Sports Coaching and Performance

BSc (Hons)

2023/24 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Sport


Belfast campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2023

With this degree you could become:

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

Graduates from this course are now working for:

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


To lead, inspire and shape the future of sport.

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible.

In addition it undertakes formal periodic review of courses in a process called 'revalidation’ to ensure that they continue to meet standards and are current and relevant.

This course will be revalidated in the near future and it is possible that there will be some changes to the course as described in this prospectus.


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

This programme aims to develop the thinking of those who would like to pursue a career in the sports industry. We will challenge your thinking of the coaching process and how theory applies in practice. The specific areas taught in this programme are; sports coaching, performance analysis, teaching, sports development, sport and exercise science, athlete monitoring and/or management.

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About this course


The programme is delivered through theory and practically applied sessions underpinned by three key strands: Coaching Pedagogy, Subject Matter and Professional Practice.

By the end of the year you will be able to;

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical principles of athlete development.


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

In Semester one you will complete 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 you will also complete a 40 credit Research project on a subject of your choice.

Start dates

  • September 2023

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:

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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

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 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 Masters 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 via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

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) by Advanced HE - 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.

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 2021-2022.

Belfast campus


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast Campus Location

Campus Address

Ulster University,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP

T: 02870 123 456


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, educational policy and education 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

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.

Standard 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.

A level

Only students studying the Ulster University validated Foundation Degree in Sport, Coaching & Fitness(previously known as the Foundation Degree in Sport, Exercise & Fitness) can apply for this course.

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


For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above in Maths. Successful completion of the Ulster University validated Sport,Coaching and Fitness Foundation Degree will cover applicants for the GSCE English and GCSE Science entry requirements to the course.

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

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

Successful completion of the Foundation Degree in Sport, Coaching & Fitness (previously known as the Foundation Degree in Sport, Exercise & Fitness) 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. You may apply for prior learning in terms of some of the prerequisites required for some of the optional modules based on your previous experiences at our partner institutions.

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

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

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

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

Career options

There are numerous opportunities for you to progress either within Ulster or at another institution. Students who have completed their BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Performance degree have completed PGCE or Masters Study in a number of disciplines such as MSc Sports Coaching and Performance, MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology, MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition, MSc Strength and Conditioning all offered within the School of Sport or initiated research by applying for an MPhil or DPhil.

Employment opportunities within the field of coaching is growing 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.

Work placement / study abroad

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


Start dates

  • September 2023

Fees and funding

2023/24 Fees

Fees for entry in 2023/24 have not yet been set. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.

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 development 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.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

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

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


Course Director: ​Tandy Haughey

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6118


Admissions: Laura Irwin

T: +44 (0)28 9536 5650


For more information visit


"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, IFA employee and MSc graduate.

"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

"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

Feedback from student cohort 2020/21

"Interesting and everything was well explained beforehand especially the assignments"

"Speakers throughout give us an insight into their personal experiences and how different areas in coaching helps with their current roles"

"I felt the lectures were well laid out, and presented in a way to keep you engaged. Lecturers were only too happy to help at all times and couldn't of been more encouraging. I feel like I have developed new skills and understanding through the lecture content and researching for assignments. "

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