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MSc Athletic Development and Peak Performance

Course Description


Do you want to further your knowledge of sport science and athletic development? Southampton Solent’s athletic development and peak performance master’s degree has been designed in partnership with industry experts to help equip students with skills, experience and knowledge precisely tailored to industry requirements.

- The course has a practical focus, combining hands-on experience with master’s theory to teach students how to apply learning to a professional sporting environment.
- Gaining practical experience is a key element of the programme and students are expected to undertake work placements alongside their studies for the duration of the course.
- Students have full access to the University’s leading sports science facilities, including a BASES-accredited physiology lab. Many of these facilities are regularly used by professional athletes.
- The course team has strong industry links from which students can benefit.
- Past students have benefitted from a programme of regular guest lectures.

The industry -

The UK health and fitness industry is experiencing continued growth. Fitness membership in the UK has risen by 4.5% and now exceeds 8 million (2014 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report). Despite this, industry commentators have urged the sector not to become complacent and to continue to promote a healthy lifestyle to the nation.

This course can help graduates tap into a number of good career opportunities in sport and exercise science across a number of specialist fields, from developing programmes for elite athletes to working with schools and colleges to encourage the next generation of athletes to excel.

The programme -

Built on a successful and popular undergraduate programme, this high-level master’s degree helps to prepare students for a career in the sports industry by delivering hands-on professional skills and adopting an interdisciplinary approach to coaching.

During the course, students will explore key areas such as talent identification, long-term athlete development, performance analysis, strength and conditioning, peak performance, technical and tactical development, marginal gains, and injury prevention and management.

To complement their studies, students are expected to undertake work placements relevant to the course within professional sport and exercise organisations. Working at all levels, from elite athletes to schools or rehabilitation patients, students will gain valuable ‘real-world’ experience working alongside leading experts. Work placements are expected to have been organised prior to joining the course; if students have been unable to organise a placement, the University will support them in finding a suitable opportunity.

Students have full access to the University’s leading, fully-equipped sports science facilities, which boast a BASES-accredited physiology laboratory, as well as biomechanics, health and exercise, and psychology laboratories. Many of these facilities are regularly used by professional athletes, including players from Southampton FC.

Past students have benefitted from a guest speaker programme which has featured lectures from professionals from the highest level of a variety of sports, who have shared their advice, knowledge and experience of the industry.

The course team has strong industry links and the University is a partner of Southampton FC. The University also works with other top sports organisations, including Reed’s High Performance Academy, British Swimming, Hampshire Rugby, Crystal Palace FC, London Irish RFC and GB Wheelchair Rugby.

Course Content

Technical Development in Sport: On this unit you will critically analyse coaching methods and how skill is acquired, building your understanding and use of technology for developing, monitoring and testing athletic performance.

Psycho-Social Development in Sport: The aim of this unit is to analyse the theories underpinning talent identification and long-term athlete development, and to examine the psycho-social factors affecting performance throughout an athlete’s career.

Physical Preparation in Sport and Exercise: This unit examines the science behind effective training, injury prevention and rehabilitation in a practical setting. You will focus on physical and mental loading, and on the key fitness components of strength, speed, endurance and flexibility.

Tactical Development in Sport: This unit focuses on performance analysis techniques, providing practical opportunities to collect, assimilate and analyse tactical, technical and time motion information, with the aim of improving performance.

Marginal Gains for Peak Performance: This unit identifies past, current and future methods of obtaining potential marginal advantage in performance, with a chance to build first-hand experience via off-site learning.

Individual Project: The project provides an opportunity to undertake a sustained, intensive and independent investigation into a topic of your choosing, presenting your work in a peer-reviewed journal format.

Programme specification document - http://mycourse.solent.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=6152

Teaching, learning and assessment -

The course combines theory-led sessions with practical sessions, working individually and in groups in both the laboratory and the field. On all units you’ll work with real-life clients, in a placement either organised yourself or by members of the course team.

Work experience -

Prior to starting the course you’ll be expected to have a placement organised that will last throughout your studies; this can be in more than one organisation if required. The placement should be in a role relevant to the course, and might include (but not limited to) coach, sport scientist, performance analyst, strength and conditioning coach, exercise physiologist, biomechanist, laboratory technician, etc.

If you’ve been unable to organise a placement, the course team will support you in finding a placement, potentially with university partners Southampton FC or a range of other top sports organisations, including Reed’s High Performance Academy, British Swimming, Hampshire Rugby, Crystal Palace FC, London Irish RFC, GB Wheelchair Rugby and more.

Assessment -

Assessment will be a range of written coursework, viva, presentations, reports and practical tests.

