MSc Performance Psychology (Online) | AECC University College

Course - Postgraduate

MSc Performance Psychology (Online)


Study online to develop an in-depth understanding of how psychological factors affect performance within a range of high-pressure jobs.

Course Title MSc Performance Psychology (Online)
Qualification MSc
Study Mode Part-time/Full-time
Typical Offer 2:2 degree in a relevant subject
Duration 1-year full-time and 2 years part-time
Start Date September Entry
Location Parkwood Campus, Bournemouth


Whilst different skills may be required to work in domains such as the military, business, emergency services, surgery and the performing arts, the way our brains respond under pressure is the same. By understanding the psychological factors that influence how we perform under pressure, we can help both individuals and teams improve their performance.

On this course, studied entirely online, you’ll work through units including performance psychology such as decision-making, resilience and confidence; leadership challenges within different contexts; the psychology of pain, injury and recovery; and common mental health challenges. You’ll also develop your practical counselling and communication skills; undertake an in-depth, empirical study; and gain practical experience through working with individuals and groups within your chosen domain.

Wherever you’re based in the world, this course offers the chance to become part of a supportive online learning community. You’ll be able to network with those studying performance psychology in your chosen domain and others, guided by our performance-focused teaching staff who are all experts in their field. Choose from one year full-time or two years part-time.

Please note: This course is currently subject to approval.

Course Details

Course Details

This course explores the psychological factors that both influence and determine performance and performance under pressure. While the domain of activity changes the way the brain responds under pressure does not. Whether you are interested in the military, business, emergency services, the performing arts, surgery or any number of other pressured jobs, by understanding how we respond under pressure you can help performers from any discipline or domain to improve their performance.

The course draws upon contemporary research and best practice to explore the factors influencing both individual and team performance, and crucially how to go about maximising performance. Building upon the expertise of the AECC University performance-focused team you will be guided through this online course that is designed to give you maximum flexibility in completing your studies.

This course is currently subject to approval

We are committed to ensuring that the curriculum, teaching and learning methods and forms of assessment for our courses are up to date, to maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of learning opportunities for students. This course is currently subject to approval which may mean that some changes are made before the course starts in September 2024.

Please note: MSc Performance Psychology is currently subject to periodic review

Unit Breakdown

Performance Psychology


This unit will provide you with the opportunity to gain an advanced critical understanding of the psychological factors. Both influencing and determining performance across a range of performance domains.

Building upon a strong theoretical foundation., you will explore a range of psychological skills and their application in a range of practical workshops and performance laboratory-based activities. Crucial factors impacting upon performance will also be explored including: decision-making, resilience, confidence, motor control, emotions, and performance under pressure.



In this unit you will explore the concept of leadership within performance-focused contexts. Building upon a strong foundation of leadership research and theory you will consider the leadership challenges different contexts present, and understanding the range of factors that determine leadership effectiveness.

In addition, you will also consider deeper challenges facing leaders such as ethical and moral practice as well as considering approaches to developing both the leader and leadership more broadly in group/team contexts.

Advanced Performance Psychology


This unit seeks to build upon existing knowledge relating to the psychological factors that both influence and determine performance. Specifically, seeking to extend knowledge and understanding relating to a range of human performance factors whilst also further extending the application of performance psychology at different levels in performance-focused organizations.

The unit will also explore associated factors impacting upon performance including sleep, mental health, and nutrition.

Psychology of Injury, Pain, and Recovery


In this unit you will have the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of the psychological factors both influencing and determining an individual’s response to injury, rehabilitation, and recovery, as well as exploring the psychology of pain.

Building on a strong conceptual foundation, you will explore a range of psychologically focused interventions and their application across the full rehabilitation journey through to return to performance.

There will be a particular focus on the psychological support required through rehabilitation and recovery and crucially to ensure psychological readiness once the physical healing process is complete.

Mental health


This unit will enable you to develop an understanding of mental health and mental ill-health. In particular, the unit will enable you to develop an understanding of common mental health challenges faced and consider some of the specific challenges that are more prevalent in specific populations.

You will also explore key symptoms relating to a range of conditions and crucially develop an understanding of specific interventions and referral options whilst also reflecting on the boundaries of your own professional competence relating to client mental health challenges.

