'Providing coaches with a foundation to excel'
Strength and conditioning coaches, in collaboration with athletic trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, sport scientists, and other allied professions, are now commonly part of a team which provides support services to athletes. As a profession, strength and conditioning has seen unheralded growth in the past 40 years, as evidenced by the development of several large non-profit professional bodies.
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About this course
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The knowledge base that is utilized by strength and conditioning coaches is generally accepted to cut across several domains, such as anatomy, exercise physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, and sport psychology. Through such observations, the knowledge for effective coaching can be identified and coaching shortcomings can be improved through well-rounded education programmes. This course has been developed to reflect the guidelines published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), regarding graduate level study. In addition, key stakeholders from industry have been consulted to help formulate a needs-led curriculum.
Students may wish to complete the programme in part-time mode over 3 academic years, typically taking 30 credits per semester.
All students have to successfully complete the following 7 compulsory modules in for the award of MSc in Strength and Conditioning.
a. Principles and Practice of S&C (30 Credits)
b. Programme Design (15 Credits)
c. Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (15 Credits)
d. Optimizing Exercise and Load (30 Credits)
e. Applied Statistics (15 Credits)
f. Motor Cognition (15 Credits)
g. Research Project
For further information on modules, please contact the Course Director.
- September 2019
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Optimising Exercise and Load: Effective monitoring and management
In order to optimise the performance of an athlete, it is essential to understand the key scientific and practical concepts of biomechanics, athlete monitoring and load considerations to prevent injuries, or optimise rehabilitation of an athlete's return to play. This module will advance the students' ability to observe and collect athlete data, analyse, interpret, act upon and communicate with the athlete and within, or across, multidisciplinary settings. This module draws upon the student's previous knowledge and skills to ensure a multifaceted approach to the development of professional practice in sports and exercise medicine.
Principles and Practice of Strength and Conditioning
This module will consider many contemporary issues within the ever evolving area of strength and conditioning. Students will get an opportunity to explore the evidence-base that can directly inform current practice. In addition, consideration will be be given to how practice based evidence that is developed, refined, and implemented first in a variety of real-world settings, can also be utilized.
Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
This module will provide an introduction to the biochemical principles of exercise metabolism and will highlight the importance of nutrition in enhancing athletic performance.
This module highlights some of the well documented concerns with the traditional approach to inferential statistics and provides the student with a more progressive alternative, namely: magnitude based inference (MBI). Students will get an opportunity to consider several applicable research designs within S&C and more importantly, will collect and analyse data in a manner that conducive to direct application within performance sport.
The module promotes that the strength and conditioning coach must complete a comprehensive needs analysis prior to designing a sport-specific programme. In addition, the training process can be considered a single-subject experiment that requires meticulous documentation and a flexible approach, that reflects the demands of modern sport.
Motor Cognition and Performance
Through a series of lectures and tutor-led practical sessions, students will be able to critically reflect on the theoretical and practical importance of motor learning and performance. Students will also develop experience delivering a movement skills programme.
Research Project in Sports and Performance
Carrying out an original, independent piece of research from the formulation of a research question through to reporting findings in accordance with the conventions of the academic area is an important part of the research training provided by Masters level study. This module provides students with an opportunity for students to carry out an original independent piece of research within the area of their own profession, or special interest in sports and performance, and present findings in the form of a journal manuscript and a conference presentation.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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(i) a second class honours degree or better in sports science or cognate area from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or
(ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification; and
(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
In exceptional circumstances, as an alternative to (a) (i) or (a) (ii) and/or (b) and/or (c), where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
Teaching and Learning Methods include: lectures, problem based case studies, tutorials, seminars, online material, workshops, discussion groups, analysis of data, practical exercises, demonstrations, literature searching and observation.
The learning outcomes of the course will be assessed through a combination of essay, examination, case studies, reflective practice, group and individual presentations and extended research project. These assessment methods will measure students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject as well as their intellectual and transferable skills.
Careers & opportunities
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Employment opportunities for aspiring strength and conditioning coaches thus exist in government-funded organizations such as schools, colleges, universities, national/state institutes of sport, and privately funded professional organizations and individual athletes.
Many members of the teaching staff hold a PGCE, PGCHEP, PGCHET, PGCUT or other teaching qualification and are members of the Higher Education Academy. Several of the staff are engaged with the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute (SESRI). Teaching staff have considerable research and practical experience that informs their teaching. In addition, many staff are qualified members of professional bodies such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA).
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.