Our facilities -

You’ll have timetabled and extracurricular access to our BASES-accredited physiology laboratory (http://www.solent.ac.uk/business-community/hess/facilities/physiology-lab.aspx), as well as the biomechanics (http://www.solent.ac.uk/business-community/hess/facilities/biomechanics-lab.aspx), health and exercise (http://www.solent.ac.uk/business-community/hess/facilities/health-exercise-lab.aspx) and psychology laboratories (http://www.solent.ac.uk/business-community/hess/facilities/psychology-laboratory.aspx).

Study abroad -

Through discussion with your course leader you’ll have potential opportunities to study abroad through international placement in the industry, for example in Poland.

Web-based learning -

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

Why Solent?

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Facilities - http://www.solent.ac.uk/about/facilities/facilities.aspx

City living - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/southampton/living-in-southampton.aspx

Accommodation - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/accommodation/accommodation.aspx

Career Potential

The skills you’ll develop on this course open up a wide range of career opportunities in sport and exercise science, across every sport imaginable. You could work with professional, elite or Olympic athletes, meeting the challenges of ensuring they maintain peak fitness in world-class competition, or work with hospitals and health organisations to develop training and recovery programmes for patients suffering injury or disability. You could work with schools and/or colleges, developing fitness programmes and encouraging the next generation of athletes to excel.

Links with industry -

This MSc has been designed in conjunction with industry experts, ensuring you receive the skills and theory precisely tailored to industry requirements. Our industry partners are also integral in the provision of placement opportunities, giving you the advantage of real-world experience alongside potential employers during your master’s studies.

The course also incorporates a series of guest lecturers from the highest level of a variety of sports, to share their advice, knowledge and experience of the industry.

Transferable skills -

Presentation, project and time management, leadership, communication, IT and numeracy skills are developed in both the classroom and practical placement opportunities.

Further study -

You’ll have the opportunity to specialise at the highest level with Solent’s PhD programme, under the guidance of various staff members.

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £6,695

International full-time fees: £12,380

Other costs -

Compulsory BASES membership: £24

Graduation costs -

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.
For more details, please visit: http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/graduation/home.aspx

Next steps

Think you’ve got what it takes to succeed in sport and exercise science? By combining practical experience with advanced academic theory, Southampton Solent’s athletic development and peak performance master’s degree will help you to take your sport science or coaching career to the next level.

Visit the MSc Athletic Development and Peak Performance page on the Southampton Solent University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Ben Rosen, graduate – head of strength and conditioning, Southampton FC

As somebody who works every day in the industry of professional sport science support, the MSc looks set to become integral in bridging the gap between undergraduate degree and full time work in professional sport. With the focus being so applied in its approach, this MSc really stands alone amongst the vast amount of sport science related post graduate degrees.

(Student Profile)

Jon Dalzell PhD, independent coaching and sport science consultant

An essential MSc that bridges the gap between academic knowledge and hands on experience. This course offers a unique opportunity for the committed student to develop a broad set of skills with a course that has had significant input from an array of practising professional sport scientists and sport coaches and one that will take the student beyond academic learning and prepare them for what we want in industry as potential employers.

(Student Profile)

Ali Mohammadi Rad, student and high performance S&C coach

Although I have many years of experience as a coach and an athlete, this course has helped me to view my world of sport in a different way. I found it very interesting, learning a lot about psychology and how it relates to athletic development and coaching. I am also learning to think critically about other people's opinions in the field of sport. I would recommend this course to anyone who is thinking about expanding their knowledge in this chosen academic area.

(Student Profile)

Tom Clark, student and Motorsport sport scientist

Although my undergraduate study had been an enjoyable experience, the MSc Athletic Development and Peak Performance encourages further learning, but also, to diversify and apply new found knowledge to high level sporting scenarios that really interest me. This, along with great teaching by hugely knowledgeable lecturers and well-structured units which can be applied to any sporting area of interest, makes the course very enjoyable as well as challenging.

(Student Profile)

Tom Daniel, Student and sport science intern at QPR

I chose this MSc course over others because I wanted to be able to effectively apply my knowledge to a professional environment, and the course has certainly delivered. It has a superb balance of both theoretical and practical application of contemporary subjects within the Sports Coaching and Sports Science industries, and ensures an interdisciplinary approach is understood and reinforced by its students. I certainly feel that it has given me the best chance of success in future employment and development.

(Student Profile)

Yiannis Fleming, Student and tennis coach

Having previously studied BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Development, I'm now undertaking a masters that is allowing me to garnish a broader understanding of coaching at an elite level. Additionally, I believe that this has further developed my appreciation of the sports industry in general. With the help of knowledgeable and experienced lecturers, I have been able to critique past and present literature, and introduce my own opinions on how various coaching theories and styles could be further improved.


Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:1 or above*Acceptance is also subject to successful interview. *Admissions will consider applicants who do not have a degree at 2:1 or above but can provide evidence of relevant work experience. More Information: View Website

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