Start dates:

September: Distance (with attendance) at UCFB Wembley

Course length: One year (full-time) and two year (part-time) options available

Priority Application Deadline:

31 August 2023 for September 2023 entry

Degree overview

The MSc Player Care in Football has been designed for those who wish to develop a multidisciplinary understanding of elite player care and wellbeing in professional football. Through the programme, students will build a theoretical and practical understanding of player care by engaging with elements of behavioural science, psychology, psychiatry and social sciences with the long-term goal of being able to apply this knowledge at both youth and senior levels.

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Delivered by leading experts in the field, students will be exposed to the latest research in the area, as well as a series of real-world scenarios and case studies, developed in conjunction with industry partners.

Teaching locations & learning options

This degree is delivered via Distance (with attendance) with on campus residential at UCFB Wembley. Our Distance (with attendance) degrees are delivered by the same leading industry experts who teach our on campus degrees with teaching online via our dedicated Online Hub which can be accessed anytime making this a flexible study option that fits around your existing commitments. Your online study is further consolidated with on campus residential block(s) consisting of in-person teaching, networking and opportunities to meet your academic staff and peers.

Wembley Stadium

Arch View House

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Degree content

Split into a series of core and optional modules and available in full-time or part-time formats, students will spend time defining the concept of player care and examining the challenges evident in elite football environments. They’ll also explore the relationships that exist between elite football and mental health, the crucial transitions or ‘moments’ that comprise a career in elite football, and the specific issues evident in the context of the elite youth game. In the final semester, they’ll also complete an in-depth study of an aspect of player care and wellbeing in football that is of specific interest to them.

Learning and teaching occurs through a range of activities including lectures, seminars, and workshops, that are blended with a range of online activities structured through GIS’ virtual learning environment. Knowledge and understanding is further supported through the integration of guest lectures and field trips where possible.

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Degree specification documents and information

The Global Institute of Sport is an embedded college of the University of East London. All GIS graduates will receive a degree from the University of East London.

Click here for the course specification for this degree

Football and Mental Health

Mental health issues can present a number of significant challenges in relation to player care, with the area arguably lacking in support and understanding within the professional environment. This module will define mental health and related common mental disorders in the context of a footballing environment in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the topic and facilitate a more holistic approach in player care roles. The module builds on existing literature as well as drawing on the experiences of current and retired professional footballers to provide a critical structure of mental health issues, experiences, professional support services and other key topics, such as coping strategies, injuries, social support, and identity. This will provide the knowledge and understanding in order to help build strategies and interventions to highlight key areas of development and to provide a more engaging approach to a player’s psychological well-being within the player care system.

Critical Moments in Football Careers

The transition between academy football to professional football can bring about many psychological challenges. These challenges may be better deemed as ‘critical moments’ as they can appear more frequently. This module will critically analyse a number of these challenges and provide deeper insight and understanding into some of the issues that a professional player (or wider staff) may approach you with. Adding to the currency and value of performance psychology and traditional mental skills training the module will examine critical moments from an existential perspective and assess some of the ‘givens’ a player will have to face as they journey through the game. These existential topics will include isolation (loneliness), freedom (and responsibility to choose), meaning (identity) and death (i.e. leaving football). They will be explored in the cultural situ of professional football and will be considered from a holistic player care perspective.

Youth Football and Safeguarding

Elite youth football can present a number of challenges in the context of player care. This module critically examines a number of these challenges and gives you the opportunity to build knowledge in order to address them. Structured through the various phases of the player journey (pre-academy, foundation phase, youth development phase, professional development phase), you will critically analyse the various demands and expectations that elite youth players can be exposed to. These elements will be explored in the context of players’ major influences, including family, education, peers, and environment. The module will also introduce you to a range of issues related to safeguarding – something that is critical in the context of youth player care.

Creating a High Performance Culture

This module will give you critical insight into how coaching and sports science combine to create a culture of high performance for elite athletes. The module will follow a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to high performance coaching across a range of sports, allowing for the application of theory to practice. You will synthesise theory and evidence-based practice to evaluate appropriate training programmes and critically analyse existing approaches to high performance coaching. You will critically analyse (through observation and/or delivery) current practices in order to develop the skills and knowledge to aid the development of high performance athletes. Furthermore, you will explore the key issues that surround the high performance sports coaching environment and the development of a culture of excellence.

Applied Reflective Practice

This module will explore the process of reflection, its role in the development of knowledge and practical expertise and its subsequent impact on practice. You will examine and critically evaluate the key factors associated with a sound reflective process and what it is to be an effective reflective practitioner. In addition, you will review reflective processes and will develop a model of reflection, informed by a critical evaluation of existing models and current literature in this and other relevant fields.

Applied Research Project

This module will advance your research methods and critical thinking skills, and support you in applying these to the sports industry and its associated environments. This module will prepare you for research, reflective, and evidence-based development in future employment, as well as for higher study if applicable.

As part of this module, you will have an opportunity for sustained applied research and practice in the form of an applied project. Therefore, this module creates a space for you to apply competencies developed in your modules to date to a real-life football setting, leading to experiential and reflective learning.

