The course is targeted at those currently working in or with aspirations to gain employment in the field of sports coaching and aims to provide the knowledge, critical awareness and transferable skills that will equip them with the ability to be highly competent, socially aware and reflective practitioners.
The course has direct links/ access to postgraduate courses in physical education, as well as many masters programmes upon successful completion of the undergraduate programme.
The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course has been ‘refreshed’, with changes in place for students who entered from September 2018 onwards. For the most up-to-date course/ module information, please contact the Course Director.
The programme will be delivered through theory and practically applied sessions which are underpinned by three key strands: Coaching Pedagogy, Subject Matter and Professional Practice to achieve the following outcomes:
Demonstrate and understand the roles and qualities of a coach.
Prepare, plan, deliver and evaluate effective coaching sessions for a range of sporting populations.
Demonstrate an ability to reflect upon the coaching practice of oneself and others
Be able to articulate an understanding of coach development structures in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical principles of athlete development in a coaching context.
Mr Robin Gregg and Mrs Tandy Jane Haughey have significant industry based experience in the areas of sports management, sports development and sports coaching. Over a period of 15+ years they have developed an in-depth understanding of coach education and the coaching process from experience gained at local, regional, national and international level. Industry roles have included Sports Development Officers, Coaching Development Officers, Talent Identification & Development Consultant, Performance Systems Manager with Sport Northern Ireland and also Physical Education teaching. Both have research interests in the area of sports coaching.
The BSc Hons will be delivered on a part-time basis over a minimum of 4.5 years. Students will partake in 80 credits per academic year – 40 credits per semester. Students in year 1 will have no optional modules whereas in year 2 – 4, students will be given the opportunity to select modules which will be beneficial to their specific areas of interest. Year 5 will be dedicated to completing a research project. Work based learning elements are a theme throughout this programme and will assist in the development of individuals in the programme.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Each module will seek to expose students to a variety of teaching and learning methods including:
Formal lectures – These are a core activity in teaching within the School of Sport and will constitute a major part of the teaching programme across a number of modules. Lectures are a foundation of the teaching and many sessions are taught in the form of workshops and with interactive activities contained within them. Lecture sessions will be supported through the development of online learning materials and Blackboard Learn.
Practical classes – Given the nature of sports coaching and the need to apply theory to a practical setting these will also be a key teaching method. Practical work will be conducted in groups and will involve sports participation, laboratory, computer and analytical work. Attendance at practical classes will be compulsory and these activities will in some modules form the basis of assessment.
Seminars – Many modules have seminar sessions where students are expected, in small groups, to discuss ideas raised in lectures. Students will be required to review research topics and make oral presentations.
Tutorials – A series of compulsory tutorials will be run by advisers of study during the first year of the course. They will cover a range of subjects and will be designed to help students develop study skills, organise their time, and generally provide support for them. In addition in second year some subject based tutorials will be linked to some modules, allowing for greater interaction.
Work based learning – Students will be required to complete a work-based placement in all three years of the programme. These placement opportunities will involve the compilation of a reflective diary, a placement provider's report, an academic supervisor's report and an action research project.
Independent work – Students are expected to read widely for all modules and to learn to manage their time in order to do so. Independent learning is also closely associated with preparation for assessment. The requirements of self directed study will have been covered in Semester 1 Year 1 module 'Foundation Principles for Learning'. In addition, clear guidelines on independent study will be contained within the student and module handbooks.
Group work - This is an important element of the learning regime within the school. Sports Coaching is both an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subject and as such requires the integration of activities from a wide variety of individuals and disciplines. Group and collaborative working within the school tries to encourage this approach to assessment tasks and problem solving. Where group work is used students will be guided on completion of self and peer evaluation.
E-learning – A system of web-based support within the School of Sport. It is anticipated that significant progress on the provision of web based materials will be made in the near future.
Modules will have a range of assessments associated with them. These will be designed to test both knowledge and skills and will vary from essays, literature reviews, practical / project / fieldwork reports, class tests and dissertations.
Modules may also be assessed by examinations. These will be of a two hour unseen format. Class tests may have a variety of formats including computer based testing, seen papers, data based tests or timed essays.
The means of assessment of the Research Project in Sports Coaching (Year 5) will be specific to and reflect professional practice in the selected subject area. Students choosing to conduct a scientifically-based project (e.g. measuring sporting performance) will be required to provide a comprehensive literature review, a written paper consistent with the areas research journals and an oral presentation. Students opting to submit a project focusing on coach development, sports development or coach education will be required to produce an extensive piece of written work.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
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.
Through a series of lectures, workshops and practical sessions, students will develop both the skills and understanding required to structure and deliver coaching sessions designed to develop FOM skills.
Introduction to Coaching Practice
This module will introduce students to the best practice principles of coaching in relevant contexts. It will involve the application of basic theory into a practical context.
Foundation Principles for Learning
This module will assist first-year students to prepare for success in their university studies and success in the planning of their future careers.
Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology
Through a series of lectures and tutor-led seminar sessions, students will understand the theoretical and practical importance of sport and exercise psychology to enhancing performance.
