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Performance Psychology (Online Distance Learning Part-time) MSc/PGDip/PGCert


Course facts

  • Name: Performance Psychology (Online Distance Learning Part-time)
  • Qualification: MSc/PGDip/PGCert
  • Duration: Part-time by Distance Learning - you have the option to study for the MSc over 2 or 3 years

Do you often wonder why performance breaks down under pressure or how do I get the best out of my team? This online distance learning MSc degree in Performance Psychology is aimed at anyone who has an interest in performance psychology. It will better prepare you to perform as a coach, an athlete, or work as an applied performance psychologist in sport, business, armed forces, and the performing arts.

The course content is delivered by staff from the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance (IPEP). This online Master’s degree in Performance Psychology is modelled upon existing psychological components of the BPS accredited MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology degree program that IPEP currently delivers (but this distance learning degree is not currently accredited by the BPS). All modules are delivered by IPEP staff who currently work within elite level sport and business and who publish research that is judged to be of Internationally Excellent or World Leading (latest Research Exercise Framework; REF 2014). There will be ample opportunities for you to interact with these staff members including personal online tutorials with module leaders, group work and tutorials. You will also work on a one to one basis with IPEP academic staff who will supervise you on dissertation, or research project modules. 

This distance learning degree is fully distant, you will not be required to travel to Bangor or even the UK to complete the degree. This is particularly cost effective if you are an international student as you (or your employer) won’t have to bear the cost of getting a visa or go through the complications of visa applications. And of course you won’t have any additional travel or accommodation costs. 

The difference between the 2 & 3 year routes are that those choosing the 2 year route go straight onto the research project/dissertation after finishing year 2 taught modules, completing it over the summer and finishing exactly 2 years after starting. On the 3 year route students complete the dissertation during the 3rd academic year (Sept.-June). Whichever route you chose there are 3 exit points. You can exit after 60 credits with PGCert (after year 1). You can exit after 120 credits with a PGDip (after year 2). Or you can complete the research project/ dissertation to gain the full 180 credits and be awarded the MSc degree.

Alternatively, if you just want to study a few modules then that option is also open and you could build these up over time to gain one of the above qualifications.

Due to our reputation for research excellence we attract students from all over the world and have postgraduate course leaflets available in Arabic and Chinese.

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

All lectures on this degree will be recorded for you to watch in your own time and we will be offering a number of live catch up seminars with the lecturers across each module.

On this distance learning performance psychology degree you will study a variety of topics including:

  • Personality, Team and Individual Resilience
  • Stress and Performance
  • Motivation
  • Mental Toughness
  • Team Cohesion and Dynamics
  • Leadership
  • Coach-Athlete Relationship
  • Psychological Skills Training
  • Accelerating Skill Development
  • Identifying and Developing Talent
  • Supervised Applied Experience
  • Individual Characteristics Relating to Peak Performance.

To complete the degree, students will then be given the opportunity to conduct applied or theoretical research projects or a dissertation on a topic of their choice.

Year 1 modules are all 10 Credits and you must choose 6 of them (60 credits in total):

Performing under Pressure examines the ability to deliver optimal performances when it matters the most. Sport coaches and psychologists are expected to hold the tools to get the best out of athletes in high-pressure scenarios – this is a key part of the coach / psychologist remit. This module has been designed with exactly this issue in mind.

Understanding Personality aims to develop your understanding in what motivates athletes and to understand more about yourself at the same time! This module will explore the human condition; who we are, our motivation, and our interactions with others. You will do practical exercises from home, which will help you understand more about yourself and others. These exercises form the basis of the work that the course leaders do with elite sport and business.

Psychological skills Training will teach you a critical appreciation for the contemporary research literature primarily surrounding psychological or mental skills; with an emphasis on self-talk and imagery. Importantly, the reasoning for doing so, is to be able to apply this knowledge in form of effective interventions.

Individual Performance Psychology will help you explore direct and interactive relationships between personality, psychological resources, emotions, cognition's upon preparation and performing under pressure. Using information gathered from a variety of sources (self-report questionnaire data, observational data, performance data, and interview data) you will design a bespoke intervention for an athlete that will help them to perform at a more consistent level across time.

Accelerating Expertise will help you to 'unfog' the often misty answers to the question of 'how to develop expertise?' Theory will focus on cognitive processing and skill acquisition principles and will reflect the critical issues identified within the literature.  This will then be applied to a sport or situation of the student’s choice in order to provide practical solutions to the question of 'how to accelerate expertise?'

Psychology of Team Performance aims to advance your understanding of developing effective teams and teamwork. This is particularly the case for interactive sports teams (such as football, rugby etc). In fact, the team building business is a multi-million pound industry.  In this module we will look at some the prominent factors that contribute towards the development of effective sports teams.

How Motivation Really Works will help you understand what drives athletes to train and compete at their best. Human motivation is central to our understanding of high performance and high performance environments so whether you are a coach, athlete or practitioner, its vital to understand the different forms of motivation that performers can have, what influence this has on performance and health and how sporting environments can be shaped to influence motivation, health, and performance.

