Sports coaching
Mode of Study
1 year full-time
Start Date
September 2022


Do you have a passion for helping people achieve their sporting potential? Do you see yourself coaching professional athletes, sports teams, school or community groups?

If you have an HND or Foundation degree in a subject related to sports or business, you can top up your qualification to a Bachelor's degree on this BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching top-up degree.

You'll explore contemporary, conceptual and theoretical research around the evolving nature of the modern sport coach practitioner and their role in the sports industry. You'll learn strength and conditioning techniques, how to empower athletes to develop and retain new skills, and how to identify training needs and develop training programmes that optimise sporting performance. The course also covers sports entrepreneurship, giving you the tools and skills to set yourself up as an independent sports coach.

You'll work on your own professional development alongside industry experts, enhancing your CV and networking with potential employers.

Once you graduate, you'll understand the principles that underpin sports coaching in the community and at elite sport level. You'll be ready for a career in high performance coaching environments, multi-sport coaching, coach education or within your own sports coaching business.

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching (Top-Up) degree entry requirements

Qualifications and experience
  • A Foundation Degree, Higher National Diploma or equivalent level 5 qualification at Merit or above in a Sport-related subject.
  • Applications from individuals with non-standard qualifications, industry professional qualifications, relevant work or life experience and who can demonstrate the ability to cope with and benefit from degree-level studies are welcome and considered on an individual basis.

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Apply skills acquisition theory and research in practice, enabling sportspeople to develop and master new skills
  • Explore strategic management in the sports sector, analysing factors in an industry context for effective decision making
  • Learn how technology, analytics and digital innovation are shaping the sports industry and how to benefit from them as a coach
  • Use specialist gym and fitness testing equipment to develop experience in training techniques and injury prevention and assessment
  • Gain sports coaching skills in technology, strategic management, digital innovation and analytics and learn how to apply this knowledge to the sports industry
  • Have the chance to take part in research programmes run by internationally recognised sports organisations such as UEFA, the FA and the ECB
  • Enhance your CV and professional network, and share your sporting skill in the local community through our coaching, mentoring and volunteering scheme
  • Experience teaching that's driven by current practice and taught by lecturers who have delivered sports coaching in the community
  • Boost your transferable skills such as teamwork, decision making, communication and time management

Facilities and equipment you'll use includes:

  • A portable EMG system to measure how muscles activate and fatigue during sport
  • Infrared motion analysis to understand how the body should move for best practice training
  • Climatic chambers for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude (including one at sub-zero temperatures for polar preparation)
  • Force plates to assess total force and rate of force development for sportspeople, which helps you prescribe the correct exercise programme for them
  • GymAware and PUSH bands for carrying out Velocity Based Training (VBT)

Careers and opportunities

Sports coaches help others reach their best in terms of fitness, performance and ability. The aim of a sports coach is to nurture a participant's physical and psychological health and provide the best possible training conditions needed to achieve and exceed their sporting potential.

Integral to competitive sport, coaching is a growing profession responsible for shaping sporting success. Those with a solid understanding of the principles that underpin modern day sports coaching are in high demand.

When you complete the course, you'll be ready to enter a variety of commercial and non-commercial organisations such as:

  • National governing bodies
  • Professional sports clubs
  • The Armed Forces
  • Local authorities
  • Health and fitness centres
  • Charities and not-for-profit organisations
  • Schools and community centres
  • Prisons

Roles you could take on include:

  • Community coach coordinator
  • Coach educator
  • Skills coach
  • Strength and conditioning advisor
  • PE teacher
  • Sport development officer
  • Sports marketing executive
  • Sports agent
  • Stadium manager

You could also go into areas outside of the sports coaching industry in roles such as sports journalism, finance or accounting.

Work experience and career planning

This top-up course includes a core Professional Development module, providing the opportunity to work on your own career aims alongside industry experts.

You'll complete a range of professional development activities, including work-based opportunities across a range of industry sectors related to sports coaching.

You'll be mentored by academic members of staff and take part in a masterclass series (workshops with academics and industry experts) focusing on the themes and challenges you'll encounter as a sports coach.

The masterclass series covers:

  • Coaching Contexts and Methodologies for practice
  • Coaching Pedagogy
  • Sports Psychology
  • Performance Analysis
  • Talent Identification and Development
  • Governance and Match Officials
  • Mental Health Awareness in Sport
  • Sports Nutrition and Coaching Practice
  • Sport for Development (coaching focus)
  • Current Issues in Sport Coaching

​What you'll study

You'll study modules worth a total of 120 credits.


  • Applied Skill Acquisition – 20 credits
  • Advanced Strength and Conditioning – 20 credits
  • Sports Entrepreneurship and Business Venturing – 20 credits
  • Professional Development – 20 credits
  • Project – 20 credits

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


You'll learn through a blend of face-to-face sessions and online activities.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • One-to-one tutorials

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • Practical assessments
  • Client reports
  • Video submissions
  • Blog submissions
  • Infographic submissions
  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Presentation slides

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

How you'll spend your time

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. You'll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, seminars and practical classes and workshops for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. 

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University, course events and to attend work placement hours (depending on the provider) in the evenings and at weekends. 

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

Learning support tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You’ll have to pay for meals and other living costs while completing compulsory fieldwork, amounting to £50–£1000. Travel and accommodation costs are covered by your course fee.

You’ll need to contribute towards the cost of optional fieldwork programmes, which usually come to £50–£1000.

You may need to a pay a returnable deposit for some field trips to ensure attendance. For day trips, this deposit is £20. For trips that last several days and require overnight stay, the deposit is £50. The deposit for these trips will be returned to you after the trip.


How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – C612
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

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