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Distance/blended learning available?


Tier 4 visa

2-5 years


Dr Stephen Patterson
Dr Stephen Patterson

Senior Lecturer - Sport Science

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Please note: applications for 2019/20 entry are currently closed.

This Master's degree is designed to support students in developing into outstanding Strength and Conditioning coaches.

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Why study Strength and Conditioning (Distance Learning)?

To be an excellent strength and conditioning coach requires a wide knowledge across several domains and a number of different skill sets. These include:

  • An extensive "toolbox" of training exercises and interventions
  • An understanding of movement and the ability to teach movement
  • An understanding of how the body adapts to training and how to organise training to maximise desirable  adaptations
  • An ability to coach
  • The ability to understand various sources of evidence (including scientific evidence) and use it to inform your  practice

Our Master's degree in Strength and Conditioning has been designed with these demands in mind and aims to support students in developing as excellent strength and conditioning coaches.

Why St Mary's?

We're widely recognised as an international leader in strength and conditioning education. We were the first UK institution to offer an undergraduate degree in strength and conditioning, and this Master's programme was the first part-time, distance learning strength and conditioning course in the UK.

In recent years the University has invested £250,000 in a state of the art Performance Education Centre, which is unrivalled as a facility for strength and conditioning education.

Our staff includes both highly experienced coaches and expert sport scientists. All of the course material is designed specifically for the strength and conditioning degree, ensuring that the practical relevance of the scientific evidence to the strength and conditioning coach is always fully explored.

The distance learning nature of this course has several advantages for professionals. Principal among these is the opportunity to combine study with practical work experience, allowing the translation of science into practice. In addition, you can organise your study around your own personal schedule. You can download lectures and watch them at times that suit you.

Pre-entry course information

For further information about the degree, please download our pre-entry course information PDF. This PDF is delivered in a similar format to the majority of lectures on the MSc, so will give you a feel for the principal mode of delivery for the course.

Please note: the file needs to be saved to your computer before opening and viewing. To play this file you need to have the latest Adobe PDF Viewer, Adobe Shockwave, Adobe Flash and Java installed on your computer. Unfortunately, this file will not play on iPads or iPhones.

Key facts

  • Be taught in a state of the art, £250,000 Performance Education Centre
  • St Mary's MSc in S&C was the first distance learning course of its kind in the UK
  • The course is distinct from many others in the sector in emphasising the development of coaching skills

Course content

Modules are studied in the order listed below:


  • SAC7101: Practical Techniques in Strength and Conditioning 
  • SAC7102: Research Methods and Evidence Based Practice 
  • SAC7103: Biomechanics and Skill Acquisition in Strength and Conditioning 
  • SAC7104: Physiology of Training 
  • SAC7105: Programme Design, Planning and Monitoring 
  • SAC7106: Topical Issues in Strength and Conditioning Science 
  • SAC7107: Independent Project 
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

In today’s marketplace, employers are seeking to employ staff who are suitably qualified to undertake their roles and responsibilities. As such, there is an increased need for postgraduate programmes to be vocationally orientated, with an emphasis on training students in the theoretical underpinnings and relevant practical areas to work in the sport industry.

The MSc / PG Diploma programme focuses on disciplines pertinent to the field of strength and conditioning. The programme has been designed to reflect the competencies required for professional accreditation with the UKSCA and NSCA.

It is necessary for applicants to understand that the most important quality valued by employers is experience. It's therefore, a condition of entry to the course that students arrange experience opportunities in strength and conditioning prior to entry. For those using the course as CPD for another career pathway (e.g. physiotherapists) this condition does not apply.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

Course content is delivered via online lectures and online reading. Students are also required to take part in online discussions and regular video posting is also a requirement to encourage the development of practical and coaching skills.

Each module ends with an on-site period where face-to-face content is delivered (including practical skills, laboratory work and assessments).

Assessment methods

The programme makes an extensive use of non-traditional assessment methods, alongside more traditional methods of assessment.

Non-traditional modes of assessment include the posting of video blogs, practical coaching vivas, lab report (timed) and production of a website. Traditional modes of assessment include essays, case studies, presentations and viva voce examination.

On-site teaching

The course is predominantly delivered as distance learning, however, attendance at the on-site inductions at the start of September is mandatory.

In addition, there is a summer on-site at the end of June that is also compulsory - this typically requires 7-10 days attendance in your first year (but is dependent on how many modules you are taking).


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Fees and funding

2018/19 fees

  • Home/EU: £8,000
  • International: £13,650

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £8,320
  • International: £13,650

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

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.


For guidance about financing your studies, including information about government-funded loans, please check out Fees & 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

Further information

Previous dissertations

Published Dissertations

The following dissertations have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals:

Best Dissertation Prizes

  • 2017: Glenn Donnelly: The effects of small sided game variation on hamstring strength
  • 2016: Andrew Mitchell: How do protective leg guards affect acceleration performance in elite cricketers
  • 2015: Nicole Misseldine: Speed demands of women's rugby sevens match play: The role of maximal velocity and playing position
  • 2014: Jonathan Jacobs: The body image of the strength and conditioning coach: Are aesthetics important?
  • 2013: Aaron Perales: Effect of post-match cold-water immersion on subsequent match running performance during a 3-day netball tournament