South Shields FC International Academy programme

Take your first step towards combining a UK degree with professional soccer development.

Our international partnership allows players from any gender the chance to find success both on and off the field. You'll follow a carefully crafted timetable to maximise the time available on the pitch and can expect to train in a professional footballing environment with incredible coaching for a season lasting at least nine months.

A speaker delivering a talk to a lecture group


As part of the international partnership between the University of Sunderland and South Shields Football Club, we are delighted to be able to offer prospective students the opportunity to enrol in a three-year undergraduate degree for students graduating from high school or a one-year postgraduate course for students who are graduating from college.

These degrees are recognised internationally, and you can choose from the following options:

Our courses

Two students carrying out a practical on reaction times in the Human Performance Lab

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences

Learn about the industry in its broadest form on a course endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Study high-quality modules in physiology, injury rehabilitation, nutrition and biomechanics, using industry-standard facilities for measuring speed, agility, reactions and enzymes in the body. Take advantage of the opportunity to train as a gym instructor or personal trainer.

Find out more about BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences
Clinical Rehabilitation & Exercise Therapy Suite with fitness equipment

MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences

Develop a solid grounding in measurement, evaluation, research methods, data analysis, and sport and exercise psychology. Undertake real-world internships. Build up experience with external clients and sports clubs.

Find out more about MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences
Sports journalism students sitting the press box of a sports stadium

MA Journalism / MA Journalism (Sport)

Develop your own specialist area of interest such as crime, health or political journalism. Cover media ethics and law, reporting and public affairs, shorthand and sub-editing and production. Research and write like a journalist. Produce a series of in-depth articles or your own newspaper. Hone your craft in the mediaHUB, our bustling multimedia newsroom.

Find out more about MA Journalism / MA Journalism (Sport)
A lecturer teaching students

MBA Master of Business Administration (Sports Management)

Gain expert insight into sports venue management. Study business in a way that interests you. Fast track your way to promotion.

Find out more about MBA Master of Business Administration (Sports Management)
A table with people gathered around it taking notes, using laptops and holding coffee cups

BA (Hons) Business and Management

Combining industry led experience with cutting-edge teaching, this innovative, employability focused course enables you to develop strong skills and knowledge in all areas of business. 

Find out more about BA (Hons) Business and Management
South Shields FC player passing during a football match


When training with South Shields FC, you'll be instructed by an experienced team of staff who have played for and coached at a variety of English Premier League clubs. Their knowledge and experience will be vital in each participant’s overall development both as a soccer player and on a personal level.

Training will largely consist of on-pitch sessions with a focus on decision-making skills and tactical understanding alongside individual, position-specific skills. As well as a thorough on-field coaching programme, you'll also have access to professionally-led strength and conditioning sessions to supplement your training.

The coaching team at South Shields will work with players on an individual basis – players will meet with coaches to discuss and develop individual plans with a series of targets and goals, both short-term and long-term. This will be reviewed periodically, utilising video feedback to help players better understand coaching assessments.

South Shields FC players celebrating a goal in front of fans at Wembley stadium

In terms of footballing action, players will not be constricted by NCAA rules and regulations. The football season in the UK lasts at least nine months, and during that time participants in the programme will play at least once per week, but sometimes more often. Players will test themselves against other academy teams from around England in a structured league environment, as well as being able to play exhibition matches against top opposition.

The International Academy programme is an incredible opportunity for any high school or collegiate soccer player interested in furthering their academic and footballing education while immersing themselves in a new culture. Are you ready? We’re always ready.

Why us?

Ranked as a top 50 university in the Guardian University Guide 2024, we are proud of our long-established commitment to widening participation, our world-leading research, and public and private sector collaborations.

Sunderland is recognised internationally as a leading university, receiving five stars for teaching, inclusiveness, employability, and facilities in the QS World University Rankings 2023.


Sunderland was named University of the Year for Social Inclusion.

(The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).

Our city by the sea has beautiful beaches and a modern city centre.

We're also only 30 minutes away from lively Newcastle on the Metro, and within easy reach of historical Durham.

Fees, accommodation and cost of living

According to The Education Data Initiative:

  • The average cost of attendance for a US student living on campus at a public four-year in-state institution is $25,487 per year or $101,948 over four years.
  • Out-of-state students pay $43,161 per year or $172,644 over four years; traditional private university students pay $53,217 per year or $212,868 over four years.
  • While four years is the traditional period to earn a bachelor’s degree, just 39% of students graduate within four years.
    60% of bachelor’s degree earners graduate within six years, totaling an average of $152,922 for the cost of attendance.

In the UK, however, those numbers are significantly smaller, partly due to the shorter length of time required to complete your studies. Undergraduate courses last three years by and large, and postgraduate courses are usually one year long.

The total cost of attendance will depend on your level of study, with postgraduate courses costing slightly more than undergraduate courses. Applicants can expect to pay between £27,000-£30,000 ($33,000-37,000) per year for the course in total. Please note: academic costs and soccer costs are paid separately. You will only be able to utilize Federal Direct and PLUS Loans to cover the cost of academics – more information about this can be found below.

Applicants are required to book their own accommodation for the duration of their time here. Applicants will be supported by the University and SSFC during this search, and the University will guarantee a place in university accommodation for applicants. The University has several accommodation options to choose from at very reasonable rates, and the region as a whole has numerous private options available.

The average cost of accommodation in the city can range from £78-£150 per week – this often includes all utilities, insurance, WiFi, and security. Find out more about our accommodation.

Additionally, the cost of living in Sunderland is exceptionally low and students can expect to pay £150-£500 per month for items like food, travel, and social life depending on their budget. American students could also look to finance the academic portion of their studies at the University of Sunderland with Federal Direct and PLUS Loans