Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science BSc (Hons)

The Bachelor of Science Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science is a unique, dynamic three-year full-time course which has been designed to produce the best professionals in physical education, coaching, sport development and physical activity settings.

Our graduates are knowledgeable and innovative professionals who display independent, critical thinking and are able to work effectively with others in various contexts. 

2018 National Student Survey "Number 1 in the Russell Group for assessment and feedback, and student voice (Sports Science)"



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This degree programme offers you the opportunity to examine the theory, research, policy and practice of physical education, sport and coaching science. 

A range of topics and choice

You will study a range of topics, including teaching (physical education) and coaching science, psychology, sociology, physical activity, sport policy and development, sport management. 

The range of topics studied will enable you to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of significant national and international sport and education-related issues. The course, at the same time, is grounded in the fundamental principle of personalisation. This means that, as the years progress, you will be able (if you wish) to specialise on a topic/area of interest to you and in line with your future career aspirations.

Theory and practice

A unique aspect of this course is the meaningful blend of theory and practice, embedded in various modules across the three years of study. This means that you will have opportunities to not only develop in-depth theoretical insights on interesting and relevant issues but also explore their practical applications in the gym (e.g., games, athletics, dance, gymnastics, and swimming) or the lab (e.g., psychology). 

In the case of the teaching and coaching strand, for example, our aim is to you not only develop in-depth theoretical (or subject) knowledge but also apply this knowledge in practice. We understand that it is important to build your knowledge, confidence and experience in designing, implementing and evaluating movement experiences for diverse learners in an incremental fashion. To do so effectively, you will have opportunities to explore a range of instructional ideas in various contexts, gradually moving from practicing and trialling innovative and evidence-based practice within your peer group (year 1 and 2) to teaching swimming lessons to local children in year 3.

There is also the opportunity to experience a residential trip to the University’s Raymond Priestley Outdoor Centre in Year 1. 

Please find information on the venue hosting this FREE residential trip here:

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

We also believe in embedded placements, so that you do not incur an extra years’ costs and we can tightly align your placement with your theoretical learning. There is a module in year 2 designed to do that.

International year (optional)

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 each year. Currently, our students are studying in Australia, Canada and the USA.

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

SPECS students who have representative honours

See the selection of student profiles here.



Core modules

In year one, there are five core modules on a range of topics such as teaching and coaching, psychology, anatomy, psychology and outdoor education.

Optional module

There is one optional module, the 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. 

Second year

Your second-year modules extend your knowledge of sport and exercise pedagogy (physical education and sport coaching), sports development, sport psychology and research methods.  There is also an optional volunteering placement module which can be undertaken either in an educational setting or sport, physical activity, leisure or community context.

Core modules

You will need to undertake two core modules; one on research methods (developing your knowledge and understanding on the research process) and teaching and coaching (Development of Teaching and Coaching: gymnastics and dance)

Optional modules 
You will then also choose four modules from the indicative list below:

Third year

In the final year, you will have the opportunity to choose all your modules. 

Core modules

Research Project or Civic Engagement Dissertation

Optional modules

You will then need to choose four additional optional modules from the indicative list below:

  • Sport Psychophysiology
  • Character Development
  • Sociology of Sport, Participation and Performance
  • Contemporary Issues in Physical Education
  • Exercise as Medicine
  • Motivation in Sport & Exercise Settings
  • 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

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 1a (Classroom) £16,740

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 4/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 in Sport and science related subjects will be accepted (D*D*D* including Distinctions in all units.)

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, or grade B if subject on preferred list).

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Sport and science related subjects accepted in combination with two A levels (D* including Distinctions in all units plus grades AA, or Bs if subjects on preferred 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. Higher level subjects need to include the required subjects as defined for the A-level qualification, where applicable.

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.

High quality learning and teaching

The University of Birmingham has global reputation as an outstanding higher educational provider and this was reinforced recently with the Gold rating awarded in the Teaching Excellence Framework. The quality of our work is also reflected in our National Student Survey (NSS) results.

2018 National Student Survey "Number 1 in the Russell Group for assessment and feedback, and student voice (Sports Science)"

We are determined to offer all our students a distinctive, high quality learning experience. To achieve this, we have a clear vision in terms of what kind of knowledge and skills you will develop. We want our students to be independent, self-motivated learners – key qualities for future employment. 

Interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions

To support this, a dynamic, enquiry-based approach is adopted and you will have opportunities to be actively engaged in interactive lectures and seminars, and to develop your knowledge and ideas through dialogue and debate with fellow students and your tutors. In all three years there are practical sessions related to different aspects of your course, from teaching and coaching to psychology.

You - at the heart of your learning

 We also understand that to succeed, we need to put you at the heart of your learning. And to be able to perform at the best of your ability, we offer a comprehensive pastoral and academic support programme– because we believe that the right relationships and the right support is crucial to effective learning.

Research intensive teaching

 Our school prides itself in being able to combine not only the highest quality of teaching but also its international standing as a research-intensive school.

Teaching is research-intensive. This means that the research we carry out informs our teaching; and our teaching informs our research. You will be taught by academics who are world-leading researchers; and we are passionate about sharing our knowledge and expertise with you. From day one, you will become part of the School’s academic community which includes professors, lecturers, visiting experts, postgraduate students and researchers.

Contact hours

Throughout your SPECS degree you can expect an average of 12 hours of contact time per week made up of lectures, seminars practical sessions or group tutorials. You will be supported to learn in various formal and informal ways, ranging from scheduled lectures and small group tutorials to self-study and peer group learning.

Assessment methods

Attention to individual needs is deeply embedded within all modules; that’s why we ensure a mixture of assessments are included, ranging from exams and essays/coursework to professional presentations or practical assessments. All modules seek to embed the development of important graduate skills to all students. These include:

  • Presentation skills
  • Negotiation and team working skills
  • Planning and organising
  • Teaching groups of young people
  • Research and evaluation
  • Engaging with research methods in a placement environment
Formative assessment is also important and embedded and this enables us to diagnose learning gaps so they can be addressed before the formal assessment and before they lead to more fundamental misunderstandings of knowledge or misapplication of skills.

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.

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.