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Sport and Exercise Psychology BSc (Hons)

Begin your career path to becoming a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist on this degree, accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

120-128 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 UCAS points from a specific Science subject

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
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Want to take your first steps on the path to becoming a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Practitioner Psychologist?

On this BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology degree course – accredited by the BPS – you’ll use the latest equipment and techniques in our comprehensively equipped laboratories, and be taught by our team of BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered psychologists.

Sports science at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 3rd of all post-1992 universities for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our amazing sports science research

Course highlights

  • Use psychology and sports science facilities including a psychology laboratory (with interview room and media suite), biomechanics and kinanthropometry labs, and immersion pool and climatic chambers – for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude
  • Get your hands on specialist equipment like PLATO Liquid Crystal Spectacles and our ASL Mobile Eye System, which you can use to measure performance and get the most out of athletes
  • Be taught by BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered psychologists who have extensive professional experience and access to the latest sport psychology research

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

PFC Open Day and Outreach

The course is really interactive so we have a nice mix of workshops, lectures and assignments that help us to really engage with what we are learning and to keep things fresh and exciting.

Sydney Bautista, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology

Explore BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology at Portsmouth

Find out more about our accredited BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology degree course, including what you'll study and the facilities you'll access.

Daniel Brown: I think when we look at sport these days, we see how important mental health is. Increasingly, we are recognising that it's not just the physical capabilities of athletes at the highest levels which made them successful, but it's actually the mental side of that performance. So sport and exercise psychology kind of taps into a lot of those different factors that I've mentioned. 

At the University of Portsmouth, we have a wealth of facilities, we have a mixture of lecture theatres and seminar rooms, and we also have technological pieces that we can use for research projects, EEG machines, virtual reality kits as well. So quite a variety of bits and pieces. 

Students have the opportunity to go on a placement between their second and third year or alternatively, after their final year, which is quite a novel offering that we have here at Portsmouth. 

Within this course you cover both sport health and exercise contexts, but also have an in-depth understanding of the psychology behind what goes on in those settings. You will look at things like performance under pressure, stress and motivation, leadership, group dynamics. Students will learn what it's like to be a sports psychology practitioner or to be someone working in a health and exercise sphere and trying to promote physical activity campaigns as well. 

The one thing I love most about the programme is that it gives our students an excellent understanding of the psychology of people, allowing them to work across sport, health and exercise settings, as well as the broader society and the transferable skills the students also learn can kind of help them across those realms too. 

So we're really proud that this course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, which provides students with a first step on their journey to becoming a practitioner psychologist. And I think that's what makes it such an attractive opportunity for students. 

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - ABB-BBB
  • UCAS points - 120-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from a Science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, PE, Physics, Psychology or Sports Science and the Active Leisure Industry or Sports Studies). (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit. Acceptable T Level Subjects:
    T Level in Health, T Level in Healthcare Science, T Level in Science
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM  
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find 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.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

Facilities and specialist equipment

Person performing a test using an EEG

Psychophysiology laboratory

Record and analyse physical responses, such as electrical activity in the brain, neural processes, blood pressure and heart rate, to explore how the body reacts to different psychological states.

Person using eye tracking software

Eye tracking technology

Discover how eye movement can be analysed to reveal how quickly athletes respond to visual or auditory cues, using our ASL mobile eye-tracking system and PLATO Liquid Crystal Spectacles. 

Extreme environments laboratories

See how altitude and humidity affect people's comfort, performance and survival. Features an immersion pool and swimming flume, which acts like a treadmill for swimmers.

A man in a harness being submerged in water
Learn more

Physiology Laboratory

This lab includes treadmills, a swim bench, ergometers and a physiological monitoring kit for analysing athletes' blood, heart rate, and urine.

Person exercising on a treadmill in the Physiology Laboratory
Explore lab

Biomechanics Laboratory

Use equipment including force plates, pressure plates and our electromyography system to explore the impact of exercise on the body in this lab, from the limits of human endurance to the effects of chronic health conditions.

Female runner on treadmill with motion capture cameras
Explore lab

Careers and opportunities

Sport and exercise psychologists help athletes, teams and amateur sportspeople deal with the mental demands of their sport. They work to improve the mindsets, behaviours and patterns of thinking that influence people involved in sport, while also aiming for progression in personal development and sporting performance.

On this BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology, you'll learn how to apply psychological principles and theories to optimise the performance of athletes in the world of elite sport, and how to help the public reach their health, fitness and wellbeing goals.

When you complete the course, you'll be eligible to apply for Chartered Membership of the BPS on a graduate basis (GBC) – the first step to becoming a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist or HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist. 

To become Chartered, you'll also need to do further academic training for up to 5 years, including an MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology.

