October 2019

UCAS code


Mode of Study



1 year full-time

Start date

September 2022, September 2023


Sports coaches support, inspire and motivate athletes to reimagine what's possible.

If you can see yourself helping people fulfil their sporting potential and coaching professional athletes, sports teams, school or community groups, this BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching top-up degree will help you achieve it.

You'll turn your Level 5 qualification – such as an HND or foundation degree in a subject related to sports or business – into a full Bachelor's degree, ready for a career in high performance coaching environments, multi-sport coaching, coach education or within your own sports coaching business.

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 specialist gym and fitness testing equipment to explore training techniques and injury prevention and assessment, including portable EMG technology and infrared motion analysis
  • Gain sports coaching skills in technology, strategic management, digital innovation and analytics, and sports entrepreneurship – giving you the tools and skills to set yourself up as an independent sports coach
  • Enhance your CV and professional network, and share your sporting skill in the local community through our coaching, mentoring and volunteering scheme
  • Have the chance to take part in research programmes run by institutions such as UEFA, the FA and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
  • Train and coach within our extensive sports facilities, including a 100-station gym, fitness studios, and a new sports centre featuring a ski simulator, climbing wall and 8-lane swimming pool

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.

You may need to have studied specific subjects – 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.

Facilities and specialist equipment

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

Dr Alex Milligan Research Laboratory

A flexible work space featuring a Polhemus motion tracking system for tracking athletes' movement in 3D and a DEXA scanner for measuring body fat.

Learn more

Sports and Human Performance Testing

Analyse sports performance and environmental physiology, and use some of the best extreme environments facilities in the UK.

Learn more

Opening 2022: Our £50m sports centre

Train and play in one of the UK's greenest sports centres, including an 8-lane swimming pool, virtual skiing, climbing wall and more.
Learn more

Gym and classes

St Paul's Gym has all you need for cardio, resistance and weight training, complete with air-conditioning and BT Sport. Membership includes a range of fitness classes too.
Learn more

Careers and opportunities

Sports coaches nurture an athlete's physical and psychological health and provide the training conditions needed to achieve and exceed their best.

Integral to competitive sport, coaching is a growing profession responsible for shaping sporting success. With a solid understanding of the principles that underpin modern day sports coaching, you'll be in high demand.

Help others reach their sporting potential

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.

You'll also work on your own professional development alongside industry experts, enhancing your CV and networking with potential employers. Once you graduate, you'll be ready to enter the world of sports coaching in the community and at elite sport level.

What areas can you work in with a sports coaching top-up degree?

When you graduate, 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
  • community centres
  • prisons

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

What jobs can you do with a sports coaching top-up degree?

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

Ongoing careers support

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.

Leadership and development

You'll have the chance to work with our local community to encourage cultural and social development through sports coaching and volunteering.

Build invaluable experience within institutions such as clubs, schools and charities.

Learn more

Work experience and professional development

This sports coaching 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
  • Professional Development – 20 credits
  • Project – 40 credits
  • Sports Entrepreneurship and Business Venturing – 20 credits
  • SHES Tutorial Level 6 – 0 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, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

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.


You'll learn through a blend of face-to-face sessions and online activities, and be taught by lecturers who have delivered sports coaching in the community.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • workshops
  • one-to-one tutorials

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

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 postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

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

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

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 (2023 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 – £17,200 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 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.

The cost of travel or accommodation associated with compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee. You will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs associated with compulsory fieldwork.


How to apply

To start this course in 2023, 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.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of 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.