Staffordshire University’s MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology offers students a critical understanding of current issues in psychological theory applied to sport and exercise settings.

Available as a 1-year full-time or 2-year part-time course, all teaching is delivered in a distance-learning format, through an online Virtual Learning Environment. Drawing on a variety of multi-media technologies, the elements are broken down into various engaging formats to help you learn, and provide interaction between students and tutors. You will explore a wide-ranging curriculum, covering subjects such as applied sport psychology techniques, group dynamics, leadership, applied research methods, skill acquisition, physical activity and mental health, stress, and resilience.

As an exclusively online course, this MSc is unique in the UK, and through Staffordshire University’s well-established distance learning expertise you will gain access to a highly effective way to develop your knowledge, expertise and professional skills around your life.

If you have the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) this course provides Stage 1 training towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist. It’s also suitable for anyone with a Sport and Exercise Science or related first-degree background, however, to complete Stage 2 training with the BPS you’ll need to obtain GBC via a conversion course before enrolling in Stage 2.

Why choose this course?

  • Our courses are all underpinned by research excellence – In the 2014 REF, our research was rated as being of international quality overall with 64% of the research considered either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • All modules are designed and delivered by world-leading, research active, Sport Psychology team who have an outstanding international research reputation and over 10 years? experience of online teaching methods.
  • You will benefit from our, excellent applied links with sports organisations, businesses and professional bodies such as, GB rowing, Stoke City FC, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, The Football Association, SONY mobile, the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  • We have a proven track record for delivering on CPD and post course employability.

Study Details:

MSc 1-year full-time or 2-year part-time Distance Learning

Module Details:

In Physical Activity and Mental Health the current state of evidence regards the relationship between physical activity and mental health is examined. Physical activity theories and models are critically evaluated using a range of sources of evidence including traditional review, meta-analysis and epidemiological research. A central focus of the module is behaviour change with respect to physical activity. The mental health benefits of activity with respect to selected mental illnesses are also evaluated and practical physical activity interventions examined.

The module Advanced Research Methods and Data Analysis develops and enhances research methods, statistical and qualitative analysis skills. Key analytical techniques will be addressed via data sets in sport and exercise psychology.

The module Group Dynamics and Leadership in Sport and Exercise covers the application of social psychological theory to sport and exercise settings, with a focus on audience effects, groups, and leadership, and on how these processes may impact on the performance of athletes, coaches, trainers and managers. Adopting a social psychology framework the module will examine contemporary approaches related to the impact of audiences, group dynamics and cohesion in the performance domain.

In the first part of The Practice of Sport and Exercise Psychology a range of psychological techniques available to practitioners are outlined (e.g., self-talk, imagery). Students will be required to consider what psychological techniques are most appropriate and how they should best be applied to a range of scenarios (e.g., enhancing confidence in a novice exerciser, helping an elite athlete cope with a career ending injury). In the second part of the module the skills required to practice effectively (e.g., counselling skills, communication skills and reflective practice) are considered along with issues surrounding the delivery of psychological interventions to different groups (e.g., disabled athletes) are considered.

The Skilled Performance Under Pressure module uses psychophysiological interpretations of how athletes interact with motivated performance situations to explain skilled performance under pressure. First, the module will explore historical and contemporary approaches to understanding skilled performance. Second, recent approaches to understanding skilled performance under pressure will be explored. Finally, investigation will take place of the psychophysiologial markers of the human reaction to stress in the context of their relationships to skilled performance under pressure by examining the use cardiovascular reactivity as an indicator of adaptive and maladaptive responses to stress.

The final module is the Dissertation. This module involves the planning and execution of an empirical research project. Typically, students are encourage to write their thesis in a journal style and where appropriate submit for publication. A formal presentation and oral examination of the research is a key feature of the module.


£34 per credit

Entry Requirements


  • To apply for this course you will need an Undergraduate Honours degree (grade 2:1 or higher) in a Psychology related degree and possess Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC).
  • Your degree must be from a UK University or International equivalent.
  • You must be able to demonstrate a good standard of English. We require a minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands) or an equivalent qualification.

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