Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc (Hons)

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If you are applying for this course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

If you are applying for this course from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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Equip yourself with the skills and knowledge needed to work in the exciting sport and leisure sector. Learn about sport-related psychology, physiology, anatomy and biomechanics, strength and conditioning, and performance analysis. Undertake a final-year athlete assessment placement, working with real athletes/sports teams to improve performance.

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This is the broadest of our suite of sports courses.

You will gain practical experience in the fields of psychology, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and injury rehabilitation. You will combine these disciplines to analyse and develop strategies to optimise performance in sport and exercise, which will be supported by our excellent teaching team.

During the course you can choose modules in exercise training which can result in accredited Personal Trainer and Exercise Referral awards at no additional cost, significantly enhancing your employment prospects.

Why us?

  • This course is accredited by The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • This course enables students to work with cutting-edge state-of-the-art resources to develop their knowledge and skills in applied areas of sport and exercise sciences
  • 90% of our BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK students)
  • Our Sports Science courses are ranked in the top 10 in the UK for Learning Resources according to the National Student Survey 2019
  • We have great links to clubs in the local area, including Sunderland Association Football Club, Durham County Cricket Club, and DMP Sharks Women’s Rugby Club
  • The option to apply to the Elite Athlete Bursary Scheme
  • 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 not only your knowledge but also skills that enhance employability. Methods include small group work, practical activities, workshops, lectures, tutorials, computer-based learning, presentations and independent learning.

As well as assessments that count towards your degree, there are also on-going assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include essays, reports, practical work and presentations.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Academic and Professional Skills (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Anatomy (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Physiology (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Athlete Testing (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Biomechanics (20 credits)

Year 2 (national level 5):

Core modules

  • Research Design and Analysis (20 credits)
  • Motivating Physical Activity (20 credits)
  • Physiology of Fitness and Training (20 credits)
  • Biomechanical Analysis of Human Movement (20 credits)
  • Performance Analysis (20 credits)


Optional modules - choose one

  • Injuries and Rehabilitation (20 credits)
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription (20 credits)

Final year (national level 6):

Core modules

  • Dissertation (20 credits)
  • Sport and Exercise Biomechanics (20 credits)
  • Athlete Assessment Placement (20 credits)


Optional modules - choose three

  • Sport and Exercise Physiology (20 credits)
  • Sport and Exercise Nutrition (20 credits)
  • Strength, Conditioning and Prehabilitation (20 credits)
  • Exercise and Diet Behaviour (20 credits)
  • Exercise for Special Populations (20 credits)
  • Sport Psychology (20 credits)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Sciences Complex is based on our City Campus. It has benefited from multi-million pound investment in modern facilities in recent years and continues to develop as our health sciences offer grows.

    It is the central hub for many of our health and sciences courses and is made up of a variety of teaching and learning spaces, including labs, problem-based learning classrooms and facilities that encourage interprofessional learning. A lot of academic staff offices are based here, with an open-door policy in place.

    The Sciences Complex
  • Map and directions


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

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

If your qualification is not listed above, please contact the Student Administration team at for further advice.

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

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £12,000 if you arefrom outside the EU

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


Sunderland’s strong links with regional and national sporting organisations, local hospitals and authorities, and health and fitness centres helps you get to know potential future employers. You will also gain first-hand experience of how Sport and Exercise Sciences can be applied in working environments. There is a major focus on career planning for both employment and further study at all stages in the Sport and Exercise Science course. You will be prepared for supervised experience, the initial stage in the process towards becoming a professionally recognised Sport and Exercise Scientist accredited through the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).

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.

University level Main module mapped to

Vocational qualifications

5 Exercise Testing and Prescription Level 3 Personal Trainer
6 Exercise for Special Populations Level 3 Exercise Referral Instructor

Career options

Potential employers for graduates of this course include sports clubs, national sports associations, sports and leisure companies, recreation services, local authorities, health bodies including the NHS, schools and colleges. Many of our graduate sport and exercise scientists go on to provide clinical support services to health or medical professionals working in a variety of specialities. 

During the course, you will be encouraged and supported to begin the process of supervised experience through BASES. 

Job roles include the following (some require further training):

  • Sport and Exercise Scientist
  • Performance Analyst
  • Sports Psychologist

Meet the students

  • I never really considered sport a career option until I got in touch with the University.
    James Allen Case Study Square Image

    James Allan

  • My course gives a fantastic insight into the ever-growing, ever-changing world of sports.
    Niall McArdle, Sport graduate

    Niall McArdle

  • Thanks to Sunderland, I'm now in the Premiership.
    Scott Ainsley, Sports graduate

    Scott Ainsley

Meet the team

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