Skip to navigation Skip to content

Course search

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Disability Sports NI
  • Fitness First
  • Irish Cricket
  • Irish Football Association
  • Sport NI
  • Sports Institute NI
  • Ulster Rugby

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Development Coach
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Physical education Teacher
  • Personal trainer
  • Professional athlete
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Sports Marketing


Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more

To lead, inspire and shape the future of sport.


The course is targeted at those currently working in or with aspirations to gain employment in the field of sports coaching and aims to provide the knowledge, critical awareness and transferable skills that will equip them with the ability to be highly competent, socially aware and reflective practitioners.

The course has direct links/access to postgraduate courses in physical education, as well as many masters programmes upon successful completion of the undergraduate programme.

This is only available as a full-time Option at Level 6 - Final Year only (Top Up degree). Anyone applying for this progamme must have completed a Foundation Degree in one of the Regional Colleges.

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course was ‘refreshed’ in 2017/2018, with changes in place for students entering from September 2018 onwards. For the most up-to-date course/ module information, please contact the Course Director.

Sign up for course updates

Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.

We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

About this course

In this section


The programme will be delivered through theory and practically applied sessions which are underpinned by three key strands: Coaching Pedagogy, Subject Matter and Professional Practice to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate and understand the roles and qualities of a coach.
  • Prepare, plan, deliver and evaluate effective coaching sessions for a range of sporting populations.
  • Demonstrate an ability to reflect upon the coaching practice of oneself and others
  • Be able to articulate an understanding of coach development structures in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical principles of athlete development in a coaching context

100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy with over 75% of the teaching team being members of the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute (SESRI). During the last research return 50% of the teaching team were included in the submission for the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise in Unit 69 (Sport-Related subjects).

Teaching staff have considerable research and practical experience that informs their
teaching. In addition, staff are either qualified members of sport-science related
professional bodies such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
(BASES), British Psychological Society (BPS) or Sports Coaching Associations such as
scUK and Skillsactive. All staff currently work with recognised governing bodies in sport in developing coach education or involved in active research.


Students will attend on a full-time basis studying 120 credits in their Year of study.

In Semester one students will study two modules (one compulsory - Coaching Process and one optional module). In Semester 2 a further two modules will be studied (compulsory work based learning module - Advanced Coaching Practice and one additional module).

Throughout the year students will complete a 40 credit Research project on a subject of their choice for completion in Semester 2.

Start dates

  • September 2020
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Each module will seek to expose students to a variety of teaching and learning methods including:

Formal lectures – These are a core activity in teaching within the School of Sport and will constitute a major part of the teaching programme across a number of modules. Lectures are a foundation of the teaching and many sessions are taught in the form of workshops and with interactive activities contained within them. Lecture sessions will be supported through the development of online learning materials and Blackboard Learn.

Practical classes – Given the nature of sports coaching and the need to apply theory to a practical setting these will also be a key teaching method. Practical work will be conducted in groups and will involve sports participation, laboratory, computer and analytical work. Attendance at practical classes will be compulsory and these activities will in some modules form the basis of assessment.

Seminars – Many modules have seminar sessions where students are expected, in small groups, to discuss ideas raised in lectures. Students will be required to review research topics and make oral presentations.

Tutorials – A series of compulsory tutorials will be run by advisers of study during the course of the year. They will cover a range of subjects and will be designed to help students develop study skills, organise their time, and generally provide support for them.

Work based learning – Students will be required to complete a work-based placement in the programme. This placement opportunity will involve the compilation of a reflective diary, a placement provider's report, an academic supervisor's report and an action research project.

Independent work – Students are expected to read widely for all modules and to learn to manage their time in order to do so. Independent learning is also closely associated with preparation for assessment. The requirements of self directed study will have been covered at induction. In addition, clear guidelines on independent study will be contained within the student and module handbooks.

Group work - This is an important element of the learning regime within the school. Sports Coaching is both an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subject and as such requires the integration of activities from a wide variety of individuals and disciplines. Group and collaborative working within the school tries to encourage this approach to assessment tasks and problem solving. Where group work is used students will be guided on completion of self and peer evaluation.

E-learning – A system of web-based support within the School of Sport. It is anticipated that significant progress on the provision of web based materials will be made in the near future.


Modules will have a range of assessments associated with them. These will be designed to test both knowledge and skills and will vary from essays, literature reviews, practical / project / fieldwork reports, class tests and dissertations.

Modules may also be assessed by examinations. These will be of a two hour unseen format. Class tests may have a variety of formats including computer based testing, seen papers, data based tests or timed essays.

The means of assessment of the Research Project will be specific to and reflect professional practice in the selected subject area. Students may choose to conduct a scientifically-based project (e.g. measuring sporting performance) or a project focusing on coach development, sports development or coach education. Students will be assessed via a 10,000 word written piece and also present via a poster.


The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
  • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
  • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Read more

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

Read more

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Research Methods and Statistics

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce both the practical and conceptual understanding of research methodologies within sport, exercise and leisure research.

Advanced Coaching Practice

Year: 1

This module further develops the work based learning elements required to develop

coaches in the field to support and develop effective reflection within their practice.

Coaching Process

Year: 1

Sports Coaching is a facet of the sports industry which has exhibited exceptional growth in recent times and something that has come under increasing academic scrutiny. Professionalisation of coaching is of paramount importance and an understanding of Coaching Processes is vital to ensure this development.

Research project in Sports Coaching

Year: 1

This module enables students to enhance their theoretical and empirical understanding of the research process as it applies to sport. In so doing, it demonstrates the critical relevance of evidence-based practice to sport.

