BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching and Performance

Do you want to turn your passion for rugby into a rewarding career? An ever-increasing workforce of skilled professionals is needed to help rugby players reach their full potential. Strength and conditioning, coaching and performance, fitness testing, team and player analysis, nutrition and psychology are all becoming vital to performance.

This rugby coaching course offers a unique opportunity to work towards industry-recognised World Rugby/Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) rugby coaching awards. This means you can be confident you’ll graduate with enhanced employment prospects in the field.

USW's rugby course is supported by the WRU and professional rugby regions in Wales. It has been designed in consultation with WRU Coach Education Managers, Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Scarlets, and Ospreys coach educators, Hudl Performance Analytics experts, and United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA) strength and conditioning experts, and many of these staff contribute to the course.

You can work towards your Rugby Union Level 1 and 2 Children’s and Senior UKCC/WRU Rugby Coaching awards, Level 1 and 2 Refereeing qualifications, and gain relevant experience within Performance Analysis and Strength and Conditioning modules, which provide experience of working in those areas.  

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C611 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C611 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A

You will gain an understanding of the varied, dynamic and constantly changing nature of rugby development. From grass roots community projects that engage people to take up rugby, to working with elite players who are at the top of their game.

Your studies will integrate theory and practical lectures with community rugby experience, so you’ll develop coaching, leadership and enterprise skills, and gain experience of working in the professional rugby industry.

You’ll study rugby coaching, sport psychology, strength and conditioning, performance analytics and fitness testing and evaluation. You will also have the opportunity to gain industry-recognised IRB UKCC coaching awards which are embedded into the practical coaching modules.

Year One: Rugby Coaching course

Your first year will provide you with the underpinning theory and practice of coaching young athletes via practical sessions and classroom-based lectures. You will gain knowledge of how grass roots rugby is organised and managed in the community, and you will have the opportunity to lead school and club activities and events like Tag festivals.

You will explore the fundamental principles of how young children learn sports skills. You will also have the opportunity to undertake coach education qualifications to boost your CV. Children’s Level 1 Coaching and Level 1 Refereeing qualifications are built into double rugby modules and paid for by the Welsh Rugby Union.

  • Introduction to performance Analysis for rugby coaching and performance - 20 credits
  • Rugby Coaching: Young Performers - 40 credits
  • Academic Research and Professional Skills - 20 credits
  • Managing and Developing Rugby in the Community - 20 credits
  • Strength and Conditioning in Rugby Union - 20 credits

Year Two: Rugby Coaching course

You will develop your knowledge of coaching and leadership principles and approaches to developing and managing rugby with adolescent groups. You will study barriers to rugby and gain experience of running enterprising events and completing a community rugby placement. This year will expand your understanding of the different career options available to you.

  • Rugby Coaching: Adolescent Performers - 40 credits
  • Research Methods - 20 credits
  • Physical Education and School Sport - 20 credits (optional)
  • Sport Placement: Rugby - 20 credits
  • Rugby Performance Analysis - 20 credits
  • Strength and Conditioning in Rugby Coaching and Performance - 20 credits (optional)

Year Three: Rugby Coaching course

During this year, you can choose to undertake a placement for one or two days a week working with one of our partner sports organisations. Some of our current students are working with organisations such as WRU, Welsh Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, the Ospreys and the Scarlets, Sports Development departments, schools and other sports organisations. This experience will enable you to enhance your CV and create a strong network within the rugby industry in the UK and overseas.

  • Applied Professional Project - 40 credits
  • Dissertation - 40 credits
  • Rugby Coaching: Adult Performers - 40 credits
  • Strength and Conditioning - 20 credits (optional)
  • Work Based Learning - 20 credits (optional)
  • Analysis in Rugby Coaching and Performance - 20 credits (optional)
  • Creatively Teaching Physical Education, Health and Wellbeing - 20 credits (optional)


Learning and teaching methods include lectures, interactive workshops, practical sessions in the field and analysis suite., work-based learning, guest lectures (from industry professionals), debates and tutorials. This range of teaching and learning approaches ensures that you gain a wide variety of skills and the variety keeps you on the ball!

All lectures/modules are sport specific which you will attend with other sports students. Most lectures/tutorials will be fairly small groups (25-45) which provides a more interactive and personal approach to your study. Group work and class discussions help you to develop critical thinking skills and we encourage students to voice their opinion and challenge the norm. You will also have the opportunity to undertake voluntary coaching and sports leadership work with local partners.

Where possible, your timetable in your final year will be organised to give you at least two days off teaching to enable you to undertake a work-based placement with a club, region or NGB, meaning that you can balance your studies and gaining valuable experience during your year.

Most modules are studied over the year for 24 weeks (two 12-week terms); but some are delivered more intensively during a term.

