Professional Golf Studies FdSc

Foundation Degrees are relatively new qualifications and are equal to the first two years of a full (three year) honours degree. 

The qualification is awarded by the University of Birmingham and can be “topped up” to an honours degree by further study.

The PGA Training Academy is not only proud of its history and traditions but its image, brand and reputation, which reflects a dynamic and forward-thinking organization and makes it a centre of excellence for golf in teaching and learning.

The PGA has been involved in training and educating Golf Professionals for over 40 years and now runs all its programmes from the National Training Academy at The Belfry.

With a full-time staff of 26, plus tutors, mentors, markers and examiners, most of whom are drawn from the ranks of qualified PGA Professionals, the PGA National Training Academy offers the premier professional golf education programme in the world.

The qualification is further strengthened through links with the University of Birmingham, which awards the Foundation Degree.

A unique partnership Foundation Degree programme delivered by the University of Birmingham and the Professional Golfers’ Association of GB and Ireland (PGA).

The Foundation Degree has been recruiting high quality students for the past 10 years.  The programme is delivered via distance learning and students will be in employment at a golf establishment for a minimum of 30 hours per week under the tutelage of a qualified PGA Professional (GB&I). 


First Year

  • Introduction to Golf Retailing  
  • Introduction to Custom Fitting and Equipment Technology 
  • Introduction to Golf Coaching  
  • Introduction to Applied Sport Science

Second Year

  • Rules of Golf  
  • Equipment Technology and Applied Custom Fitting 
  • Golf Coaching I 
  • Business Finance

Final Year

  • Custom Fitting and Repairs 
  • Managing a Golf Business  
  • Golf Coaching II 
  • Personal and Career Development
  • Sport Science

The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this course are for students starting in 2017. Modules for 2018 starters will be available from 1 September 2017.

Fees and funding

Playing Ability Test (PAT) fee (per attempt)   £55.00

The tuition fee for the PGA Training Programme will be £4,000* per academic year for UK/EU entrants and £5,000* for students from the rest of the world.  (Overseas applicants are defined as Non EU citizens and British Nationals working outside the EU for the past 3 years).

(*Fees are subject to inflationary increase in subsequent years in line with UK government policy).

If you are studying for your first higher education course, you do not have to pay for your tuition fees upfront, you can apply for government loan via the relevant Student Loans Company (SLC).  This loan is repaid later, once you have started to work.

To apply log-on to:

NB: Overseas and applicants who have already completed a higher education course i.e. BA/BSC will not be eligible to apply for a government student loan.  They will have to pay by the other options, listed below.

The University of Birmingham provides a range of other payment options to suit everyone, but an indication of how you intend to pay your tuition fees must be made upon application.  These other options are as follows:

Full payment (up front)

On-line using a debit or credit card
Cheque or bankers draft
Direct bank transfer

Installment plan

On-line using a debit or credit card
Direct debit payment for each term

To apply log-on to:

Career Development Loans: Should you not be entitled to a Government Loan you can apply for a Career Development Loan to help you pay for the course.  This is the link for more information:

In addition to the above Assistant Professionals will be required to pay annual subscription fees of approximately £180.00 (£130.00 overseas Assistants) (VAT not applicable).  Please note the Board of Directors annually reviews subscription fees and this figure is based on the current rate (January 2012).

All enrolment / subscription fees will be reviewed annually.

Entry requirements

  1. Normally be 18 years or older by 30th September of the year you intend starting.
  2. Have an email address and internet access
  3. Be maintaining a handicap of 4 or better (6 for ladies).  You should submit with your application form a current 12 Month Handicap Record along with a current Congu Certificate signed by the Club Handicap Secretary and County Secretary if you are playing off “Scratch”, verifying this.  Both must come in together.
  4. Have four GCSE passes at Grades A to C including Maths and English Language.

