Taught course

Sport Psychology

Heriot-Watt University · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

You will have a relevant (e.g., psychology, sport science) First or 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. It is important that you have previously undertaken an empirical research project as part of your undergraduate degree and have completed a research design and analysis module.

If you do not have these formal qualifications and experience but have significant relevant work/life experience (e.g., an elite-level athlete/coach), you may apply and, if shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview.
Additional information

English language requirements
If English is not your first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master's programme:
  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Months of entry


Course content


The MSc Sport Psychology programme at Heriot-Watt University combines expertise from our Department of Psychology with the sporting excellence of Oriam, Scotland’s Sport Performance Centre.

This programme is led by expert sport and exercise psychologists and is accredited by the British Psychological Society, a highly regarded marker of quality assurance that prospective employers value. Applicants for MSc Sport Psychology are eligible for Sports Scholarships that we offer for a variety of student-athletes. These scholarships are available on an individual and team sport basis and give you exclusive access to benefits as well as a percentage reduction on your tuition fees based on the level of scholarship.

This degree will provide you with a stepping-stone towards the qualifications you need to work with athletes, coaches, and exercisers in psychological settings across community and elite sports. This master’s degree is also ideal if you want to pursue further academic study in research-driven environments and a research career.

While studying MSc Sport Psychology, you’ll gain a critical understanding of the knowledge and skills involved in Sport Psychology practice, together with developing specialist psychological knowledge within principal contexts in Sport Psychology including elite sports, community sports, team sports, and individual sports. You’ll be able to apply advanced research knowledge and skills which are relevant to psychology, including completing a significant independent project. You’ll also obtain transferrable skills that will be useful in careers outside of sport and exercise psychology, both in the public and private sectors.

Each course included in the programme will equip you with highly employable expertise and skills in sports psychology, from the psychology of team sport, professional practice in sports psychology and the psychology of elite sport. You’ll benefit from the industry relevance and connections that are embedded in the programme, which afford a highly successful trajectory in your career after graduation. Assessments on the programme are designed such that you will build a portfolio of resources and experiences as trainee sport and exercise psychologists, providing a firm foundation towards progressing in the profession. Upon completion, you’ll be able to use a significant range of professional skills, techniques, and resources to understand the application of good ethical practice across the entire research process.


The MSc Sport Psychology degree is taught by experienced, leading academics who have published research which shapes their discipline, and which will guide your learning. Academics delivering courses on the programme balance teaching time with research and professional practice in their discipline, including sports and exercise psychologists. They bring real-world experience to the classroom. Collectively, staff have practised as sport and exercise psychologists with elite national sporting organisations, have edited leading international academic research journals, and are internationally recognised, publishing widely in their disciplines.

Your learning environment

The MSc Sport Psychology programme uses teaching and research expertise within Sport Psychology to deliver a high-quality learning and teaching experience. The programme is supported by sport and exercise science provision across Heriot-Watt University and uses world-leading sports facilities and resources at Oriam – a trusted training base of many of Scotland’s top sports teams and athletes. Our facilities include a high-performance sports laboratory with specialist equipment, sports halls, pitches, gyms, studios and squash courts.

Our small and interactive group teaching approach is provided by a team with diverse academic and practice skills. Our exclusive sport and exercise partnerships on campus will provide you with a truly unique community where your learning and professional development will thrive.

This degree is taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, and practical labs to allow you to develop a wide range of relevant theoretical and practical skills and knowledge. You’ll also have the opportunity to work in partnership with practitioners, coaches, individual sports people and/or teams as you develop your skills (e.g., through the development of educational workshops).

You’ll be assessed through a mix of authentic formative and summative assessments. Reflective learning is embedded throughout the programme and in summative assessments, you’ll be required to show how you creatively explored and solved problems to industry-relevant global matters.

Customise your learning

The MSc Sport Psychology programme includes innovative, contemporary courses and teaching methods which will allow you to acquire the knowledge and skills to successfully contribute to performance and wellbeing initiatives in dynamic sport and health-related contexts.

You’ll learn from eight courses on the syllabus which includes professional practice in sport psychology, psychology of community sport, psychology of team sport and research methods.

In semester three, you’ll choose a topic within Sport Psychology and produce an independent project. This will provide you with opportunities to learn and demonstrate your critical ability to use a range of techniques and research methods. You’ll critically evaluate relevant literature and apply detailed knowledge and understanding of psychology theories and methods to support your rationale. You’ll undertake research, plan your project, collect/analyse data, critically evaluate and discuss/summarise your research in a manner appropriate in the academic field.

Examples of research topics include:

  • Exploring the relevance of ‘us' through examining social identities in sport
  • Examining social support processes in sport
  • Examining leadership and active (engaged) followership in sport
  • Exploring career transitions of elite athletes out of sport
  • Exploring the reasons underpinning success and failure in sport and their impact on subsequent outcomes
  • Examining pressure training in sport
  • Exploring the benefits of exercise for those with neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Examining the psychophysiology of stress and resilience in high-performance athletes
  • You can choose whether to study the programme full-time or part-time. This flexibility allows you to fit your postgraduate studies around your lifestyle. Part-time study is particularly well-suited to people in work, people involved in sports and looking to study alongside their work, and athletes who are performing at a high level in their sport and need more flexibility than a full-time programme can afford. The part-time structure of the programme affords you the opportunity to engage in the themes-based courses in year one and, in year two, engage in the professional practice and research-focused courses.


The MSc Sport Psychology programme is aligned with sport and exercise science provision at Heriot-Watt University and capitalises on world-leading sports facilities and resources at Oriam, Scotland's Sport Performance Centre. Students have opportunities to observe and work in partnership with practitioners, coaches, and athletes as they develop their skills (e.g., through the development of educational workshops).

We work closely with the industry to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of the industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.  


The MSc Sport Psychology programme is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Accreditation is a highly regarded marker of quality assurance that prospective employers value. It provides you with a route to society membership, which is an integral part of your development as psychologists, or as part of the wider psychological workforce. It is a high-quality benchmarking process aimed at getting the best out of programmes and provides an opportunity for you to influence the society and its support for education providers and students. Through Society membership, you’ll engage with a community that, collectively, has a powerful voice in raising the profile of psychology and psychological practice in the UK and internationally.

Fees and funding

UK students
£10,736 (full-time) £5,368 (part-time)
International students
£23,248 (full-time) £11,624 (part-time)

See University website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Office