Online application for our Masters programmes in the field of sport and exercise psychology is now open and will close on November 1, 2020, but we advise early applications to ensure a place. Our full-time one-year postgraduate programmes run January to December with the final semester in Autumn, dedicated to the dissertation. The programme prepares successful graduates for a career in applying sport psychology as a practitioner or in the use of psychology in supporting other careers including sports coaching, sports management, rehabilitation and health promotion. For example, graduates have become performance directors of elite sport, practitioner sport psychologists or gone on to further study.
Those who are applying with a background in psychology and who meet the requirements of the Psychological Society of the Ireland apply for the traditional MSc. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology route and those with primary degree qualifications in related fields (e.g. sport science, physical education, etc.) or seeking entry by accreditation through prior learning and experience should look to the new MSc in Mental Skills and Mental Health in Sport and Exercise. Both programmes are identical with the exception of the entry qualifications.
These programmes in sport, exercise and performance psychology are offered by the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in the Education and Health Sciences Faculty and are linked to the outstanding Health Research Institute at the University of Limerick. The programmes combine a scientist-practitioner model with a strong focus on methodological rigour and contemporary approaches within psychology (e.g. applied positive psychology).
Programme Aims & Accreditation
The core aims of the programmes are to create an outstanding and distinctive learning experience through innovations in teaching (e.g. problem-based learning), and to promote a sound evidence-based approach for those engaged in a broad range of roles in sport, exercise and health contexts.
Summer School and Conference Events
A unique delivery model includes an annual Summer School for the Professional Issues and Ethics in Applied Psychology module which enables access to international experts from outside of the University of Limerick to contribute to the programme. The Summer School has included world-leading experts including Professor Juergen Beckmann (Technical University, Munich), Dr Denise Beckmann, Dr Insa Nixdorf (Technical University, Munich), Dr Mustafa Sarkar (Nottingham Trent University), Professor Paul Wylleman (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Professor Craig Mahoney (University of the West of Scotland). The Summer School offers students the opportunity to network within business, industry, public and professional sectors whilst also honing the skills they will need to achieve their long-term career goals.”
Progression & Career Pathways
Our Masters programmes in sport, exercise and performance psychology commenced in 2015 and has graduated almost 60 students to date. We are restricted to approximately 20 students per year across the combined programmes in sport, exercise and performance psychology.
EU Full-time fees = €6,225. Non-EU Full-time fees = €11,992 and click here for updates.
Some scholarships are available directly from the university and applicants can check the following link for updates when applying https://www.ul.ie/sportsscholarships/
Application & Programme Requirements
We provide two options for those interested in gaining a Masters level qualification in this area. One route is for applicants with a ratified BSc 2:2 honours (Level 8 – National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) or higher, with preference given to applicants with a degree in a discipline related to sport and exercise sciences (e.g. physical education, strength and conditioning, kinesiology, physiotherapy, physical therapy, nutrition, biomedical sciences) who should apply to the MSc. in mental Skills and Mental Health in Sport and Exercise programme. In parallel, there is a route for those with an accredited degree in psychology-BSc 2:2 honours (Level 8 – National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) or higher that is recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland (or equivalent e.g. British Psychological Society).
Additionally, we accept people without a related degree to the MSc. in mental Skills and Mental Health in Sport and Exercise programme if they can show significant prior experience in sport, exercise or rehabilitation fields. This route, termed, Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) requires a supporting 1,000 word statement uploaded with the application. RPL experience needs to be considerable and supplementary evidence of this work provided within the application documentation.
Entry to the programme is based on the online written application with no interview (see links here):
Supplementary evidence (e.g. qualification transcripts, certificates, workshop attendance, CV & birth certificate) needs to be provided with the application. We would also encourage applicants to share their experience of relevant activities in sport, exercise and health domains in their personal statement.
Internationalisation & External Recognition
Since commencing in 2015, the MSc Sports Performance programme has attracted students from all over the world including the US, UK, Sri Lanka, Malta, Luxembourg and China. The course has global appeal therefore, as the skills, knowledge and competencies developed on the programme are transferable the world over.