Coaching in Context
This work-based learning placement is designed to facilitate opportunities for students to plan, deliver and evaluate coaching sessions and programmes. Students will be introduced to reflective practice and the importance of this in their coaching.
Coaching and Performance Science
This module will explore the science of coaching and examine the key scientific principles underpinning sports coaching and their application in coaching contexts.
Motor Learning 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 to their peers.
Sport & Exercise Psychology
This module is optional
This module provides students with a grounding in the theoretical constructs underlying contemporary issues in the domain of sport and exercise psychology. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate competing theoretical accounts of psychological phenomenon. They also gain an understanding of the measurement of different concepts and constructs. ?
Strength and Conditioning
This module is optional
This module provides students with the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities to physically prepare athletes to meet the demands of competitive sport. A special emphasis is placed on the development of the student's practical proficiency.
This module is optional
This module will provide students with a basic understanding of the concepts underlying notational analysis systems .It will also provide practical skills to help them provide analysis that can be applied to a practical coaching and service provider environment to enhance the coaching process.
Applied Coaching Principles
Through a series of lectures, workshops, tutor-led and participant led practical sessions students will develop a clear understanding of the essential components of the coaching process while developing competence in planning, implementing and evaluating effective coaching sessions.
This work-based learning placement is designed to facilitate opportunities for students to plan, deliver and evaluate coaching sessions and programmes. It will also require them to prepare an action research proposal in preparation for the final research project.
Research Methods and Statistics
This module is designed to introduce both the practical and conceptual understanding of research methodologies within sport, exercise and leisure research.
This module is optional
This module provides students with theoretical knowledge of the sports industry as well as case study examples and guest lectures to allow the students to appreciate the management of sports development work in practice.
Physical Education: Theory and Practice
This module is optional
This module introduces the student to the factors and policies which impact the design and delivery of physical education in schools at home and aborad and theories that underpin effective learning and teaching in key stages 1 and 2 and 3. Students are given the opportunity to discuss and apply theory to practice in practical teaching scenarios in seminars, workshops and micro teaches/practicals.
This module is optional
This module develops some of the main concepts relating to resources management in the Sport and Leisure setting introduced in Year 1, as part of the Sports Policy and Planning module. In the sport and leisure industry, the manager must be have an appreciation of the different resources, human, financial and facilities/plant, at her/his disposal and how best to manage them in order to maximise their expense. A review of the theories and concepts present in resource management will enable the student to gain an underpinning knowledge of this subject area and thus equip she/he to make informed decisions within the workplace. This module provides students with a strong grounding in the area of Sports resource and facilities management, enabling students to progress with knowledge and confidence to undertake an Industrial Placement or alternatively advance directly to a final year module entitled Sports Strategic Management.
Advanced Coaching Practice
This module further develops the work based learning elements required to develop
coaches in the field to support and develop effective reflection within their practice.
Sports Coaching is a facet of the sports industry which has exhibited exceptional growth in recent times and something that has come under increasing academic scrutiny. Professionalisation of coaching is of paramount importance and an understanding of Coaching Processes is vital to ensure this development.
Sports Strategic Management
This module is optional
This module explores the background, principles and practices of the strategic management process, which sports and leisure organisations employ to ensure competitive advantage over their competitors. The module is designed to ensure the students gain the underpinning knowledge and competencies to become potential managers in the fastest growing global industry of the 21st Century.
Advanced Sports Development
This module is optional
This module is primarily concerned with investigating the evolution of sports development and examining the many different strands of the profession. The module will also highlight the role of government and key agencies in the formulation of policy and strategies that impact upon the sports development domain and seek to develop key vocational and entrepreneurial skills.
Advanced Physical Education and School Sport
This module is optional
This module will involve students in the critical appraisal of recent research, educational policy and education initiatives and their impact on the subject area of physical education and school sport and its effective delivery in the school context.
Applied Sport Psychology
This module is optional
This module provides students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of theory, research and practice in the field of applied sport psychology. Students will develop an understanding of the sport psychology consultancy process and ethical principles and guidelines relevant to working in the field. This module takes students beyond understanding what is done in 'Applied Sport Psychology' to understanding how sport psychology service is delivered.
Sport and Exercise Nutrition
This module is optional
This module considers the relationship between nutrition and exercise performance. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body and how appropriate nutritional practices can be effective for exercise performance and overall health and wellbeing.
Applied Performance Analysis
This module is optional
This module will provide students with an in-depth knowledge and the practical skills required to evaluate the impact of performance analysis theories, principles and concepts on sporting performance and how these can be applied to a coaching, teaching and service provider environment.
Athlete and Performance Monitoring
This module is optional
This module will explore the link between research- and science-based concepts of athlete monitoring with practical strategies to use with athletes and clients.
Research Project in Sports Coaching
This module enables students to enhance their theoretical and empirical understanding of the research process as it applies to sport. In so doing, it demonstrates the critical relevance of evidence-based practice to sport.
Standard entry conditions
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.
The A Level requirement for this course is BBC to include at least one subject from History, Geography, Psychology, English, PE, Politics, Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Sports Studies at the appropriate grades. Applicants can satisfy the requirement for the A level grade C by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
Applied General Qualifications
Overall BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma with profile DDD in a relevant subject.
BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma with profile DMM in a relevant subject.
You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard (provided subject requirements are met). Examples of combinations include:
A levels with BTEC Level 3 QCF Subsidiary Diploma or BTEC RQF National Extended Certificate
A level with BTEC Level 3 QCF Diploma or BTEC Level 3 RQF National Diploma.
For further information on the entry requirements for this course please contact the administrator as listed in Contact details.
Irish Leaving Certificate
112 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of four subjects at Higher level and one subject at Ordinary level. Higher level subjects must include two from History, English, Geography, Economics or RE. The overall profile must also include English and Mathematics minimum H6 at Higher Level or Grade O4 at Ordinary level.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is BBCCC. To include at least two of the following subjects from: English, History, Geography, PE, Psychology, Politics or Sociology at the appropriate level.
Scottish Advanced Highers
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCD to include at least one subject from English, History, Geography, PE, Psychology, Politics or Sociology at the appropriate grades.
Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 25 points (12 at Higher level). To include at least one of the following subjects at higher level from: English, History, Geography, Psychology or Social and Cultural Anthropology at the appropriate grades.
Access to Higher Education (HE)
Overall Access profile 63% in a relevant area.
GCSE Profile to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science at grade C/4. Essential/Key Skills in Application of Number is not regarded as an acceptable to GCSE Mathematics.
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.
Applicants should note that, as they will be engaged in 'regulated activity' involving children or vulnerable adults as part of their course, there is a compulsory, legal requirement to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from AccessNI. The cost for this is payable by the applicant and is currently £33. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed by http://www.accessni.gov.uk.
It is expected that students will have an interest in coaching or teaching and ideally have, or be in the process of obtaining a relevant national governing body coaching award.
Exemptions and transferability
Students wishing to transfer to other stages of the course will be judged on a case by case basis, based on the information provided about their previously completed modules and courses. We have students who have transferred from a number of courses throughout the UK and Ireland.
Students who gain accelerated entry onto the course into year 3 will have demonstrated how they have met the learning outcomes for modules covered in year 1 – 3, due to previous courses completed (for example the FDSC at UU).
There are numerous opportunities for students to progress their study either within Ulster University or at another institution. Students currently on the BSc Hons Sports Coaching and Performance degree could continue their academic studies – PGCE or Masters studies in a number of fields such as MSc Sports Coaching and Performance, MSc Strength and Conditioning, MSc Psychology, MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition – which are all offered within the School of Sport or initiate research by applying for an MPhil or DPhil.
Employment opportunities within the field of coaching is a growth area due to current investments and the professionalisation of this area. Some graduating students have gained employment in local authorities or Governing Bodies of Sport as Sports Development or Coach Development Officers. Completing the PGCE will also open up opportunities for a career in teaching.
Work placement / study abroad
The core work based learning modules are Coaching in Context (year 2), Coaching Practice (year 3) and Advanced Coaching Practice (year 4). This will enhance the theoretical learning by giving the students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a 'live' coaching environment. These modules are fundamental in the development of the core skills required for employment in the coaching profession.
Current students use a range of contacts/ employers that they have developed themselves- although staff can also help prospective students gain placement opportunities in local networks.
Fees and funding
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
Scholarships, awards and prizes
The best performing final year student each year receives the 'Pat Duffy award'.
Professor Pat Duffy was a visiting professor at the School of sport and had a wide range of roles in the development of coaching in the UK and Ireland. Pat was Chief Executive of sports coach UK from 2005 to 2009, where he led the development of the UK Coaching Framework. He was a popular figure, passionate about coaching which he championed persuasively at every opportunity, drawing on his deep professional knowledge and personal charm to promote the cause.
Additional mandatory costs
Additional cost - AccessNI check.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
"BSc Sports Coaching was exactly what I needed at the time in my career. I was looking for the much needed theoretical knowledge to back up the practical work I was carrying out in my daily working life. It developed me as a sports coach and gave me more confidence when dealing with matters such as sports science or sports development. I enjoyed the flexibility of being able to choose modules to suit my career. I gained much needed tutor support and I still have a working relationship with lecturers who are my first port of call when needing advice in the sporting world. I would strongly advise anyone looking for a career in the sporting industry to have a think about this course. Top class!"
Andrew Waterworth, IFA, Linfield Striker and current student within MSc Sports Coaching.
"This is an excellent course for all coaches irrespective of level. With a good focus on 'how to' skills the student will soon be confident in all coaching environments. I completed the course while working full time and managed to fit in very well. Well worth doing for the forward thinking coach." Dara Furey, Athletics Coach, and Director Furey Insurance services.
"The course was structured in such a manner as to afford me the flexibility of studying whilst remaining in full-time employment. The format of combining both practical and academic aspects of sports coaching gave me the opportunity to firstly reflect upon all facets of my coaching and secondly to apply them in my sporting environment. I have also found the course beneficial in that it has assisted me in securing a number of positions within my chosen sporting field".
Ian McGregor, Head Coach North West Warriors, Assistant Coach Ireland Under 19