Coaching Science in Sport

MSc Coaching Science in Sport
Academic Year 2020/2021
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

Programme director: Dr Massimiliano Ditroilo

In this MSc programme you will learn about the cutting-edge science that underpins diverse aspects of coaching, e.g. tapering and peaking to optimise performance, the coach-athlete relationship, performance and notational analysis in sport. You will also undertake original research of your own on a topic that is relevant to you. Critical evaluation of academic knowledge and its practical application is a distinctive feature of this advanced programme.

Good practice in sports coaching is fundamental at all levels and ages for athlete development and success. This programme is intended for sports coaches, coach developers/educators and those working in closely related fields, to extend their scientific knowledge and understanding of the coaching process.

We value and encourage our students to be autonomous learners. We expect them to share their own experience with faculty and peers, as well as critically reflect on their own practice in order to enhance their existing knowledge and skills.

We aim to provide a learning environment that facilitates the comparison and contrast of theories and ideas from a range of relevant disciplines in order to integrate them into personal coaching practice.

In this programme we use a blend of the most innovative teaching and learning approaches and assessment strategies, such as seminars, laboratory-based experiential learning, web-based interactive learning, case-studies, group work, etc. These are informed by the world-class research carried out by our faculty in addition to the prestigious guest speakers.

Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Course Description
Programme modules will be delivered on Thursday evenings (18:00-21:00) and Fridays (10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00) across both academic semesters (September-December and February-May). The 'Research Methods and Applied Statistics' module in the second semester and the 'Dissertation' module in the third semester will enable students to choose a relevant research topic, which will be carried out over the summer months. The submission date for dissertation is generally set for the end of July.

Full-time students are required to take all modules in year 1, including dissertation.

Part-time students are required to take three modules in year 1, and three in year 2 plus dissertation. In each year, students may choose whether to take two modules in semester 1 and one module in semester 2 or vice versa. Students are required to take modules in the opposite pattern in year 2 (modules will run at the same times irrespective of year) in order to complete all six of the required modules. Please note, Research Methods and Applied Statistics has to be taken in year 2 as the assessment is linked to the dissertation.

Students registered to Occasional Coaching Science in Sport (CPD route), can take 2 or 3 of the following modules:
1. The Science of Coaching: Theory and Practice (Semester 1, Thursday 18:00 - 21:00)

2. Applied Sports Psychology and Skill acquisition (Semester 1, Friday 14:00 - 17:00)

3. Planning in Strength and Conditioning (Semester 2, Friday 10:00 - 13:00)

Each module is worth 10 ECTS credits, which can be carried over in case these students are admitted to the full MSc programme (see Entry Requirements).

Programme Outcomes
On completion of this programme students should:
1. Be able to integrate the scientific, socio-ethical and psychological dimensions of sports coaching in order to develop new insights into this area of knowledge

2. Be able to make use and integrate the current and emerging technologies in sports coaching practice

3. Be able to develop a training plan and organise training sessions to maximise the learning experience and impact of those athletes with whom they will interact, but also reflect on social and ethical responsibilities associated with this process

4. Show advanced levels of essential skills such as written and verbal communication, digital literacy, numeracy and problem solving in ill-defined contexts

5. Demonstrate specialised skills of analysis, enquiry, critical reflection, evidence-based practice and leadership and use these to enhance their own professional practice

6. Be prepared to undertake a career in sports coaching by understanding organisational life, skills required to succeed in this environment and its overall complexity

7. Engage in original and novel practice, also by taking responsibility for continuing professional development, to fully meet the needs of their athletes, at all levels of ability and talent, and contribute to their overall development

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (NFQ Level 8) is required in Sport and Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Physiology, Sports Coaching, Sports Development, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies or another relevant degree discipline.

Applicants who do not hold an honours degree will be considered on a case by case basis. These applicants should have significant relevant work experience and involvement in sports coaching, with a coaching qualification recognised by their national governing body. In year 1 the applicants must take between 2-3 modules as continued professional development (CPD) and achieve an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 (passing all modules). The applicant can then progress to year 2 and complete the remaining required modules and dissertation. The fees paid to take the modules as CPD will be deducted from the overall tuition fees to be paid to complete the MSc programme.

All applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element) or equivalent.

Subjects taught

Semester 1 (timetable applies to all programmes, FT, PT, CPD):
The Science of Coaching: Theory and Practice (10 credits). Thursday, 18:00 - 21:00.
Module leader: Dr. Seamus Kelly

Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition (10 credits). Friday, 10:00 - 13:00.
Module leader: Dr. Katy Horner

Applied Sports Psychology and Skill Acquisition (10 credits). Friday, 14:00 - 17:00.
Module leader: Dr. James Matthews

Semester 2 (timetable applies to all programmes, FT, PT, CPD):
Sports and Performance Analysis for Coaches (10 credits). Thursday, 18:00 - 21:00.
Module leader: Dr. Denise McGrath

Planning in Strength and Conditioning (10 credits). Friday, 10:00 - 13:00.
Module leader: Dr. Massimiliano Ditroilo

Research Methods and Applied Statistics (10 credits). Friday, 14:00 - 17:00.
Module leader: Dr. Massimiliano Ditroilo

Semester 3:
Dissertation (30 credits). Module leader: Dr Massimiliano Ditroilo




1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

MSc Coaching Science in Sport (X772) Full Time
MSc Coaching Science in Sport (X773) Part Time


MSc Coaching Science in Sport (X772) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 8545
nonEU fee per year - € 19350

MSc Coaching Science in Sport (X773) Part Time
EU fee per year - € 4255
nonEU fee per year - € 12800

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

The fees for each of the modules taken independently as CPD are €900 (EU) or € 1800 (nonEU).

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2020/2021 September

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
Graduates may gain employment as sports coaches, coaching officers, game development officers, coach developers/educators, in the following agencies and sectors:

Professional and national sports teams
National governing bodies
Sports and fitness clubs
Physical and sport education
Sports training camps
Performance analysis in sport

Some recent graduates have accepted a job offer as: Strength & conditioning coach of a League of Ireland Premier Division soccer team; Coach education and development coordinator with the Camogie Association; Assistant coach (men's soccer) and head strength & conditioning coach (men's soccer & women's basketball) of Fort Lewis College (Colorado); Outdoor Recreation Specialist at Ballyhoura Development CLG; Club Performance Coach with Bromley and Beckenham Hockey Club in London; lecturing position at the University of Southern California; Coach Development Graduate Internship to enhance quality sport opportunities for Special Olympics athletes;

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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