MSc High Performance Sport

Start date
1 Year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

£10,530 (UK students)
£23,310 (International Students)

The main aim of the programme is to enable individuals to develop their skills and practice to better equip them for a career as a strength and conditioning coach, fitness coach, or sports scientist in applied sport science.


The programme will develop your ability to work with contemporary hardware and software, linked to training and testing when working with athletes, understand advanced periodisation models and develop athletes in a high-performance setting. Working with staff from world leading School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences as well as external experts embedded in industry you will also develop the ability to critically reflect on your philosophy, practice and organisational context and through research activities increase your competence in knowledge generation and implementation. This programme is ideally suited for those already working in sport or those interested in embarking in the domain.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

Why study this course?

  • Study at a World-leading School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.
  • Be part of a unique learning environment for masters study in the field of sport with staff experienced in applied practice
  • Learn from their unparalleled networks from time spent working in settings including professional football, rugby, and Olympic sports as well as other top-level external guest speakers


Compulsory Modules

Talent Management and Development

This module is focused on the management and development of talent in high-performance sport. Talent, in this context, relates to both athletes and staff and the need to support individuals/teams in their performances. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the key aspects of talent management and development using a multi-disciplinary approach. Indicative content includes the theory and practice of talent identification and recruitment and approaches to talent development and talent management. Insights into related organisational structures (e.g. recruitment departments, coaching teams, human resources, sporting directors and executives) and strategies will enable students to appreciate the importance of organisational behaviour, strategy, economics, governance as well as legal and ethical issues in different sporting models. 

Specific topics covered will include:

  • Nature vs nurture
  • Understanding and critiquing different talent development models
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team
  • Context/sport-specific considerations
  • Staff development/workplace structure 

Evaluating Performance

The main purpose of this module is to introduce underpinning theoretical knowledge and practical contextual considerations for the evaluation of the performance of both athletes and staff within high-performance sports environments. Characteristics of effective testing programmes and contemporary approaches to testing and evaluation will be presented from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Important considerations for data analysis, data handling and associated feedback along with an understanding of the role of technology in the assessment process will be included. The strategic planning and implementation of assessments of individual and organisational effectiveness will be introduced in order to provide students with critical insight into the translation of theory into practice.

Specific topics covered will include:

  • Needs analyses
  • Why, when, how to test
  • Data analysis/handling/visualisation
  • Feedback/communication
  • Ethical considerations

Effective Strategies for Preparation and Competition

This module is focused on providing key content that relates to the preparation and performance of athletes. The theory and practice associated with key factors important to athlete preparation and performance will be presented from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Indicative content will include planning and monitoring of training, nutrition for preparation and competition, effective warm-up and recovery strategies, psychological considerations for performance and injury, and injury prevention. Issues associated with performance at major competitions such as planning and delivering training/competition camps, travel, event management and commercialisation will also be considered.

Specific topics covered will include:

  • Periodisation
  • Tapering and competition preparation
  • Time course of adaptation
  • Injury/overtraining/return-to-play
  • Nutrition

Research Methodology in Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

This module will develop your research skills within the areas of sport and physical activity. It will cover the practical usage and critical analysis of methodologies providing an essential understanding of conducting research in a real-world sport/physical activity environment. Through this module, you will gain an in-depth understanding of conducting research in a real-world sport/physical activity environment which will allow you to develop as a research-led practitioner. The module also provides the grounding for the masters’ dissertation research.

Leading Others: From Principles to Practice
This module seeks to provide an understanding of leadership from the perspective of leading others through teamwork and the workplace structures and culture to achieve this effectively. Working with others is an important concept in all professions. Understanding in this area also provides a basis for the development of an initial awareness of fundamental considerations associated with leadership, and the theoretical and practical concepts associated with teamwork. 

In this module, you will integrate the areas covered in the taught modules within the programme. You will propose a research project, submit ethics, undertake and write up a piece of academic empirically based research relevant to your area of practice and interests.


Optional Modules

Theory and Practice of Leadership

Innovation in Professional Development


£10,530 (UK students)
£23,310 (International Students)

UoB Scholarships available to current year 3 students. 

When attending the taught sessions on the University’s Edgbaston campus, students will be required to book and pay for their own food and accommodation.  

