Looking Ahead. Sports Science. A guide to studying this subject at university and your opportunities afterwards

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1 16 Subjects inside include: exercise and fitness management, sports development and sport and exercise science Looking Ahead Sports Science A guide to studying this subject at university and your opportunities afterwards

2 Subject overview Sport and exercise science is the application of scientific principles to the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of sport and exercise behaviours. Colleges and universities have taught some subjects such as sports science for many years, whereas others such as sports development have been introduced more recently to keep up with the changing world of sport. There are many courses on offer around the country. Here are some examples of sports science courses at the University of Portsmouth: Exercise and Fitness Management Sports Development Sport and Exercise Science These courses have a broad curriculum that allows students to choose the topic areas that most interest them and fit in with their ambitions for future career paths. Our cutting-edge facilities include a suite of environmental chambers with an integrated swimming flume and cold water immersion tank. These facilities provide staff, and final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students with the opportunity to undertake high-quality, internationally-recognised, applied research in the fields of physiology, biomechanics, psychology and sports development. Please check for courses available across the UK and for up-to-date information on Portsmouth courses. Choosing a sports science course Look out for: Course accreditation with organisations such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) or Skills Active for Sports Development, especially if you are looking to work with athletes at the highest level in the future. Such courses will be advertised as being part of their BASES Undergraduate Endorsement Scheme (BUES). Additional features of the course such as work placements, study abroad options, optional units, extended projects and enterprise opportunities. Opportunities to gain National Governing Body (NGB) coaching awards. Such awards can prove very valuable when pursuing a career in sports sciences. Contemporary laboratory facilities, as these are needed for modern sports science-based subjects. National Student Survey (NSS) statistics show whether students graduating from their course have been happy with the course, facilities and support provided during their studies. This can be found through your chosen university s website. Employment statistics for graduates, which can be found on your chosen university s website, via their careers service or at Subjects covered on the course every university will be different, so it s vital you find the right combination of topics for you. 2 University of Portsmouth Looking Ahead Sports Science

3 The course What will you study? During your time at university, you will study your chosen subject in depth. Universities usually run a number of compulsory or core topics for each course, which everyone studies in order to gain understanding of the key areas. There will also be optional topics from which you select according to your interests and how you want to specialise within your course. Units vary depending on the university. Below are a few examples of core and optional units for sports science courses at the University of Portsmouth: Core units Exercise and Fitness Management: advanced fitness training and assessment, nutrition for health fitness and sport, sport and business management, and coaching principles. Sport and Exercise Science: sport and exercise physiology, coaching principles, tools of biomechanical analysis. Sports Development: sports event organisation, sport and business management, sports politics and society, and comparative international sport provision. Optional units Exercise and Fitness Management: sport event management, managing people in sports organisations, physical activity prescription and promotion, strategic planning in sport. Sport and Exercise Science: professional practice in sport psychology, physiological approaches to training and assessment, cardiology and the science of injury and rehabilitation. Sports Development: application of coaching, professional practice in sports marketing and psychology of coaching and learning. How will you study? Lesson type On these courses you will usually learn theoretical principles in lectures and seminars, which are complemented by practical activities such as laboratory work. Contact time This may vary depending on the course, but you will most likely spend 17 per cent of your week in contact time, spread between lectures, seminars and lab sessions. Assessment methods Assessment is usually via exams, essays, lab reports, individual and group presentations, poster presentations, oral exercises and project reports. Further information for the universities you are considering can be found via the university websites, Unistats at or Which? University at Sports Science Looking Ahead University of Portsmouth 3

4 Getting a place Key skills and qualities required for these subjects Skills Sport and exercise science focuses heavily upon biomechanics, physiology and psychology, so you will need some science background and strong scientific skills. A variety of approaches to research methods are used so a methodical approach to research, as well as a good understanding of statistics, is very important. Sports development focuses on sport in society, management, and business and event organisation. Whereas exercise and fitness management combines scientific underpinning in exercise and fitness with the practical vocational qualifications to enter directly into the health and fitness industry. Good communication skills and the ability to thrive within a team are crucial. Qualities Qualities relate more to your personality. The ability to listen to the needs of your clients is vital to success, as you will work with athletes during your course. Enthusiasm, determination and motivation are key qualities for sports scientists. Qualifications As for all degree courses, you will usually need at least five GCSEs grade A* C including English and maths. You will also need Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels, International Baccalaureate (IB) or BTEC. Many courses require a science subject, which could be from an A Level (such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, PE or psychology) or from science content within an equivalent qualification. Top tips for a successful application Show your active and genuine interest in sport refer to research you have investigated and how your studies have helped you to develop the academic skills needed for the course. Ensure you take part regularly in sport and have an awareness of health and fitness. Include any experience you have in your application, such as if you play for a sports club, coach other players, work in a gym or have competed at a high level. Demonstrate your strong commitment to sport. Athletes that compete at the highest level or are aiming to do so, demonstrate unbelievable commitment to their sport. Therefore, those in a sports science support role need to show the same such commitment to be successful. For the universities you are applying to, read the entry information included within the course information on the UCAS and university websites carefully. This will often show what sort of person they are looking for. Refer to hobbies and interests you hope to continue at university through the clubs and societies offered via the Students Union; this will show how you hope to become a member of the university community. 4 University of Portsmouth Looking Ahead Sports Science

