MSc Applied Sports Coaching: Online Application Open for September 2023 Intake – Dr. Phil Kearney.

The Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences invites applicants for the MSc Applied Sports Coaching. This innovative part-time two-year postgraduate programme will give 15-20 experienced coaches the opportunity to enhance their practice through engagement with practitioner leaders and pioneering researchers in the field of sport coaching.

Programme Aims
The underlying aim of this MSc programme is to develop coaching expertise which can be employed by the graduates in their own context. We aim to develop graduates who:

  • Possess extensive knowledge of the coaching process and innovative applied practice in sport coaching.
  • Display originality and insight in the design, delivery and evaluation of coaching practice.
  • Possess enhanced practical skills in applied coaching practice, management, leadership, video analysis, planning, and the capacity to work, develop skills, and promote professional practice.
  • Possess the skills for conducting bespoke applied research on sports coaching to evidence and enhance their own practice and that of other coaches.
  • Are proactive in identifying and critically evaluating current research in domains such as sport and business, and drawing implications for their own context.

Programme Content and Delivery
The coaches on the programme will form a community of practice, interacting with both practitioner leaders in the field of sports coaching and recognised experts within the UL community. If you attend this programme, your coaching will form the basis for the curriculum: your plans (for sessions; for seasons; for club culture; for long term athlete development), your behaviours (during training sessions and during competitions), your reflections, your philosophy of practice, will all be examined in light of case studies from our external speakers, and the latest research in coaching science and sport science.


Application & Programme Requirements
The programme invites applications from experienced coaches, ideally holding at least a Level 2 qualification from their sport. The programme is looking to attract coaches working in a variety of sports and with a diverse range of populations, including children, youth development, youth recreational, adult high performance, and adult recreational. Such a diversity of candidates will facilitate both cross-fertilization of ideas, and novel perspectives on sports coaching.

We provide two entry routes. The first route is for applicants with a first or second class Level 8 honours degree (NFQ or other internationally recognised equivalent) in a relevant or appropriate subject (e.g. Sports Coaching, Sport Science, Physical Education).

Applicants without a relevant degree may apply via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), if they can demonstrate significant coaching experience. Specifically, prospective candidates require a minimum of 5 years coaching experience along with appropriate sport-specific coaching awards (preferably minimum Level 2). An application via RPL requires a supporting statement uploaded with the application.

For both routes, supplementary evidence (e.g., qualification transcripts, certificates, workshop attendance, details of coaching experience, & birth certificate) needs to be provided with the application. Due to the nature of the programme, all applicants must be actively coaching.

If you are not sure if you are ready to pursue an MSc, the programme also offers an exit route at postgraduate diploma (complete semesters 1-4 only). You are also able to undertake a number of the modules as standalone short courses.

Entry to the programme is based on the online written application with no interview:


What is the deadline for applications?

Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis, and places awarded based on the calibre of application until the course is full. The next deadlines are:

  • February 28th 2023
  • March 31st 2023
  • April 30th 2023
  • May 31st 2023
  • June 30th 2023

*subject to places remaining on the programme.

 The student perspective: Liam Clancy (GAA Coach)

“In taking up my place on the MSc Applied Sports Coaching programme at the University of Limerick, I hoped to gain a deeper understanding into my role as an individual in the support and development of athletes. The investigation into my own unique coaching process with the invaluable input of my classmates and staff at UL has led to a much greater understanding of what it is I do, and indeed, why I do it.  

The structure of the programme allows me as a student to immediately identify where my time and effort is best spent in my research and the preparation of submissions. The fluid nature of submissions has allowed me to be creative and build my portfolio in a way that best suits the presentation of my work. Such structure allows me to strike a balance between study, work and my own coaching.  

Looking forward, I’m excited to continue collaborating with my classmates and the staff at UL who all play such a vital part in providing a well-rounded experience. The input from external contributors will no doubt continue to add fuel to the fire of conversation and debate.”

For other student testimonials, see the blogs from Munster Ladies Rugby Assistant Coach Matt Brown, Republic of Ireland U21 Manager Jim Crawford, Karate Coach David Royle, or short comments from a range of current students and graduates.

External Examiner Perspective

EE comments

Where can I read more about the programme?
Take a look at #MScAppliedSportsCoachingUL where you will find insights such as exemplar pre-course activities and examples of the type of research we will be engaging with. You can also explore these FAQs.

If you are interested in the programme or require further information please contact:
Dr Philip Kearney PhD
Course Director – MSc Applied Sports Coaching
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences
University of Limerick

Tel: 00-353-61202844

Dr. Phil Kearney is the Course Director of the MSc Applied Sports Coaching within the Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences here at the University of Limerick.

View Phil’s profile: Contact: Follow on twitter: @kearney_phil  GoogleScholarResearchgateORCIDLinked-In