BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching and Performance

100% of our BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching and Performance students were satisfied with their course National Student Survey 2023

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 Rugby, Dragons, Scarlets, and Ospreys coach educators 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 World Rugby & Welsh Rugby Union 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.

Top in Wales for assessment in Sport Science (Guardian University Guide 2024)

Sport Science is rated top in Wales for Teaching Quality and Student Experience (Times Good University Guide 2024)


Get a glimpse of what it's like to study at USW before you apply

'Introduction to Rugby Coaching and Performance' - Free Online Taster Course

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, refereeing, team management, sport psychology, strength and conditioning, performance analytics and fitness testing and evaluation. You will also have the opportunity to gain industry-recognised World Rugby and Welsh Rugby Union coaching and refereeing 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 - Ioan-Alexandru Paval

The aim of the module is to encourage an understanding of both theoretical and practical Camerawork/capture skills related to rugby union and other professional environments.

Rugby Coaching: Young Performers - 40 credits - Dean Parsons

The module will encourage participation and understanding of both theoretical and practical 'How to Coach" craft skills related to rugby union at key stage 1 and 2 children (5-12year of age) and cover the World Rugby/WRU International 'TAG Rugby', 'Introduction to Contact' and 'Level 1 Coaching Rugby Union' qualifications.

Academic Research and Professional Skills* - 20 credits - Dr. Stuart Jarvis

The aim of this module is to enable students to gain the fundamental social, interpersonal and academic building blocks for a vibrant and successful University experience.

Managing and Developing Rugby in the Community - 20 credits - Dean Parsons

This module provides students with the knowledge and networking opportunities to be able to establish and support WRU and Professional rugby regions community rugby initiatives. High profile guest lecturers from the rugby industry deliver key skills required to effectively manage dedicated rugby facilities and deliver successful community focused events.

Strength and Conditioning in Rugby Union - 20 credits - Peter Ashcroft

The module is designed to provide students with the theoretical and applied knowledge to be able to construct and deliver effective strength and conditioning sessions with rugby union.

*This module is available to study fully in Welsh

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 - Dean Parsons

The module will cover both theoretical and practical “What to coach” skills related to rugby union at primary, junior level (12-17 years of age) and cover the WRU Level 2 Coaching Rugby Union course. 

Research Methods - 20 credits - Stuart Jarvis

This will build on the student’s understanding of research methods and broaden and deepen your appreciation of the range of approaches to research using research for both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Sport Placement - 20 credits - Dean Parsons

Students will be provided with the opportunity to conduct their work-related experience within a number of key vocational areas related to the sports industry.

Physical Education and School Sport - 20 credits (optional) - Chris Emsley

This module is designed to analyse the role of the PE teacher and sports coach, both within Primary and Secondary education and offer an insight into the contemporary initiatives that focus on School Sport provision with an emphasis on Government involvement and/or intervention.

Rugby Performance Analysis - 20 credits - Ioan-Alexandru Paval

The module will develop the students' knowledge of performance analysis as a tool within the coaching process, in rugby union and introduce an understanding of measurement issues and information processing related to rugby union performance.

Weightlifting 20 Credits - (optional) - Nathan Evans

The module allows for the development of practical performance in all the lifts, along with the development of effective coaching progressions. Supporting this will be effective analysis and monitoring of performance, and the effective programming of weightlifting training.

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, Cardiff Rugby , 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 - Chris Emsley

This module aims to provide the student with a platform upon which they can enhance the effectiveness of their workplace experience and develop their vocational skills.

Dissertation - 40 credits - Stuart Jarvis

This will enable the student to design and conduct an independent study and to be able to critically evaluate scientific data and literature.

Rugby Coaching: Adult Performers - 40 credits - Dean Parsons

The module provides will provide students with an understanding of the underpinning Level coaching, teaching and instructing and the level 3 Rugby union technical definition and Assessment specification.

Strength and Conditioning - 20 credits (optional) -  Morgan Williams

The module will provide students with the underpinning scientific knowledge required to deliver effective strength and conditioning programs.

Work Based Learning* - 20 credits (optional) -  Dean Parsons

The module is designed to provide a platform upon which the learner can enhance the effectiveness of the workplace experience and reflect on these experiences.

Analysis in Rugby Coaching and Performance - 20 credits (optional) - Ioan-Alexandru Paval

The module will further develop the student's knowledge and understanding of the issues related to rugby analysis, the requirements of coaches, players, and other related professionals within the game of rugby union at academy and senior level.

Creatively Teaching Physical Education, Health and Wellbeing - 20 credits (optional) - Chris Emsley

The module will develop student’s professional teaching skills and subject knowledge of Physical Education, Health and Wellbeing topics arising from the National Curriculum to enable them to teach Physical Education, Health and Wellbeing.

*This module is available to study fully in Welsh


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 relevant to the rugby industry.

Assessment methods include:

  • Written reports
  • Presentations
  • Practical rugby coaching assessments
  • Work-based learning assessments
  • Posters and leaflets
  • Reflective blogs
  • Team debates
  • Rugby Management reports



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 is the course leader for the Cert HE & BSc. (Hons) Rugby Coaching & Performance courses.
Dean is a World Rugby/Welsh Rugby Union Level 3 coach, a Sports Coach UK Level 3 Tutor and a World Rugby/WRU Trainer. Thirty years a coach educator, Dean has worked extensively in the UK and overseas on Talent Optimisation Programmes.

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.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Contextual offers

We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.  

Other qualifications and experience

We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.

To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.

If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here


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

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BB 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 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

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

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma in Sport/Science with a minimum of 112 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


August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £15260 

  • Part-time UK:  £740 per 20 credits

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £55.42
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.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK 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 and EU students

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

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.