The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

Offering unparalleled industry insights and strategic business and leadership expertise, this degree will equip you with the business, leadership and performance management skills to promote optimal performance at the highest level of sport and business.



To achieve success in sports management you must possess the ability to lead athletes, coaches and business professionals alike in a manner which promotes optimal performance across all areas. To do this effectively you must understand your organisation’s position as a product, a business, and a sporting institution.

MSc Management and Leadership in Sports Business will teach you how to provide informed and inspiring leadership within sporting organisations. It will equip you with the business, leadership and performance management skills necessary to lead a large team of specialists towards achieving optimal performance and, ultimately, success.

This is a Specialist MSc

MSc Management and Leadership in Sports Business is a Specialist MSc programme led by academics at the Edinburgh Business School and practitioners in Oriam: Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre. It gives those who have worked in industry or studied a similar subject previously, the chance to expand, refine and enhance their knowledge. 

This 1-year Masters programme focuses almost entirely on the area of Management and Leadership in Sport. It blends cutting-edge academic thinking with best practice from industry to give graduates and professionals the opportunity to advance with a highly employable skillset.

A unique collaboration 

Developed in collaboration between the Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University and Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, this degree allows you to learn from industry experts and gain a real world insight into the management and leadership of global businesses and sporting organisations. You will gain key skills in managing and measuring performance, in developing effective business strategies and in providing strong and inspirational leadership. 

In business, as in sport, success is often achieved when a thorough understanding of theory is combined with first-hand experience of real-world problem solving. This Masters degree delivers on both fronts.

You will become well versed in the skills required for roles such as Chief Executive, Operations Manager and Team Manager.

Oriam: Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre

Oriam is Scotland’s national sports performance centre and acts as a base for the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Rugby Union, Basketball Scotland, Scottish Squash and Racquetball, Scottish Handball and many other elite teams as they prepare for competition on the international stage. The top of the range facilities at Oriam include Europe’s largest indoor synthetic pitch with seating for 500 spectators, a medical area, a strength and conditioning gym, Hydrotherapy pool and multipurpose sports hall.

Oriam is located on the Heriot-Watt Edinburgh campus which provides the ideal environment for sporting organisations and athletes to forge links with the academic community. This enables us to create new knowledge and develop innovative initiatives that push the boundaries of human performance.

Programme Leader for MSc Management and Leadership in Sport

Neil Gibson is the Director of Sport, Performance and Health at Oriam where he manages a team of specialist practitioners and coaches who work directly with high performance athletes in football, rugby, squash and athletics. With time working for sporting organisations such as the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Rugby Union and top universities, including Heriot-Watt, Neil brings a wealth of real-world and academic experience to our Management and Leadership in Sports programmes.

After studying for Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees in Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University Neil spent eight years working as the Head of Sport Science for Heart of Midlothian Football Club, a period of success which included victory in the Scottish Cup and qualification to the UEFA Champions League.  

Neil has held consultant roles with GB Water Polo and Scotland Rugby League and has contributed to postgraduate courses at a number of Universities within the UK. 

He is a published academic, an accredited High Performance Physiologist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists, and an accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach with the UK Strength and Conditioning Association.

He is currently the Sport Scientist for the Scotland national football team and continues to work with the Scottish Squash team as they prepare for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games following a successful Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Detailed course information

Course content

Detailed course guide

Semester 1

Measuring and Managing Performance

Semester 1 (Mandatory)

This course explores the principles behind performance measurement and performance management from a technical and social perspective. It will introduce you to the key methods, tools and techniques needed to measure, analyse and troubleshoot performance within industrial, commercial and public sector organisations.

Pacing strategies: understanding workload management in business and sport

Semester 1 (Mandatory)

This course will introduce you to workload management strategies and teach you how to formulate appropriate work plans for yourself and for those you manage. You will learn how to assess performance against set targets, and how to manage workload and wellbeing in ways which optimise motivation and effectiveness in a high performance environment. 


Semester 1 (Mandatory)

Through this course you will develop a clear understanding around the role of leadership within business and examine the link between effective & appropriate leadership and a successful organisational strategy.

Semester 1 Optional Courses 

  • Social and Organisational Change
  • Strategic Project Management
  • Work, Culture and Organisations 
  • Strategic Change

Semester 2

Research Philosophy and Practice

Semester 2 (Mandatory)

This course outlines the central theories and approaches to research in the social sciences. You will learn practical techniques for quantitative and qualitative data analysis, allowing you to transform raw data into information to guide conclusions and strategy.

Developing a performance pathway

Semester 2 (Mandatory)

Using real world case-studies taken from business and sport this course will introduce key concepts behind successful long-term development plans for improving performance of teams and individuals. You will learn to implement reliable and valid monitoring procedures and learn how to analyse progress and set appropriate challenges to encourage individuals and teams to develop new skills and achieve set objectives. 

Human Resource Management 

Semester 2 (Mandatory)

The course looks at current issues in Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM), in particular how to examine and develop approaches to the management of these key issues and apply critical thinking and evaluation to the management of SHRM issues within contemporary business contexts.

Semester 2 Optional Courses 

  • Systems Thinking and Analysis
  • Project Management
  • International Marketing

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (first or second class, or equivalent) in Sport Science, Sports Management, Sports Psychology, or a related discipline.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum 5.5 in all skills)


Tuition fees for 2020 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time Part-time Per course
Scotland / Non-UK EU £7400 £3700 £925**
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £7400 £3700 £925**
Overseas £16400 £8200 £2050**

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.