You will direct your efforts towards addressing a topical issue in your area of interest. Your applied research project will allow you to showcase your intellectual articulation and knowledge, by undertaking an applied project, emphasising your knowledge of theory and current practice in your area of interest. By completing this project, and presenting your results, you will establish expertise in an area of academic, personal and professional interest, aiming to influence coaching practice.

Together with other modules in the programme portfolio, this module will give you real-world exposure to coaching issues that require investigation from you in the role of an applied researcher. You will gain a thorough practice-based understanding of project design, conduct and action. As result, you will be able to evidence management and leadership of an applied project, and show potential to change and influence coaching operations – something current and future employers will look for in your knowledge, experience and skills portfolio.

Global Sports Leadership

Leadership is a fundamental element of both sport and business operating in a dynamic global arena. On this module you will review and conceptualise different approaches to leadership from both an applied and theoretical perspective to allow you to analyse critical incidents in order to judge organisational leadership performance. You will be able to apply leadership theory to examples from industry professionals who have experience of leading teams in a sporting setting. Cross-cultural leadership underpins many of the behaviours and skills discussed within the leadership framework, alongside diversity and inclusion, strategic leadership, communication and reflection. The module allows you to take responsibility for your own leadership development and effectiveness through the development of an e-portfolio and skills audit, alongside exposure to sports leaders from the global network of partners contributing to the live case studies.

Degree outcomes

The main educational aims of the course are to:

  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support the wellbeing of players in professional football environments.
  • Expand students’ capacity to critically analyse theories and concepts that inform various aspects of player care in a football context.
  • Create an environment in which students are able to relate knowledge to practice, solve problems creatively, apply new and existing skills, and demonstrate awareness of emerging issues in player care in football.
  • Equip students with a range of research skills necessary to design and conduct applied research in a football context.
  • Advance students’ capabilities in communicating complex arguments to a range of audiences in the context of player care.
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Entry requirements

Requirements overview

You will have a Bachelor’s degree with 2:1 classification or an international equivalent. International students that require an IELTS must have an overall IELTS score of 6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening, or recognised equivalent). Relevant academic experience in business, marketing or sport is desirable.

Applicants will be expected to participate in and pass an Academic led interview with senior members of the UCFB team, as well as submitting an outstanding personal statement and highly supportive academic and professional references.

Interviews can be held remotely or at our UCFB Wembley campus, successful applicants will be invited to attend one of our interview sessions following a review of their application.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria for this programme, or whether you require IELTS results, please email with a copy of your most recent CV including nationality, visa status if applicable, and undergraduate degree transcripts. Candidates with a strong CV may qualify for a supplementary admissions interview to support their academic application.

International students

UCFB cannot currently sponsor non-EU students’ visas.

You will not need a visa to study in the UK if:

  • You are a British citizen
  • You are a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) member state or Switzerland
  • You have a visa to stay in the UK for another purpose that allows you to study

If you are still unsure whether you would need a visa to study in the UK, or for more information, please contact You can also study one of our Online Master's degrees.


The Global Institute of Sport is proud to offer an extensive suite of scholarships to support outstanding students as they embark on their postgraduate study. From scholarships to aid our elite athletes, to attracting aspiring sports leaders, and scholarships which support inclusivity and diversity within the sporting industry, our scholarships are there to support students who want to make a meaningful difference to the future of the sporting world.

Click here to find out more

Career prospects

As a new and rapidly developing area of football club operations, opportunities to secure employment in player care are growing quickly. Professional football clubs are now recognising the significance of player care as they seek to support the wellbeing of their most prized assets. For those who have graduated from sports coaching, sports science, or sports management degrees, the opportunity to specialise in the area of player care could lead to employment in a range of roles related to player care, player liaison, or player welfare at youth or senior levels. Additionally, the programme has been designed to support those already working in professional football to enhance their employability prospects, potentially leading to advancement in their careers.

Whilst the programme is designed to support both aspiring and existing player care professionals, player care is everybody’s responsibility within the professional game. As such, the programme supports learning for a broad range of additional roles including academy managers, team operations managers, education and welfare officers, and coaches.


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Available tuition fee discount
Postgraduate Loyalty Discounts

These discounts are open to any UCFB, Buckinghamshire New University and University of East London graduate who has received and accepted an offer to study at postgraduate level with UCFB’s Global Institute of Sport.

GIS Alumni

If you’d like to extend your time with us, we’re pleased to offer all GIS graduates:

UCFB and GIS business partners

We're pleased to offer all UCFB and GIS business partners 15% fee tuition discount on all Undergraduate, Master's programmes.

Additional information about fees

Visit our dedicated page about fees and student finance.

Part-time option

For part-time courses the tuition fee will be split accordingly per year i.e 50% in year 1 and 50% in year 2 (for a two year programme) as per below table.

Full-time (one year) Part-time (two years)
£10,950 £16,450 £5,475 £8,225
Additional fees

In some instances, optional activities provided may carry an additional cost for participants (e.g. qualifications with external certification such as FA Coaching Badges). Any additional costs will be provided to students in advance of any such sessions running.

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