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Undergraduate Course

Physical Education & Sports Coaching BA (Hons)

Help push the boundaries of what we understand about sport, by studying the impact sport has on people’s lives and their bodies.

Physical Education student undertaking fitness test

Coaches and physical education teachers inspire people of all ages to get involved in sport to get the most they can out of it. Ideal if you want to change lives and communities through sport.

97% of Physical Education and Sports Coaching students felt that their course was well organised. (National Student Survey 2020)

95% of Physical Education and Sports Coaching students felt that they were challenged to achieve their best work. (National Student Survey 2020)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – C6C2 | With Foundation Year C7C2
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Science, Technology and Health

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS points

    3 GCSEs Graded C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

We believe that all children deserve a high-quality physical education and that all sportspeople can benefit from well-trained, responsible coaches. Our philosophy focuses less on pushing elite athletes to be the best and more on promoting healthy, enjoyable participation in sport for everyone. Alongside modules about the science of human movement, you will also study sport from social, ethical and historical perspectives. We are interested in the impact sport has on people’s lives as well as on their bodies.

The course balances academic theory with more practical learning. As your theoretical knowledge grows your coaching practice will develop along with it. There are plenty of opportunities to gain real-world industry experience through our extensive connections with local schools and sports teams. Our partners in the area include York City Football Club and York City Knights rugby league team. Sports teams across the city make use of our impressive Nestlé Rowntree Park Sports Campus and so will you. The site is one of the biggest of its kind in the country and is a hub for sport at the University. YSJ Active, the University’s sport and wellbeing service, also offers opportunities for our students to get involved in placements and community volunteering projects.


The academic staff who teach on this course are both experienced industry professionals and outstanding researchers. Our research reflects our focus on social justice and putting the performer before the performance. Some of our recent, highly-regarded research covers bullying in sport, perfectionism in young athletes and the struggle for equality in sport. By joining us you will be part of our vibrant research environment and help push the boundaries of what we know and understand about sport.

This course is also available with a Foundation Year.

View Foundation Year Courses 


Course Structure

Level 1


Fundamentals of Practice in Sport, Exercise, and Physical Education
Effective practice in sport, exercise, and physical education is complex and demanding, requiring high levels of knowledge and skill. The aim of this module is to introduce you to a number of concepts across the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of learning in sport, exercise, and physical education. In developing an understanding of these areas, you will be encouraged to start your journey towards becoming  a reflective, value led practitioner.

Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Physiology
The aim of this module is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge required to understand the importance of human physiological systems for health, exercise and sport. Students will be provided with the necessary skills to correctly perform a range of physiological measures that can be used to evaluate an individual’s health status and acute physiological responses to exercise.

Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Psychology
The aim of the module is to introduce students to basic methodological approaches, theories, and concepts that are used to study the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours of participants in sport and exercise. The module provides foundational knowledge required to begin to understand and explain the psychology of sport and exercise.

Introduction to Research Methods in Sport
Research is a key form of learning and this module focusses upon the development of fundamental research skills enabling students to become informed consumers who have the capacity to recognise and evaluate research evidence and make sense of the literature that contributes to the body of knowledge in sport.

Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Biomechanics
This module provides an introduction to the fundamental aspects of mechanics that underpin all elements of human movement for performance and health. The module adopts a multidisciplinary approach, which will provide a vital foundation for the theoretical and applied work covered across the remainder of the programme.

Fundamental Sociological Issues in Sport, Culture and Society
As future practitioners in a range of sports-related fields, it is important for all students to understand the increasingly complex and diverse nature of modern society. This module introduces students to a range of social issues in sport from a sociological perspective. Through the adoption of a sociological perspective, students will be encouraged to develop a more critical and detached understanding of long-term power-struggles surrounding issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in sport.

All modules are 20 credits


Level 2


Research Design and Analysis
The specific aims of the module are to: (1) introduce students to a range of quantitative and qualitative research designs commonly employed in sport research, (2) enable the critique of research through identifying the strengths and weaknesses of different designs, and (3) equip students with more advanced analytical skills to interpret and report both quantitative and qualitative data.

Theory and Research in Sport and Exercise Psychology
The aim of the module is to develop student understanding of complex theories and concepts in sport and exercise psychology, how these theories and concepts are empirically tested in sport and exercise contexts, and how the findings of research allows the utility of different theories and concepts to be evaluated.

Key Pedagogical Behaviours of Sport Educators
This module introduces key pedagogical concepts that allow students to have a critical understanding of the need to plan, teach and evaluate sessions which facilitate the learning and development needs of children in the context of the National Curriculum in Physical Education Key Stages 1 and 2, along with the LTAD active start, fundamentals and learning to train stages.

Applied Research Methods and Design
Students will work with an academic supervisor to identify a research question and plan a piece of empirical research to answer the question. Students will have the opportunity to share their proposed research at a student research conference and receive formative feedback from staff and invited guests.

Social Justice in Sport: Ethical Perspectives
The aim of this module is to produce graduates that have a passion for critical inquiry, as well as a confidence for challenging social injustices, students will examine a broad range of ethical dilemmas, theories and interventions in the field of sport. To this end, the module’s central aim is to develop students understanding of ethical thinking and practice in light of social justice issues in sport.

Pedagogical Processes in Physical Education and Sports Coaching
The module will broaden students understanding of inclusion in PE and Sports Coaching enabling students to adapt the learning environment to meet learner needs effectively. By applying effective pedagogical processes to both coaching and teaching, students will be able to develop an understanding of the multidisciplinary knowledge that is needed to underpin effective practice. With this in mind, the aim of this module is to apply principles of teaching and coaching in context of the National Curriculum for Physical Education key stage 3. 

Level 3


Research Paper (40 credits)

Students develop a research topic of their choice, reflective of their personal passion interest and programme of study. Once the area of inquiry is chosen students exhibit a detailed comprehension of the topic of interest, applying a range of research skills and demonstrating informed critical thinking through synthesis of the wider literature, analysis of data and evaluation of empirical findings.

Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to develop student understanding of applied practice in sport and exercise psychology. This includes the roles and responsibilities of practitioners in sport and exercise psychology, psychological skills training used by sport and exercise practitioners, and the empirical basis for these techniques. The module will also provide students with practical experience of psychological skills training that could be used to improve performance, increase participation, and support wellbeing in applied contexts.

Teaching and Coaching for Lifelong Participation (20 credits)

Students will gain a greater understanding of the pedagogical process, principles and practice of physical education and sports coaching by studying in greater depth their specialist area of interest. This will enable students to critically reflect and evaluate their own professional practice and apply the model of evidence based practice to their particular professional development.

Social Justice in Sport: Sociological Perspectives (20 credits)
This module aims to consolidate and develop students understanding of Social Justice through the theoretical prisms of classical and contemporary social thought. The development of such critical insight is designed to enable students to become analytical thinkers, providing them with the skills to inform and shape decisions relating to sports provision through a prism that emphasises fairness and equality.

Contemporary Issues in Physical Education and Sports Coaching (20 credits)
Effective practice in Physical Education and sports coaching requires a critical understanding of current debates, controversies, and professional practice issues. The combination of an understanding of these issues and evidence-based practice means students are better able to negotiate novel and complex issues they may encounter in professional environments.

Teaching & Assessment

The School of Sport boasts fully-accredited members of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) demonstrating sustained excellence to teaching, learning and assessment, resulting in research-informed contemporary practice. This puts us at the forefront of numerous teaching, learning and assessment initiatives, which have embedded technology enhanced learning into the curriculum. As a result, you will benefit from our use of video feedback in coach development, flipped classrooms, e-polling, engaging students through tablet technology, blended delivery approaches and audio feedback on written work and examinations. 

To reflect developing knowledge, ability and competence within the field of Physical Education & Sports Coaching the assessment portfolio changes in nature, becoming more diverse and challenging over the course of the programme. Level 1 for example, utilises continuous assessment allowing in semester review and evaluation of performance as well as presenting the opportunity to employ interventions aimed at improving success within the semester.

Levels 2 and 3 present additional opportunities to demonstrate skills of analysis, synthesis and critical review through a variety of assessment approaches that seek to embed research design, engagement and interpretation into the curriculum.

Typically a standard student week will consist of:

  • Three lectures
  • Smaller ancillary classes to support the theory delivered in lectures (for example seminars and workshops)
  • Time-tabled supported open learning (for example journal club and supervised laboratory and practical activities)
  • Sports Scholarship sessions designed to facilitate your success as a University student and enhance your career development
  • Frequent time-tabled personal and academic tutorial sessions

All of this is underpinned by completing your own independent self-directed study, which often involves laboratory of field-based practical work, data collection and presentations.

The teaching and assessment strategies employed across sport are engaging, student-centred and learning orientated. Examples include, 'real world' applied practical work  which develop career-orientated skills and competencies.

To improve the quality of the student learning experiences the programme will use formative assessment, i.e. regular opportunities to recieve feedback on your practical and academic development that does not count toward final degree marks. To facilitate the development of assessment literacy and reduce student confusion and anxiety, assessment modality has been streamlined alongside reducing the range of learning outcomes and assessment criteria employed.

The School of Sport offers a vibrant research culture for students. Students will read research, learn about the latest research techniques, and eventually conduct their own research as part of their programme. Students will also be taught by staff members who conduct research at the forefront of the study of sport and exercise. This means that students are able to learn about the most up-to-date issues in their areas of interest on our programmes.  The Motivation, Performance and Well-Being (MPaW) research group, for example, is among the largest and most productive in the world with regards to examining the consequences of being perfectionistic in sport and exercise. Other work within the school focuses on the physiological and biomechanical aspects of athlete development. This work is conducted in collaboration with professional sports clubs and our other community partners. There is also exciting research taking place examining socio-cultural aspects of sport participation including gambling in football and the experience of bullying in Physical Education (PE). We are proud to say that much of the research in the School of Sport was identified as “internationally excellent” and “world-leading” in the last assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (REF 2014).

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Foundation Year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Foundation courses

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements. Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 202 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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Morgan Coles

Physical Education and Sports Coaching BA (Hons)

My course focuses directly on what I need to learn in order to become a successful P.E teacher and teaches me the skills I will need when I start working. The course will also provide me with work experience within schools, for example through placement, allowing me to build my confidence in that area. I feel very comfortable at York St John as it is quite a small university, it really feels like we are all a family.

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