A group of students watching someone demonstrate lifting weights

Strength, Conditioning, and Rehabilitation MSc

Take your sport, health and exercise knowledge to postgraduate level, and gain an in-demand skills that help athletes achieve their athletic and personal fitness goals.

Key information

Accreditation:

This course is Accredited

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Showing content for section Overview

Overview

If you're interested in a career helping athletes achieve their performance goals, prevent and accelerate recovery from injury, and improve their overall health, this Master's in Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation is ideal.

You'll focus on using prescriptive exercise to improve their performance, and learn through practice with the specialist equipment you'll use in your career.

When you graduate, you'll be equipped with the technical knowledge and professional skills to succeed in this growing industry, whether as part of an organisation or as a freelance practitioner. You'll be ready to confidently and effectively develop and rehabilitate athletes of all abilities and backgrounds.

Course highlights

On this Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation MSc, you'll:

  • Study the fundamental science underlying athletic health and performance from a strength and conditioning perspective
  • Learn how to design and structure of training programmes, complementing them with the periodisation of various training methodologies
  • Complete a work placement module, where you'll get 200–300 hours of practical on-the-job experience over duration of the course
  • Learn about multi-disciplinary fundamentals of strength, conditioning and rehabilitation, including physiology and biomechanics
  • Study in an applied environment, with a focus on advanced strength and power assessments, as well as lifting techniques
  • Learn how to work with athletes with diverse needs, such as young or ageing athletes

You'll get experience with the techniques and equipment you'll use in your career, such as:

  • GymAware and PUSH bands, used for velocity-based training
  • Force plates, which assess the individual total force and rate of force in single leg training
  • Isokinetic dynamometer for strength capability and asymmetries
  • OptoJump for assessment of reactive strength capabilities
  • Electromyography (EMG) to better understand how muscles activate and fatigue during sport
  • Infrared motion analysis, which records and studies body movement
  • Dual force plate Isometric Mid Thigh Pull for maximum strength capabilities and and asymmetries
  • Gym and fitness testing equipment, allowing you to coach athletes on using equipment

You'll also develop the following professional skills:

  • Effective communication with clients and patients
  • Presentation skills
  • Team working ability

The theoretical approach on this course is designed to enhance your understanding of physiotherapy – it doesn't offer the physiotherapy accreditation needed to practise as a physiotherapist but does develop the technical knowledge needed to succeed in the rehabilitation profession.

Accreditation

This course is accredited by the International Universities Strength and Conditioning Association (IUSCA). The IUSCA is the regulatory body for strength and conditioning within the higher education sector and recognise the best courses through their Degree Accreditation programme. Students who complete this IUSCA accredited course will be directly eligible for Accredited International Strength and Conditioning Practitioner (aISCP) status.

Contact information

Admissions

+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

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Entry requirements

Qualifications or experience

  • A second-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 / January 2025 start)

Fees are subject to annual increase

  • Full-time: £8,900
  • Part-time: £2,970 in year 1 and £5,930 in year 2

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £8,900
  • Part-time: £2,970 in year 1 and £5,930 in year 2

  • Full-time: £17,200
  • Part-time: £5,730 in year 1 and £11,470 in year 2

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to cover the cost of travel to your placement. Most placements will take place around Portsmouth, meaning travel costs should be around £500 over the course of your placement.

Modules

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits to achieve your MSc. If you don't complete your dissertation project, you'll graduate with a PGDip (120 credits).

Full-time

Develop a scientifically and ethically sound outline research proposal and conduct a project that will enhance your knowledge in your chosen area. Apply appropriate research philosophy and design as you use qualitative and quantitative analysis tools to produce a written report and poster that reports on your research findings.

You'll interpret the biomechanical and physiological mechanisms involved in tissue loading and adaptation, and design effective, evidence-based rehabilitation programmes. Through seminars, practical sessions and case studies, you'll develop your practical strength and conditioning skills and learn the principles behind return to play criteria. As strength and conditioning practice evolves outside of face-to-face coaching, you'll learn to clearly communicate to a variety of people, both in person and through digital formats.

