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Undergraduate Course

Physical Education and Sports Coaching BSc (Hons)/MSci

If you want to inspire people of all ages to get involved in sport and get the most out of it, then this is the course for you.

Lecturer talking to students. He is holding a laptop

This course will provide the knowledge and experience required for those who aspire to provide high quality and effective PE and sport experiences for a range of young people. The focus is on supporting all students towards the planning and delivery of effective, engaging and fully inclusive lessons/and sessions that promote enjoyment and lifelong participation in sport for all.

93% of Sport students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2022)

11th in the UK for Sport Science (Guardian University Guide 2023)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – C6C2 | MSci C6C9
  • Duration – 3 years full time | 6 years part time | MSci 4 years full time | 8 years part time
  • Start date – September 2023, September 2024
  • School – School of Science, Technology and Health

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Discover Sport at York St John University

Course overview

All children deserve a high quality physical education, and all sportspeople benefit from well trained, responsible coaches. This course balances academic theory with more practical learning. As your theoretical knowledge grows your coaching practice will develop along with it. Alongside modules about the science of human movement, you will also study sport from social, ethical and historical perspectives. You will explore the impact sport has on people’s lives as well as on their bodies. This will allow you to go into your career with a more rounded view of how sport can benefit individuals and society.

There are plenty of opportunities to gain 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. Our community partners also contribute to your academic study, with a guest lecture or case study from an industry professional on every module. YSJActive, the University’s sport and wellbeing service, also offers opportunities to get involved in placements and community volunteering projects.

The academic staff who teach on this course are both experienced industry professionals and active researchers. This means that your learning is relevant and informed by the latest thinking. 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. You will investigate contentious issues concerning:

  • The impact of perfectionism
  •  Bullying and gambling in sport
  • How money impacts the personal lives of professional sportspeople

This course can be studied as a 3 year BSc (Hons) or as a 4 year MSci. If you choose the 4 year option you will graduate with a Masters level qualification. You can make this choice at any point during your degree.

Choosing this option means that you will:

  • Stay for an extra year, gaining even more skills, knowledge and experience
  • Be guaranteed a professional placement as part of your course
  • Have more opportunities to build professional connections and increase your employability
  • Leave with a postgraduate MSci instead of an undergraduate qualification, without needing to reapply for a new course.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you study each semester will depend on whether you are a full time or part time student. 

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Gain an understanding of the importance of human anatomical and physiological systems for sport and exercise. Learn about the structure of core systems, including:

  • Nervous
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory

You will explore how these function at rest and in response to exercise. Develop the necessary skills to correctly perform a range of physiological measures that can be used to evaluate an individual's health status and physiological responses to exercise.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to basic methodological approaches, theories, and concepts that are used to study the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours of participants in sport and exercise. You will learn how to understand and explain the psychology of sport and exercise.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

You will be introduced to the key teaching approaches required to deliver safe and effective PE lessons and sports sessions. Gain the knowledge and skills to prepare, deliver, and reflect upon taught sessions across a range of practical areas. Practical learning sessions will give you the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

You will learn the fundamental mechanics that underpin all aspects of human movement for performance and health. You will take a multidisciplinary approach, which will provide a vital foundation for the many perspectives covered throughout this course. We will introduce you to essential concepts of research, scientific enquiry and academia.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will provide you with a firm grounding in research skills. You will learn basic analytical techniques and the fundamental concepts and principles that are key to research methods in the field of sport.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

If you are pursuing a career as a practitioner in a sports-related field, it is important for you to understand the increasingly complex and diverse nature of modern society. You will be introduced to a range of social issues in sport from a sociological perspective, including:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability

Develop a more critical and detached understanding of long-term power-struggles surrounding issues in sport through the adoption of a sociological perspective.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Explore the key issues within the areas of PE and Sports Coaching that impact on both practitioners and participants. Gain a knowledge and understanding of social, political, practical and policy-based issues, as well an awareness of how these have emerged and can be addressed in day-to-day practice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Sport and exercise psychology includes a range of complex theories and a vast amount of accompanying research. Explore how these theories and concepts are empirically tested in sport and exercise contexts. You will learn how the findings of research allows the applicability of different theories and concepts to be evaluated. This module will improve your research skills in the area of sport and exercise psychology and provide a basis for a discerning approach to using research in academic and practice settings.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Effective practice in PE and sports coaching requires a critical understanding of how to work with children and young people. Explore key concepts aimed at improving instruction, practice and feedback, by developing an understanding of how to successfully combine traditional approaches with contemporary teaching. By the end of this module, you will be able to contribute effectively to the holistic development of children and young people in PE and sports coaching.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

