Sport & PE for Young People

St. Mary's University College Belfast

Sport & PE for Young People

Master of Science in Sport & PE for Young People (MSc)

Inspire children through sport.

This MSc programme seeks to provide advanced learning opportunities for graduates in the field of Physical Education and sport for young people.
- The aim is to improve the lives of children and young people through sport

- PE & sport have been recognised as key contributors to the well-being of children in terms of mental, physical and social health.

- This programme supports the Sport NI strategy which states “We are passionate about maximising the power of sport to change lives. By 2025, we want the power of sport to be recognised and valued by all”

- It comprises a suite of vocationally-oriented taught modules as well as a research-based project.

The MSc degree programme is designed to enable graduates to enhance their knowledge and skills as well as their capacity for undertaking leadership roles in promoting physical education and sport for young people.

The content is underpinned by a belief in the power of physical education and sport to inspire young people and to improve the quality of their lives.

There is a good range of vocationally oriented topics as well as a module on research methods to prepare students for completion of either a community-based project or an academic paper.

What are the aims of the programme?
- To critically engage students in the pursuit of meeting the needs of children and young people through PE and sport in NI while reflecting on their own professional development for employability and career enhancement.

- To promote in our students the professionalism, knowledge, understanding, leadership and pedagogical skills indispensable for the achievement of the best practice in the service of children and young people through PE and sport.

- To empower students to reflect on and critically analyse, using a range of applied scientific approaches, rapidly emerging challenges to contemporary society, education and community sport, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to children and young people, and evolve new strategies to overcome these challenges.

- To utilise their advanced knowledge and understanding of working with and for children and young people in PE and sport to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, identify and overcome barriers, and solve problems and communicate their conclusions clearly.

- To develop originality in the application of knowledge together with a practical understanding/application of applied scientific methods and research skills necessary to create and interpret knowledge in PE and sport for young people.

- To support a culture of self-reflective study, critical inquiry and scholarship through workshops, practical classes and lectures to enhance preparation, planning and practical skills.

- To educate participants in knowledge transfer strategies and enhance their awareness of networks for disseminating new knowledge.

- To further develop their key and vocational relevant skills and independent learning ability required for continuing professional and personal development through professional practice in working in PE and sport for young people.

- To enhance skills in gathering and providing evidence, the application of appropriate scientific methodologies for analysis, and engaging in the submission of evidence and analytical review in a supportive and critical framework of their work in leading change.

- To seek opportunities to achieve greater recognition of their work in PE and sport for young people in the form of publications, leading innovation and change among practitioners in their work setting and advanced qualifications at Masters level.

Subjects taught

Core Modules:
Semester 1 (September – October). 1 x 30 credit module.
MPE5001: Leadership & Professional development in PE & Sport working with and for Young People

Semester 2 (January – February) 1 x 30 credit module
MPE5002: Research Methods in PE & Sport working with and for Young People

Optional Modules:
Semester 1 (October – December) 2 x 30 credit modules
Select two from:
MPE5004: Cognitive Development & Pedagogy through PE & Sport
MPE5003: PE & Sport & the Social Sciences
MPE5005: Psychology: Culture, Coaching and Young People

Research Pathway Options:
Semester 2 / 3 (February – June) 1 x 60 credit module

Select from :
MPE5006: Consultancy Based Project to improve the lives of children and young people through sport
MPE5007: Academic Research Paper

You are taught one module at a time in blocks, with time set aside for assessment completion. This is a combination of interactive workshops, lectures, seminars, fieldwork, and practical activities etc. Practicals are focused on developing subject specific skills and applied individual and group project work.

Entry requirements

Candidates for admission to the MSc in Physical Education and Sport for Young People should normally hold an honours degree or equivalent qualification in a related field.

Applicants with an Honours degree or equivalent qualification in another discipline may also be considered if they have at least two years of experience in an education, sport or relevant context.

Application dates

Applications are made online and should be submitted to the Academic Registry Office by 28th June 2024.

Late applications will be considered subject to the availability of places.

For any further information please email Elaine McLaughlin (MSc Co-ordinator).


1 year full-time. The course is designed to allow students to gain professional working experience while studying.

Contact Time:
Classes will be held on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. A 30-credit module equates to 30 hours of contact time.

Enrolment dates

Academic Year: 2024-25.

Post Course Info

As a new course, it is anticipated that this degree will be beneficial for improving leadership practice in their workplace. It will also be beneficial in expanding the roles graduates undertake at work, and in gaining employment or promotion. Some may progress to doctoral-level studies and research. The course is designed so that students can engage in professional development and experience while enrolled. This will also advance their career prospects.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time

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    Course provider