Physical Education and Youth Sport with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Physical Education and Youth Sport course, with an integrated foundation year. Learn how to inspire children to develop healthy habits and a love of physical activity. Prepare for a range of career options in primary and secondary physical education and sports coaching. Make a difference that can last for a lifetime.

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You’ll be introduced to the national curriculum of primary and secondary physical education with an emphasis on child development, diversity and inclusivity.

As part of the course, you’ll undertake a minimum of 300 hours in work-based or professional practice, gaining experience working with 4-11 year-old children and 11-16 year-olds as the course progresses. These practice elements take place throughout the three years of the course and you will be expected to pass all elements to the final stage practical module (Professional Practice in Physical Education and Sports Coaching 3).

Why us?

  • You’ll be encouraged to join the University Sport Sunderland volunteer scheme to gain employment-related experience and apply your knowledge in real work situations
  • 'World-leading' research in Sport and Exercise Sciences according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • A highly practically-based course that will develop your knowledge and skills to enable you to apply to teach physical education in schools. It will also embrace areas of sports coaching and thus provide you with optimal chances for you to work in your chosen area.
  • Our Sports Science courses are in the top five in the UK for spend per student according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • Our Sports Science courses were ranked 3rd overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Sports Science courses were ranked 3rd in the UK for Assessment and Feedback, 3rd in the UK for Retention and Progression, and 3rd in the UK for Employability in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey

Course structure

Our teaching methods are designed to develop both your knowledge and also skills that enhance employability. Methods include small group work, practical activities, workshops, lectures, tutorials, computer-based learning, presentations and independent learning.

There are also on-going assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include essays, reports, practical work and presentations.

Foundation year 

The Health Sciences and Wellbeing Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Personal and Professional Development (20 credits)

Develop key study and employability skills essential for academic and professional success. Increase your awareness and understanding of the processes involved in learning and professional development.

  • Sport and Physical Activity in Contemporary Settings (20 credits)

Identify contemporary issues in sport and physical activity. Explore how political, economic, social and cultural factors shape practices, values and ideals in sport and physical activity. 

  • Principles of Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 credits)

Study key concepts from theories and models and their application to health-related physical activity, exercise and sport performance. Demonstrate knowledge of psychological theories, models and assessments and explain their relevance.

  • Principles of Physical Education and Sports Coaching 1 (20 credits)

Learn how to design, deliver and reflect on teaching and coaching sessions suitable for children aged between 4-11 years. Take an introductory look at approaches to teaching and learning and the underpinning theory that supports delivery in a practical setting.

  • Principles of Sport and Exercise Leadership (20 credits) 

Focus on issues that impact upon leading, coaching, instructing and exercise related sessions. Investigate the roles of the coach and instructor, qualities and requirements of the effective coach and instructor and the psychological, physiological and sociological factors that influence them.

  • Professional Practice in Physical Education and Sports Coaching 1 (20 credits)

Support and deliver physical education and sports coaching sessions. Reflect on the range of activities undertaken in a professional placement environment.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Research Methods (20 credits)

Study the research process and learn how to construct an investigation from an initial idea, to the point of completing and presenting the study. Learn quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis, and apply the most appropriate research.

  • Fundamentals of Sports Coaching (20 credits)

Gain an understanding of the coaching process by investigating the roles of the coach and the components of effective coaching. Address the differences in practice and closely examine participation and performance coaching.

  • Theory and Practice of Sports Coaching (20 credits)

Undertake practical coaching activities in a placement setting. Design, deliver and reflect on a series of practical sessions. Link theory to practical coaching activities, with a focus on the planning and undertaking of effective sports coaching sessions.

  • Contemporary Issues in Physical Education and School Sport (20 credits)

Analyse challenging issues in present-day physical education and school sport including challenging obesity, inclusivity, anti-discrimination and anti-social behaviour. Consider the futures of physical education and school sport.

  • Principles of Physical Education and Sports Coaching 2 (20 credits)

Learn how to design, deliver and reflect on teaching and coaching sessions suitable for children aged between 11-16 years. Study contemporary approaches to teaching and learning with a specific focus on games-based delivery.

  • Professional Practice in Physical Education and Sports Coaching 2 (20 credits)

Undertake a placement in a secondary school setting. Design and deliver a participant-centered project to meet the needs of a group of children aged between 11-16 years. Deliver an oral presentation reflecting on the project using evidence gathered during the placement.


