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.

This rugby coaching degree 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.  

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 lectures 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.The different stages of the sports development continuum will help to inform your industry work-based learning experience which you will undertake in years one, two and three. 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.

  • 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 further develop the skills and knowledge gained in year one with regards to understanding coaching and leadership principles and approaches to developing and managing rugby with adolescent groups. You will enhance your breadth of knowledge by studying barriers to rugby and you will have experience of running enterprising events and completing a community rugby placement, which will enable you to put your ideas and knowledge into practice in the rugby industry. This year will therefore expand your understanding of the world of rugby development and 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

Your final year of study will help you to consolidate your previous years’ learning and start to specialise your work-based learning experience in line with the career path that you would like to take on graduation. You will develop your confidence and communication skills through debating key issues in rugby development and performance and you will undertake a research project examining a rugby development or performance related issue. 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 
  • 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. In addition to your lectures, you will 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.


You will be 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.


We have a brand-new specially designed sporting performance facility that focuses on rugby and football coaching. It includes a specialist centre for strength and conditioning with 12 lifting platforms, providing a high performance environment for aspiring athletes. Our full-size indoor 3G pitch is built to the Fifa Pro standard and World Rugby 22 standard. It will guarantee training all year round for our rugby, football and 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 Wales national football team and Cardiff City Football Club, as well 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.


Lecturers who teach on the rugby coaching course are experienced staff who 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.

Course leader Dean Parsons was the performance analyst for Namibia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and is an active WRU Level 3 Coach Educator and a consultant with World Rugby’s Education and Training Department. Locally, Dean is involved with Pontypridd RFC in the Welsh Premiership.

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.nsiders all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

In addition a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check is required (additional cost applies, no offences are considered spent).

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include one Science, Mathematics or Psychology at Higher Level (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 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 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12600 

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £660 per 20 credits

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 * £57.2
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service £13
Whilst optional it is strongly recommended signing up for this service especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to pursue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note the service has to be joined within 19 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 and Performance degree 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.

The University works in partnership with the WRU and the Professional Regions in Wales to ensure that the rugby coaching course prepares students with the relevant skills and knowledge to work in the professional game.

We also work closely with the UKSCA, Sportstec powered by Hudl, Young Ambassadors programme and Sports Leaders UK to ensure that this degree provides the next crucial step in the development of your coaching, strength and conditioning, analytical skills and employability development.

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.