BSc (Hons) Sports Development

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

Learn about both community & high-performance
Learn about both community & high-performance
Explore global perspectives through sports development
Explore global perspectives through sports development
Opportunity to visit Utrecht University as part of an exchange
Opportunity to visit Utrecht University as part of an exchange

This course includes the options of:

work-experience

Work placement*

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Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

Why choose this course?

If you enjoy sports development and want to encourage the promotion of sports activities, this is the course for you. This degree focusses on developing stronger links with local communities and promoting the benefits of healthy lifestyles. The course has a strong emphasis on practical experiences applied to the sports development industry.

This course will give you an appreciation for the role sports development and physical activity play in today’s global society. You’ll explore the importance of both community and high-performance sport, while looking at potential solutions for engaging an inactive population. You’ll also explore large-scale and community sports events and everything that goes into making them successful, for example sports policy, global perspectives and behaviour change strategy.

You might be thinking about becoming a sports development officer, or want to work with different communities through sports development projects at a local level or become a community sports director. You might consider becoming a sports development officer or working in high-performance sport. Perhaps you’re interested in a managerial role within the sports development field or maybe working in education and teaching. Work experience opportunities are integrated into the programme. So whatever career you decide to pursue, work-related experience combined with academic study and a focus on communication skills will enhance your prospects.  

This course is full of opportunities, including the potential to visit Utrecht University in the Netherlands for an exchange*. The University also works closely together with national and international researchers, coaches and athletes, who engage with our facilities and workforce. In addition to this, we are rated TEF Gold, making us one of the best Universities for teaching and learning support.   

*Subject to COVID-19 guidelines. 

Benefit from our specialist sports facilities  

You’ll have access to some of the best University sports facilities in the UK. You’ll benefit from our brand new multi-million-pound Institute of Sport Building based at the De-Havilland campus and will be able to join our on-campus Sports Village. Facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, a 12m high climbing wall and a 110+ station gym. The gym has both strength and cardio equipment, such as rowing machines, cable stations and a free weights area. Facilities also include match-quality courts, sports halls and new generation astro pitches and so much more. There is also a smaller 24-hour gym on the College Lane campus.   

Whether you’re interested in sport on a competitive or casual level, there is something for you. There are opportunities for students to take part, compete and represent the University in a wide variety of sports.  We are also one of the few universities with an Active Students programme. This means we offer free sports and exercise sessions to all our students and staff. This is something you can tap into as a participant or possibly also as a facilitator.   

What's the course about?

In your first year, you’ll learn about physical activity and sports development, the foundations of sports coaching and begin to understand the sports industry. You’ll also learn about national and international sports business management and also sports within a global world. To help you settle into university life, you’ll take a module focused on developing the academic skills you need to be a successful student.    

Your second year builds on what you learnt in the first year. You’ll study global perspectives of sports development, management of sports events and work experience. The module on research methods helps you to understand the principles and methods that underpin sports development research. You’ll be able to use this to critique and understand the research done in the areas of sports development and the wider field. It will also come in handy for your final year dissertation. In addition, we offer optional modules for you to choose from including process and practice in high-performance sport, sports ethics and facilities and funding.

Work placement/study abroad option*: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or complete a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about, but it will also give your CV a boost. If you would rather go straight to your final year, that’s fine too. You can decide in your second year with us, so there is still plenty of time to think about this. 

In your final year, you’ll be able to develop your sports development research skills through our research dissertation module and focus on a work experience dissertation within the field of sports development. You’ll get a personal supervisor to support you with the research and/or work experience dissertation. Here, you’ll design and undertake your own project on a topic relevant to your area of study, and more importantly it will be aligned to an area that interests you. You’ll also be able to study other modules in the final year, and learn about areas such as behaviour change for physical activity, advanced sports coaching and also enterprise and entrepreneurship. 

For a full list of modules, see the section under ‘What will I study?’    

 *Depending on the COVID-19 guidelines and developments.  

Applying for this course is easy. Simply add us to your UCAS account by using the institution and course code mentioned in ‘Key information’. There is no interview for this course. We’re just interested to hear why you want to study this subject at degree level. 