Sports Strategic Management

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module explores the background, principles and practices of the strategic management process, which sports and leisure organisations employ to ensure competitive advantage over their competitors. The module is designed to ensure the students gain the underpinning knowledge and competencies to become potential managers in the fastest growing global industry of the 21st Century.

Advanced Sports Development

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is primarily concerned with investigating the evolution of sports development and examining the many different strands of the profession. The module will also highlight the role of government and key agencies in the formulation of policy and strategies that impact upon the sports development domain and seek to develop key vocational and entrepreneurial skills.

Advanced Physical Education and School Sport

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will involve students in the critical appraisal of recent research and educational policy and initiatives and their impact on the subject area of physical education and school sport and its effective delivery in the school context.

Applied Sport Psychology and Contemporary Issues

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of theory, research and practice in the field of applied sport psychology. Students will develop an understanding of the sport psychology consultancy process and ethical principles and guidelines relevant to working in the field. This module takes students beyond understanding what is done in 'Applied Sport Psychology' to understanding how sport psychology service is delivered.

Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module considers the relationship between nutrition and exercise performance. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body and how appropriate nutritional practices can be effective for exercise performance and overall health and wellbeing.

Applied Performance Analysis

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will provide students with an in-depth knowledge and the practical skills required to evaluate the impact of performance analysis theories, principles and concepts on sporting performance and how these can be applied to a coaching, teaching and service provider environment.

Athlete and Performance Monitoring

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will explore the link between research- and science-based concepts of athlete monitoring with practical strategies to use with athletes and clients.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

N/A. Please see Additional Entry Requirements below

Students entering this programme will have completed a Foundation Degree within the local Regional Colleges.

Full Time Option is only available for Level 6 - Final Year of degree.


GCSE Profile to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science at grade C/4. Essential/Key Skills in Application of Number is not regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Mathematics.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Pass Foundation Degree in Sport Coaching with an overall mark of 50% in level 5 modules, individual interviews may be used as part of the selection . You may also be required to undertake a bridging module prior to progressing onto final year of the course (reviewed annually).

Applicants should note that, as they will be engaged in 'regulated activity' involving children or vulnerable adults as part of their course, there is a compulsory, legal requirement to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from AccessNI. The cost for this is payable by the applicant and is currently £33. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed by

Exemptions and transferability

There will be no exemptions for the optional modules or research project. Students may apply for prior learning in terms of some of the prerequisites required for some of the optional modules based on their previous experiences at our partner institutions.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Disability Sports NI
  • Fitness First
  • Irish Cricket
  • Irish Football Association
  • Sport NI
  • Sports Institute NI
  • Ulster Rugby

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Development Coach
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Physical education Teacher
  • Personal trainer
  • Professional athlete
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Sports Marketing

Career options

There are numerous opportunities for students to progress their study either within the University of Ulster or at another institution. Students currently on the BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching degree could continue their academic studies – PGCE or Masters studies in a number of fields such as MSc Sports Coaching and Performance, MSc Pscyhology, MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition, MSc Strength and Conditioning – which are all offered within the School of Sport or initiate research by applying for an MPhil or DPhil.

Employment opportunities within the field of coaching is a growth area due to current investments and the professionalisation of this area. Some graduating students have gained employment in local authorities or Governing Bodies of Sport as Sports Development or Coach Development Officers. Completing the PGCE will also open up opportunities for a career in teaching.

Work placement / study abroad

Students will complete the 'Advanced Coaching Practice' moudule. This is a work based learning module and gives students the opportunity to apply theory into practice within a sporting community.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:

England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:

£9,250.00  Discounts available

£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The best performing final year student each year receives the 'Pat Duffy award'.

Professor Pat Duffy was a visiting professor at the School of Sport and had a wide range of roles in the devlopment of coaching in the UK and Ireland. Pat was Chief Executive of sports coach UK from 2005 to 2009, where he led the development of the UK Coaching Framework. He was a popular figure, passionate about coaching which he championed persuasively at every opportunity, drawing on his deep professional knowledge and personal charm to promote the cause.

Additional mandatory costs

Additional costs - AccessNI check

Optional purchase of School of Sport practical Kit.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


Admissions contact regarding admissions and application process:

June Johnston

T: +44 (0)28 6036 6041

Course Director regarding course content: ​Tandy Haughey
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6118

For more information visit

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School of Sport


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.


"BSc Sports Coaching was exactly what I needed at the time in my career. I was looking for the much needed theoretical knowledge to back up the practical work I was carrying out in my daily working life. It developed me as a sports coach and gave me more confidence when dealing with matters such as sports science or sports development. I enjoyed the flexibility of being able to choose modules to suit my career. I gained much needed tutor support and I still have a working relationship with lecturers who are my first port of call when needing advice in the sporting world. I would strongly advise anyone looking for a career in the sporting industry to have a think about this course. Top class!"

Andrew Waterworth, Linfield Striker, IFA employee and Lead Coach at the Carvill-Waterworth Football Academy.

"This is an excellent course for all coaches irrespective of level. With a good focus on 'how to' skills the student will soon be confident in all coaching environments. I completed the course while working full time and managed to fit in very well. Well worth doing for the forward thinking coach."

Dara Furey, Athletics Coach , and Director Furey Insurance services.

"The course was structured in such a manner as to afford me the flexibility of studying whilst remaining in full time employment. The format of combining both practical and academic aspects of sports coaching gave me the opportunity to firstly reflect upon all facets of my coaching and secondly to apply them in my sporting environment. I have also found the course beneficial in that it has assisted me in securing a number of positions within my chosen sporting field".

Ian McGregor, Head Coach North West Warriors, Assistant Coach Ireland Under 19