At Portsmouth we offer the full training route to Chartered Psychologist status in the domain of sport and exercise. You will study in a beautiful seaside setting and be taught by academics recognised internationally for their expertise.

Richard Thelwell, Head of Department of Sport and Exercise Science

What jobs can you do with a sport and exercise psychology degree?

Roles you can do after the course include:

  • sport and exercise psychologist (with further training)
  • sport and exercise scientist
  • management roles in national governing bodies
  • teacher/lecturer
  • researcher/scientist
  • health promotion worker

Graduate roles

Roles our previous graduates have gone on to work in, include:

  • PE teacher
  • personal trainer
  • wellbeing access worker 
  • special educational needs and disabilities mentor
Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Hear from Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate, Ciara

Ciara graduated in 2021 with a BSc and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Portsmouth. She is now a wellbeing access worker for Herts Mind Network. Find out what Ciara’s role entails and how she’s applying the skills she learnt during her time at Portsmouth.

 I'm Ciara Nolan and I'm a Wellbeing Access Worker for the Hertsfordshire Mind Network.

The University of Portsmouth stood
out to me because it's really well regarded and the sport faculties are really respected.

They had a lot of work experience opportunities, and the lectures themselves just seemed like they all came from really solid backgrounds that they could provide a lot of knowledge for us.

It was kind of there or nowhere.

By the end of finishing my A-levels, it was everything that I could have wanted it to be and more.

I joined netball on the first day, then I became the media sec, so I started the newsletter that still goes on today, which is really cool.

In the third year, I was the social sec so I organised all of the Purple Wednesdays, invited all of the club.

Then we all went to Croatia on a sports tour so I organised that and we all managed to get there and back, so it was a really good time.

We had a lot of knowledge at the undergrad that really helped in the masters.

Some of my peers didn't go to Portsmouth and they were really behind compared to where we were, so in that sense, I don't think we could have been more ready for the masters and we got a lot of practical support.

Since graduating in 2020, I landed my dream role, which is providing access to people who might not already know about mental health services.

So I did get that passion for it in uni because I did my dissertation research on the levels of mental health literacy in athletes and unfortunately, not many people do have good knowledge of that.

I think I just want to allow for my knowledge that I've learnt at uni to kind of go out there and speak to members of the public who might not already know and at least change some people's perceptions of mental health and then also just the support that's available to them so that one day it might help them.

I think without the University of Portsmouth, I'd be a bit lost and I wouldn't know what I want to do.

It really did steer me into the direction of what I want to achieve in life.

One of the proudest moments of my career at the moment is probably attending these events and people come up to you and they really would like some support quite urgently and there is support available and they can get help.

I feel really proud of myself, every night I can go to sleep and think that I've hopefully helped one more person with their mental health today.

Placement year

Either before or following your third year, you have the option to choose a work placement year to gain valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. A placement year gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you stand out to employers after the course.

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students.

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.

Potential roles

Previous students have taken placement roles such as:

  • sport for development project officer
  • assistant exercise specialist
  • performance analyst
  • rehabilitation assistant
  • exercise and mental health practitioner

Potential destinations

Recent students have completed placements at: 

  • Bristol City FC
  • Chichester and Selsey Ladies FC
  • The Richmond Group
  • Neurokinex
  • Other professional sports clubs, sports injuries clinics, schools, the NHS and within universities

Study abroad

You'll also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities. Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your CV and experience a different culture as an international student.

Many of our students describe their time spent studying abroad as truly life-changing, as well as an excellent way to stand out to future employers.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

Grow your quantitative abilities to summarise and analyse real data related to a specific research question, presenting your results as per scientific standards. Identify the various methods and plans used in research, and interpret statistical results to test hypotheses. Finish with the ability to understand the different ways to conduct qualitative and quantitative research.

Through lectures, practical sessions and workshops, you'll develop skills in data collection, analysis, team work and leadership, and learn to integrate data with theory and practical knowledge. You'll discover how to effectively communicate findings to a variety of audiences and describe your knowledge of core areas in sport and exercise psychology. You'll explore how psychological theories explain sport and exercise behaviour and performance, and describe information from a variety of sources, including qualitative and quantitative research.

You'll investigate case studies in a diverse range of real-world settings, enhancing your ability to apply theory to practice across different groups and settings. Through field-work, you'll collect data from sport participants and investigate how psychology, sociology, and personal traits influence why certain individuals are drawn to sports and physical activities. Finish equipped with an understanding of how sociology and psychology perceive sports and physical activity, both in society and for individuals.

Identify the key concepts that have shaped the history of psychology, including sport and exercise psychology, and explore their ongoing impact on the field. Recognise the different methods that researchers in sport and exercise psychology can use and discuss the role of a psychologist, exploring the knowledge, experience, and skills needed to fulfil the role.