You will build on your knowledge from previous modules by considering the ways in which key teachings can be used with a range of participant groups and across differing practical scenarios. The module culminates with a ‘real world’ teaching experience with local school children. You will be able to plan and deliver lessons that consider the needs of all pupils and then reflect upon the effectiveness of their lessons as well as that of their peers.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Gain an in-depth insight into debates surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. Considering the current social and cultural climate of modern sports, you will need to be empathetic and culturally aware in your future career. You will explore key issues through the principles of social justice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Advance your skills in both research methods and research design. This will enable you to move beyond being an informed consumer, to becoming an informed critical thinker. You will learn how to produce quality research using a range of quantitative and qualitative research designs commonly employed in sport research.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory Research Paper (Dissertation) module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are studying part time, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Learn about the significant contemporary issues within the areas of PE and Sports Coaching that impact both practitioners and participants. Develop an understanding of relevant policy, socio-economic influences and current research across a range of issues linked to performance, engagement and life-long participation. You will build upon this knowledge when you have the opportunity to take part in placement opportunities and work with external groups.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Apply your knowledge to real workplace scenarios and gain valuable experience that you will be able to draw upon in your future career. Work on areas where you can develop and with a wide range of stakeholders. You will create, address and reflect upon three action points throughout the duration of your placement experience.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Build upon your skills and knowledge from previous modules. Apply these across an extended teaching and coaching experience with an external group with different requirements from those in earlier modules. This is an opportunity to further develop your skills to help you make the step into teacher training or paid employment.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

As a future practitioner in physical education and sports coaching, it is important that you understand the duty of care expected and needed within sporting environments. Examine a range of topics from a sociological theoretical perspective, including:

  • Gender inequality
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Racial inequalities
  • Racism and prejudice
  • Language, bullying and abuse
  • The coach-athlete and teacher-pupil relationship
  • Medical ethics
  • Athlete welfare

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Engage in all aspects of the research process to answer a specific question in a topic related to your interests. Under the guidance of an academic supervisor, you will revise, refine, extend or reconstitute a research proposal submitted for the Research Design and Analysis in Sport and Exercise module. Manage a proposed research project through the ethical approval process, carry out the proposed research and present it in the form of a research paper.

Year 4

This only applies are taking the extended MSci option.

In your fourth year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 4 compulsory modules across semesters 1 and 2


Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Independently plan, conduct, analyse, and disseminate your own research. Engage with advanced research methodologies to propose a viable, ethically sound, project that answers a unique research question at the forefront of sport, exercise, or physical education. Once the project is complete, you will gain experience of sharing your findings via the typical methods used in research.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Put your knowledge, skills, techniques and our value-led approach into practice in a work environment aligned to your goals. Phase 1 of this module will prepare you for the placement. Phase 2 is the placement, where you will be working in a sport, exercise, or physical education context. Phase 3 will be a debrief to reflect on the placement. You will deal with complex issues in creative ways and be encouraged to develop skills that will increase you employability after graduation.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

To be effective in an applied sport, exercise, and physical education context practitioners need to understand other disciplines, work alongside other experts, and work in an interdisciplinary manner themselves. Develop the skills required to work with other practitioners to solve complex and interdisciplinary real-world problems. You will think about old problems in new ways and extend your knowledge outside of your areas of expertise.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Develop your critical thinking skills by focusing on unresolved issues and controversies in sport, exercise and physical education. Consider the broader sociocultural issues that shape what is studied in sport, exercise, and physical education and how it is studied. There will also be a focus on the critical appraisal of research methodologies and statistical techniques.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

A typical week will consist of:

  • 3 lectures
  • Smaller classes to further investigate the theory you learn in lectures (for example seminars, practical sessions and workshops)
  • Supported open learning (for example journal club and supervised laboratory and practical activities)
  • Sports scholarship sessions which focus on your academic skills and career development

You will also have regular individual tutorial sessions with your academic tutors to support your learning.

Alongside these timetabled sessions you will carry out your own independent study. This often involves laboratory or field-based practical work, data collection and presentations.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


The assessments we use are designed to develop skills which will be applicable to a career in sport. This includes a lot of applied practical work, giving you the hands on experience which will be essential to your future career.

You will receive feedback on your work throughout each module. This will help you to improve your work for your graded assessments. You will also benefit from self evaluation and peer assessment with your classmates.

The types of assessment we use become more varied as you progress through the course. These include practical sessions, presentations, reports and written essays.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Physical Education and Sports Coaching

This course is ideal if your ambition is to become a Physical Education teacher at either primary or secondary level. The skills you gain in coaching, communication, fieldwork, planning and research will also be beneficial in a range of other sport and health based careers.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • Outdoor education
  • Sport management
  • Personal training
  • Youth work

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

PGCE at York St John University

Further your education and work towards a rewarding career in teaching by studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after you graduate. For over 180 years, we have worked with enthusiastic individuals who want to shape the future of young people across both primary and secondary school settings. You'll spend a lot of time in schools, developing your practice by teaching. You will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status and become part of the well respected alumni of York St John educators.

Discover more about PGCE

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

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 English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year or you can proceed onto one of our integrated masters courses.

Sport foundation year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

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 internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 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, 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 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

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

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work to our tutors and discuss your work and the ideas behind it.  You should prepare your portfolio with a range of work that may include finished projects, sketch books, digital work, paintings, photographs, drawings, 3D work, storyboards, short films or animations.

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

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

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. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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