Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences BSc (Hons)

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.

QS-sport-related-top-10Ranked fifth 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.


EU Referendum

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

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 with a focus on exercise 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 with a choice of modules in the areas of Physiology, Biochemistry, Nutrition, Psychology and Mental Health, Sport Policy and Human Movement. There is also an opportunity for a placement during the second year.

Final year

In your third year you plan and carry out either a theory-led research project or a more applied civic engagement project with a local organisation.  There are also many optional modules covering cutting edge topics in exercise, sport, 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 Thomas Solomon, 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 achieved an outstanding performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014) 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

QS World University Rankings - 5th in the world for sports-related subjects: see the subject table for 2018

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."


Year 1

  • Introduction to Exercise Physiology|
  • Introduction to Exercise Biochemistry
  • Functional Anatomy
  • Introduction to Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology
  • Becoming a Researcher in Physical Activity and Health
  • Widening Horizons Module (WHM)*

* 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

Example optional modules may include:

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology and Mental Health
  • Sport Policy
  • Human Movement
  • Placement

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.

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 2019. 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.

Fees and funding

Standard Home/EU student fees 2019-20

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, 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) £18,360

Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry 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.

Additional information:

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.

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 to apply

Apply through UCAS at
Learn more about applying

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.

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.

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 video

Meet one of the undergraduate lecturers as he describes the content of a modules in (more-or-less) a minute.


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. Please note: the tasks set during the Speed BSc may vary from those shown in this video.

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.

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 development
  • personal training
  • PE teaching
  • physiotherapy
  • the police force
  • and 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).

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. 

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.