Core modules

You'll examine key experiments in the advancement of both biological and cognitive psychology and assess different research methods and techniques used, while considering the relationship between theory and method. You'll identify the role of physiology in human behaviour, emotion, and cognition and identify the relevant structures and functions of the human nervous system.

You'll explore theoretical issues in intelligence and personality assessment, and the practical application of psychometric tests. You'll generate scores from psychometric tests, interpret results and provide appropriate candidate feedback.

Explore research planning, underpinning philosophy, ethical considerations, research methods, data analyses and qualitative and quantitative approaches. As you prepare for your own research project, you'll gain an understanding of the research principles and practices taught in your final year. As part of this module, you'll be provided with the staff research projects you can select from for your final year project.

Discover how humans learn motor skills through the analysis of contemporary theory and research, considering the perceptual and cognitive processes behind this. Learn to conduct psychological research in an ethical and safe manner and consider the role practice design and instruction play during the learning process.

Evaluate the factors that impact sport performance, athlete mental health and the psychology of physical activity – considering the role exercise can play in the treatment of mental health conditions. You'll learn to present references as per scientific conventions, critique literature and communicate your knowledge effectively through written work. When you finish, you'll be intellectually curious of key and emerging issues in the psychology of sport and exercise.

You'll examine findings, using and applying these in analytical, imaginative, and creative ways, and assess the relevance and application of social and developmental psychology to everyday situations, problems, and practice. With expanded knowledge, you'll confidently discuss the theories and concepts that influence social and developmental psychology.

Core modules

You'll learn to interpret key principles and how to conduct assessments with athletes, teams and coaches. By collecting qualitative data, you'll understand important ethical and methodological aspects, as well as social and developmental issues relevant to sport and exercise psychology practitioners. Using information from a variety of sources, you'll produce evidence-based recommendations that enhance client performance and shows your analytical ability.

You'll focus on creating innovative training methods based on theory and research, doing this in two phases. Firstly, by working with elite groups and analysing current research, you'll use your knowledge to develop interventons that help others improve their skills. In the second phase of this module, you'll apply what you've learned about developing skills to younger ages groups, specifically children and adolescents in their developmental stages, and help maximise their skill progression.

Engage with theory and research to design a health promotion initiative and develop your employability skill set. Pitch community initiatives to a funding agency and translate research evidence to a general audience as you develop strong teamwork skills.

You'll learn to work both independently, and as part of a team, whilst you evaluate literature on a particular topic to form a research question and method. Through taught sessions you'll develop your knowledge on data analysis procedures. You'll explore how to evaluate your findings and produce well-argued and evidence-based conclusions in an academic manner. By applying appropriate scientific techniques you'll discover how to implement your research plan and evaluate it's effectiveness. You'll develop your ability to effectively communicate your research process and findings through an individual written report and confidently present your project through a poster presentation, demonstrating your ability to respond to marker questions.

Optional modules

You'll differentiate between specified psychological approaches and methodologies used in the study of both psychological distress and physical health and/or illness, considering their strengths, limitations, and appropriateness. You'll apply theory and research findings appropriately to applied topics and problems in clinical and health psychology while also outlining and critically evaluating approaches within these fields. You'll explain how biopsychosocial factors are implicated in health conditions, addressing both physical and mental health.

You'll compare the main methods used in modern neuroscience revealing brain complexities whilst covering historical and emerging areas of interest. You'll also explore clinical and non-clinical applications of neuroscience.

Using relevant theory and research, you'll critically explore current methodologies and analytical techniques used in sport performance, discussing the progression of these elements in the field. You'll assess the different ways performance analysis is used in practice, considering other disciplines and how other areas of sport science contribute to supporting performance analysis practitioners. By the end, you'll have perspective on the professional skills, roles, responsibilities and competencies required of a performance analyst.

Throughout this module, you'll have the opportunity to delve into various subjects such as: assessing contrasting approaches and paradigms of disability knowledge, researching practices, intersectionality and disability, empowerment, the psychology of helping, community and social capital, sex and sexuality, quality of life and stigma, and emancipatory and participatory disability research.

On this course, you can choose an optional placement year between your 2nd and 3rd year of studies or after your 3rd year.

During the study abroad placement year, you'll experience life at a university in another country. Alternatively, you can spend a year developing your experience in industry in the UK or abroad with the work placement year.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations
  • projects
  • exams
  • reflective accounts

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.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • online lectures
  • workshops
  • laboratories
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

Teaching staff draw on their varied experiences as practitioners and researchers to bring the subject to life.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops and guided independent study for about 9 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. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events 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 you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

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.

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

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

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

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 a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

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

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

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 per 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.

Costs breakdown

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight 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.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – C601
  • our institution code – P80

 Apply now through UCAS


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.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

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