Postgraduate MSc

Strength and Conditioning

School of Health and Society





One year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020

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In a nutshell

This course has a strong practice-based element, which means you'll develop the skills you need to pursue a leadership role in the field.

Theoretical content is available online, so you won't have to attend University every week. You'll be able to apply your learning to your job and use case studies from your current area of practice. Our staff are experts in the field of strength and conditioning and they often work in partnership with professional sports teams and individual athletes.

This was the first postgraduate programme in Europe to receive international recognition through the NSCA Education Recognition Program (ERP).

You will:
  • Gain a higher degree that will qualify you for a lead role in strength and conditioning
  • Develop the ability to critically evaluate the scientific principles and theories of athletic screening, and a clear understanding of the science behind performance measurement
  • Develop a critical understanding of the current scientific principles, concepts and theories of strength and conditioning and its real life application
  • Undertake an in-depth, evidence based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice

students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to take a lead role in the field of strength and conditioning


You are a strong communicator with great interpersonal skills


You want to help improve the lives of others

Course details

All about the course

The MSc course is offered on both a full-time (one year) and part-time (two to three years) basis.

The full-time course runs over three academic semesters (October through to September the following year), whilst giving you the chance to exit with the following awards:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: completion of one module
  • Postgraduate Diploma: completion of two modules
  • Masters: completion of two modules plus a dissertation

The part-time course can be studied over two or three years, with the final module of the two-year option taught over the summer.

Two-year option: 

  • Year 1 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Strength and Conditioning (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester three - summer) Research Project (Dissertation)

Three-year option: 

  • Year 1 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Strength and Conditioning (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement (60 credits)
  • Year 3 (Semester one and two) Research Project (Dissertation)

In order to achieve an award of MSc Strength and Conditioning, you must successfully complete the modules Strength and Conditioning and Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement, along with producing a thesis for the dissertation module.


Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement

You will develop the ability to critically evaluate the scientific principles and theories of athletic screening and a clear understanding of the science behind performance measurement and appropriate interpretation of those measurements and learn to apply them in a real-world context. You will experience carrying out a systematic and structured group/individual project. This will further develop your critical evaluation and research skills in relation to your own professional practice and includes dissemination of research and good practice.

Strength and Conditioning

You will develop a critical understanding of the current scientific principles, concepts and theories of Strength and Conditioning and its real-life application. Through a series of keynote lectures and online material, you will gain greater insight into all aspects of athletic development, including nutritional and psychological considerations. This course also considers long term athlete development and special populations. This will include ‘real life’ practical application, in relation to optimising athletic development.


You will undertake an in-depth, evidence-based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice; this is a substantial, independent, research project.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


This course is available both part-time and full-time and is delivered via a blended learning approach, which includes:

Workshops (three days per module, per semester)

These are interactive, discursive, reflective, participatory, collaborative and practice related sessions that employ a variety of teaching and learning methods. As the course progresses these will become progressively more student-led, with you presenting case studies for peer and tutor review.

Individual scholarly activity

Self-directed learning, personal reflection, practice-based application and reflection, including peer and tutor review.

Distance learning resources

Delivery of supporting resources such as study guides and lecture material online. Facilitated group work, including tutor and peer evaluation, are a key component of this course.

Personal tutor and peer support

To provide an academic, practice-based and personal support mechanism alongside facilitated networking.


Assessment methods will vary depending on the module. They include:

  • Case studies (written and oral presentations)
  • Viva vocé
  • Literature review
  • Practical assessments
  • Journal articles (research reports written in the format of a journal article)
  • Research proposal

The School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Staff profiles

Dr Paul Comfort

Programme Leader for the MSc Strength and Conditioning. He co-ordinated the Strength and Conditioning for England Mens Lacrosse from 2009-2012 and works with Salford City Reds rugby league football club and Sale Sharks rugby union. Paul is also widely published in the area of strength and conditioning and co-editor of the text Sports Injury Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention.

Dr Lee Herrington

Programme Leader for the MSc Sports Injury Rehabilitation. Lee has worked with Wigan rugby league, Great Britain Basketball and Great Britain swimming team and is a consultant physiotherapist for the English Institute of Sport. He has published extensively with a focus on knee and shoulder injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Dr John McMahon

Lecturer in Sports Biomechanics and Strength and Conditioning. He has worked with Sedgely Park rugby union, Bury FC Academy and currently works with Manchester Thunder Netball team. John’s research interests focus on muscle and tendon mechanics and their application to performance and injury prevention.

Clare Marsh

Senior Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Physiology. Clare’s research interests lie in the assessment of aerobic capacity and aerobic training.

Dr Paul Jones

Lecturer in Sports Biomechanics and Strength and Conditioning. Paul also works within Paralympic sports and his research focuses on lower limb injury prevention and the enhancement of athletic performance.

Dr Andrew Evans

Lecturer in Sports Psychology

Dr Steve Atkins

Director of Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy


You will have access to some of the best facilities in the UK, including our purpose-built Human Performance Lab, which contains almost every type of physiological and biomechanical equipment including:

  • FT700 Ballistic Measurement System
  • 9 AMTI Force Plates, 5 of which are situated in a 40m running track
  • ProReflex 10 Camera real-time motion analysis system
  • KinCom and Biodex Isokinetic Dynamometers for muscle strength testing
  • Portable Kistler force plate
  • EMG (electromyography) system used to measures the electrical activity of muscles and to gather information about the muscular and nervous systems
  • Esaote AU5 Ultrasound used to study skeletal muscles, tendons, ligaments and blood flow
  • We have a range of cycle and rowing ergometers, two treadmills, and two online gas analysis systems. We can perform blood analysis with our Analox GM7 Multi-Assay Blood Analyser to measure blood lactate, glucose and a range of other blood substrates
  • There is also the Reflotron which another multi-use system that can measure blood cholesterol and haemoglobin as well as portable blood glucose and lactate analysers

Take a 360 tour of the facilities here

In addition, we have the usual equipment found in exercise physiology labs.

  • Polar heart rate monitors
  • Harpenden skinfold callipers
  • Wingate tests
  • Hand grip dynamometers
  • Height, weight monitors
  • Jump mats and timing gates
Employment and stats

What about after uni?

With the skills you'll learn in this course, you can take a lead role in strength and conditioning and make a difference to the training of your clients. This course will significantly increase your chances of getting a high profile role in the top-flight sport.

Graduates are now employed in Premier League and Championship football and Paralympic weightlifting. Some graduates have also progressed on to lecturing and doctoral level study.

Al Stewart, was working as a strength and conditioning coach at Manchester City Football Club Academy when he started the MSc Strength and Conditioning, with the aim of gaining a postgraduate degree while gaining additional practical skills and experience to permit him to progress to a more senior role. He is now the Head of Strength and Conditioning for Hull City FC.

A taste of what you could become

A High Level Strength and Conditioning Coach

Career Links

This course has been developed to include the key competencies identified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning association (UKSCA).


What you need to know


This course is aimed at a wide range of sports professionals including sports scientist graduates, chiropractors, osteopaths, strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, sports therapists, sports rehabilitators, sport medicine physicians and physical education teachers.

This course has been developed to be accessible to individuals already working within the field of strength and conditioning, or those that are working towards full-time employment within the field. It is essential that you have access to athletes so that you can effectively evaluate their training and performance, and implement appropriate interventions as this forms part of the assessments for some modules.

You will need access to an athlete or group of athletes to use as case studies to apply the theory you have learnt to practice. You will need to be able to effectively evaluate their treatment and training, and implement appropriate interventions as this forms part of the assessments for some modules.

English language requirements 

Overseas students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.5 band score (with no element below 6.0) or above are proof of this.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

BSc (Hons) graduates with an appropriate sports or exercise related subject area (Physiotherapy, Sports Rehabilitation, Sports Therapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Sports Medicine Physician). Prospective students will normally be required to have achieved a 2.1 Honours degree, but consideration will be given to students with a 2.2 Honours degree with appropriate experience and satisfactory references.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

APEL: Sports injury practitioners with lower formal academic qualification will be assessed on suitability to enrol on this programme based on experience and vocational qualifications and via interview.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £7,776per year
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14670per year
Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

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Enrolment dates

September 2020