Postgraduate MSc

Strength and Conditioning

School of Health and Society

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Course

One year

Two year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2023

Introduction

In a nutshell

This course has a strong practice-based element, which means you'll develop the skills you need to pursue a leadership role in the field.

Theoretical content is available online, so you won't have to attend University every week. You'll be able to apply your learning to your job and use case studies from your current area of practice. Our staff are experts in the field of strength and conditioning and they often work in partnership with professional sports teams and individual athletes.

This was the first postgraduate programme in Europe to receive international recognition through the NSCA Education Recognition Program (ERP).

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

You will:

  • Gain a higher degree that will qualify you for a lead role in strength and conditioning
  • Develop the ability to critically evaluate the scientific principles and theories of athletic screening, and a clear understanding of the science behind performance measurement
  • Develop a critical understanding of the current scientific principles, concepts and theories of strength and conditioning and its real life application
  • Undertake an in-depth, evidence based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice
International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You want to take a lead role in the field of strength and conditioning

2.

You are a strong communicator with great interpersonal skills

3.

You want to help improve the lives of others

Course details

All about the course

The MSc course is offered on both a full-time (one year) and part-time (two or three years) basis.

The full-time course runs over three academic semesters (October through to September the following year), whilst giving you the chance to exit with the following awards:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: completion of one module
  • Postgraduate Diploma: completion of two modules
  • Masters: completion of two modules plus a dissertation

The part-time course can be studied over two or three years, with the final module of the two-year option taught over the summer.

Two-year option: 

  • Year 1 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Strength and Conditioning (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester three - summer) Research Project (Dissertation)

Three-year option: 

  • Year 1 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Strength and Conditioning (60 credits)
  • Year 2 (Semester one and two) Postgraduate Certificate in Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement (60 credits)
  • Year 3 (Semester one and two) Research Project (Dissertation)

In order to achieve an award of MSc Strength and Conditioning, you must successfully complete the modules Strength and Conditioning and Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement, along with producing a thesis for the dissertation module.

Modules

Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement

You will develop the ability to critically evaluate the scientific principles and theories of athletic screening and a clear understanding of the science behind performance measurement and appropriate interpretation of those measurements and learn to apply them in a real-world context. You will experience carrying out a systematic and structured group/individual project. This will further develop your critical evaluation and research skills in relation to your own professional practice and includes dissemination of research and good practice.

Strength and Conditioning

You will develop a critical understanding of the current scientific principles, concepts and theories of Strength and Conditioning and its real-life application. Through a series of keynote lectures and online material, you will gain greater insight into all aspects of athletic development, including nutritional and psychological considerations. This course also considers long term athlete development and special populations. This will include ‘real life’ practical application, in relation to optimising athletic development.

Dissertation

You will undertake an in-depth, evidence-based exploration of a key area relevant to your own practice; this is a substantial, independent, research project.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

TEACHING

This course is available both part-time and full-time and is delivered via a blended learning approach, which includes:

Workshops (three days per module, per semester)

These are interactive, discursive, reflective, participatory, collaborative and practice related sessions that employ a variety of teaching and learning methods. As the course progresses these will become progressively more student-led, with you presenting case studies for peer and tutor review.

Individual scholarly activity

Self-directed learning, personal reflection, practice-based application and reflection, including peer and tutor review.

Distance learning resources

Delivery of supporting resources such as study guides and lecture material online. Facilitated group work, including tutor and peer evaluation, are a key component of this course.

Personal tutor and peer support

To provide an academic, practice-based and personal support mechanism alongside facilitated networking.

ASSESSMENT

Assessment methods will vary depending on the module. They include:

  • Case studies (written and oral presentations)
  • Viva vocé
  • Literature review
  • Practical assessments
  • Journal articles (research reports written in the format of a journal article)
  • Research proposal

Hear from recent graduate Jessica

 

I studied BSc Sports Science with Strength and Conditioning during the period 2016-2019 and I then went on to also complete my MSc Strength and Conditioning during the period 2019-2020. Both graduating with the highest class. Currently I am a strength and conditioning coach at Cheadle Hulme School, where I lead the elite sports and high performance programmes. I am also the lead strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist at Manchester City Women's FC U14 and U16s where I use a multitude of skills learnt from the University of Salford. 

