Health and Fitness

Master of Science in Adapted Physical Activity Leadership

What is Adapted Physical Activity Leadership

The MSc in Adapted Physical Activity Leadership (APAL) has been developed to respond to an increase in demand for highly skilled professionals who can take a leadership role in developing this emerging discipline and become transformational leaders ensuring universal access to physical activity. This aim echoes the long held vision of the APA movement and is in line with the aim of the United Nations (UN) convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (2006) - ensuring the equal rights of persons with disabilities.

The taught level 9 programme has been developed in line with the European Standards in Adapted Physical Activity (2010) and builds on the strong health and leisure undergraduate honours degree programmes. The overall aim of this masters degree is to develop an opportunity for professionals and graduates in the areas of health, education, care and leisure to develop their capacity to ensure universal access to physical activity programmes.

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Why study Adapted Physical Activity Leadership at IT, Tralee

The Health & Leisure (H&L) Department at the Institute of Technology, Tralee and its associated programmes have a local, national and international reputation for excellence and innovation. The location of the CARA National APA Centre at  IT, Tralee is testament to the lead role  of the Institute in the field nationally. Internationally IT, Tralee has led and participated in a number of European projects aimed at advancing the discipline. IT, Tralee’s expertise in the area coupled with their work in improving standards and opportunities in Ireland and abroad was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) when they awarded the UNESCO Chair in ‘Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities through  Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation in January 2013.

This award recognises IT, Tralee’s expertise in the area coupled with  their work in improving standards and opportunities in Ireland and abroad. Internationally IT, Tralee has working relationships with universities, authors and organisations at the forefront of the field such as Claudine Sherrill, Lauren Lieberman, Martin Block, Martin Kudlacek, Peter Downs and James Rimmer. The location of the CARA National APA Centre at IT, Tralee and the close working relationship on projects such as Campabilities is testament to the lead role of IT, Tralee in the field nationally. Locally, the undergraduate BSc in Health and Leisure links with disability service providers and health professionals to deliver and extensive programme to over 250 people with disabilities each year.

What are my career opportunities

Career options include coordinator and leadership positions in the disability, sports, health, leisure and rehabilitation sectors.

Contact details for further information on the Masters Programme or its associated embedded awards:

Head Of Department Health & Leisure Studies:
Dr. Michael Hall
Room(s): B212
Tel: +353 (0)66 7144168 Ext: 4168

Entry requirement specific to this programme

Applicants to the Masters in Adapted Physical Activity Leadership and its embedded awards must meet the following minimum entry requirements:

  • Bachelor (honours degree) 2.2 or higher in physical education, health and leisure, sports science, physiotherapy or related fields
  • The applicants undergraduate program must include attainment in the discipline areas of anatomy, physiology and adapted physical activity. This would equate to one module (5 credits) in applied anatomy and one module in physiology and at minimum 10 credits in adapted physical activity for standard applicants, non-standard applications can provide evidence of equivalent learning to the requirements outlined above in line with the Institutes recognition of prior learning (RPL) policy.
  • Sufficient conversational and written English language skills – an IELTS requirement of 6.5 or by demonstrating that previous studies through English were completed successful.
  • There are additional prerequisite knowledge requirements for some of the elective choices as summarised below


Elective Module Titles*

Entry requirements

Inclusive Aquatics

Foundation Skills in Aquatics

Current Child Protection certification

Demonstrate personal competence in the water.



Adventure Therapy and Adapted Outdoor Education

Foundation level skills in activity leadership and outdoor education studies. An understanding of outdoor learning and a capacity to engage in adventure/ outdoor activities in the practical component. Water confidence or an ability to swim would be a core competence.

Inclusive Fitness

REPS Ireland entry standard for group exercise instructor and gym or physiotherapist qualification or physical education qualification.

Current CPR/AED certification


* Only one of the elective choices will be available. Students will be asked to register their preference during year one of the programme.

In the case of non-standard applicants, admission decisions will favour:

  • Experience in the area of adapted physical activity as a practitioner
  • Knowledge in foundational subject areas e.g. pedagogy, physiology, psychology and research methods.
  • Individuals with disabilities, with experience as described above.

A bridging module (e.g. EIPET) could be completed prior to entry on the Masters programme to ensure the required level of APA has been attained 

The Masters programme will be delivered over 2 academic years with an intake in September. As a part time programme students will attend IT Tralee one day each week during the academic semesters from September to December and January to May each year.



The total programme cost including the Student Contribution Charge per year is €3,365.  Fees can be paid in instalments if required.  Please visit for details of tax relief opportunities.



Contact details for further information on the Masters Programme or its associated embedded awards: