MSc Coaching Science in Sport

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. 

 

Important Notice:

In response to the public health measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19 announced on 27th March 2020, the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science implemented remote working for our staff.

It is not currently possible to operate telephone lines. Accordingly, any queries about this course should be emailed to performance.science@ucd.ie.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and information can be found at https://www.ucd.ie/sirc/coronavirus/ and Student FAQs at https://www.ucd.ie/about-ucd/about/covid-19specialarrangementsfaqs/

 

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; technical development of players and coaches for Avoca hockey Club; 

Curricular information is subject to change


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

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).

    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

    Recent graduates who published their dissertation. 

    Publications:

    - Andrew Grannell, 2017 (supervisor: Prof. G. De Vito)

    - Breanna Drew, 2018 (supervisor: Dr. J. Matthews)

    - Brian McMorrow, 2019 (supervisor: Dr. B. Egan)

    - Eileen Gleeson, 2019 (supervisor: Dr. S. Kelly)

    - Fergal Lyons and Brendan Doyle, 2019 (supervisor: Dr. R. Neville)

    Jedd Pratt and Arianna Hoffman, 2020 (supervisors: Dr. M. Ditroilo and Dr. A. Grainger)

    - David Williamson, 2020 (supervisors: Dr. E. McCarthy and Dr. M. Ditroilo)

    Conference presentations:

    Kelly, S. & Gleeson, E. (2018). The role of self-confrontation interviews in exploring female players in-game decision making in elite competitive soccer. Presentation at the European College of Sport Science Congress. July, 2018.

    Gleeson, E. & Kelly, S. (2018). Analysis of expert decision making in elite competitive soccer from an expert players perspective. Presentation at the European College of Sport Science Congress. July, 2018.

    Andrews, F. & Kelly, S. (2017). Exploring Strength & Conditioning Coaching Behaviours in Elite Sport.Presentation at the Fourth International Coaching Conference. CMU, Cardiff, September 2017.

    Andrews, F. & Kelly, S. (2017). The Behaviours of Professional Strength & Conditioning Coaches in the GAA: A Systematic Observation of Inter-County Coaches. Poster presentation at the GAA Games Development Conference. January, 2017.

    Griffin, C., Egan, B., Blake, C. & Horgan, P. (2017). The Practice of Resistance Training Among Elite Irish Distance Runners and Knowledge and Perceptions Among Coaches. Poster presentation at the UKSCA Conference. August 2017

    View All Modules Here

    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:

     

    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).

    • 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.  Please see fees tab for further information on fees per module.
    • 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.

    What was your favourite part of the programme and why?

    "I loved the style in which the lectures were run. They were very interactive with many group tasks. This meant that you got to work with everyone in your class who all came from different sports and had different areas of expertise. I found this really accelerated my learning. The interactive style of lectures meant you could learn more and apply the knowledge or concepts to real world situations and possibly your sport. Reflecting on my own coaching journey was valuable and helped me to understand how my philosophy developed. The variety of subjects on this course kept me working hard but gaining knowledge across a wide range of areas. Some lectures were literally so exciting! Now I apply the skills I learned quite often reading the latest research with a critical eye. It has opened up a whole new world and way of thinking. It has given me great confidence in my sports career going forward and probably is one of the best things I've ever done for career development."

    Jessica O'Keeffe, Programme Graduate
    Outdoor Recreation Specialist at Ballyhoura Development CLG

     

    "My favourite part of the programme was the huge variety of modules relating to high performance sport that were covered. I feel much more confident approaching my career path in sport with the sound theoretical knowledge regarding performance analysis, nutrition, strength and conditioning and sport psychology, all hugely important in an athlete’s development. I also enjoyed the practical discussions and personal development surrounding coaching and how to be the best coach you can be."

    Breanna Drew, Programme Graduate
    School Counsellor at St Philip's College, Alice Springs (AU)

     

    "The most helpful part of the program was getting to work with a combination of both professors and a broad range of professionals working in different fields. We had lectures or worked hands on with strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, performance analysts, coaches, and researchers from a number of sports. This allowed me to see details into specific professions and create a better idea of what exactly I wanted to do after graduating."

