The main aim of the course is to produce graduates who are equipped with the key knowledge and skills to develop coaching within Northern Ireland to assist with lifelong participation in sport or physical activity, excellence and leadership. This will be achieved by accruing and disseminating a body of knowledge from key experts involved in coach development both directly and in partnership with governing bodies in sport, utilising innovative and appropriate communication to benefit all learners. This would be a cutting-edge programme that will support those involved in coaching and link with the needs of the industry.
The aim of this course is to facilitate the continuing development of sports coaching professionals and to enhance their knowledge and skills appropriate to the management and control of the diverse components within the field of sports coaching, commensurate with the requirements of the profession, their employers, associated professional bodies and community, commercial 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. 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 write about for their assessments. The Dissertation module also provides students with a choice of topic.
Teaching and learning 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.
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.