Understanding performance in top-level sport
Why take this course?
On this course you will gain a thorough grounding in the science underpinning performance enhancement through the key areas of biomechanics, physiology and psychology. This will complement the practical skills and research expertise you will develop in applied settings, providing an insight into the way that scientific support is integrated into the real world of top-level sport.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Develop an interdisciplinary applied approach to enhancing and maintaining sports performance
- Learn laboratory and field-based skills for assessing and evaluating sports performance
- Develop the ability to communicate with clients in a professional and approachable style
What opportunities might it lead to?
With an estimated worth in excess of £110 billion, the global sports industry is growing rapidly. You can expect to find a career in many specific areas such as teaching, research, sport science support, and the health and fitness sectors.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- health and fitness companies
- coaching and training
- management roles
- sports science roles
- PhD study
Many of the assessments focus on assessing your abilities to deal with clients, creating a scenario that you are likely to find in the real world.
Will Abbot, MSc Sports Performance student 2013
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- 2017 entry requirements
- A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants who hold a non-related degree will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For those who do not hold a degree or relevant professional qualification, extensive experience together with evidence of scholarly ability will be required. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 in year 1 and £3,470* in year 2
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600, part time: £4,200 in year 1 and £8,400* in year 2
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- Department of Sport and Exercise Science
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
You can choose to take this course in either full-time or part-time mode, with a mixture of core and compulsory units providing good flexibility for part-time students. You will study several key topics; however these are subject to innovation and progression within the field and may therefore change slightly over the years.
Here are the units you will study:
- Applied Research Methods: This unit comprehensively prepares you for research in your chosen field. You will cover a range of research designs and approaches and will prepare you to undertake your MSc Research Project.
- Research Project: Your final project will enable you to carry out an individual study in the area of sports/exercise performance.
Optional units include:
- Applied Sports Physiology: On this unit you will examine various physiological factors that affect sports performance and learn to carry our physiological tests and measures of sports performance.
- Applied Sports Psychology: You will examine various approaches to sport psychology delivery and ethical issues that might affect them in order to identify and develop a range of professional skills associated with applied practice (e.g. counselling, service evaluation and effectiveness, reflective practice).
- Environmental Factors Affecting Sports Performance: This unit trains you to critically review various environmental factors that affect sports performance and links theory to practical applications for maintaining and enhancing performance in adverse environmental conditions.
- Applied Sports Biomechanics: This unit provides an applied experience of biomechanics and conditioning, and encourages a focused understanding of the practical advantages and limitations of various biomechanical systems.
- MSc Professional Development: This is a unit for students who secure a graduate level placement that meets the requirements of their course of study and will allow students to gain academic credit for a structured work based experience/independent study period
- Strength and Conditioning Practice: This Unit examines a broad base of research theory and applied methodologies that currently form the basis of contemporary strength and conditioning practice. Additional content will focus on developing proficiency in the fundamental performance aspects of strength training.
Teaching and Assessment
You will be taught mainly in practical workshop sessions in which you directly apply the skills and strategies you have learnt working with athletes or each other.
How are you assessed?
You will be assessed in a variety of ways with a focus on self-assessment and problem-based assignments. Here’s how we assess you:
- practical and written exams
- laboratory reports
- role plays
Dr Jo Corbett
Sport and Exercise Science
The MSc Sports Performance is a hands-on course designed to offer an interdisciplinary approach to sports performance. You will gain a thorough grounding in the science underpinning performance assessment and enhancement and will develop research and practical expertise through the key areas of biomechanics, physiology and psychology.
Facilities & Features
We are one of the leading departments offering sports science-based programmes in the UK according to the National Student Survey (NSS), the Times Good University Guide, the Independent University Guide, and the Guardian University Guide league tables. You will learn in a several different environments including our biomechanics, physiology, psychology and kinanthropometry labs, home to some of the country’s finest facilities, including:
- 3 climatic chambers for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude
- an immersion pool
- a swimming flume
- an automated tracking system
- visual 3D software
You will also benefit from plenty of indoor space for practical activities. Along with our many specialist labs, dedicated seminar spaces and interview rooms, the Department is located next to the University’s Nuffield Sports Centre and very near to the University’s St Paul’s Sports Centre. These two centres offer many facilities including sports halls, a 100-station gym, squash courts and fitness studios, all located at the heart of the University.
Our academic staff have a close affiliation with sport and are research active within their chosen specialism. We have three main research areas which include biomechanics, physiology and psychology, with BASES accredited and BPS chartered members of each area possessing prolific research profiles. Here are the areas of our current research:
- Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science (co-ordinator: Dr Jim House)
- Breast Health (co-ordinator: Dr Joanna Scurr)
- Human Performance and Health (co-ordinator: Dr Jo Corbett)
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
For any placement activities you will be expected to meet associated costs. These costs will be dependent on the type of placement and may range from £50 - £1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence.
If you choose to study the optional Work Based Learning unit, these costs may range from £50 - £1,000 dependent on the type of fieldwork being undertaken.
Careers & Opportunities
This course provides the skills necessary for range of careers in the sport industry, as well as providing opportunities to work toward BASES accreditation as a sport and exercise scientist, and the theoretical basis for further specialised study.
Given the range of general employability skills developed throughout the programme, you could go on to a variety of careers in other sectors, for example, business, the police and the armed services.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- strength and conditioning coach
- sports scientist
- high performance sports coach
- personal trainer
- exercise specialist
- corporate fitness manager
- university/college lecturer
- sports facility manager
- PhD study
- clinical trials manager
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished. If you would like to meet or speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange this for you.
We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon.
Other opportunities to visit
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We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
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Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.