Your main campus is de Havilland 

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, sport, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in our on-campus restaurant or bar (in the newly built Enterprise Hub) on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends.  Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.  

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.     

Modules are assessed in a variety of ways via coursework, debates, presentations, viva and practical. The type of coursework is varied, depending on the module and includes reports, reflections, write up of practicals, portfolios, posters and presentations. 

Alumni Stories

Gavin Beard

Meet Gavin Beard who has taken his love for sports into industry. Since graduating he has worked his way up the career ladder and is now the Head of Marketing for Norwich Football Club.

Current job roleHead of Marketing
Year of graduation2013
Course of studyBSc (Hons) Sports Studies

Gavin Beard

More than a degree

Gavin graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with more than a degree; his university experience helped him to gain valuable insight to several disciplines and allowed him to narrow down his career choices.

He says, 'My degree allowed me to study various disciplines, including coaching, science and business. Having exposure to these different areas helped me understand what I favoured, and it was clear that business (and in particular, marketing) was an area I felt I could forge a career in.'

After successfully completing his degree Gavin began moving up the career ladder, working at many well respected companies such as Coral, BT Sport and currently Norwich City Football Club. Gavin puts a lot of his success down to the degree he studied and the support provided by the university.

He comments, 'The variety of modules and the exposure to different disciplines within my course were extremely useful. This was crucial in helping me determine my path. After year one, I knew I liked marketing, so I worked with the ERASMUS team to find a pathway to help me study this abroad. I then studied business in Valencia for a year and it was an experience I’ll never forget.'

Aspirations for the future

Gavin is still really enjoying his career in leading the Marketing team at Norwich City Football Club. He says, 'It’s an incredibly varied role; one day I could be leading the campaign to promote the new kit, the next it’ll be marketing the Take That gig at Carrow Road!'

Gavin is hopeful for the future and says 'Given my experience, my future roles will continue to be in marketing, hopefully I will help Norwich to become an established Premier League team. Then who knows!'

After year one, I knew I liked marketing, so I worked with the ERASMUS team to find a pathway to help me study this abroad. I then studied business in Valencia for a year and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Alumni Stories

Annabelle Bullock

Meet Annabelle Bullock, a BUCS gold medalist, who studied Sports Studies alongside her athletic pursuits. As an athlete she competed in target shooting and as a member of the women's Lacrosse team.

Current job roleEducation Liaison Coordinator
Year of graduation2018 / 2019
Course of studyBSc(Hons) Sports Studies
MA Education

Bella Bullock

University experience and support

The University supported Annabelle by making her one of its sponsored athletes providing her with greater flexibility and access to sporting facilities and opportunities. This helped her develop a broad and transferable set of skills and experience.

Annabelle says, 'Being an athlete and studying was challenging, but the University and my lecturers were so supportive. Being made a sponsored athlete also came with a bunch of perks. All this support and the opportunities that the University provided helped me to build the skills and confidence I needed to be truly successful in my job today.'

Annabelle currently works as one of the Education Liaison Coordinators at Herts. Having established fantastic contacts within the University, her student activities meant she could seamlessly progress into a professional role that complimented many of her skills and interests.

'I always assumed that I would do something within sport, but when it came to my final year in BSc Sport Studies, I had found my passion for Coach Education. During my MA in Education at the University, I discovered another passion for helping others and working with student athletes.'

Opportunities to explore

The University is committed to recognising talent in its students and offering any exciting opportunities that can enrich their studies and further their careers. Annabelle's lecturers' encouraged her to explore her passion for research which inspired her to continue with postgraduate study. Most impressively, the University helped her win its first BUCS gold medal in target shooting, which she says 'felt amazing as I was the only one in the team!'

Annabelle's advice for new and current students is to 'Do things that are out of your comfort zone because the skills and experiences you develop may just be the thing that your employer is looking for. Take all of the opportunities you can. I thought I was going to be an athlete forever, then I discovered coaching. I am very lucky that my first "proper" job is something that I absolutely love but I am still able to continue coaching. This summer I am helping coach a target shooting national team in the biggest junior, under 21, competition in the country.'

All this support and the opportunities that the University provided helped me to build the skills and confidence I needed to be truly successful in my job today.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.