Students playing rugby

MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Sport and Exercise Psychology

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Health and Social Sciences
One year full-time, two years part-time
Full-time, part-time
Programme leader:
Dr James Byron-Daniel and Lindsay Woodford
Key fact:
Accredited by the British Psychological Society, highly flexible, and geared to excellent peer learning with practical experience and placement opportunities, this Master's provides a strong theoretical background to sports psychology in practice.

Page last updated 10 September 2018


Sport and Exercise Psychology is a relatively new field of applied psychology that's growing rapidly thanks to an increasing global focus on elite performance and physical activity in general particularly in light of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Today, the psychologist's contribution to our understanding and enhancement of sport and exercise is ever more varied and important.

Supporting athletes and wider society

National governing bodies now recognise sports science as an important part of training and competition for high-performance sports. These days many teams, sports organisations and local health authorities employ sports and exercise psychologists to help train athletes and promote physical activity to the wider population. Meanwhile, many primary care trusts are now appointing exercise specialists with psychology expertise to work in areas such as chronic conditions and health promotion.

The MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology gives you a critical understanding of contemporary issues in sport and exercise psychology, and applies this directly to practice and future roles in sport and exercise psychology. The course team brings extensive experience of counselling, motivational interviewing and other applied skills, along with the psychological tools you'll use when working with athletes, teams and other groups. Working with teams and individual athletes features heavily in the course.

Therapeutic processes form a central theme in this course, and as a result you'll develop a solid foundation in the therapeutic skills required to work effectively with individuals in sport or exercise contexts.

Hear more about this exciting subject area by following programme manager, Dr James Byron-Daniel, Sports and Exercise Psychology blog and @UWEMScSportEx twitter feed.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



You'll study a range of core modules:

  • Therapeutic Skills in Sport and Exercise - Introducing the key counselling and psychological skills that facilitate performance and change in athletes.
  • Social and Developmental Sport Psychology in Action - Investigating the developmental and social aspects of sport and sport performance, with critical reflection on placement experiences in sport and exercise contexts.
  • The Psychology of Physical Activity and Exercise - This covers all aspects of the psychology of exercise and physical activity, as well as looking at applying theory to practice¬†in exercise contexts.
  • Psychological Skills, Cognitive Processes and Individual Differences in Sport Psychology - Learning how an athlete goes from novice to expert, and looking at the psychological skills training sport psychologists use to improve skill and performance.
  • Conducting and Evaluating Psychological Research - Learn the purpose and characteristics of a range of different qualitative and quantitative research methods applicable to the field of sport and exercise psychology.


The in-depth research project required to achieve the MSc award. Full-time students complete the research project supervised by specialist subject tutors at UWE, while part-time students complete the research project over two terms in the second year of study.

This structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

You'll develop your skills and knowledge through block teaching days, and we provide an excellent virtual learning environment to support you throughout. This innovative teaching and learning approach suits full-time and part-time study and means you can study in the most flexible and convenient way, around your professional and personal commitments.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

As a result, many of the modules that make up this course are useful for health professionals already working in sport and exercise promotion. You can even study modules independently as part of a personalised Continuous Professional Development programme.


We assess taught modules through written examinations and coursework. Coursework comprises case studies, a portfolio of experience, critical incidence analysis and oral presentations.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The MSc is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and constitutes Stage 1 training towards practitioner sport and exercise psychologist status.

Study facilities

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Therapeutic processes

The MSc Sports and Exercise Psychology is designed to provide an excellent grounding in the therapeutic processes central to effective communication in the sport and exercise context. The course includes two two-day workshops that focus on Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and the clinical and sub-clinical issues in sport and exercise.


Careers / Further study

After completing this MSc, you'll need to complete Stage 2 training to become a Practitioner Sport and Exercise Psychologist. For further details of Stage 2 training, visit the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology website.

To be eligible to progress for Stage 1 training in Sport and Exercise Psychology you must have Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) status.

Our links to practice are excellent, and all course tutors work professionally with sports teams and individual athletes. So, as well as excellent context to your learning, you will enjoy useful links to potential employers through placement opportunities with, for example, Bristol Rovers FC, Bristol Rowing, and Bristol Rugby.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding.

See details of scholarship opportunities for international students.


Entry requirements

You should have either:

  • an honours degree awarded by a UK institute of higher education of at least lower second status, in Psychology or a relevant subject
  • an honours degree in Psychology and be eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) for membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • qualifications deemed equivalent by the Course Leader

In order to be eligible to progress from the MSc to Stage 2 training in Sport and Exercise Psychology and become a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist you must have GBC status. Applicants that do not have GBC status would not be eligible, under current BPS and HPC arrangements, to go on to Chartered Psychologist status. Those students without GBC may have a route for becoming HPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologists in the future.

We particularly welcome graduates with appropriate experience in sport and exercise psychology, and those who have been employed as sport and exercise psychologists for some time are welcome to apply.

If you have gained your degree from abroad you may be eligible for GBC and you should contact the BPS to clarify this. In many cases this can be a time consuming process so it is advisable to complete these enquiries prior to applying for the MSc, and well in advance of the application deadline to ensure your application can be considered for September entry.

We also offer the modules that make up this MSc as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stand-alone courses. If you are interested in this option please contact the Course Leader for more details.

For further information

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