School of Health and Human Performance

MSc in Elite Sport Performance

Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
2 years, part-time, blended delivery
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The MSc in Elite Sport Performance (Level 9 NFQ, 90 ECTS) is a two-year, part-time, distance-learning programme that provides students with an opportunity to complete a programme of study focused on theories and practice of sport performance and develop an advanced understanding of research methodologies and reflective and critical skills.

This programme is aimed at early-career professionals working in the sport domain, and those with aspirations to work in this environment, who are motivated to extend their knowledge and understanding of elite sport performance and deepen discipline-specific expertise through postgraduate study.

The part-time and flexible nature of the course enables students to consider how their learning and knowledge impacts professional practice in elite sport performance environments, and ensure that the acquired knowledge and understanding gained through their MSc journey supports their development in their specific working context.

The aim of the MSc in Elite Sport Performance is to provide an opportunity for postgraduate study to appropriately qualified early-career sport professionals across relevant sport performance disciplines (e.g., sport science and coaching) and to acquire advanced subject knowledge in this field. We will offer candidates the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary study that allows them to investigate issues in elite sport performance.

The MSc in Elite Sport Performance enables the development of both broad and specific knowledge bases in sport performance. The interdisciplinarity which constitutes best practice in sport performance domains is enshrined in the programme’s content and delivery. Indeed, the depth of expertise within the School of Health and Human Performance (SHHP), and the broader Faculty of Science and Health (FSH), spans the range of disciplines of sport performance (i.e., psychology, biomechanics, physiology, coaching, physical education).

The part-time nature of the course has been specifically designed so that it can be available to professionals from all over the world, to fit with the demands of full-time employment while also enabling students to contextualise their learning within their professional context.

The modules comprise taught modules that deepen students’ understanding of theories and practice of sport performance and develop an advanced understanding of research methodologies and reflective practice, along with critical analysis skills. Critically, the modules provide students, as early career professionals, an opportunity to relate this knowledge and understanding to the elite sport performance context.

The MSc thesis (30 credits, Level 9), involves the completion of a research project.

Formal teaching including the use of online lectures, webinars, seminars, and online activities will be a feature of each module. This synchronous and nonsynchronous online content will be delivered using online platforms/resources including Loop and Zoom.

Module Overview


Year Module Weight Module Title

1 - Semester 1

Planning Skills for Sport Professionals

1 5 Planning Skills for Sport Professionals

In this module students will prepare a professional portfolio that details and reflects on their current role working in the sport domain, and a consideration of their professional aspirations and contexts.



1 - Year Long

Learning for Sport Practitioners

2 10 Learning for Sport Practitioners

This module enables students to examine the research and application of reflective practice, communities of practice and social learning in elite sport performance.



1 - Semester 1

Expertise in Elite Performance

3 7.5 Expertise in Elite Performance

In this module students will examine approaches to the development of elite performance in their own field of practice, and as a means to drive elaborative and adaptive thinking, judgment and growth.



1 - Semester 2

Decision Making in Elite Sport Performance

4 7.5 Decision Making in Elite Sport Performance 

In this module students will deepen their understanding of the decision making literature, the research and practice underpinning how decision making is acquired and the metacognitive skills that underpin effective decision making. Students will explore philosophical (e.g., ethics and values) underpinnings of their own practice, and how it pertains to issues concerned with knowledge and practice in sport.



1 - Semester 2

Research Methods for Sport Practitioners

5 15 Research Methods for Sport Practitioners

The aim of this module is to equip students with the knowledge, techniques and skills to critically appraise research, to plan appropriately for research (including ethical considerations and the DCU Research Ethics procedures), and to undertake qualitative and quantitative data analysis.



2 - Semester 2

Evaluating and Planning for Elite Performance

6 7.5 Evaluating and Planning for Elite Performance

In this module students will deepen their understanding of the literature and theories of the motivation, cognitive and behavioural processes underpinning performance in their sport domain. Students will explore the strengths and limitations of measurement issues in their performance domain as a means of making sense of available data and information.



2 - Semester 2

Organisational Influences on Elite Performance

7 7.5 Organisational Influences on Elite Performance

The aim of this module is to allow students to systematically review the study of organisational culture in sport and how it applies to elite sport performance.



2 - Year Long




30 MSc Elite Sport Performance Thesis                     
The MSc Thesis provides students with the opportunity to conceive, synthesise and implement a research investigation into a genuine performance issue within their own sport domain, making use of appropriate methodologies and related knowledge.      

The MSc in Elite Sport Performance is delivered using a blended learning strategy.

Synchronous Delivery

Teaching activities across all modules will include stimulus presentations from faculty and guest speakers, tutorials, and student-led discussions.

The synchronous online content will be delivered on Zoom and (typically) scheduled for specific Monday and Friday afternoons (4-6pm) throughout the semester.

The detailed semester and module schedule will be available in September.

Asynchronous Delivery

Each module will have a set of online and directed learning material (webinars, online tasks, tutorials) that students can complete independently.

Independent Study

As is typical of postgraduate study, students will engage in independent study of relevant issues and ideas raised during the module. Participants will be expected to engage in reading and critical review of literature relevant to each module and their own performance area.

There is an increasing demand for postgraduate study for early and mid-career professionals working in sport performance. The MSc in Elite Sport Performance will provide students with the opportunity to secure a professional qualification that will allow them to stand out against their peers, and will significantly and positively impact their employability and ability to progress to the next stage of their career.

The MSc in Elite Sport Performance will provide a clear progression route for undergraduate students to complete their studies at Masters level.

The MSc in Elite Sport Performance will also provide mid-career professionals an opportunity for professional advancement in their current or future area of work.


Reflecting the nature of the MSc in Elite Sport Performance, candidates should be working in sport or a related area, or intend to work in the sport domain. Evidence that may be provided by the applicant to support this include one or more of the following:

1. Holding a position or role in the promotion of sport performance or
related area
2. Holding an appointment or professional position in the domain
3. Professional qualifications in the domain, with clear articulation of
intention to progress to work in the domain.


Candidates will be expected to hold a primary Level 8, minimum 2. 2 qualification (NFQ or equivalent) in an area of sport and performance. In line with DCU policy, students who do not have the appropriate level of academic attainment for direct entry may apply for access via the Recognition of Prior Learning process (RPL). All RPL applicants will be invited to interview and required to demonstrate that their learning is comparable in terms of academic level training and assessment.

• Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applicants are required to submit a cover letter along with their application under the Transcripts section of the portal, affirming their intent to apply for RPL. For more information on RPL see here

As part of the application process applicants may be called for interview.

Due to the specialist nature of this programme, additional criteria may be used to assess suitability to undertake this programme. For further information, please contact the Programme Chair using the contact details above





Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€4,700 Per Annum (EU status including UK students who meet residency requirements)
Non EU Fee Part time
€9,000 Per Annum

Next Steps

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here.  Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.
  • Provide Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable.
  • One reference, from an individual in the candidate’s performance domain or an academic reference.  Please see application for details.
  • If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until:

  • Closing date for EU applicants is 31st July 2024.
  • Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2024.

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU are advised to apply as early as possible.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Application Queries

For EU applicant queries, please visit or email

For non EU applicant queries, please visit or email

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2024.