Postgraduate study

Performance Psychology MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgDip

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Performance Psychology

This is the only programme in Europe that focuses not just on Sport but on Performance as a whole. To me this is a no-brainer - other areas such as the military, the arts, business, emergency services etc, also call for the same mental skills required by athletes and sports coaches.

Matilda Mayne MSc Performance Psychology 2016
Matilda Mayne               MSc Performance Psychology 2016

Increasingly, high-level performance relies on an understanding of the psychology of stamina and success, not only in sport but in areas as diverse as business, the performing arts, the military and emergency services.

Drawing on current research and practice, this fascinating programme introduces you to the issues that relate to both individual and group performance, then encourages you to develop techniques to minimise the influence of limitations, such as anxiety and distraction.

Striking a balance between psychological methods and the wider professional skills needed to apply them, the courses you'll undertake will give you the knowledge and tools you'll need to critically appraise and apply scientific literature and to plan, conduct and disseminate your own research.

Your learning will be in the form of lectures, seminars and directed reading.

You will complete a series of seven taught courses that cover key topics related to performance psychology as well as essential professional skills for scientific practitioners such as legal and ethical issues and effective communication. Courses are designed to develop the ability of students to be able to critically appraise scientific literature and to apply research methods to enable them to plan, conduct and disseminate their own research, following the established principles of rigorous scientific study.

  • Dynamics of Performance Teams
  • Peak Performance
  • Planning and Instruction for Performance
  • Professional Skills in Development Environments
  • Research Process
  • Stress: Coping and Control
  • Understanding Research Concepts

To graduate with the MSc degree, you will also produce an independently researched dissertation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

This programme is ideally suited for those interested in working in sport psychology and in related areas such as occupational or business psychology, executive coaching, team building, outdoor management and adventurous training, where you can capitalise on the increasing interest in the application of performance psychology. Recent graduates have taken up roles in :

  • private consultancy in sports, business, music/performing arts
  • management and technical roles in sporting bodies
  • sports psychology practice in Sport Institute (public funded)
  • lifestyle management in Sports Institute
  • military and training agencies (eg primary medical care)
  • research (PhD in sports and business/management fields)
  • further professional training eg for Clinical or Educational psychology
  • initial jobs in business to develop into Human Resource role
  • teaching / lecturing (Higher & Tertiary education)
  • outdoor and adventure training

You may choose to extend your studies with a doctoral degree (after completion of the MSc) or apply the transferable skills you will gain in areas such as communication and project management to a career in any field.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline, such as psychology, exercise psychology, organisational behaviour, or sport science.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant employment or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees
PgDip2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Alan MacPherson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6647
  • Contact: perfpsych@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Alan MacPherson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6647
  • Contact: perfpsych@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