MSc Sports Performance at the University of Limerick – Everything you need to know – course director, Dr. Catherine Norton RD, PhD.

The MSc in Sports Performance, offered by the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick, is a full-time one-year or part-time two-year postgraduate programme.

Our programme, established in 2012, was winner of the 2019 GradIreland Higher Education Award (Best Postgraduate Course in Health Science Category).  The programme prepares successful graduates for a career in sports performance analysis specialising in strength & conditioning, video analysis and performance nutrition. Our aim is to graduate sports practitioners with increased understanding of the processes of advanced practice in sport performance analysis, by appreciating and challenging the current practice and designing innovative alternatives.

The MSc in Sports Performance, the first programme of its kind in Ireland, is offers certification in the following qualifications as well as a Level 9 MSc to successful graduates:

  • Certified Conditioning Coach (CCC) accreditation
    •International Society of Performance Analysis in Sports (ISPAS) Video Analysis
    •International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK)
    •’Cardiac First Response’ (AED)


The MSc in Sports 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 demonstrable in the programme’s content and delivery. The theoretical, laboratory and applied aspects of the programme are delivered in an outstanding teaching and learning environment whilst also utilising the most-up-to-date technologies available in the field. The programme comprises 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.

Programme Modules:

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Speed Sports
  • Endurance Sports
  • Team Sports
  • Strength Sports
  • Professional Competencies (Problem-Based Learning)
  • Research Dissertation Development
  • Placement
  • Strength & Conditioning (professional accreditation)
  • Research Dissertation*

*a graduate diploma exit point is available for those students who do not wish to undertake the MSc Research Dissertation, and students who may wish to progress to a structured PhD within UL.

Work Placement

As part of the programme, students are provided with an experience of working in a high performance environment before they graduate. The placement programme offers students the opportunity to develop contacts within business, industry, public and professional sectors whilst also helping students to develop the skills they will need to achieve their long-term career goals. Local, national and international placements are available for students with our strategic partners and organisations including Statsports, Redback Biotek, GAA, Coaching Ireland, Oxford United FC, Rugby Canada, Western Province Rugby / Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, Oriam Scotland, Triathlon Ireland and Munster & Connaught Rugby to name just some.

Progression & Career Pathways

The MSc Sports Performance programme was established in 2012 and has graduated almost 240 students (average of 24 per year). The programme has an outstanding record in that on average 83% of graduating students have found relevant work and/or career development opportunities either in Ireland or Abroad. Graduates from the programme are working in strength and conditioning, coaching as well as video / performance analysis roles. A number of students have become owners/managers of businesses related to Sport Science / Performance Analysis whilst others have progressed to further scholarship (registered performance nutrition) and PhD study.


Since 2012, the MSc Sports Performance programme has attracted students from all over the world including the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, India, Australia, Malaysia, Poland and China to name some. The course has worldwide appeal therefore, as the skills, knowledge and competencies developed on the programme have global relevance and transferability.

Application & Programme Requirements

We provide two entry options to this programme. The normal 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).

Alternatively, we accept people without a related degree, if they can show significant experience in either playing sport at a high level or significant coaching / mentoring experience with athletes in a high-performance sporting environment. This route, termed, Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) requires a supporting ≤1000 word statement uploaded with the application. RPL experience needs to be considerable and supplementary evidence of this work provided within the application documentation.

Online applications for the programme commencing January 2024  open in summer and will remain open until the end of November. Entry to the programme is based on the online written application with no interview. If there is any other information that you need about the course or any other aspect of applying for/studying on the programme please do not hesitate to contact Course Director: Dr Catherine Norton;   OR Apply Here

Dr. Catherine Norton is a registered dietitian, accredited performance nutritionist, lecturer in sport and exercise nutrition and course director for the MSc Sports Performance. 


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