Counselling Skills


Studying this unit you will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of those psychological factors that determine the individuality of the client/patient.

You will develop an understanding of contemporary counselling theory, and crucially spend time developing your practical counselling and communication skills. This process will also allow you to develop greater self-awareness of your interpersonal interaction strengths and areas for development.



This unit will provide you with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth and independent empirical study in a topic related to military psychology. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate originality in the development and application of knowledge and research skills. A research proposal will initially be produced that will outline the chosen focus for the research and the specific method/methodology to be adopted.

The final research submission will be in the form of a journal article.

Research Methods


This unit will develop your understanding of the principles and techniques of research methods typically used in the analysis of research. After exploring the philosophical underpinnings of research strategies, you will explore research design and data collection strategies through the contextualisation of the ‘research process’.

The detailed tools of both qualitative and quantitative design and data analysis will be explored and applied to the types of data typically collected. You will consider research ethics and ethical challenges facing the postgraduate researcher.

Applied Practice Experience


This unit will provide you with the opportunity to gain a theoretical and practical understanding of working effectively with individuals and groups within your chosen performance or research domain.

You will have the opportunity to evaluate and apply the underpinning theoretical knowledge, ethical practices, and practical skills within your chosen sport applied practice experiences, and all experiences will need to be approved by the unit leader.

Independent Study


This unit will provide you with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth systematic review of current knowledge and understanding in a particular subject of interest.

You will, in negotiation with the unit leader, agree a programme of work for the completion of the review. In terms of the approach, you will be required to adopt a systematic approach to the review of literature and to be able to comprehensively summarise current understanding in your chosen field.


Course Leader

Professor Stewart Cotterill

PhD Psychol AFBPS HCPC FBASES FHEA – Head of School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Professor of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology

Stewart is Head of School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at AECC, and a Professor of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology.

Full bio

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do I need?

What qualifications do I need?

Normally a first or second-class (2:1 or 2:2) Honours degree or professional experience in the area of study.

If you’re not sure about anything listed here, talk to our Admissions team on the form below or call us on 01202 436200 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

How do I apply?

How to apply

Applications are now open for 2024 entry.

Apply Now

International Students

International Students

Please note to be accepted onto this course; you will also need to demonstrate that you meet the minimum standards of English. You’ll need a minimum IELTS (academic) overall score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each section.

If your qualification is not listed here, please take a look at our international entry requirements page or get in touch with our admissions team on the form below. Please note, to be accepted onto this course; you will also need to demonstrate that you meet the minimum standards of English. For further information on English language requirements, please see the dedicated English language requirements page. More information on permission to study in the UK, can be found on our Visas and Immigration page.

For more information about our admissions policies and procedures, including our Admissions Complaints and Appeals Policy, see latest policies.

Still have questions about applying?

Course Fees

Our current course costs for the MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology course are per annum and are shown below.

Home/ROI/Channel Islands

£8,209. These are the fees for the full MSc (180 credits)


£16,419. These are the fees for the full MSc (180 credits)

International students will be required to pay a non-refundable £1,000 tuition fee deposit to secure their place on the course. These deposits will need to be paid by August 31st 2024 and more details will be provided in your offer email. Further details about how to make this payment can be found on our Fees and Funding Information page.

Please note that these fees are for the 2024-25 academic year only and may be subject to increase in subsequent years of study. Any increase will be in line with our Tuition Fees Policy but will not be more than 5%.

Note: For students to be eligible for funding from Student Finance England, they must be studying on an eligible course at a provider registered with the Office for Students (OfS). AECC University College is registered with the OfS. You can view the register and search for our name.

Funding Support

If you are studying the full MSc, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Visit our student finance pages for more information on:

Fees and funding

Scholarships and Bursaries

Student finance resources

Additional Course Costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of the course, however you may be expected to have an electronic device to access course materials. Additionally, you may be expected to purchase copies of any required textbooks, and may wish to purchase your own copies of recommended textbooks.

For more information see Additional Costs page.

Register your Interest

Register your interest / Enquiry form
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Why choose AECC University College

There are many benefits to studying at AECC University College, from our expertise and history in teaching health sciences, to our state-of-the-art facilities, on-site clinical training, and of course our location on the beautiful Bournemouth coast.

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