Drawing on the theories and methods that inform contemporary strength and conditioning practice, you'll enhance athletic performance by gaining a deeper understanding of complex training and the performance aspects of strength training. You'll demonstrate technical knowledge through plyometric techniques, agility and speed coaching, and analyse technique and coaching feedback through lab sessions and workshops. You'll discuss ethical issues in the field of strength and conditioning training and prepare for professional qualification.

You'll analyse a range of biomechanical laboratory tests and use the latest data and tools to design programmes and test athletes, applying these appropriately within strength, conditioning or rehabilitation settings. Master biomechanical protocols while sharpening your ability to assess anatomical and mechanical principles that underpin strength and conditioning. Apply various methods to biomechanical data collection and reporting whilst evaluating individual and synchronised biomechanical systems.

Choosing between a work placement, independent project or mini-self-employment placement, you'll enhance your organisation and communication skills and gain relevant experience towards your future graduate career. You'll develop your organisation and communication skills, reflect on your learning experience and gain experiences relevant to your future career as you engage with the Careers and Employability Service. You'll analyse practitioner roles and their organisations, assess your skills for those roles, review and use vocational and practical skills, create a personal development profile and present your findings, including areas for growth and career prospects.

The placement module totals 300 hours over the duration of the course. 100 hours of this is a blend of mentorship, taught lectures and independent work. The remaining 200 hours consist of time on placement.

Possible placement destinations include:

  • University of Portsmouth Sports Scholars and Athletics Union clubs
  • Rugby clubs such as Harlequins Ladies, Worthing Rugby Club, Petersfield Rugby Club
  • Football clubs such as Portsmouth FC, Southampton FC, AC Bournemouth
  • Swimming Associations such as Northsea Swimming
  • Tennis clubs such as Portsmouth Tennis Academy
  • Cricket clubs such as Sussex Cricket Club and Middlesex Cricket Club
  • Sailing clubs such as Ben Ainsley Racing

During the placement module, a member of staff from your placement destination will mentor you. University teaching staff will also visit you regularly and be contactable throughout the placement.

We check all placement locations to make sure a suitable mentor is available.

Part-time

Drawing on the theories and methods that inform contemporary strength and conditioning practice, you'll enhance athletic performance by gaining a deeper understanding of complex training and the performance aspects of strength training. You'll demonstrate technical knowledge through plyometric techniques, agility and speed coaching, and analyse technique and coaching feedback through lab sessions and workshops. You'll discuss ethical issues in the field of strength and conditioning training and prepare for professional qualification.

Choosing between a work placement, independent project or mini-self-employment placement, you'll enhance your organisation and communication skills and gain relevant experience towards your future graduate career. You'll develop your organisation and communication skills, reflect on your learning experience and gain experiences relevant to your future career as you engage with the Careers and Employability Service. You'll analyse practitioner roles and their organisations, assess your skills for those roles, review and use vocational and practical skills, create a personal development profile and present your findings, including areas for growth and career prospects.

Develop a scientifically and ethically sound outline research proposal and conduct a project that will enhance your knowledge in your chosen area. Apply appropriate research philosophy and design as you use qualitative and quantitative analysis tools to produce a written report and poster that reports on your research findings.

You'll interpret the biomechanical and physiological mechanisms involved in tissue loading and adaptation, and design effective, evidence-based rehabilitation programmes. Through seminars, practical sessions and case studies, you'll develop your practical strength and conditioning skills and learn the principles behind return to play criteria. As strength and conditioning practice evolves outside of face-to-face coaching, you'll learn to clearly communicate to a variety of people, both in person and through digital formats.

You'll analyse a range of biomechanical laboratory tests and use the latest data and tools to design programmes and test athletes, applying these appropriately within strength, conditioning or rehabilitation settings. Master biomechanical protocols while sharpening your ability to assess anatomical and mechanical principles that underpin strength and conditioning. Apply various methods to biomechanical data collection and reporting whilst evaluating individual and synchronised biomechanical systems.

