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Course content

How do athletes overcome setbacks? What is the best way for coaches to develop a great team dynamic? How do referees and officials deal with criticism? What factors influence people to take part in exercise?

Sport and exercise psychologists seek to understand the ways in which thoughts and emotions can affect performance and exercise participation. They use this knowledge to provide psychological skills support, increase motivation and develop self-belief at all levels, whether that’s encouraging the public to adopt a more active lifestyle or improving the performance of elite competitors.

This British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited Masters degree will develop the advanced psychological knowledge to understand critical issues in sport and physical activity, from recreational to elite level.

For more information on the part time option of this course, please view this web-page:

Learn From The Best

The teaching team includes a number of BPS Chartered and HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologists who have links to high profile governing bodies and sporting organisations including The Football Association (FA), Newcastle United Foundation and the English Institute of Sport, so when you choose this course you can be sure the knowledge and skills you will gain will be current and industry-relevant.

You will learn from research-active academics from across the Department of Psychology and Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, a valuable combination not found in most institutions. The experienced, cohesive teaching team have been praised by the BPS, external examiners and students alike for their knowledge, enthusiasm and high levels of student support.

Teaching And Assessment

At Northumbria, we take a practical approach to learning and assessment. Based in our well-equipped laboratory facilities and the state-of-the art Sport Central, you will be given the opportunity to work with athletes and client groups.

You’ll find that many modules use real-world scenarios, providing an opportunity to satisfy your intellectual curiosity as you work your way through evidence that often seems contradictory or controversial. You may find yourself helping to solve a real-life athlete issue; implementing intervention strategies to assist with performance; or developing a strategy to encourage behaviour change.

Assessment methods are varied and include exams, critical reviews and essays. Much of the course-based assessment has been developed to illustrate how the principles of sport and exercise psychology are applied in real world contexts. These may include reflections, case study reports, client/athlete needs assessments presentations, and handouts to coaches.

Moduler Overview
PY0756 - Exercise Psychology (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0757 - Motor Processes in Sport (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0758 - Psychological Skills for Sport Performance (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0759 - Counselling and Interpersonal Processes in Sport and Exercise (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0774 - Qualitative and Quantitative Methods (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0775 - Professional Skills (Core, 20 Credits)
PY0776 - MSc Thesis (Core, 60 Credits)

Learning Environment

You will be working within our modern, purpose-built teaching rooms and laboratories for taught and practical based sessions.

You will develop data analysis and interpretation skills using advanced statistical software packages as well as online survey platforms and bespoke laboratory software, including psychometric and cognitive tests.

As a postgraduate psychology student you will also have access to a dedicated common room for study, informal learning and socialising.

Research-Rich Learning

Throughout the course you will develop an understanding of research-informed practice and learn to apply this practically, through solving case studies, assessing clients for psychological skills intervention, and interpreting patterns of behaviour.

You will draw from the strengths of research active academics whose interests cover wide-ranging subjects from investigating the effects of venue on sports performance, interpersonal processes in sport, the psychological influence of injury, alcohol consumption in student athletes and the impact of physical activity on psychological wellbeing.

Your MSc thesis is submitted in journal format which allows for ongoing review and evaluation. This eases the process of submitting for publication, can strengthen a scholarship or funding application, and improve the prospect of securing employment in an academic environment.

Give Your Career An Edge

As the link between psychological wellbeing and physical activity becomes more defined, the demand for exercise psychologists in the healthcare sector has increased – particularly in the areas of health promotion and rehabilitation. Similarly, there is a growing demand for sports psychologists to deliver support from grassroots level through to performance athletes. This Masters degree programme will help develop the professional skills that will give you the edge in this evolving area of psychology.

For applicants who already possess the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC) and who successfully complete the course, you can then go on to complete the BPS Stage 2 Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology. After completing both Stage 1 and Stage 2 qualifications this will then enable you to become an HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist practitioner, a legally protected title.

Your Future

You will graduate with a wide range of professional skills, which include the ability to:
-Critically evaluate current theories and evidence which can be applied to understand and solve complex issues in real world contexts.
-Communicate your ideas and findings effectively to variety of audiences, whether it be coaches, parents, athletes or exercise enthusiasts.
-Apply relevant ethical, legal and professional practice frameworks (such as those required by the BPS and HCPC).

Your transferable skills will include oral and written communication, critical evaluation, problem solving, time management, IT and advanced statistical and qualitative analysis techniques.

Graduates with Stage 1 and Stage 2 qualifications who are interested in sport psychology will be in a strong position to work with major sports teams or field-based consultation at major sporting events. Options for exercise psychologists include working in private rehabilitation, gyms, the NHS, GP exercise referral schemes and local Councils.

Some of our recent graduates now work as teachers, coaches, consultants, in the healthcare sector and for organisations including the English Institute of Sport and Sunderland Association Football Club (SAFC). Many of our students have gone on to further postgraduate opportunities such as Ph.D. study whilst some have also secured placement opportunities in elite, amateur and recreational level sport.

Visit the Sport and Exercise Psychology - MSc page on the Northumbria University website for more details!




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