    Keane Hamilton, Programme Graduate
    Head coach of U18 Girls Premier
    Missoula Strikers Soccer Club, Montana (USA)

     

    http://blog.educationinireland.com/how-i-ended-up-studying-for-my-masters-in-ireland

    In addition to UCD lecturers, this programme is delivered by visiting academics from international universities (Northumbria University UK, Cardiff Metropolitan University UK, University of Teesside UK, University of Bath UK, University of Hull UK, Salford University UK, Queens University Belfast UK, University of Limerick Ireland, Dublin City University Ireland) and guest speakers from Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Leinster Rugby Dublin, Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Professional Golfers Association Ireland (PGA), Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Sport Ireland Institute.

    The following entry routes are available:

    MSc Coaching Science in Sport FT (X772)
    Duration
    1 Years
    Attendance
    Full Time
    Deadline
    Closed
    MSc Coaching Science in Sport PT (X773)
    Duration
    2 Years
    Attendance
    Part Time
    Deadline
    Closed

    In addition to filling out the online application, the following documents must be uploaded with each application

    1) Copy of your degree parchment as well as full transcripts of your results

    2) If your first language is not English, you must submit the original certificate of completion of an English test

    3) Copy of your certificate of coaching qualification awarded by a governing body (this is not mandatory but would strengthen your application)

    You will need to provide original documents for verification prior to registration (only item 1 and 2). Please visit UCD Registry webpage (https://www.ucd.ie/registry/prospectivestudents/admissions/graduateapplicants/acceptinganoffer/       documentverification/) for further information.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Occasional Coaching Science in Sport (CPD). This route allows the student to take up to 3 of the following modules:

    • The Science of Coaching: Theory and Practice (10 credits). First semester, Thursday, 18:00 - 21:00
    • Applied Sports Psychology and Skill Acquisition (10 credits). First semester, Friday, 14:00 - 17:00
    • Planning in Strength and Conditioning (10 credits). Second semester, Friday, 10:00 - 13:00
    • Sports and Performance Analysis for Coaches (10 credits). Second semester, Thursday, 18:00 - 21:00

    To apply for Occasional Coaching Science in Sport: 

    http://www.ucd.ie/registry/admissions/apply.html then click on 'Course finder' (in Who applies direct to UCD?); Tick ‘Occasional’ and click ‘Search’; the programme is “Occasional Coaching Science in Sport (CT45)”.

    In addition to filling out the online applicationthe following documents must be uploaded with each application

    1) Copy of your certificate of coaching qualification awarded by a governing body

    2) If your first language is not English, you must submit the original certificate of completion of an English test

    You will need to provide original documents for verification prior to registration (only item 2). Please visit UCD Registry webpage (https://www.ucd.ie/registry/prospectivestudents/admissions/graduateapplicants/acceptinganoffer/                      documentverification/) for further information.

    Q: There are three different entry routes, I'm still unclear which one I should choose

    A: If you hold a relevant degree (at least 2:2 degree classification), you can apply to the MSc Coaching Science in Sport, either full time or part time. This depends on whether you want to complete the programme in one or two years. This is a personal choice, which is typically affected by work commitments. If you don't hold a relevant degree but have significant experience in sports coaching and hold a coaching qualification awarded by a governing body, you should apply to Occasional Coaching Science in Sport, which means that you can take up to 3 modules as CPD.

     

    Q: I hold a relevant degree, is that enough to get me a place on the MSc Coaching Science in Sport?

    A: You should have a minimum of a 2:2 degree. We also advise to strengthen your application by detailing your experience in sports/sports coaching either in the form of certificates or letters of support or a portfolio or similar. Additionally, do submit any certificate of professional/coaching qualification. Places available are offered based on the overall quality of the applications.

     

    Q: Is a Bachelor of Education degree relevant to this programme?

    A: Yes, it is, however see response to previous question.

     

    Q: I don’t hold a relevant degree/I graduated with a third class degree, can I still apply?

    A: In this case you will be looking to enter the programme through a route that accounts for experiential learning i.e. your own coaching and sporting background. You are expected to hold a coaching qualification recognised by a national governing body. Supporting letters of your previous experience and certificates of your qualifications will help your application. In year one you have to take at least 2 and maximum 3 modules as continued professional development (CPD) (fees paid per module, see ‘How to apply’) and apply for Occasional Coaching Science in Sport. If you don’t fail any module and achieve an average GPA of 3.0 or higher (corresponding to a ‘C+’ grade), you will be allowed in year two to take the rest of the modules and complete your dissertation. The fees paid to take the modules as CPD will then be deducted from the overall tuition fees to be paid to complete the MSc programme.