The placement module totals 300 hours over the duration of the course. 100 hours of this is a blend of mentorship, taught lectures and independent work. The remaining 200 hours consist of time on placement.

Possible placement destinations include:

  • University of Portsmouth Sports Scholars and Athletics Union clubs
  • Rugby clubs such as Harlequins Ladies, Worthing Rugby Club, Petersfield Rugby Club
  • Football clubs such as Portsmouth FC, Southampton FC, AC Bournemouth
  • Swimming Associations such as Northsea Swimming
  • Tennis clubs such as Portsmouth Tennis Academy
  • Cricket clubs such as Sussex Cricket Club and Middlesex Cricket Club
  • Sailing clubs such as Ben Ainsley Racing

During the placement module, a member of staff from your placement destination will mentor you. University teaching staff will also visit you regularly and be contactable throughout the placement.

We check all placement locations to make sure a suitable mentor is available.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Facilities

Biomechanics Laboratory

Use equipment including force plates, pressure plates and our electromyography system to explore the impact of exercise on the body in this lab, from the limits of human endurance to the effects of chronic health conditions.

A person using a device with a wide lens
Explore lab

How you'll spend your time

Teaching

Teaching on this course includes:

  • Practical experience in the lab and gym
  • Independent learning
  • Learning from a mentor on industry placement

You'll learn from staff who are practising strength and conditioning coaches. Some members of teaching staff also hold specific strength and conditioning qualifications, such as National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS).

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • Practical assessments – such as using biomechanical equipment to test an athlete
  • Client reports  generating reports for athletes and coaching staff based on tests run on athletes
  • Technique analysis of athletes – using a technical framework
  • Create a rehabilitation webpage – providing evidence-based guidance on rehabilitating a musculoskeletal injury
  • Client Consultation - verbally disseminate information to a client
  • Scenario-based interviews
  • Portfolios – including reflective practice of professional development activities
  • Presentations

All assessments focus on gathering data through practical work, followed by delivering a training/rehabilitation recommendation, based on the situations you'll encounter professionally.

Placement module assessment

On the placement module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio and oral presentation.

Dissertation module assessment

On the dissertation module, you'll be assessed through a thesis and poster presentation.


You can test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on practice and formal assessments, so you can improve in the future.

A typical week

We recommend you spend around 35 hours a week studying for your Master's degree. Some weeks will be more intensive than others, depending on your workload.

Most timetabled teaching takes place from 9.00am–4.00pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Each module is allocated to a day and you'll usually have a seminar in the morning, before a practical session. There are also lectures throughout the week to support your dissertation module.

The rest of the time you’ll do independent study and attend your work placement.

Working hours on placement will depend on your role and may include some evening and weekend working.

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

January start

Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

See key dates

Career development

Strength and conditioning is a growing profession and the ability to offer rehabilitation to athletes is becoming a requirement for many positions in the sporting and fitness industries. So you're likely to have a lot of employment options when you graduate.

You could work as a strength and conditioner or rehabilitation, strength and conditioner at all levels, including in club, national, international organisations, as a self-employed practitioner or within a club or sporting organisation.

You could also go on to gain further vocational qualifications with organisations such as the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your Master's degree might be less than what you're used to in your previous studies, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

Learning support tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques 

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start dates in September and January, as long as there are places available. If you wait until your start month to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Ready to apply?

How can I prepare for a Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation Master's?

An undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Science or BSc Strength and Conditioning is ideal preparation for this course, but prior experience alongside another undergraduate degree would also be suitable.

Enthusiasm for fitness and training is key, and a pre-existing knowledge of the fundamentals of sports, programme design, and exercise prescription is also important

What skills and qualities do I need for this Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation Master's?

As well as meeting the course entry requirements, you'll need a solid understanding of the principles of sports, health and exercise science, as well as enthusiasm towards training and a willingness to participate in necessary training activities.

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.