Find out more about Jessica's story

The School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Staff profiles

Dr Paul Comfort, CSCS*D, ASCC

Dr Comfort is a Reader in Strength and Conditioning and the programme leader for the MSc Strength and Conditioning at the University of Salford. Paul is also an adjunct professor at Edith Cowan University (Western Australia), a founder member and accredited member of the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning association, and board member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (July 2020-July 2023). Dr Comfort regularly consults with numerous professional sports teams in the UK and USA and has co-authored >150 peer reviewed journal articles. Paul is also co-editor of the textbooks, ‘Advanced Strength and Conditioning: an evidence-based approach’ and ‘Performance Assessment for strength and Conditioning.’

John McMahon, PhD, CSCS*D, ASCC

Dr John McMahon is a lecturer in biomechanics and strength and conditioning. He leads the strength and conditioning pathway for final-year BSc (Hons) Sports Science students and the postgraduate certificate in strength and conditioning, which forms part of the MSc Strength and Conditioning programme. John has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles that have been published in top quartile international sports science and medicine journals. John has also co-edited two strength and conditioning textbooks (published by Routledge). John holds various external leadership roles, including being one of three grant committee members for the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation and an advisory board member of the International Universities Strength and Conditioning Association. John has been a dual accredited strength and conditioning (National [USA] and United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Associations) since 2010 and has worked as a strength and conditioning coach across several team sports. John currently coaches individual international-level athletes. 

Dr Lee Herrington PhD MSc MCSP

Lee is a physiotherapist, senior lecturer in Sports Rehabilitation and programme leader for the MSc Sports Injury Rehabilitation at the University of Salford. Dr Herrington is also a consultant physiotherapist to Premiership & Championship Football and Rugby Union clubs, along with a number of Olympic sports. He worked as part of Team GB medical team at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Lee has previously worked with British Swimming, Great Britain Basketball team, Wigan Warriors and Great Britain Rugby League teams along with England Table Tennis and Netball. He is the lead clinical researcher in the Knee Biomechanics and Injury at the University of Salford, with over 200 published research articles. His specific research interests are anterior knee pain and rehabilitation following knee surgery (principally Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction). Lee is also the Editor in Chief of Physical Therapy in Sport and on the editorial board of The Knee journal and Journal of Sports Rehabilitation. Dr Herrington leads the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation module on the MSc Sports Injury Rehabilitation.

Dr Paul A. Jones MSc, BSc (Hons), FBASES, BASES Accredited, CSCS*D, CSci

Paul is a Lecturer in Sports Biomechanics / Strength and Conditioning (S&C). Dr Jones earned a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Sports Science from Liverpool John Moores University and a PhD in Sports Biomechanics at the University of Salford. He has over 20 years’ experience in Biomechanics and S&C support to athletes and teams, primarily in athletics, football and rugby and was a former sports science co-ordinator for UK disability athletics. Paul is a BASES Fellow, has been BASES Accredited for >17 years and is currently a member of the BASES accreditation committee. Paul has also been a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the NSCA for >18 years. He has authored / co-authored over 100 peer reviewed journal articles mainly in change of direction biomechanics and strength diagnostics and has co-edited a book ‘Performance Assessment in Strength and Conditioning’ published by Routledge. Paul leads the Injury Prevention and Performance Measurement module which is shared by the MSc Strength and Conditioning, MSc Sports Injury Rehabilitation and MSc Performance Analysis in Sports. 

Dr Steve Atkins, BASES Accredited, CSci

Steve is a BASES accredited sport scientist who has a long-standing interest in how best to optimize human performance. With >100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, his primary research areas relate to the determinants of performance, including use of technologies to optimize performance profiling. Dr Atkins has worked with many elite and amateur athletes and supports clients via the School's Physiology testing service. He has lectured for over 25 years and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; seeking to create optimal learning environments for students.

Dr Nicholas Ripley, CSCS*D, RSCC

Dr Ripley is a teaching and learning fellow at the University of Salford, predominantly teaching on strength and conditioning modules on the BSc (Hons) Sports Science programme and the MSc Strength and Conditioning. Nick is also a practitioner, the Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for Great Britain Lacrosse, and consults with a premier league football academy. Dr Ripley has worked in various high-level sport settings including, rugby union, football, softball, netball, swimming, and combat sports. Nick is also a graduated from the University of Salford.

