Physical Education and Sports Coaching BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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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 culminating in the final stage placement 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)
  • 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.

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.

The University has regional links with schools and organisations to provide placement opportunites for the development of skills and experiences.

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.



Darwin Building,
Sciences Complex,
City Campus,


  • Our City Campus features a state-of-the-art facility called CitySpace. It features:

    • Sports hall (suitable for hosting large-scale events)
    • Fitness suite/gym
    • Strength and conditioning room
    • Injury prevention and support suite
    • Fitness classes
    • Climbing wall
  • 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
  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • Across the Sunderland area you'll have access to the following sports facilities:

    • 50m Olympic size swimming pool
    • 95m artificial ski slope
    • Warehouse climbing wall
    • Football training pitches at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light
    • Marine Activities Centre for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and powerboating
    • LTA approved indoor tennis centre with 13 indoor and outdoor courts
    • Floodlit athletics tracks
    Sport facilities


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

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award).

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If you are applying for year 1 entry, you must have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check before starting the course. If you are offered a place on the course, the University will cover the cost of the check and send you relevant information on how to complete this.

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

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

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.

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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. The course also embraces areas of sports coaching providing you with the opportunity to work in your chosen area.

PD: Approval qualifications

Sport and Exercise Sciences now has accreditation from PD: Approval, the national endorsement body for the 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 sports clubs, schools and colleges, national sports associations, sports and leisure companies, recreation services and local authorities.

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 may require further training):

  • PE teacher (primary and secondary)
  • Sports coach/instructor

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