Sport and Exercise Sciences - BSc (Hons)

2025/26 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Science with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School:

School of Sport

Campus:

Belfast campus

UCAS code:

C600
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2025

With this degree you could become:

  • PE Teacher
  • Performance Analyst & GPS
  • Sports Coach
  • Sports Scientist Professional
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Sport Psychologist

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Institutes of Sport
  • NGBs of Sport
  • Performa Sports
  • STATSports
  • Various Leisure Centres
  • IRISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
  • PwC

Overview

To lead, inspire and shape the future of sport.

Summary

Sport and Exercise Science is becoming one of the most popular subjects for undergraduates and provides excellent career opportunities. Advances in the sports industry and the growth of competition have made a scientific approach to sport fundamental to monitoring and improving performance.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course

About

This programme allows you to use a scientific approach to analyse performance in sport and exercise and to develop academic and professional skills which you can use to find employment in this expanding field. Science subjects studied include physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition.

  • The course is endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES): for the period 2019-2024
  • 100% of the course team are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • 1 member of staff has a University's Distinguished Teaching Award Fellowship
  • 15 members of the course team were included in the submission for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Overall, our research attained a rating 100% in both Impact & Environment in categories including world leading and internationally excellent research, reflecting our emphasis on research selectivity and quality.
  • Several members of staff have received funding for teaching & learning related initiatives. Examples include HEIF awards, FDTL Awards, Fusion project, CIES, Invest NI and Play board developments.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Attendance

Students should be available to attend lectures, seminars and practical classes as timetabled, during weekdays. The programme duration is three years or four years including optional placement year.

Start dates

  • September 2025

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and learning occur in larger and small groups in which the emphasis is placed on a welcoming environment that promotes student responsibility, empowerment and confidence. The emphasis on a welcoming environment can be seen in the interaction that occurs between students, and between staff and students, in large group/lecture environments such as interactive discussions promoting dialogue, the use of various media and online technologies and the use of real-life problem-based tasks/scenarios to promote interdependent learning. We also promote the experience of interdependent learning in small group environments through peer teaching and coaching, oral and poster presentations. The assessment methods employed within the course are directly underpinned by the course team's awareness of the kinds of knowledge and skills which graduates need in the vocational and professional practice of sport.

Attendance and Independent Study

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 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.

    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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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

    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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance 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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

Belfast campus

Accommodation

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

Find out more - information about accommodation (Opens in a new window)  


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 (Opens in a new window)  

Modules

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.

Year one

Foundations for Future Success

Year: 1

This module will assist first-year students to prepare for success in their university studies and success in the planning of their future careers.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology

Year: 1

Through a series of lectures and tutor-led seminar sessions, students will understand the theoretical and practical importance of sport and exercise psychology to enhancing performance.

Principles of Anatomy and Physiology

Year: 1

The module provides students with a foundation of anatomy and physiology that is relevant to higher level study within physiology and other related interdisciplinary subjects within sport and exercise science. In addition, the module seeks to establish basic measurement, evaluation and writing skills that are pertinent to discipline.

Basic Biomechanics

Year: 1

This module provides key introductory knowledge and practical experiences in the basic biomechanical analysis of sport and exercise motion and equips the student to apply theoretical knowledge to the basic understanding of performance.

Sport in Practice

Year: 1

Through a series of lectures, workshops and practical sessions, students will develop both the skills and understanding required to engage, observe and reflect on practical performance and plan to improve performance.

Principles of Coaching, Instructing and Teaching

Year: 1

Through a series of tutor-led practical sessions and focusing on a single sport, students will understand the concepts and practices involved coaching, instructing and teaching. The optional acquisition of a recognised and vocationally relevant award will be afford to students where feasible.

Year two

Sport & Exercise Psychology

Year: 2

This module provides students with a grounding in the theoretical constructs underlying contemporary issues in the domain of sport and exercise psychology. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate competing theoretical accounts of psychological phenomenon. They also gain an understanding of the measurement of different concepts and constructs.

Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise

Year: 2

Through a series of lectures and laboratory sessions, students will understand the theoretical and practical considerations associated with analysing a human movement and/or a sporting skill. Completion of this module will provide the students with the necessary knowledge and tools to analyse and evaluate a movement skill.

