optimally structure athletes' training activities. The module will outline a variety of programming approaches related to such issues as athletes' needs analyses, training periodisation and the application of a multitude of different training types. Students will develop their ability to critically analyse the wide range of techniques that they can apply to athletes operating in a variety of different contexts.

View Planning and Implementation of the Training Process on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Neuromechanical basis of strength and conditioning
(15 CREDITS)

Strength and conditioning coaches deal primarily with movement problems – problems that ultimately impede the expression of force. The primary task of a strength and conditioning coach is to optimise an athlete's movement performance whilst minimising the risk of injury/pain. The art of coaching, which you will learn in other modules, must be informed by the scientific basis underpinning movement and its control. The aim of this module is to equip you with the theoretical and practical movement-based skills that will optimise your ability to assess, plan, and implement strength training programs to improve athletic performance.

View Neuromechanical basis of strength and conditioning on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Skill Acquisition: Theory and Application
(15 CREDITS)

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 (e.g., coach) 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? The 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 synthesised to critically evaluate their effect on coaching practice.

View Skill Acquisition: Theory and Application on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Physiology of Training
(15 CREDITS)

The Physiology of Training module aims to give students an understanding of the physiological mechanism that underpin human performance. The module will develop the student's critical knowledge around the physiological demands of short explosive, long sustained and intermittent activities from the perspective of different energy systems. Students will also gain and understanding of performing laboratory and field-based tests to physiologically profile athletes.

View Physiology of Training on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Critical Enquiry and Evidence-Based Practice
(15 CREDITS)

This module will give students the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities in critically evaluating study design, analysis and interpretation of research studies. The module will cover the practical usage and critical analysis of different research methodologies in traditional research setting and within an applied environment.

View Critical Enquiry and Evidence-Based Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Techniques in Strength and Conditioning
(15 CREDITS)

This module will introduce students to the underpinning practical skills required for the delivery of Strength and Conditioning services to athletes. The module will focus on developing students' awareness and understanding of a variety of exercise technical models that will support their ability to improve an athlete's performance. This will include developing students reasoning skills around why elements of performance for each exercise are vital. Students will also gain experience with a wide range of exercise equipment to further their practice as a Strength and Conditioning professional.

View Techniques in Strength and Conditioning on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Professional Development in Strength and Conditioning
(15 CREDITS)

This module provides the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working as a coach or practitioner to develop students underpinning knowledge of key applied practice in strength and conditioning. This module centres on professional development through mentorship, where students will be supported by professionals working in strength and conditioning to develop specialised skills. The module will shine a light on various aspects of strength and conditioning to better equip students with insider knowledge of various aspects and contexts within sport. Students are encouraged to adopt a reflective approach to develop their expertise and practice.

View Professional Development in Strength and Conditioning on our Module Directory

Teaching

Through a combination of face-to-face teaching and distance learning, this course offers you the opportunity to graduate with a Masters degree.

Across this course, you will learn through:
  • pre-recorded online lectures, which you will be able to access in your own time, allowing you the flexibility to organise your learning experience
  • live online seminars and problem-based learning tasks to facilitate your development in a small-group environment
  • practical classes as part of our intensive on-site study periods where you will build the skills and ‘real-world’ experience to excel as a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Full-time

The course will be structured to commence with an initial four-day on-site period during which you will be introduced to the course and will be taught the practical elements from relevant modules. For the first and second terms, weekly pre-recorded online lectures will be complemented with live online seminars.

At the end of the second term, a second on-site visit, of approximately seven-days duration, will take place during which you will be taught practical content, as well as being assessed on relevant modules through a range of evaluation techniques including presentations and practical coaching demonstrations. You will have the opportunity to meet your dissertation supervisor face-to-face, before submitting your thesis at the end of the third and final term.

Part-time

The course will be structured to commence with an initial four-day on-site period during which you will be introduced to the course and will be taught the practical elements from relevant modules. For the first and second terms for both year one and two, weekly pre-recorded online lectures will be complemented with live online seminars.

At the end of the second term in year one, a second on-site visit, of approximately seven-days duration, will take place during which you will be taught practical content, as well as being assessed on relevant modules through a range of evaluation techniques including presentations and practical coaching demonstrations.

The second year of the programme will consist of two terms of online distance learning, during which time students will be responsible for developing their professional development portfolio and developing their dissertation for submission at the end of the Summer term.

Assessment

  • Practical assessments
  • Oral presentations
  • Written assessments such as literature reviews
  • Personal development portfolios
  • Athlete reports and case studies
  • Final research project

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£10,000

International fee

£21,700

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 tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Applying

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.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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