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

Student Finance England's new Postgraduate Loan application service is now open for Masters degrees in the UK. The Postgraduate Loan for Masters study will be:  

  • A contribution towards the costs of study, i.e. it will be at your discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs or other costs;
  • Non-means tested;
  • Paid directly to you into a UK bank account;

Full details and a "Postgraduate Master's Loan Explained" video can be found here

Online applications are now open via the PGL website.

Student Finance England have created a range of resources on their YouTube channel to help you understand the Loan.

Birmingham Masters Scholarship

Our Birmingham Masters Scholarship offers £2,000 via a tuition fee discount, to support the brightest and best applicants from UK or Ireland undertaking Masters study at Birmingham during 2024-2025.

Apply now

Postgraduate Progression Award

Our Postgraduate Progression Awards offer final year undergraduates at the University of Birmingham a fee discount of £1,500 for postgraduate taught study.

Apply now

How To Apply

Please note that we do not require applicants to submit a research proposal for this programme, however applicants are invited to provided a brief summary of their research interests, adding Dr Tom Brownlee as the proposed supervisor.

International students requiring visas

26th July 2024 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2025.

UK students

31 August 2024 is the application deadline for UK students. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2025.

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Students will be required to hold an undergraduate degree in a discipline related to sport and exercise science. Normally a level of 2:1 is required.

No student will be admitted onto the programme who does not possess a suitable knowledge base of research methods acquired through undergraduate training.

A level of applied sports science support experience is also required and should be detailed in your application.

The professional experience of the student will, in certain situations also inform the appropriateness of the application should the above not be met.

International Requirements

A variety of learning and teaching approaches are used to support learning opportunities. These include independent research activity, one to one supervision, workshops, work-based learning, critical friend feedback, self-audits, independent and guided critical reflection. All of these approaches will be associated with professional learning considering applied environment.

Modules are assessed using a combination of coursework assessments to include research papers, reports, reflective commentaries and oral examination.

Seminars and tutorials are aimed at supporting both the learning opportunities included in the core programme modules and to facilitate the processes in and around the completion of the research projects. Seminars and tutorials will be led by both tutors and students on the programme to facilitate peer-to-peer learning. The blended approach to delivery of these aspects of the curriculum will ensure that all students can engage in individual and small group learning.

Lectures and other key content will be delivered by a mixture of academic experts and professional individuals who are active within high-performance sport or sports related organisations. Research and high-level professional experience and competency will be a key underpinning of all individuals involved in the programme.

The School in based in the largest custom-built Sport and Exercise facility in the UK, with state of the art research labs dedicated to exercise testing and sample analysis across the spectrum of sport and exercise sciences including: physiology, biochemistry, psychophysiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, motor skills, immunology, muscle mechanics and the neurophysiology of movement. In addition, the School uses a wide range of practical spaces for professional and vocational related research.

Contact Hours

Although contact hours vary significantly from week to week depending on the modules that you are studying, you can expect an average of 12 hours of taught contact time per week. This may include lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions. Outside of these times, staff are also available for individual meetings and informal supervisions.

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning at university. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include coursework, such as essays; group presentations, individual presentations, and formal exams. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment as you move through your programme. 

Assessments completed in the core modules provide clear direction to both the specific learning and development journey for each student.

Studying High Performance Sport at Birmingham, you will develop fantastic skills for your future including independence, creativity, communication, teamwork, and a host of discipline-specific skills. These transferable skills are useful for a wide variety of careers across applied sports science.

The programme attempts to enhance the employability of graduates through masters level training relevant to professional practice. The development of skills working with hardware and software to facilitate strength and conditioning research skills, critical analysis, problem solving, innovation, project-management, dissemination of information, development of professional practice standards and planning, directing and evaluating their own learning to a level commensurate with masters study will facilitate career transitions and progression. 

Potential careers for those completing the programme would include strength and conditioning coaches, fitness coaches, sports scientists in high-level sports organisations. 

High-level thinking and problem-solving skills are attributes that are important for all roles in sporting organisations. This programme is focussed on the development of such skills and as such will provide you with key characteristics that are needed in today’s competitive career market.