A passion for the human body, exercise and sports are three necessities if you want to study for a sports science degree. It gives an insight into the importance of promoting health mentally, physically and socially. Studying sport science develops your sports and scientific knowledge, helping you with various career paths. It opens you up to opportunities to work in the increasingly expanding sports industry.
What is Sports Science?
Sports science is the study of how the mind and body function during exercise and how physical activity promotes all forms of health. Studying sports science includes a combination of practical sessions, small group seminars and lectures.
It doesn’t focus solely on physical education as such, but more on the knowledge and insight of sport and the science behind it. This degree covers many academic subjects including a chemistry degree, anatomy degree, physiology degree, psychology degree and engineering degree. It’s a specialised degree which can help with many career routes.
It’s a relatively new academic discipline, becoming increasingly popular as a degree to study. With new advances in technology and medicine, insight and knowledge are constantly growing as part of the curriculum.
What are the modules for this course?
The sports science degree has three focuses: psychology, biomechanics and physiology. The modules of your sports science degree depend on your university and course.
A sports science degree covers both the science and sports elements.
Generally in the first year of your degree, you will study an overview of sports and exercise science, and be introduced to psychology, biomechanics and physiology. Throughout your degree, your focus will be on these three core areas.
Other topics include:
- Coaching and teaching
- Data analysis
- Diet, nutrition and metabolism
- Introduction to anatomy
- Motor control
- Physical activity and health
- Research methods
- Sports management
- The sociology of sports
In your second or third year, you can choose some optional modules, alongside the compulsory ones. These choices will be dependent on what you would like to cover more specifically.
It’s crucial to choose what’s best for you as it can benefit you in your future career. If you aren’t sure which career is for you, you can pick broader subjects.
What are the entry requirements?
Every university is different with its entry requirements, however, generally between 96-160 UCAS points are expected. Some course requirements may be higher and lower, and not all universities are based on UCAS points. Qualifications can include:
- A-levels: Biology, physics or chemistry or maths are usually required. Other beneficial subjects include physical education, psychology or sports. Check with your university to see which subjects are best suited. Accepted grades range between A*AA-CCE.
- BTECs: BTECs may be accepted as an alternative to A-levels, however, you will need to check with your university. On average, the accepted grades range from D*DD-MMP in a relevant science or physical education subject.
- Scottish Highers: In Scotland, the A-level equivalent is Highers. You will want to choose similar subjects to the A-level requirements, and the average accepted grade is AAAA-BCCDD. Sometimes, an Advanced Highers is required as an addition to Highers at the grades, AAA-AAB.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): For students studying the international baccalaureate, the required score ranges between 38–24.
Aside from the relevant qualifications, work and volunteer experience can be a significant benefit to your application. For example, you can work shadowing in related occupations such as coaching or physiotherapy. You can also volunteer with local sports clubs to demonstrate your passion for sports and physical activity.
How do I write my personal statement for this subject?
A sports science degree covers both the science and sports elements. This means, when writing your sports science personal statement, you need to include interests and skills relevant to both of these.
The first thing to talk about is your interest in sports science. Explain why you want to study it, and how it links in with your current studies and future career aspirations. You can go into detail about the topics you are most interested to learn about.
You also want to talk about your relevant achievements and ambitions which link to the degree. You could talk about a sport or science-related achievements, such as a football match you won or success in a science competition at school.
Your personal statement for sports science should include your relevant experience, skills and qualities. The most important skills to mention include communication, presentation, time management and organisation.
You also have the option to move into a non-scientific sports route.
Your personal characteristics, such as your drive and determination, will be a strong addition to your statement.
What books or equipment do I need?
Your university will provide you with a suggested reading list to get you started with your degree. However, to gain further insight, there are multiple books to consider. For example, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson, and Malcolm Gladwell. This book shares the science and psychology of endurance, revealing how to reach the hidden extra potential in all of us. Other books include Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That is Revolutionizing Sports by Dr Marc Bubbs and Good to Go What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery by Christie Aschwanden.
For further reading, many relevant professional bodies offer useful resources. For example, The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), The UK’s Sports Councils and The English Institute of Sport (EIS).
Similar to books, the university will advise you on any equipment you need to invest in beforehand and will provide any useful equipment on-site, to use at your discretion. Other valuable equipment includes a laptop and stationery to keep organised.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments differ by module and course. Your degree is a combination of theory and practical elements and your assessments reflect this.
- Case studies
- Individual or group practical assessments
- Peer and tutor observations
- Research projects
What are the career prospects?
Sports science graduates are open to the world of opportunities as they can move into many fields including personal training, academic research, sports psychology and many more scientific areas.
You also have the option to move into a non-scientific sports route. These areas include sports journalism, teaching, youth work, or marketing and advertising. For some of these routes such as a teacher, you will need to do additional postgraduate training.
Sports science is the study of how the mind and body function during exercise and how physical activity promotes all forms of health.
Other degree disciplines include working in business, finance, retail, the public sector and charity, all relevant to the skills you will learn in this degree.
What jobs can I get with this degree?
With the vast amount of opportunities on offer as a graduate, there are many potential sport science jobs to consider:
- Activities manager
- Fitness instructor
- Fitness/gym centre manager
- Performance analyst
- Sports administrator
- Sports coach
- Sports developmental officer
- Sports official
- Sports scientist
- Teacher or lecturer
How does Sports Science change at a postgraduate level?
A postgraduate qualification enhances your specialised knowledge and refines your research skills. The range of postgraduate qualifications differs depending on what you would like to specialise in. For example, to be a teacher you would study for a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). Other postgraduate courses in sports science include, Sport Management MSc, Sports Nutrition PGCert and Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences PhD.
Postgraduate degrees for sports science take one to two years, compared to three to four years for undergraduate sports science degrees.
What is the average grad salary in this area?
The salary of a sports science graduate varies depending on skill level, experience and location. As this degree can open you up to many job prospects, your salary fluctuates, depending on your career choice. The starting salary for a sports scientist is around £18,000. With experience, a sports scientist's salary is £32,000 and the most experienced can earn £60,000+.
- Sports Scientist Salaries — Glassdoor.co.uk Retrieved 24 October 2022.