Physiology of Sport and Exercise

Year: 2

This module considers the acute and chronic adaptations of exercise on the physiological systems. The effects of the environment and nutrition on sport and exercise performance will also be discussed. Practical experience of the use of contemporary sport and exercise physiological techniques is also provided. The knowledge and skills obtained from this module will be pertinent for related sport, exercise, and health modules available in final year.

Exercise Testing and Training Prescription

Year: 2

This module will student's knowledge of the practical skills/competencies required of sport and exercise scientists/practitioner in exercise testing and trainig prescription.

Research Skills in Practice

Year: 2

Formative and summative feedback will be provided to the student via written and oral communication within four weeks of submission.

Physical Education: Theory and Practice

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module introduces the student to the factors and policies which impact the design and delivery of physical education in schools at home and aborad and theories that underpin effective learning and teaching in key stages 1 and 2 and 3. Students are given the opportunity to discuss and apply theory to practice in practical teaching scenarios in seminars, workshops and micro teaches/practicals.

Performance Analysis in Sport

Year: 2

This module is optional

Students will gain an understanding of the importance of the performance analysis process within sport and how to utilise technology and integrate performance analysis software to assist them in completing these tasks.

Year three

Diploma in Professional Practice (International) (DPP/DPPI)

Year: 3

This module is optional

Structured work experience helps students to appreciate the discipline and demands of the workplace and consolidate knowledge and skills acquired during the first two years of the course. The work placement also provides the opportunity for the development of personal attributes to enhance a student's employability.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS)

Year: 3

This module is optional

In this module, students may undertake a study programme in a university abroad to develop their academic, professional, cultural awareness, global mobility, personal capabilities and future employability.

Year four

Research project: sport and exercise sciences

Year: 4

The module provides knowledge, practical opportunities and desirable research skills through an independent piece of research in the sport and exercise sciences.

Applications in Sports Biomechanics

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will use a mix of formal lectures and practical workshops to introduce advanced biomechanical principles and methods commonly utilised in sports biomechanics. This module draws upon the student's previous knowledge and skills to ensure an holistic approach to collecting accurate data with the view to thoroughly assess human movement patterns.

Advanced Physical Education and School Sport

Year: 4

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: 4

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: 4

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.

Integrative Biology of Exercise

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will provide an overview to an exciting area of exercise science and will provide the student with an opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body during conditions of exercise stress in health and disease.

Applied Sport Performance Analysis

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will provide students with an in-depth knowledge and the practical skills required to use data science and technological tools to evaluate the performance of individuals/teams in an objective way.

Monitoring Exercise, Training and Performance

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will explore the link between research- and science-based concepts of monitoring exercise, training and performance. Students will critically review performance monitoring (systems, procedures and technologies) and collect, analyse, interpret and present relevant information to decision makers in sport.

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

AAB including

A-Level Essential:

One Grade A from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, PE, Physics, Sports Studies, Sport Science & Leisure Industry, Life & Health Sciences, Applied Science, Double Award Life & Health Sciences (Grades AB) or Double Award Applied Science (Grades AB).

Applied General Qualifications

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 suite)

Award profile of DDD

Essential Subjects (You will need one of the following):

  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science (RQF) (601/7437/7)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport (RQF) (603/0459/5)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science (RQF) (601/7422/5)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sports Coaching and Development (RQF) (603/4933/5)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Sport (600/6144/3)

We will also accept smaller BTEC qualifications (i.e. Diploma or Extended Certificate / Introductory Diploma / Subsidiary Diploma) in combination with A Levels or other acceptable level 3 qualifications.

Essential Subjects (You will need one of the following):

  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport (RQF) (603/0460/1)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science (RQF) (601/7421/3)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Sport (RQF) (601/7218/6)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Sport and Exercise (RQF) (603/0444/3)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Sport (600/6141/8)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Sport (600/6143/1)

To find out if the qualification you are applying with is a qualification we accept for entry, please check our Qualification Checker - https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/equivalence

We will also continue to accept QCF versions of these qualifications although grades asked for may differ. Check what grades you will be asked for by comparing the requirements above with the information under QCF in the Applied General and Tech Level Qualifications section of our Entry Requirements - https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/undergraduate-entry-requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate

136 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of five subjects (four of which must be at higher level) to include English at H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level.

