Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science BSc (Hons)

This degree programme offers you the opportunity to examine the theory and practice of physical education, sport and coaching science across education, leisure and community sectors.

You will gain skills that will enable you to contribute positively to your career prospects within sport, coaching, education and community contexts.

2016 National Student Survey "100% of our SPECS students said that our staff are good at explaining things."


100% employability
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2014/15
See our graduate career opportunities


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This degree programme offers you the opportunity to examine the theory and practice of physical education, sport and coaching science across education, leisure and community sectors. You will gain skills that will enable you to contribute positively to partnership enterprises within sport, coaching, education and community contexts.

You will study a range of topics including sport, coaching science, physical education and physical activity, as well as increasing your knowledge, understanding and awareness of significant national and international sport related bodies.

The degree also involves study of physiology, psychology, sociology, coaching and physical activity, which offer insights into the development and interaction of diverse groups in sport, coaching, school and community contexts.

A unique aspect of this course is the blend of theory and practice throughout the programme. This is evident in the range of applied teaching and coaching modules on offer. There is also the opportunity to experience a residential trip to the University’s Raymond Priestley Outdoor Centre in Year 1. 

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 Thomas Solomon, International Year Abroad Tutor, at

SPECS students who have representative honours

See the selection of student profiles here.


Download details of the Outdoor Activity Trip (PDF 33KB, opens new window)


First year

* A WHM 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 first year.

Second year

Your second-year modules extend your knowledge of sport and exercise pedagogy, sports management, sports coaching, physical education, sports development and research methods, with modules integrating theory into practice in sport.  You will also undertake a volunteering placement either in an educational setting or sport, leisure or community context.

Core modules

Optional modules (choose two)

Module Outside the Main Discipline (MOMD) - allows you to explore content from other academic programmes of this university in the form of a stand-alone module. More information on MOMD can be found here

Final year

Core modules

Research Project - 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.

Optional modules

  • Politics and Sport
  • Sport Psychophysiology
  • Character Development
  • Public Health Psychology of Exercise and Nutrition
  • Sociology of Sport, Participation and Performance
  • Contemporary Issues in Physical Education
  • Exercise as Medicine
  • Motivation in Sport & Exercise Settings
  • Sports Science in Professional Practice
  • Applied Teaching and Coaching, Swimming

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 Thomas Solomon, International Year Abroad Tutor, at

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.

Fees and funding

Standard Home/EU student fees 2017-18

The Government has announced that it will raise the cap for undergraduate fees in line with inflation. Assuming that the relevant regulations are passed by Parliament, which is expected to happen in Autumn 2016, the University of Birmingham will increase fees to the revised amount, expected to be £9,250 for home/EU students. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Standard international student fees 2017-18

International fee
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 1a (Classroom) £15,210

Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Sport Scholarships

For talented student athletes wishing to reach their sporting potential sports scholarships are available. For more information visit the UB Sport website

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level requirements dependent on the number of preferred subjects° being offered. GCSE Mathematics, English and a science at a minimum of grade C.

°Preferred subjects at A level: Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sport Studies/Physical Education, Statistics, English Language, English Literature, English language/Literature, History, Sociology, Politics, Environmental Science, Geology

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

Specified subjects excluded for entry:  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:

BTEC Extended Diploma accepted in Sport and science related subjects. Grades required - D*D*D* plus distinctions in all units.

BTEC Diploma accepted in Sport and science related subjects in addition to 1 A level from the preferred subject list.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma accepted in Sport and science related subjects in addition to 2 A levels from the preferred subject list.

In addition, all BTEC applicants must have a strong GCSE profile.

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

A satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check (previously the Criminal Records Bureau check) and ISA registration are required from accepted candidates before registration on the programme.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 - 6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

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 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.

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.

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 above to find out more.
Video transcript here

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham. We also have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

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 and 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 sport, exercise, health or rehabilitation.

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 achieve your goal.

95.7% graduate employability
2014/15 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) - The DLHE survey is conducted 6 months after graduation.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring , global internships and placements available to you.  Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

This degree aims to create graduates that are a new type of sport, PE or coach professional, that are capable of contributing to the growing trend for partnership enterprises in this field. On completion of your degree, you will be well equipped for a career in teaching, coaching, leisure management, sports development, postgraduate studies, as well as the armed forces or any graduate-entry profession.

See the career opportunities available to our graduates .

Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science

Our past students have gone on to a wide range of careers and this course will provide you with excellent transferable skills which are ideally suited to a wide range of careers in both the public and private sectors. These skills include:

  • written communication developed through writing essays
  • oral communication skills gained through reasoned debates during seminars and presentations
  • ability to work as part of a team, through collaborative group work
  • research and analytical skills with the ability to judge and evaluate information
  • organisational and time management skills by prioritising tasks to ensure academic, social and work commitments are completed on time
  • negotiation, informally with peers and formally with staff
  • problem solving
  • IT skills

Careers directly related to this degree include (post graduate or further professional training may be needed):

  • PE or Primary teaching
  • Sports Coach
  • Community Sports Coach
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Outdoor education
  • Leisure management
  • Education management
  • Social Care

Careers indirectly related may include:

  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Finance Officer
  • Accountancy
  • Journalism

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Shape your academic experience

Choose to study here and you will have a Student Representative, who works with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect students. You could even become one yourself. Not only would you be making a difference to the academic student experience, but you would also be developing transferable skills for the future. Find out more on the Guild of Students website


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.