Master of Sport Directorship (MSD)

Prepare for the role of Sports Director. Master areas like performance management and neuroscience to take your career from the pitch to the boardroom.

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Sport business is a multi-billion-pound, competitive global industry, and it’s growing. The demand has never been higher for professionals with a grounding in governance, commercial acumen and leadership skills. 

If you’re an ex-player or sports management professional, we’ll give you the business skills to reach your full potential. This course will suit you if you’re looking to progress your career or move to the sporting world from business.

Building strategic skills

Our course is the first of its kind and paves the way for future leaders of sport. Studying part-time over two years, you’ll develop the expertise to meet the demand of leading sporting organisations.

You’ll cover topics such as sports leadership and personal development, innovation and change, governance and best practice. A real highlight is the study of neuroscience and how it impacts on leadership and performance.

We’ll also expose you to a range of sporting environments. You’ll share knowledge with peers from different backgrounds, and apply new knowledge in your own specialism.

In your second year, you’ll apply your skills to a dissertation. We’ll challenge you to identify, research and strategically analyse a managerial or business issue within your organisation or in an area of your own interest.

Features and Benefits

  • A global city for sport – study in one of the UK’s greatest sporting cities, home to two top Premier League sides, an international cricket ground and a renowned velodrome.
  • Triple crown - study in a Business School that has prestigious triple accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.
  • Masterclass Series – this series brings experts in from the industry. Past speakers include Head of Communications at British Cycling, CEO Essex Cricket Club and the Development Director at the FA.
  • Pioneering – it’s the world’s first qualification of its kind. Be part of a select group of individuals who are the most qualified Sporting Directors in the world.
  • Backed by science – we delve into the science of performance management to help you understand how to understand and improve business performance.
  • Learn from the experts – the MSD teaching team have a wealth of experience in areas such as leadership, neuroscience, team performance, innovation, change and governance.
  • Executive Coaching – we offer all our students the chance to have an Executive Coach. Coaching is a valued approach to individual development and is becoming a well-established practice in business.
  • Endorsed by industry – the teaching on this course is endorsed by the England Rugby League, Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football League.
  • Diverse community – from grass roots to high profile professionals, we welcome people from all aspects of sport. This course also suits business owners wanting to grow their company.
  • A world of opportunities – we’ll help you prepare for director level roles in global organisations. Think premier league clubs, Olympics, FIFA and more.
“The staff here are very supportive, and clearly very knowledgeable. They have organised several high calibre external speakers too, which have really enhanced my time on the course.” David Parsons, MSD graduate, Performance Director for the England and Wales Cricket Board

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

“I think it is important to have a Sports Director who is well versed in the world of sport, but also adept in the world of business.”

Karen Bardsley, MSD graduate, Goalkeeper for MCFC and England Women’s Team

Career Prospects

We want to help you step up to the boardroom and prepare for the world of business. Working closely with the industry, we prepare students to think innovatively and manage people effectively.

After you graduate, you’ll be qualified for the position of Sporting Director. For many of our students, this means a promotion or a move into a more senior role within a sporting organisation.

The skills you develop will help you become a strategic leader in organisations that harbour human performance at the forefront of their company values.

There are many areas of sports that are looking for skilled directors to take their teams and businesses to the next level – from football and rugby, to athletics and F1.


Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

It takes a special type of person to take part in the Master of Sport Directorship. We're looking for self-starters who possess a rare combination of skills, experience and ambition which provides the foundation for the role of Sports Director.

You may already be working in a sporting environment, for instance: in a medical, coaching, finance or marketing role, and looking for the next crucial step in your sporting career.  The role of Sports Director is appealing because you recognise it's the way forward in the modern game.

Alternatively, you may already be in a business role and seeking to make the move into sport. If you are looking to use your business skills in a new way, the Master of Sport Directorship is ideally suited to help you adapt your talents.

In addition, this course offers ex-players and sports professionals currently in management a means to acquire the business skills needed to take the step into the position of Sports Director.

Ideally, students should be postgraduate or be able to demonstrate sufficient business experience to Manchester Met Business School.  A first year foundation course is available for those whose qualifications aren't enough to gain immediate acceptance on the course. This will bring those students up to the required Master's degree entry level.

Course details

Designed to fit around your existing work commitments, the MSD equips sports and business professionals with all the skills and practical experience needed to take their next career step with confidence.

This course will take you through an interdisciplinary learning journey via engaging sessions that blend academic rigour and expert insight with practical tools and models that help a sporting director to deliver success. 

The course blends best practice and insight from the worlds of sport and business to encompass: 

1.  Leading for High Performance 

2.  Managing Strategic Operations 

3.  Harnessing Creativity and Innovation for Change 

4.  Mastering Governance, Finance and Compliance 

5.  Sporting Directorship in Practice 

Manchester Met Business School has top-level connections in the sports world and are perfectly positioned to bring fascinating and informative guest lecturers to share their experiences with you throughout the course.

The course combines expert content delivery from the Business School teaching team with guest speakers who draw on their own specialist expertise of national and international business and sports community, in a workshop environment. This will include sharing best practice in the form of case studies in leadership, neuroscience, team performance, innovation, change and governance.

When you graduate from the MSD you will become part of an elite alumni, with access to a network of sporting contacts.

Recruitment for 2019 entry has now ended. The units below indicate the course content for entry in September 2020.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Leading for High Performance

Leadership of self, teams and the organisation are vital competencies for success as a top-flight sporting director. This unit critically examines models, theories and behaviours for high performance leadership. It will also consider coaching, mentoring and leadership dynamics in complex settings. 

Managing Strategic Operations

The aim of this unit is to demonstrate how operations management can influence and shape competitive strategy within sports. Specific topics include the examination of modern business drivers and competitive performance, process design, performance and strategic decision-making. 

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Harnessing Creativity and Innovation for Change

Continuous innovation is a key component of success for sporting organisations on and off the field. This unit adopts a mixed-methods approach to exploring how creative problem-solving drives innovation and the practices and processes for leading change.  Students will learn and apply key principles that underlie creativity and innovation, a practical toolkit for creative problem-solving and the psychology of leading change. 

Mastering Governance, Finance and Compliance

Managing governance, finance, legal and compliance issues are crucial to the successful stewardship of sporting organisations.  Students will consider the application of best-practice approaches and models that relate to the challenges associated with commercial development and changes in political, economic, financial and legal frameworks. 

Sporting Directorship in Practice: Dissertation

Developing deep expertise and competence is essential for success as a sporting director. In this unit, students are expected to identify, research and strategically analyse a complex managerial or business issue pertaining to sporting organisations via a dissertation. Students will learn about research design, methods, analysis and ethics to support the development of their research dissertations. 

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Department of People and Performance

Our People and Performance Department brings together industry leading professionals and academics with specialisms in strategy, innovation, enterprise, human resource management, entrepreneurship and sports management.

The department provides academic leadership for a broad undergraduate and postgraduate portfolio, providing real-life business expertise underpinned by cutting-edge business management theory.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

Applications to the course must be made directly.  To apply for the course or find out more, please contact Donna Ward (email  or telephone 0161 247 6078)


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
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