5 What to do next Unlike at school and college, university courses do not always have a set curriculum and can therefore vary widely in their content. Look carefully at the course content of the universities you are considering to make sure they cover the topics you are most interested in. Compare universities on a range of factors including employability, student satisfaction, assessment methods and lecturer contact time using the Key Information Sets (KIS) which can be found on each university s web pages or via Research hot topics in the industry find recent publications and journals in your library or online and use sports websites. Keep up-to-date with sport-related news stories via the newspapers or online, such as BBC News 24. Whether it is record transfer fees in football, changes to the school sport curriculum or government changes to community sport projects, these will all show your passion for your subject. Aim to take on additional responsibility in any sports or activities you are involved in. Participate in award schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award or Sports Leadership Award to show you have teamwork, commitment and leadership qualities. Get involved in voluntary work in the community, perhaps the St John s Ambulance, and gain First Aid qualifications at the same time. Gain work experience in a range of sport-related careers to show you understand the industry you hope to enter. Where to find out more BASES: British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences at EIS: English Institute of Sport at UK Sport: the UK s highperformance sports agency at Skills Active: Sector Skills Council for active leisure learning and wellbeing at Sports Coach UK: Uni info: a site where students share academic and social knowledge at and a website that provides university and course reviews at UCAS: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for information about university courses and the application process at Sports Science Looking Ahead University of Portsmouth 5

6 Where could you work? London 2012 saw a huge focus upon sport science support. Team GB excelled and much credit was given to the men and women behind the scenes. Sports science degrees may lead to jobs in coaching, sport science support, teaching, leisure centre management, sports development, and sport and exercise research. Professional accreditation is important to maintain the integrity of the field. So, you may look to undertake a period of supervised experience with BASES or through other organisations such as Skills Active for careers in physiology, biomechanics or psychology. For coaching careers, you may undertake further coaching training beyond level one standard with a national governing body (NGB). The field of sports science has grown rapidly in popularity and as such many individuals aiming for a career in sports science work on a self-employed basis. With this in mind, it may also be worth considering how you may develop business management skills during your degree. There are also many unpaid internships available to gain experience. Transferable skills All university courses will also give you many transferable skills. You will develop your teamwork, communication, problem solving, self-motivation and time management skills, making you highly employable in a wide range of careers. In fact, it is estimated that 60 per cent of employers looking to recruit a graduate (someone with a degree qualification) do not mind what your degree is in, just that you have that level of qualification. 6 University of Portsmouth Looking Ahead Sports Science

7 What do our sports science students go on to do? Each year we gather statistics to identify what our students are doing six months after graduating. Many find work, continue studying or even take time out to travel. Here are the statistics for our sports science students who graduated in 2013: Destination 66.7% Employed 24.2% Further study 1.2% Unemployed 7.9% Other Please note, these statistics (in line with national requirements) are gathered just six months after students graduate; employment prospects often change and improve greatly over the following few years. Find out more through the What do graduates do? publication at Here are a few examples of careers followed by our students: BSc (Hons) Sports Development Sports Coach Sports Programme Coordinator Regional Sports Coordinator BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science Sports Performance Manager Rehabilitation Adviser Sporting Events Coordinator Sports Science Looking Ahead University of Portsmouth 7

8 Contact us Education Liaison and Outreach Team University of Portsmouth T: St Andrew s Court E: St Michael s Road W: Portsmouth PO1 2PR Disclaimer Please be aware, this is not a course leaflet, it is a guide for university. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication at the time of going to press (April 2015). However, you are advised that this information could be subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to and for University of Portsmouth courses, please refer to our website Accessibility If this document is in a format inaccessible to you, contact us and we will provide the information in a more suitable format. Please PDF versions of this leaflet and others in the series are also available on our website at Titles in the series 01. Accounting, Economics and Finance 02. Architecture, Property and Surveying 03. Art and Design 04. Biological Sciences 05. Business and Management 06. Computing and Creative Technologies 07. Engineering 08. English, Film, Journalism and Media 09. Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences 10. Health Sciences and Social Work 11. History, Politics and Social Studies 12. Law and Criminology 13. Mathematics and Physics 14. Modern Languages and Area Studies 15. Psychology 16. Sports Science MD

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