The excellence of our programme has been recognised by our inaugural external examiner (Professor Craig Mahoney) and specifically in the context of this programme.
Professor Craig Mahoney (External Examiner 2015-2018)
“I continue to be impressed by the range and variety of assessment methods used across the programme and have again had the opportunity to sit in on student presentations that were being assessed in July on Professional Practice and Skill Acquisition. I have been very impressed with how this programme has developed since its validation just a few short years ago. The students who have come onto this Masters degree have improved over the years, with this current cohort the most engaging, intelligent and academic capable of the cohorts to date. The increased number of foreign students demonstrates its reach as an attractive programme of study for students from other national domains, and that is a true mark of the status of the programme, its staff and its delivery.”
Professor Jürgen Beckmann (Professor and Chair of Sport Psychology at Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, Honorary Professor University of Queensland, Australia, Adjunct Professor University of Limerick, Ireland.
“Among other things great assets of this masters course are the inclusion of lots of cases from applied work in sport psychology across a broad range of topics involving assessment, interventions along with clinical and ethical issues thereby covering the whole field a practitioner sport psychologist will be confronted with.”
The student voice is central to our approach at UL so here are the accounts of student experiences from our graduates.
Marc O’Donovan-Wyatt: MSc Graduate
“Coming from a business background, this course has diversified my profile which helps my transition into the Sporting industry, whilst improving my ability to manage teams and people. This MSc has provided me further credibility within sporting circles. The course has changed my perspective on many aspects of my life. Taking time to meditate or as simple as looking out the window and enjoying the environment I am in and appreciating the world around me, this puts my problems into perspective and allows me to problem solve in a more positive mindspace. More importantly, this course has increased my emotional capacity toward others has given me both the tools and the understanding to help provide an evidence based approach and solution.”
Katie Kilbane: MSc. Graduate
“For me going down to UL was one of the best decisions I ever made. The greatest thing I took away from the course was a better understanding of research in the area of sport and exercise psychology. There is a lot of information put out to coaches and players but being able to pick apart the research and information that can help you to apply an intervention in an effective and safe manner has been invaluable. Since completing the MSc. I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of athletes and teams across codes, meeting incredible people and having the opportunity to build a career doing something I love and enjoy. I’m currently in the process of completing my application for accreditation with Sport Ireland.”
Cathal Sheridan (Former Munster Rugby Player and trainee Sport Psychologist): Graduated with Distinction:
“During the MSc in Sports Performance I gained a wide variety of knowledge including how monitor and measure performance parameters for different athletes in different sports with sport specific demands. This enables me to develop scientific based intervention’s to an individual or team…the work placement opportunity was also an invaluable experience for me as I got to work in a professional rugby organisation in Ireland.”
Greig Oliver (Munster Rugby Coach): Graduated with Distinction
“Particularly memorable input came from Terri Morrisey, the CEO of the Psychological Society of Ireland who challenged us to be the best we can, not just for ourselves, our future career, but for our clients. Our external examiner, Prof. Craig Mahoney enthused us when he said that we were the best class he had witnessed in the last decade and told us to take on the challenge of sport psychology, support one another and mind ourselves along the way. And finally, Prof. Juergen Beckmann asked us each to reflect on the limits of what we do and shared with us experiences of how to identify our strengths, as this would determine what our clients would perceive most useful.”
Wen Yang (PhD Candidate at University of Hong Kong): MSc. Graduate
“I loved the day we stayed in Clarisford Park, learning in nature environment and listening to the birds could help us be more relaxed and engaged. Different speakers showed me diverse perspectives about sports psychology, because of their different cultures and backgrounds. Not only learnt the psychological experience about Ireland, Germany, UK, but also knew more about ethical dilemmas, which really broadened my horizons. What really surprised me was that speakers are very critical, strict and serious during the questioning and testing process, but they are also very humorous and kind when we talked with them closely, and they are willing to share their opinions, and don’t mind giving help to students.”
If you are interested in the programme or require further information contact:
Dr Tadhg MacIntyre
Course Director – MSc Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences
University of Limerick
Castletroy, Limerick. Ireland
View Tadhg’s profiles: Web or Researchgate or LinkedIn