Contact time varies over each year of study due to differences in modules, work placements and dissertation/project work in your final year. Average lecture contact time each year is as follows:

  • Year One: 12 hours contact time (18 hours of independent study per week)
  • Year Two: 10 hours (20 hours independent study per week)
  • Year Three: 8-10 hours (15-20 hours independent study and 7-14 hours of placement per week – depending on module chosen)

In year two you will complete up to 300 hours of coaching via the work based learning, which is managed through weekly tutorials and a mentoring system. The work based learning environment will depend on your career aspirations and could be in coaching, strength and conditioning, fitness testing or performance analysis.


Our rugby course is assessed via a range of methods to ensure that you develop a number of different skills. Assessment methods include:

  • Written essays and reports
  • Presentations
  • Practical rugby coaching assessments
  • Work-based learning assessments
  • Posters and leaflets
  • Reflective blogs
  • Team debates
  • Exams (multiple choice and essay style)


Working with and studying under the coach education teams from the Welsh Rugby Union and the professional regions is what makes this rugby coaching course unique. In the rugby world, all professionals know each other! Many of our graduates gain employment with the same organisation in which they undertake their final year placement.

We have partnerships with key national governing bodies and professional regions/clubs who offer work placements for our students, enabling you to gain first-hand experience of working in the rugby industry – an essential requirement for anyone wanting to gain employment in the professional rugby industry.

Summer placement opportunities exist with a number of organisations, which could be local or possibly overseas. You can also pursue opportunities in many other tier two and tier three rugby-playing nations.


USW Sport Park is a specially designed sporting performance facility that includes a dedicated centre for strength and conditioning with 12 lifting platforms; an indoor 3G pitch built to the World Rugby 22 standard that guarantees year-round training for our rugby coaching students. We are the only university in England and Wales to offer this facility.

You’ll also find a notational analysis suite and over 30 acres of playing fields, including five floodlit pitches. We have a sand-dressed ‘astroturf’ pitch, as well as a full-size FIFA approved 3G pitch. In addition to these all-weather pitches, there are six grass football pitches, three grass rugby pitches, and a large changing pavilion.

Our facilities are regularly used by international professional teams, such as the touring New Zealand, South Africa and Australia rugby squads. This confirms the high quality of our pitches and the versatility of our equipment.

Featured Lecturer:
Dean Parsons, course leader

Dean Parsons, course leader

Dean Parsons is course leader for USW's rugby coaching course.

Dean is a World Rugby/Welsh Rugby Union Level 3, Sports Coach UK Level 3 tutor and a UKCC/WRU Coach Educator actively involved in delivering the National Governing Body Rugby Awards in the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons regions.

Dean has been involved in the semi-professional and professional game since the early 90s, and was employed by Neath RFC as their strength and conditioning coach when the game turned professional during the mid 90s.

In recent years, Dean has worked with a number of high profile clubs including Neath RFC, Pontypridd RFC, Caerphilly RFC and Ebbw Vale RFC, helping a couple of those sides to European Competition finals. Dean has also worked as a Performance Analyst for the Namibian National Team at the Rugby World Cup.

Dean has also been involved internationally with the Welsh Rugby Union Women’s senior squad, as strength and conditioning coach during their build up to the 2002 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Barcelona. Dean has also provided analytical support to the Welsh National Rugby League senior squad.

His research interests are in reflective practice, long term athlete development and the role of the mentor within coaching.


Lecturers who teach on our rugby courses have worked at the top level in the rugby industry. They have experience of coordinating, coaching and managing rugby in the national governing bodies of sport, and are able to bring this real-life knowledge and experience into the classroom to bring topics to life. Many are still active in the industry representing sports organisations on boards and strategic groups.

Find out about the great research happening in sport, health and exercise science.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Additional Requirements:

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child Workforce and Child Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)


Typical A-Level Offer

BBC - CCC to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 112-96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BB - CC at A Level to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 112-96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Merit in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including a score of 5 in a Science subject, Mathematics, or Psychology at higher level, and 5 or above in English at standard level.

(Score must be equivalent to 112-96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma in Sport/Science with a minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 


International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13800 

  • Part-time UK:  £700 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £53.20
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Other: Travel costs to work placement *
Students on placement will have to fund their own travel and subsistence costs. Costs vary, depending on location.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

The Rugby Coaching course is designed for individuals that wish to work in the rugby industry, whether as a coach, sport science support staff, strength and conditioning advice or in performance analysis. Graduates can find work as Rugby Development Officers, Academy Coaches, Performance Analyst, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sport Scientist, Development officers, Physical Education teacher, Armed forces.

Rugby Union is a growing industry with our graduates working for a range of organisations including national governing bodies of the sport (e.g. Welsh Rugby Union, Scottish Rugby Union, Irish Rugby Football Union and the RFU), Professional Regional Rugby in Wales and Ireland and the Premiership Clubs in England.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW rugby student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.