The main aim of the course is to produce graduates who are equipped with the key knowledge and skills to develop as high performing coaches. This high performing focus will be achieved through in-depth reflection on practice, challenging of current knowledge and the use of innovative approaches to actively engage students. This is a cutting-edge programme that will support those involved in coaching and coach education, linking directly with the needs of the industry.
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The aim of this course is to facilitate the continuing development of sports coaches by enhancing their knowledge, skills and ability to reflect upon their current practice. The term "high performing" underpins this Masters programme, students will be challenged to develop their coaching practice through a range of modules which focus on individual development and current approaches to coaching. The course content is based on the requirements of the sports coaching profession, employers, associated professional bodies, community and industrial interests. The MSc is offered in both full- and part-time modes. Students will complete 180 credit points for the award of MSc, with the option to exit after completing 120 credits for the award of Postgraduate Diploma or 60 credits for the award of Post Graduate Certificate. Full-Time students will take 60 credits in each of the three semesters, while the part-time students will take 30 credits in each semester of years one and two and 60 credits in year three. There are six taught modules on the course, all of which are compulsory. Three of the programme modules are 30 credits points whilst the Research Project Preparation and Motor Cognition & Performance are 15 credit point modules and the dissertation is 60 credits (the dissertation is not necessary for those who choose to exit with the PgDip). Students wishing to graduate with a PGCert will study 60 credits which is offered in semester 1 of the programme. All modules are compulsory, with students being offered the opportunity to choose what aspect of coaching and specific sport they will research for their assessments. The Dissertation module also provides students with a choice of topic.
This programme will be delivered in FT and PT mode. The means of delivering will be in blocks throughout each semester of study. Block teaching requires students to attend approxiamtely 2 to 3 days per month during semester's one and two.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The course will aim to deliver a range of learning experiences that will enable students to develop their knowledge and skills (at Level 7) and support the development of Graduate Qualities. The primary aim is to encourage students to become active and motivated learners, to question and critically analyse subject material and make specific reference to the role of sports coaching in addressing change in a sports coaching environment. Successful students will be able to achieve this prime aim in the first instance by employing scientific theories, concepts and empirical knowledge in their practice. To further help fulfil this aim, the course team encourages critical thinking, creative and strategic skills in students.This is directly in line with two of the University’s strategic learning and teaching aims, these being to promote and foster creativity and innovation in curriculum design and delivery, and to promote learning, professionalism and employability through the integration of academic theory and relevant professional and vocational experience. Creativity is defined here in its broadest sense to include critically informed approaches to existing issues in sports coaching, as well as innovative ways of delivering and evaluating practices to enhance the learning of all involved. Thus, it has direct relevance for the development and enhancement of professional and practical skills. The breadth and relevance of the curriculum, the resources available to students, the flexible options for attendance coupled with the variety in teaching, learning and assessment methods are anchored in the University’s strategic learning and teaching aims, particularly in seeking to enhance the overall student learning experience and seeking to target, recruit and retain a diverse range of students.
Teaching, learning and assessment takes a wide variety of forms, and in order to achieve this, approaches will vary across modules depending on the prescribed requirements. All students have on-line access to a programme handbook, as well as a distinct Course Support Area on BlackBoard Learn, made available at the start of the academic year. This details the organisation of teaching and learning, it describes the programme-wide arrangements for submission and return of assessment as well as specific information regarding the expectations that the programme team will have of each student. Individual module learning will also be supported by the provision of module handbooks including the module descriptor, module content, assessment information and any other material considered relevant for learning and teaching.
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.
Members of our staff team all continue to develop themselves professionally in the world of coaching. Staff members engage in CPD to ensure they are up to date with the current coaching trends and all of the teaching team are engaged in applied research to support the growth and develoment of coaching within the island of Ireland and beyond.
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.
This module provides students with the opportunity to conduct an independent research project in an area of their choosing within the cognitive field of sports coaching. They will present their findings and engage in critical assessment of their work by way of a written research project of between 12,000 and 16,000 words in total.
Performance Analysis and Monitoring
In order to provide optimal outcome for the sports person and the career development of the sports coach, it is essential to understand the key scientific, professional and practical concepts of coaching and athlete/ team performance. This module will advance the students' ability to manage and coordinate the range of support services within coaching, exploring the link between research and science based concepts of athlete monitoring with practical strategies to inform coaching, business and welfare based decisions to achieve maximal benefits against agreed outcomes. This module draws upon the student's previous knowledge and skills to ensure a multifaceted approach to the development of professional practice in Sports Coaching
Personal Skill and Leadership Development
This moudle is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to develop their leadership and mentoring skills as well as identify and support peer and work colleagues to develop their leadership and mentoring skills. This module aims to enable students to further develop their personal and professional skills.
Advanced Coaching Process
The professionalisation of coaching is a contemporary issue from both an academic and industry perspective. This module utilises an applied industry context to encourage students to critically reflect on existing theory, draw upon existing knowledge and experience to support the development of personal and professional skills.
Research Project Preparation in Sports Coaching
This module will engage the student in critically anlysing research problems from an organisational context. Students will be awarded the opportunity to select and critcially evaluate appropriate methodological approaches for undertaking research acknowledging strengths and limitations explicitily.
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.
Applicants must: (a) have gained; (i) a second class honours degree or better in a related discipline (for example – BSc Sports Coaching, BSc Psychology; BSc Sport and Exercise Psychology; BSc Sports Studies; Sports and Exercise Sciences or Physical Education) 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), 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.
Exemptions from modules will be on a case by case basis depending on the prior learning of the student cohort. Regulations of the University in relation to credits will also be taken into correspondence for each student and their learning.
The climate for developing sport and coaching across the world has never been more positive. Coach education and development has become a major focus for policy and funding decisions by many Governmental Departments. Coaching is emerging as a recognised profession in many countries, this has created a fast moving and dynamnic environment in which coaches are challenged to continually develop their practice. In this context many coaches and coaching professionals (e.g. coach educators) undertake study at post graduate level to both enhance their practice and improve their career prospects.
Graduates who successfully achieve a Masters In Sports Coaching & Performance fulfil roles in a wide range of sport and non-sport related organisations.
The expectation of what makes an high performing coach is growing and there is a need therefore for coaches at all levels to become more highly qualified,this can be achieved by continuing in education at postgraduate level.
Work placement / study abroad
There are a range of approaches that will be utilised in this programme with regards to work based learning from minimal workplace guidance in some modules to full mentoring support in the Advanced Coaching Process module which entails the academic mentor viewing the student in their coaching environment. The value of this model of work-based learning is that it enables students to receive observational assessment in the workplace. All assessments will be reflective in nature which will ensure the engagement of work based practice.
Fees and funding
Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees
Additional mandatory costs
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.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
Quotations from past students;
"the masters provided a great opportunity to challenge and develop my coaching, my confidence has improved and I am trying new things much more often" (Basketball Coach, USA)
"hard, hard work! but great benefits to both my approach to coaching and my understanding of the athletes I coach" (Gaelic coach, Ireland)
"the course has benefited me within my coach education role, I have changed how I approach and deliver courses" (sports specific tutor, UK)
"an interesting and challenging course which has pushed me to try different things" (Childrens Coach, Northern Ireland)