Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc (Hons)

Ranked first for Sport Science - University Guide 2015

If you are interested in studying sport, exercise and physical activity on a science based programme, then this programme will suit you. You will gain a strong scientific understanding of human physiology, psychology, anatomy, biomechanics and biochemistry. You will learn about how the healthy human body works during exercise, and how sport and physical activity promote health from cellular to whole body perspectives.

99% overall student satisfaction 2014 National Student Survey

Based in our £16.4 million building, the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences is the leading research department in the UK for this subject, which means you’ll be learning from the best. It’s also an enjoyable course with excellent employment prospects - 91% of our students are employed or have gone on to further study 6 months after completing their studies with us, this places us first in the sector for employability. Our graduates go on to rewarding careers in coaching and sports development, personal training, PE teaching, physiotherapy, the police force, and scientific research.

Course fact file

UCAS code: BC17

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 245 (across N290, BC17 and C6L4)

Applications in 2014: 1783

Typical Offer: AAA–AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


Throughout the course you will be engaged in practical sessions to develop your laboratory skills. The lab sessions complement lectures and seminars and provide a firm grounding in scientific method. As you move through the programme there are options to specialise in different areas of study.

Course structure

This is a flexible course that offers you greater choice in the range of modules you can opt for. This provides you with the opportunity to study in both scientific and applied perspectives by having the choice to take some optional modules from the BSc Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science degree. You can shape your degree to suit you.

First year

Your first-year modules are the platform for future years and provide basic information in human physiology, psychology, anatomy, biomechanics and biochemistry, as well as an introduction to research methodology and laboratory skills.  

Second year

Your second-year modules extend your knowledge of exercise physiology, applied sports and exercise psychology, laboratory practical skills and research methods, with additional modules integrating the basic science with applications in sport.  

Final year

In your third year you plan and carry out a research project, analysing the data and presenting the results. There are also many optional modules providing detailed understanding of the application of physiological, behavioural and social science approaches to specific topics in exercise, sport and health and rehabilitation.

International year

Students on this programme can apply to spend an additional year studying sport overseas at one of our partner universities before returning to complete their final year in Birmingham, graduating with a BSc with an International Year. On average, around 20 students undertake the International Year. Currently students are studying in Australia, Canada and the USA.

Find out more about the International Year here. For further advice contact Dr Martin Toms, International Year Abroad Tutor, at

Third year students describe their research projects at Poster Presentation Day
Video transcript here

Why study this course

Our school is ranked first in the UK for our excellence in world class research (Research Assessment Exercise 2008) and this research influences the teaching that takes place at the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. You are taught by academics who are experts in their fields, investigating the frontiers of their subjects.

Thanks to a £16.4 million investment, we have the largest custom built Sport and Exercise Sciences facility in the UK. This includes teaching and research laboratories for physiology, biochemistry, psychophysiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, motor skills, immunology, muscle mechanics and the neurophysiology of movement

We are ranked in the top 5 in the Complete University Guide for Sport and Exercise Sciences: see the subject table for 2012

2012 National Student Survey "An overall student satisfaction score of 95% puts us first in the Russell group universities for our Sport Sciences course"

What our students have to say about our degree course

Ben Woods, 2nd year student "It’s honestly such a good course. The lecturers and students that you have the opportunity to work with are all great! You know you are working somewhere great when elite athletes and international sports people are using your facilities."

Vanessa Say, 2nd year student "If you are truly interested in science and looking for a degree which will enable you to explore and strengthen your understanding of the many different scientific areas this degree covers; from physiology and anatomy to biomechanics and statistical techniques involved in experimentation, then this is a brilliant course for you. Not to mention, that the University of Birmingham is an amazing University with a diverse range of students and that Birmingham itself is a fantastic city that must be experienced."

Selina Norris, 3rd year student "The staff is helpful, friendly and approachable. In addition to the building and amazing facilities, the vast amount of opportunities available to all students is remarkable. As an undergraduate I could not wish for more support from the school."


Sport and Exercise Student at work

Undergraduate Programmes Module GuideModule Guide(PDF 842kb) for other module options and descriptions

Year 1

And one optional module from:

You will also be offered the opportunity to study a Module outside the Main Discipline (MOMD). An MOMD is a module in a subject which is not normally a part of your main degree programme but which may be taken for to enhance and broaden your study. This is available to replace any optional module during your degree programme.

Year 2

Your second-year modules extend your knowledge of exercise physiology, applied sports and exercise psychology, laboratory practical skills and research methods, with additional modules integrating the basic science with applications in sport.

Year 3

You plan and carry out a research project, analysing the data and presenting the results. There are also many optional modules providing detailed understanding of the application of physiological, behavioural and social science approaches to specific topics in exercise, sport and health and rehabilitation.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply
Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAA–AAB

Required subjects and grades: All applicants must offer at least one of these preferred subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Human Biology, Maths, Physics, Psychology, Sport Studies/Physical Education or Statistics. GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in English, Maths and a Science.

Excluded A Levels: We do not accept Applied Science, Citizenship Studies, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Critical Thinking, General Studies, Global Perspectives, Moving Image Arts, Science in Society, Use of Maths and World Development.

Additional information:

Some offers of ABB will be made to those applicants with multiple A levels from the preferred list and an exceptional supporting statement. 

