Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences BSc (Hons)

Start date
3 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
£9,250 (Home/EU - 2020-21)
£19,320 Fee Band 2a (International Students - 2020-21)
More detail

If you are interested in studying sport, exercise and physical activity on a science based programme, then our Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences BSc 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.

Sports-Related-Subjects_Top 10Ranked sixth in the world for sports-related subjects

Thanks to a £16.4 million investment, we boast one of the largest custom-built Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation facilities in the UK. We are one of the longest established Schools in Europe for scientific research into sport, exercise, health and rehabilitation and in 1946 we became the first university in the UK to offer a degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Our graduates go on to rewarding careers in coaching and sports development, personal training, PE teaching, physiotherapy, the police force, and scientific research.

Understanding the science behind sport and exercise not only enhances the performance of elite athletes, but also helps address some of the world’s greatest societal challenges, such as obesity, physical inactivity, and unhealthy ageing.

Our cutting-edge Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences programme covers the wide spectrum from sport performance to physical and mental health, ensuring that our graduates have the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be leaders in a range of contexts.

At Birmingham, we emphasise the importance of a strong theoretical understanding across a range of disciplines, such as human physiology, biochemistry, psychology, motor control, functional anatomy and nutrition.

As you progress through your degree, you will be able to tailor your studies to suit your personal interests and career aspirations. Your learning activities will range from laboratory science in our outstanding custom-built Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation facility, to community engagement across our diverse

home city and beyond. These experiences will help you to develop skills in both the fundamental sciences and their application in the real world.

In your final year, you have the opportunity to work closely with our world-leading academics to conduct a research project in an area of your choice. You could collaborate with an external partner, such as a charity or community group, to complete an applied project that addresses a specific organisational need. Alternatively, if you have an interest in physiotherapy, you will have the unique opportunity to complete your project with a member of our team specialising in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

With opportunities for work placements and tailored advice, you will develop a range of employability skills which open the door to an exciting range of careers after you graduate including sport science support, scientific research, healthcare settings, teaching, coaching and management.

I chose to study here as I fell in love with the city of Birmingham...The University has some of the largest sports science facilities in the country, and many of the staff are internationally recognised in their fields, so the lecturers are really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the modules they are teaching.

Kingstun Nelson, Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Why Study this Course?

There are plenty of reasons to study the Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences BSc at Birmingham:

  • We are a world-leading sports science department for scientific research into sport, exercise, health and rehabilitation.
  • 6th in the world – We are ranked 6th in world for sports-related subjects in the QS World University Rankings 2019.
  • Facilities – The combined impact of the new £55m sports centre, our custom-built Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences facility and access to UBSport with their wide range of clubs, make Birmingham an ideal destination for students interested in sport science.
  • Flexibility – students have the opportunity to choose from around 14 exciting and varied modules, so that they can tailor their studies to suit their personal interests and career aspirations.
  • 98% of students agreed that staff are good at explaining things (NSS 2019)


Year 1

* 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.

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.

Core module

  • Developing as a Researcher
  • Data science and statistical analyses

Students must take at least 3 x 20 credits from the optional list below:

  • Exercise Metabolism
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Sensorimotor neuroscience: the structure and function of the brain systems that control movement

Example optional modules may include:

  • Innovation and Professional Practice in Sport
  • Linking theory and practice in sport and exercise placements A
  • Linking theory and practice in sport and exercise placements B

Year 3

Core module

Research project -  You will plan and carry out a research project, analysing the data you will collect and presenting the results. You will produce a poster and you will write a dissertation to present your project.


Civic Engagement - You will apply your theoretical knowledge and skills, to an authentic challenge, in collaboration with a community organisation by undertaking voluntary placement work. The focus of the placement could be based on research on an area of concern, evaluating existing provision, or designing resources for an organisation. Before the start of the project you will produce a project proposal and timeline, and following its conclusion you will create one multimedia presentation summarising your findings and recommendations, as well as a report for the organisation.

Optional modules

In Year 3 you will have a choice of modules in the same areas as those listed for Year 2 but at a more advanced level.

Optional modules include:

  • Sport Psychophysiology
  • Motivation in Sport and Exercise Settings
  • Project
  • Environmental Physiology
  • Character Development in Sport & Exercise
  • Molecular adaptation to training
  • Sociology of Sport: Participation & Performance
  • Exercise as Medicine
  • Contemporary Issues in Physical Education
  • Human Cardiovascular and Respiratory Control in Exercise
  • Motor Control in Sport
  • Exercise and Diet; Mechanisms of action in exercise performance, promotion of health and longevity
  • Civic Engagement Dissertation
  • Perception and Action
  • Motor Learning and Neuroplasticity
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Standard Home/EU student fees 2020-21

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Standard international student fees 2019-20

International fee
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 2a (Intermediate) £19,320

Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

EU Referendum

Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at 
Learn more about applying

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level requirements dependent on the number of science subjects° being offered. GCSE Mathematics, English and a science at a minimum of grade 4/C.

°Science subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Maths, PE/Sports Studies, Psychology, Physics, Statistics, 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.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and science related subjects will be accepted (D*D*D* including Distinctions in all units.)  Please note, BTEC Sport Performance and Excellence, BTEC Sport Development Coaching & Fitness, or BTEC Fitness Services are not accepted.

BTEC Diploma in Sport and science related subjects accepted in combination with an A level (D*D* including Distinctions in all units plus grade A in an accepted subject). Please note, BTEC Sport Performance and Excellence, BTEC Sport Development Coaching & Fitness, or BTEC Fitness Services are not accepted. For Sport Diploma the A level must be in a core science subject.

BTEC subsidiary diplomas are considered with a D* and 2 A levels at AA to BB grades. A level grade requirements are dependent on the number of science subjects being studied (please see A level subject list above).

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

Applicants who take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and meet our offer criteria will be made the typical offer for the programme, plus an alternative offer, which will be one grade lower plus a grade A in the EPQ.

International Students

International Baccalaureate diploma: 6,6,6 - 6,5,5  in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall. Higher level subjects need to include the required subjects as defined for the A-level qualification, where applicable.

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 you learn is as important as what you learn. The learning experience at Birmingham combines a wide variety of study methods extending way beyond the lecture theatre.

How you will learn

Our degree programmes are taught using a range of methods including formal lectures, small group seminars, computer-based learning, practical classes in both laboratories and the sports centre, and practical placements.

Your personal tutor

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 academic 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.

 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.

Seminars and tutorials

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.

Lecturers and world-leading researchers

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.

Resources and facilities

Our state-of-the-art sports centre sits on the corner of Bristol Road and Edgbaston Park Road, and is a gateway to the University for students, staff and our local community. The £55 million centre encompasses a unique raft of facilities, including Birmingham’s first 50-metre swimming pool, as well as a large multi-sport arena, a range of activity and fitness studios, an extensive gym, six glass-backed squash courts and various other facilities.

The centre underlines the University of Birmingham’s commitment to sport at all levels. In conjunction with the new athletics track and astroturf facilities, it is a home for our many sports clubs, allowing them to train and compete at the highest level.

Contact Hours

Throughout your Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences degree you can expect an average of 12 hours of contact time per week made up of 10 hours of lectures or seminars and 2 hours of practical classes.

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.

94% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating 2016/17 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

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.

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

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

A proportion 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).

Careers Network

Careers Network, 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 mentoringglobal internships and placements available to you.  Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs 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.

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.