Year 2 modules.

Compulsory Modules (10 Credits each)

Coach Athlete Relationship is often a very complex relationship. Both the coach and the athlete want to achieve success but often have opposing views about how to get there. This module will focus on psychological and cognitive processes of the coach athlete relationship. Between and within person discrepancies are highlighted as an important aspect of the coach-athlete dyad where opposing views are often problematic and communication is key.

Talent Development will examine the critical role of demographics, psychosocial, practice and instruction so we can understand how Talent develops. Throughout the course, we will address the implications of current talent development research on coaching. When doing this we will make connections between core science and the practical experience of the course leaders work with Elite Sport (e.g., UK Sport), to map out which aspects of an athletes developmental journey lead towards excellent sporting performance.

Optional Modules (20 Credits each) – one these two:

Research Methods is fundamental to what we, as scientists, do and informs practice in the sport, health and fitness industry. Therefore, developing good research skills and being able to analyse scientific data are key skills to develop in order to support your successful career. The module is hands on and involves practical activities relating to data management, running data analyses, understanding different approaches to science, and developing your own research projects

Advanced Research Skills is a fabulous hands-on opportunity to learn about research design and data analysis, skills that are critical to reading and writing research material, during your degree and beyond.  Staff will help you develop the necessary skills to run your own programme of research, and to evaluate that of others. These skills are not only important for research, but are also important to enable you to think critically to select the best interventions to apply in real world vocational practice.

And one of these two:

Dissertation Proposal helps you plan and design your own dissertation in an area of interest to you. This choice may be based on future career aspirations, previous experience and expertise, or equally, just because you are passionate about a particular topic area.

Research Project Proposal has been developed to help you plan and design your own project in an area of interest to you. This choice may be based on career aspirations, previous experience and expertise, or equally, just because you are passionate about a particular topic area. Ethical application to conduct research will also feature strongly.

Year 3 module (summer of year 2 for those on 2 year route). Year 2 choices will dictate which of the two options you do.

Dissertation follows on from your dissertation proposal where you will actually carry out the agreed proposal. Your dissertation should be driven by a goal to contribute in a meaningful way to the current knowledge base within a specific area. Think of the dissertation as a large critical research review


Research Project follows on from your research project proposal. In this module you will actually collect and analyse your own data. Then, you will write a research article based on your project proposal and your own results.

  • Year 1 modules: In year 1 you complete 60 credits by choosing 6 modules.
  • Year 2 modules: In year 2 there are 2 compulsory 10 credit modules then a choice of one of a pair of 20 credit modules which will be determined by the approach you wish to take to research which is basically one of undertaking a literature review of current published research or undertaking your own original research and data collection.
  • Year 3 modulesIn year 3 (Summer year 2 for those on 2-year route) you will do 1 compulsory module determined by your year 2 choices.”


You can find the fee information for this course on this web page under tuition fees.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Performance Psychology (Online Distance Learning Part-time) Modules page.

Entry Requirements

At least a 2.2 honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent), or athletes and coaches who are working professionals or have substantial voluntary experience of at least three years duration, or non-sport professionals such as from the armed forces, emergency services and business, of at least three years duration.

Students with a degree from a different academic area may also be considered. Working professionals with non-graduate qualifications will be assessed on an individual basis. Please contact with any questions.

EU and Overseas students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the standardised English Language test (IELTS) before starting the course. Students who achieve a score of 6.0 or above (no individual score below 5.5) are eligible for direct entry to the course. The University offers pre-sessional language courses before courses start through ELCOS for those that need additional support reaching the required level.


How to Apply

Home/EU students

Home/EU students: apply online yourself with the help of our Guidance Notes on online application for Home/EU students. We strongly recommend you read these before you start to apply online.

Apply online

Once you have read the Guidance Notes you should apply using our Online Application form.

Need help applying? Home/EU students please contact:

Postgraduate Admissions: or write to:

Admissions Office
Bangor University
LL57 2TF

Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717.

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here. For further guidance click here

Need help applying? International students please contact:

International Education Office: or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When to apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application. This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer. If you are making an application for one of our professional courses, which has limited place availability, you are advised to contact the academic school for advice on the final dates for applications.

Careers and Employability

All the School’s postgraduate programmes are designed (with further training where appropriate) to enhance the career prospects of Sport, Health and Exercise Science graduates. Career destinations of Bangor postgraduates include:  the Home Country Sports Institutes, National Governing Bodies, the Olympic Medical Institute, Professional sports teams and organisations, the fitness industry, the NHS (hospitals and Primary Care Trusts), Teaching and Education (after completing a Postgraduate Certificate of Education). Further postgraduate study (i.e., Doctoral research) is another vocational route.

Research / Links with Industry

The academics involved with this degree have extensive research links with external bodies and companies, which are fully utilised in ensuring that the modules are relevant to the modern work and research environment graduates will enter.


The School offers some funding for students applying to study on any taught postgraduate programme. There is also a Bangor’s Sports Scholarship scheme for those who excel at sport.


You can find the fee information for this course on this web page under tuition fees.

Further information

Next steps