Final year (national level 6):

  • Applied Research Project (20 credits)

Complete an applied research project that addresses an issue of policy or practice central to the field of teaching or coaching that is linked to your professional practice.

  • Contemporary Issues in Sport Coaching (20 credits)

Explore the differences and similarities in knowledge, skills, and vocational opportunities that underpin the professional development of coaches. Gain knowledge of the specific training requirements of individual and team sports and how to apply this to modern training methods.

  • Developing Excellence in Sports Coaching (20 credits)

Develop your theoretical knowledge into vocational practice. Critically evaluate your professional skills in a coaching setting and reflect on professional practice.

  • Organising and Managing Sport (20 credits)

Learn to apply management theories, concepts and practices to the process of managing sporting organisations, businesses, facilities and events. Design and produce a business plan for a sporting event or facility.

  • Principles of Physical Education and Sports Coaching 3 (20 credits)

Learn how to make informed judgments on the performance of participants – with specific focus on 14-18 year olds – to offer suggestions for improving their learning experience.

  • Professional Practice in Physical Education and Sports Coaching 3 (20 credits)

Undertake a placement in a school or sports club of your choice, working with either primary school or secondary school pupils. Learn how to design, deliver and reflect on the sessions you will be expected to deliver while under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

  • Our Biomechanics lab contains equipment that measures motion, muscle activity and forces on the body during high intensity sports and the activities of daily living.

    Facilities include:

    • 3D motion capture systems including Vicon® systems and Xsens® motion capture suits
    • Software such as Dartfish®, Kinovea® and LongoMatch® software to capture live action images for match tagging and coaching feedback
    • Movement tracking tools such as Actigraph® and Catapult®
    • Delsys® Trigno electromyography equipment to see how the muscles of the body are working
    • Kistler® force platforms and Batak® reaction walls to analyse sporting performance
    • Novel® Pedar systems to analyse foot pressure
    Biomechanics equipment
  • Facilities for monitoring and testing exercise physiology and psychology include:

    • Polar® Team2 heart rate monitoring system for assessing the heart rates of a full squad of team players in real time
    • Cortex® gas analysers to evaluate cardiovascular performance
    • Biochemical analysers from Randox®, Jenway® and Gonotec® to measure substances and enzymes within the body
    • Tendo®, Myotest® and Globus® equipment to profile your strength and power and develop specific training programmes
    • Fusion Sport® SMARTSPEED light gates for assessing speed, agility and reaction times
    • Assess and enhance cognitive performance using our Neurotracker® 3D multiple object tracking equipment
    Exercise physiology and psychology
  • In our lab you'll find fitness and conditioning equipment that would be the envy of most modern gyms. From a wide range of cardiovascular equipment to machine and Olympic weights, you will receive hands-on teaching in a professional environment.

    Fitness and Conditioning Suite
  • Anatomy is taught by experienced staff in a specialist clinical lab using skeletons, anatomical models, 3D software, online material and human subjects. You will learn techniques for sports injury rehabilitation, including the use of sports massage and ultrasound equipment.

    You will also examine balance and stability using our Biodex® stability and balance trainer and assess strength imbalances using our sophisticated Biodex® dynamometer and new BTE Primus® rehabilitation equipment. You can investigate how new techniques such as thermal imaging are being used in injury assessment with Flir® IR cameras.

    Sports medicine and anatomy
  • Map and directions


Sunderland's outstanding facilities include laboratories with the latest fitness equipment and technology.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2019, the foundation year will be £4,500.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


This course responds to the drive for primary physical education specialists and offers preparation for secondary PE teaching to those who wish to undertake a postgraduate teacher training route after graduation.

PD: Approval qualifications

Sport and Exercise Sciences now has accreditation from PD: Approval, the national endorsement body for Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), to award vocational qualifications (related to the health and fitness industry) to students who successfully complete specific modules.

Career options

Potential employers for graduates of this course include national sports associations, sports and leisure companies, recreation services, local authorities, health bodies including the NHS, schools and colleges.

During the course you will be encouraged and supported to obtain National Governing Body Coaching Awards to support future development in the area. This will allow you to develop the skills required to become an effective coach across a range of activities.
Job roles include the following (some require further training):

  • PE teacher
  • Sports coach/instructor

Meet the team

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