BTEC: We consider students with a BTEC in a science-related discipline, with the following requirements:

  • 18 units: Distinctions in all 18 units plus an A level at Grade B in any subject except those in the excluded A level list
  • 12 units: Distinctions in all 12 units plus an A level at Grade A in any subject except those in the excluded A level list
  • 6 units: Distinctions in all 6 units plus 2 A levels from the preferred list at Grade A in any subjects except those in the excluded A level list


  • 18 units: Distinctions in all 18 units plus an A level at Grade B in a core science

In addition, all BTEC applicants must have a strong GCSE profile including minimum grade B in Mathematics, English and a Science.

Other qualifications are considered – Please contact the School's Student Recruitment Manager for advice on whether your particular qualifications, or combination of qualifications, will meet the entry requirements

International students:

International Baccalaureate: 35-36 points to include a science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology). Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay points are not considered. 5 points in each of SL English and Maths if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at
Learn more about applying

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.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you will be taught by leading academics in their subjects. We are passionate about sharing our knowledge and expertise with you; you will become part of the School’s academic community which includes professors, lecturers, visiting experts, postgraduate students and researchers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner.

Learning will range from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials to self-study and peer group learning. In all three years there are practical sessions related to different aspects of your course, from teaching and coaching to psychology. Particular attention is paid to developing generic learning skills in addition to specific subject knowledge. We believe that attention to these skills is one reason why our graduates are so attractive to potential employers. In all three years of your programme there are practicals that link theory to practice and research in laboratory or applied settings. Often this will involve you acting as both the participant and the investigator.

Module in a minute videos

Meet some of the undergraduate lecturers as they describe the content of a selection of modules in more-or-less a minute.

Module in a minute videos
Applications of Sport Psychology
Sports Nutrition
Skill Acquisition and Motor Learning

We have introduced the Speed BSc which is an innovative approach to introducing new students to the school. As well as a great place to meet students from the course, the Speed BSc helps you learn useful skills that will serve you well during your time here and help you with the transition from school/college to university - watch the video below to find out more.

Video transcript here

How will I be supported?

There are plenty of opportunities to get to know the lecturers and postgraduates and you will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you. During your first week at University you will meet your personal tutor who will work closely with you throughout your programme to support your development and track your academic progress. In your first year, you will see your tutor every fortnight either in a small group with other students to discuss an aspect of teaching or research, or individually to review your personal progress.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching.  You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself.  We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham. 

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take.  You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.  This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study.  You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.  You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take.

In your final year you will undertake an extended research project in an area of interest relating to exercise, sport or health.


Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you.

First destinations of University of Birmingham Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates six months after graduation

Career destinations for Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates

Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education report (DHLE) 2012/13

Our past students have gone on to diverse and exciting careers including:

  • coaching/sports development
  • personal training
  • PE teaching
  • physiotherapy
  • the police force
  • and scientific research in academia and industry

About 20% of students choose to pursue further study (e.g., MSc in Sports Nutrition, MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology, MSc in Human and Applied Physiology, PGCE secondary PE).

See the range of career opportunities available to our graduates.


Career profiles of some of our alumni

Gareth Sheppard – Paralympic Performance Manager for the British Cycling Team

Gareth Sheppard is the Paralympic Performance Manager for the British Cycling Team. The team won 17 Gold and 3 Silver medals at the Bejing Games in 2008, and are now building towards London. Gareth graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1999 with a full blue (an award earned from universities for competition at the highest level) and a 2.2 degree in sports science, and later completed his MBA.  He represented Wales and Great Britain on both mountain bikes and road, and road professionally, for 3 years after graduating before starting his career in a variety of different sport and leisure roles to his current role with British Cycling.
Gareth Sheppard - Video transcript here

Andrew Murphy, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences Graduate and General Manager of Sports Coaching Ltd

Andrew Murphy talks about his time studying with us and discusses how the skills he gained helped him build a successful career in sports coaching.
Andrew Murphy - Video transcript here

Anna Bettridge – Senior II Physiotherapist, University of Leicester NHS Trust

Since graduating in 2003, Anna has pursued a career within Physiotherapy, and she is currently working for the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust.  She now specialises within musculoskeletal, which involves working on the trauma unit, elective orthopaedic wards and in an outpatients setting. This journey has involved completing an accelerated physiotherapy degree, and working within different areas of physiotherapy such as respiratory and stroke, prior to being able to specialise.Outside of the NHS she works at a private clinic and has experience of the sporting world by working for the Amateur Swimming Association, which has involved profiling swimmers to prevent injuries.

Amy Bird - Club Development and School-Club Links
Birmingham Sport and Physical Activity Partnership (BSPAP)

A Sport and Exercise Science Graduate from 2003-2006, Amy remained in Birmingham after graduating and initially worked in Sales – firstly for a small family-run media company selling community websites, and then trying her hand in Recruitment for a global agency.  This was all before realising that this wasn’t quite what she was looking for, and so instead decided to utilise her degree by setting-out on a sporting career path. Amy joined the BSPAP in June 2009 and was responsible for running a Sport England funded city-wide project 'Sport Unlimited' before taking on a wider strategic remit to include Club Development for the County Sports Partnership.Amy has a wide range of voluntary experience including instructing outdoor pursuits whilst on her gap year in Australia for 4 months, working for Cancer Research UK on the ‘Race for Life’ events and volunteering with young people during her time at University.