     

    Q: I am not sure if I have the time to commit to the Masters in Coaching Science in Sport. Are there any other options?

    A: Yes, you can decide to take up to 3 modules as CPD (each 10 ECTS credits). They are:

    - The Science of Coaching: Theory and Practice (Semester 1, Thursday 18:00 - 21:00)

    - Applied Sports Psychology and Skill acquisition (Semester 1, Friday 10:00 - 13:00)

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

    - Sports and Performance Analysis for Coaches (Semester 2, Thursday 18:00 - 21:00)

    What this means is you just register and pay for a specific module. You will also have to attend and pass the assessment for each module.

    If at a later stage you decide to enrol onto the full Masters programme, you will have to meet the entry requirements (see also response to previous question) and obviously you don’t have to re-take the modules that you have already taken.

     

    Q: Are there part-time options on the programme?

    A: Options are full-time or part-time. If you were to enrol as a part-time student, you will need to take three modules in year 1, and three in year 2, and complete your thesis in the summer of year 2. Within each year, it is up to you whether you do two modules in semester 1 and one module in semester 2 or vice versa but bear in mind you would have to do the opposite in year 2 (modules will run to the same timetable irrespective of year) in order to complete all six of the required modules. You must also complete your dissertation in the summer of your second year.

     

    Q: What is the timetable?

    A: Semesters are for 12 weeks, with no end of semester exams, only continuous assessment in semester. The module timetable is the same for each academic year and does not change in relation to part-time students. Modules run from 18:00-21:00 on Thursdays, 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00 on Fridays in both semesters (see ‘What modules can I take?’).

     

    Q: How much time should I commit to be successful in this programme?

    A: A total of 36 hours of lectures are delivered throughout the semester for each module. We advise that at least an equivalent amount of hours of autonomous activity towards the module are required to succeed. This could be in the format of directed or independent reading, engagement with brightspace (our virtual learning environment), practice for assessment tasks, completion of assessment tasks, etc.

     

    Q: Typically, how many students are taken onto the MSc programme each year?

    A: We take between 20 and 30 students each year, selection is based on the quality of the application. We would recommend an early application, around March/April.

     

    Q: What is the nature and structure of classes?

    A: Learner knowledge and understanding will be imparted by on-campus lectures, industry expert workshops & seminars. A number of lectures will be delivered by academics from other Institutions and coaches with an established reputation. A vibrant teaching and learning environment will incorporate active student engagement, discussion and debate, student-centred and problem-based learning with an emphasis on reflection and peer-to-peer learning. There will be a limited number of practical classes carried out for some of the modules (Planning in Strength & Conditioning and Exercise Physiology & Sports Nutrition).

     

    Q: Are there work placement opportunities associated with this programme?

    A: This programme does not offer work placement opportunities, however depending on topic and setting of your dissertation, you may have a chance to work in a real coaching environment. For example, some students have carried out a dissertation in collaboration with Hockey Ireland, UCD swim team, Sport Ireland Institute, etc.  

     

    Q: What does the dissertation involve?

    A: The dissertation constitutes the final stage of the MSc programme in Coaching Science in Sport. It presents an opportunity for students to conduct applied research, demonstrate creativity and critical thinking, as well as to develop and defend their ideas. The projects typically focus on current coaching and/or sports science issues in an Irish and/or international context. To successfully complete the dissertation, you will be required to analyse and synthesise the relevant academic literature, to develop a conceptual framework, to produce a formal research design, to perform primary data collection and analysis or secondary data analysis and synthesis, and to report, present and defend the findings.

     

    Q: If, once enrolled in the programme, I feel the dissertation takes too much time and effort, what are my options?

    A: If you have successfully completed the 6 modules and gained 60 credits you can exit the programme and you will be awarded a GRADUATE DIPLOMA in Coaching Science in Sport.

     

    Q: What percentage of graduates go into full time employment after completion?

    A: On average more than half of the students enrolled in our programme are already employed, usually as coaches, coaching officers, games development officers or coach developers/educators. They see the Masters programme as an opportunity to keep up to date and improve their skills and knowledge. Even though we are unable to keep track of all our graduates, a good few of them have been offered a coaching job after they completed the MSc Coaching Science in Sport (see ‘Careers & Employability’).