Dr Mark Quinn

Dr Quinn is the programme leader for the MSc Performance Analysis in Sport. Mark has extensive applied experience in Rugby League as a Performance Analyst and Sports Scientist. He was an integral part of the Wigan Warriors team that had success in winning the Challenge Cup (2011, 2013), League Leaders Shield (2012), Super League Grand Final (2013, 2016) and World Club Challenge (2017). Dr Quinn also previously held an Assistant Coaching role with England Wheelchair Rugby League. Mark has research interests in performance analysis, and monitoring athletes and training load having completed his PhD within these multidisciplinary areas.

FACILITIES

You will have access to some of the best facilities in the UK, including our purpose-built Human Performance Lab, which contains almost every type of physiological and biomechanical equipment including:

  • FT700 Ballistic Measurement System
  • 9 AMTI Force Plates, 5 of which are situated in a 40m running track
  • ProReflex 10 Camera real-time motion analysis system
  • KinCom and Biodex Isokinetic Dynamometers for muscle strength testing
  • Portable Kistler force plate
  • EMG (electromyography) system used to measures the electrical activity of muscles and to gather information about the muscular and nervous systems
  • Esaote AU5 Ultrasound used to study skeletal muscles, tendons, ligaments and blood flow
  • We have a range of cycle and rowing ergometers, two treadmills, and two online gas analysis systems. We can perform blood analysis with our Analox GM7 Multi-Assay Blood Analyser to measure blood lactate, glucose and a range of other blood substrates
  • There is also the Reflotron which another multi-use system that can measure blood cholesterol and haemoglobin as well as portable blood glucose and lactate analysers

Take a 360 tour of the facilities here

In addition, we have the usual equipment found in exercise physiology labs.

  • Polar heart rate monitors
  • Harpenden skinfold callipers
  • Wingate tests
  • Hand grip dynamometers
  • Height, weight monitors
  • Jump mats and timing gates
Employment and stats

What about after uni?

With the skills you'll learn in this course, you can take a lead role in strength and conditioning and make a difference to the training of your clients. This course will significantly increase your chances of getting a high profile role in the top-flight sport.

Graduates are now employed in Premier League and Championship football and Paralympic weightlifting. Some graduates have also progressed on to lecturing and doctoral level study.

Jessica studied the MSc Strength and Conditioning after graduating from our BSc Sports Science with Strength and Conditioning course. She is now a strength and conditioning coach at Cheadle Hulme School, where she leads the elite sports and high performance programmes. She is also the lead strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist at Manchester City Women's FC U14 and U16s.

A taste of what you could become

A High Level Strength and Conditioning Coach

Career Links

This course has been developed to include the key competencies identified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning association (UKSCA).

Requirements

What you need to know

APPLICANT PROFILE 

This course is aimed at a wide range of sports professionals including sports scientist graduates, chiropractors, osteopaths, strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, sports therapists, sports rehabilitators, sport medicine physicians and physical education teachers.

This course has been developed to be accessible to individuals already working within the field of strength and conditioning, or those that are working towards full-time employment within the field. It is essential that you have access to athletes so that you can effectively evaluate their training and performance, and implement appropriate interventions as this forms part of the assessments for some modules.

You will need access to an athlete or group of athletes to use as case studies to apply the theory you have learnt to practice. You will need to be able to effectively evaluate their treatment and training, and implement appropriate interventions as this forms part of the assessments for some modules.

English language requirements 

Overseas students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.5 band score (with no element below 6.0) or above are proof of this.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

BSc (Hons) graduates with an appropriate sports or exercise related subject area (Physiotherapy, Sports Rehabilitation, Sports Therapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Sports Medicine Physician). Prospective students will normally be required to have achieved a 2.1 Honours degree, but consideration will be given to students with a 2.2 Honours degree with appropriate experience and satisfactory references.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

APEL: Sports injury practitioners with lower formal academic qualification will be assessed on suitability to enrol on this programme based on experience and vocational qualifications and via interview.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £8,550per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,750per year

Additional costs

You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2023