Course Specific Subject requirements:

This course also requires you to achieve H2 in two of the following subjects: Physical Education, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or Physics & Chemistry

If Mathematics is not passed at H2 you will be required to achieve a minimum of H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level in addition to two of the subjects above.

Irish Leaving Certificate UCAS Equivalency

Scottish Highers

Grades ABBBC to include a grade A from one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, PE, Physics, Sport Studies, Double Award Applied Science or Sport Science and Leisure Industry.

Scottish Advanced Highers

Grades ABC to include a grade A from one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, PE, Physics, Sport Studies, Double Award Applied Science or Sport Science and Leisure Industry.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall average of 73% to include 73% in each level three module. To include two level three modules from the following: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physical Education, Psychology or Sport Studies. To include a 20 credit Level 2 Mathematics module, passed at 40% or successful completion of NICATS Mathematics as part of the pre-2021 Access Diploma. (120 credit NI Access course)

GCSE

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 English Language, Mathematics and one Science subject.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

Please note however 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

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

Pass HND in Sport or Science (as accepted by the University) with overall Distinction to include 90 distinctions in level 5 credits

Pass HNC in Sport or Science (as accepted by the University) with overall Distinction to include distinctions in ALL level 4 credits

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 65% in level 5 modules allows advanced entry to Year 2 to be considered.

All successful candidates are required to complete a Health Check before starting the course.

Exemptions and transferability

Foundation Degree in Sport, Exercise and Fitness (Sports Science pathway); pass at commendation level (65% in level 5 modules) allows advanced entry application to year 2 to be considered. This collaborative provision is only offered at the following colleges: Northern Regional College (NRC), South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and North West Regional College (NWRC).

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Institutes of Sport
  • NGBs of Sport
  • Performa Sports
  • STATSports
  • Various Leisure Centres
  • IRISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
  • PwC

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • PE Teacher
  • Performance Analyst & GPS
  • Sports Coach
  • Sports Scientist Professional
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Sport Psychologist

Career options

Career Destination Statistics indicate a significant number of sports graduates go on to study the PGCE in Physical Education, while a further 5 – 10% pursue other postgraduate qualifications both at Ulster University and at other institutions in the UK and abroad. A growing number of graduates gain employment in the leisure industry, with a significant proportion of each cohort embarking on careers in areas unrelated to sport. The extensive placement programme allows the course team to remain in touch with the needs of employers. Students completing this programme would be equipped to undertake postgraduate study on a growing number of taught MSc's in the sport and exercise sciences. Opportunities for MPhil/DPhil level studies may be available for those who demonstrate the requisite abilities.

Work placement / study abroad

The School of Sport continues to work towards developing its industrial placement programme due to the recognised value of offering students such an experience. Increasing numbers of students on this undergraduate programme have chosen to spend a placement year between their second and final year, leading to the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or a Diploma in Academic Studies (DIAS). Currently around 75% of students undertake such placements. However, we have chosen to keep placement optional as we take cognisance of the fact that many of our students gain employability skills and work experience in their paid or voluntary part- time work, or in the case of our mature students, prior to entering their course.

Professional recognition

British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES)

Recognised by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) for the purposes of endorsement by the BASES Undergraduate Endorsement Scheme (BUES).

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2025

Fees and funding

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Dame Mary Peters prize for the highest aggregate mark in final year.

Additional mandatory costs

Additional Costs - Sports Kit, Access NI, Performance analysis Software.

As part of entry to your course, you will be required to purchase 2 items from a selection of branded Ulster School of Sport sports wear and have access to a suitable laptop/desktop PC.

For those who choose performance analysis, the software typically costs around £60-80 per annum.

Applicants should also note that they might be required to submit an Enhanced Access NI check during the course, should they be involved in “regulated activity” whilst on placement. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed at http://www.accessni.gov.uk An enhanced check currently costs £33.00.

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.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.