Subjects like sports science, sports studies and sports physiotherapy fall into the category of sports and leisure, but in general it’s all about the way different sports and physical activities work – how they affect the body and the mind; the physical attributes that enable certain athletes to jump higher or swim faster; the nutritional requirements of a body builder, or a long distance runner. You’ll learn about the human anatomy, the psychology of sports, and the ways in which damaged muscles can be treated and repaired (and a whole lot more on top of that).
What A-levels do you need?
Most places won’t ask for specific subjects, although it goes without saying that anything sports or science related is likely to go down well. The grades you’ll need for a sports science degree will vary quite a bit between unis –
Swansea University’s sports science BSc requires straight Bs, for example, while the University of Kent ask for ABB (including a sports- or science-based subject) for their sport and exercise science BSc.
What are your study options?
Your course will most likely be the usual length (3 years), unless you’re studying on a sandwich course (which will mean you work for a year in industry between your second and final years at uni). Students who go on placements tend to find work with general practitioners, sports organisations or schools (to name but a few).
Sports-related degrees will often give you the chance to narrow your focus as your degree progresses, often culminating in a research project (which could be anything from a case study on a particular athlete to a piece of research into a particular method of injury treatment or prevention).
In terms of assessment, you’ll usually find you have a nice mix of coursework and exams.
Why study Sports & Leisure
As we mentioned earlier, the UK has been in a sports frenzy over the last couple of years, so there’s never been a better time to study a sports-related course. You’ll cover a variety of areas and topics – there’ll be plenty of science and psychology mixed up with some practical learning and real-life case studies – and you’ll come out on the other side with a whole range of useful skills and knowledge.
Whether you’re a big fan of sports or you’re simply interested in finding out more about how the human body works, a degree in sports science or sports studies could be a good choice for you.
After your degree
Graduates in this area go into a range of different jobs, including the likes of teaching, coaching, and sports therapy (although plenty also find work in non-sports related sectors such as sales and marketing).
If you want to gain a further specialism or stay on in research (you may find you have a particular interest in an aspect of nutrition, for instance), you could also go on to do a postgraduate course. The likes of a PGCE will give you qualified teaching status, while a master’s or PGDip qualification in a vocational subject will help you become more employable.
Q & A with a Sports Science student
Laurel Fairhurst is a third year BSc Sports and Exercise Science student at Leeds Metropolitan University...
What are you enjoying most about your course?
I really enjoy the even blend of theoretical and practical sessions – it gives you room to excel in both areas and prepares you for how a job in a sports science related field will likely be structured.
What key modules did you study in your first year?
Applied Physiology of Exercise, Biomechanics, Nutrition and Applied Psychology.
What are you hoping to do after you’ve graduated?
Ideally, I’d love to be a personal trainer or gym instructor one day.
How has the course helped you achieve your ambitions so far?
Over the three years I’ve been studying I’ve frequently been offered the chance to take additional career development focused courses in things like personal training and sports coaching, as well as the opportunity to take up various volunteering placements, both in the UK and abroad. Also, my tutors are all really helpful, and are there for us even outside standard teaching hours.