English equivalents or higher accepted are:

  • Adult Numeracy Level 2 will count for Maths and Functional Skills Level 2 in Application of Number.
  • Adult Literacy Level 2 and Communication Functional Skills Level 2. *In addition to this you will be required to take a written assessment in English at the ARP in the summer. Candidates who complete this successfully will be accepted onto the Foundation Degree. Details of this exam follows.
  • Level 3 in Communication and/or Literacy will be accepted without having to take The P.G.A written assessment.
  • Passes at 'A' level (grades A-D) or higher will naturally be accepted.
  • *BTEC First Diploma and above along with GCSE Maths & English at grades A-C. We will accept Adult Numeracy and Literacy Level 2. Functional Skills in Application of Number & Communication Level 2 will also be accepted.
  • *14-16 Diploma Higher Award we will accept with GCSE English or Level 2 Adult Literacy. Functional Skills in Application of Number & Communication Level 2 will also be accepted.
  • *Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma we will accept with GCSE English or Level 2 Adult Literacy. Functional Skills in Application of Number & Communication Level 2 will also be accepted.
  • *Applicants who have Level 2 Adult Literacy or English Functional Skills Level 2 will have to take and pass a PGA English Entrance Exam to start the course.

Scottish equivalents or higher accepted are:

  • Four Standard Grade passes (grades 1-3) or Intermediate 2 (grades A-C). Maths and English Language must be included.
  • Scottish Higher Certificate (grades A-C).
  • Passes at a higher grade will naturally be accepted.

Irish equivalents or higher accepted are:

  • Leaving certificate obtaining a minimum grade at Ordinary Level of D1 in both English and Maths plus a minimum grade at Ordinary Level of D1 in 2 other subjects.
  • Passes at higher and honours level will naturally be accepted.
  • Junior Certificate passes at either Ordinary or higher level is not accepted.

Please note that the Applied or Vocational Certificate along with the Intermediate Certificate is NOT accepted.

Applicants from outside the UK must have their country's equivalent. A suitable level of written and spoken English must be demonstrated.

Entry criteria for this Foundation Degree are also detailed on the Professional Golfers' Association website at

Additional information:

PGA Entrance Exam

The PGA English Entrance Test has been set up to cater for those applicants who do not possess GCSE English Grade C but do have Adult Literacy or Functional Skills in Communication Level 2. For these individuals the entrance test is mandatory.

The English Test has been designed to test:

  • Comprehension
  • Spelling, grammar & punctuation
  • The ability to write an essay

It is golf related and takes 1 hour to complete under examination conditions on the Admission Review Programme.

A pass mark of 50% has been set & applicants will receive feedback on each aspect of the test where they may be weak, so that they can gain extra tuition to help them.

It should be understood that Foundation Degree Level work is the same as the first 2 years of an honours degree, so there is a need for candidates to posses a good level of English writing ability.

International students:

Standard English language requirements apply.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through Professional Golfers' Association website at or contact Tracy McCausland, Admissions Administrator on +44 (0)1675 470333.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

The programme is delivered as a distance learning course.  E-learning is the preferred mode of delivery.  However, all students also have access to pdf study guide documents.  In terms of teaching, the following delivery methods are used:

  • A one week intensive residential course delivered at the Belfry (the PGA National Training Academy) covering all subject areas.  These sessions are delivered in small groups by one/two tutors.
  • E-lectures delivered via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.  Numerous e-lessons, lectures and activities/assessments have been designed and developed in each subject area.  These are interactive, visually stimulating and engage the learner.  All students have access.

Assessment methods

Students are assessed throughout the 3 years of the course.  The methods of assessment are as follows:

  • Assignments
    • Essays
    • Reports
    • Log books
    • Articles
  • Examinations
    • Practical – Golf Coaching; Custom Fitting and Repairs
    • Theoretical – all subjects

Becoming a PGA Professional is a passport to an exciting career in a world sport and it offers a range of job opportunities from Club Pro, to Coach from Retailer to Director of Golf Operations.