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The rugby specialist pathway has been designed to allow different rugby professionals worldwide to develop a critical understanding of issues relating to their professional development and performance to advance their professional practice whilst working or playing.

  • Flexible learning allows you to study at your own pace around your professional role
  • Access to industry partners through course collaborations, including the RPA and coaches from professional football clubs
  • The first rugby specific MSc programme delivered in the UK by leading professional coaches

Why study Professional Development: Rugby Performance?

The course content and design are informed by our partners within Rugby, including coaches, coach educators from professional clubs and national governing bodies.

Taught by nationally and internationally renowned coaches and coach developers and specialist staff the applied nature of the programme means that you are continually asked to reflect on course content in your professional practice.

Why St Mary's?

St Mary's is a renowned institution to offer a blended learning course, allowing you to study when and where it suits you. This course allows you to specialise in your given field, developing a bespoke expertise. This flexible format means you can advance your knowledge, expertise and professional skills in parallel through a specialised pathway in Rugby performance.  

We are a leading provider of postgraduate taught sport science programmes and are widely recognised as one of the UK’s premier sports institutions. The University has a wide knowledge-base in the professional development of sports professionals.

Our staff are comprised of highly regarded coaching professionals, coach developers and academics involved in world-leading and applied research, consultancy, and high-level coaching activities; all of which are directly relevant to - and inform - the modules delivered on the programme.

Other specialised pathways in this programme include Performance Analysis and Sports Coaching.

Professional Development Pathways subject talk and virtual visit

We've put together a bespoke virtual open day for anyone interested in studying Professional Development Pathways at St Mary's.

Join the event now

Course lead

Claire Mulvenna headshotClaire Mulvenna
Course Lead - MSc Professional Development

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

Minimum 2.2 degree or international equivalent, preferably in a sports-related subject.

Additional requirement information

Applicants are encouraged to hold or have the intention to work towards, an NGB L3 coaching award or international equivalent qualification and demonstrate continued commitment to coaching or professional practice.

Applicants must satisfy the general admissions requirements of St Mary's University outlined in the Admissions Policy.

Non-degree entrance

Applicants without formal degree level qualification but with significant relevant work or playing experience are encouraged to apply. We will assess your suitability and any support you may need for the non-degree entrance through a two-step process. For more information please check our entrance task details.

Non-degree entrants will have to take an additional module (Academic Introduction to Professional Development) in the summer before the degree begins.

Please note: the deadline for non-degree entrance will not be able to apply after the summer module begins.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Course content


  •  Core (Non-Degree Entrance Students)
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

As a MSc Professional Development with a specialism in Rugby Performance graduate, you will be highly sought after by employers in a rapidly growing market both nationally and globally. Your modules will allow you to build your skills, knowledge and experiences within industry which will enhance your employability prospects in elite sport.

Employment areas include:

  • Age group coach
  • Lead Phase manager
  • Academy Manager
  • Independent school coach/Head of Rugby
  • Personal Business development

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

The programme is delivered in a full-time (1 year) and part-time (2-3 years) blended learning format through our bespoke online learning platform and face to face lectures.

Every core module will require you to attend for 3 hours per module once a month on campus (maximum 9 hours to be delivered Friday pm and Sat am/pm). Attendance is not mandatory as all sessions will be captured and added to our VLE but this does provide students the opportunity to network, collaborate and have individual tutorials with academic staff. All other weeks leading up will be delivered online, and each module has a number of activities to complete, with each activity encompassing a set of learning tasks.

The programme utilises a variety of teaching and assessments methods to enable you to learn from practical and theoretical perspectives. These include: 

  • pre-recorded lectures
  • coach/player video analyses and feedback
  • discussion forums
  • quizzes
  • collaborative group tasks
  • case studies
  • presentations

To enable you to complete video-based tasks, we will provide you a GoPro camera and access to the Coach Logic online video analysis software. Go pro cameras will be sent to you once you have enrolled.

You will be asked to attend a 4-day mandatory on-site period in late April/early May. This incorporates both academic and experiential components such as study visits to high performing organisations and environments, practical sessions, workshops and a networking conference. 

We will also organise an online induction in September to welcome and prepare you for the course.

In addition, we will allocate a personal tutor to guide you academically and provide support throughout your studies with us.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods on the course deviate from traditional ideas, the main aim for assessments is to capture learning within the realms of your professional contexts.

Some of the assessment methods utilised on the programme are as follows:

  • Season long training plan
  • Practical recorded sessions
  • Session plans
  • Case studies
  • Virtual portfolio

Modes of study

You can choose to study this degree as either full distance learning or blended learning (one visit per month to campus).

Studying this degree full-time will take 12 months. The duration of part-time study is either 24 or 36 months.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The tuition fees listed are for the duration of the course. Part-time applicants should check our part-time fee information.

September 2021

  • Home: £9,150
  • International: £13,950

Fees for EU applicants starting courses in 2021/22 academic year

Eligible EU applicants will pay the same tuition fees as UK students to support EU students during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course. EU fees for 2022 entry are not yet confirmed.

View fees and funding information for EU students beginning their studies in 2021...

Part‐time fees

Part‐time students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.


Government-funded loans of over £11,000 are available to many Home postgraduate students.

For guidance about financing your studies, including information about the government-funded loans, please check out Fees and Funding section.

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken For further information about additional costs please contact


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Further information