Undergraduate Course

BSc Sports Performance and Coaching

Now In Clearing
BSc Sports Performance and Coaching


The details
Sports Performance and Coaching
October 2019
3 years
Colchester Campus

Work with athletes. Refine their performance. Boost their training. On our BSc Sports Performance and Coaching, you learn how science underpins performance sport, and how you can use that science to help to advance and improve it. Having a comprehensive knowledge of science is ideal for those who want to coach people of a variety of levels and ages.

Our excellent links with national governing bodies, such as, Volleyball England, Basketball England, Rugby Football Union and Lawn Tennis Association, give you real practical experience to enhance your learning. Our links also open up opportunities to gain experience working as a sports coach, and coaching education courses and workshops. You also have the option to work towards the National Governing Body of Sport coaching awards.

As well as gaining practical experience, you expand your knowledge and skills through studying topics including:

  • Strength and conditioning
  • Performance analysis
  • Training and coaching techniques and methods
  • Exercise programming
  • methods of assessing the fitness and training loads of sports teams and athletes

You can also work with our Human Performance Unit based on campus, supporting our sports scholarship students and national league teams.

By the time you graduate, you’ll possess the knowledge and skills required to work in a wide variety of roles within performance sport.

In August 2017, this course moved into our new School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. This will not change the content of the course but provides an exciting opportunity to join a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. This will allow us to bring together our internationally recognised research, share knowledge, and enhance placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.

Why we're great.
  • We are ranked top 10 in the UK for sports science (Guardian University Guide 2020).
  • Work with elite athletes and gain experience in our renowned Human Performance Unit.
  • You have the option to work towards the National Governing Body of Sport coaching awards.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation. This is usually focused around your course, and enables you to learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

We offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated "world-leading" or "internationally excellent" (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.

Key academic staff for this course include:

  • Dr Ben Jones, who played rugby at professional and international levels with England. Ben is an accredited rugby and strength and conditioning coach, with over 10 years of coaching experience in both the UK and the US
  • Chris McManus, who was a sport scientist providing nutrition support for Lucozade and is now a BASES accredited Sports Scientist managing our Human Performance Unit

    We also bring in experts who are currently working in roles such as performance analysis, strength and conditioning coaching, who deliver practical sessions and lectures alongside an academic member of staff.

    The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Our specialist facilities include our brand new £12 million Sports Centre, physiotherapy labs, six specialist sport & physiology labs, two dedicated sports therapy training labs, and an on-campus sports therapy clinic.

  • Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
  • Gain valuable experience working with elite athletes in our Human Performance Unit
  • State-of-the-art research facilities, from state of the art treadmills, to 7-camera biomechanics systems, to gas and blood analysis systems
  • Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories

Your future

If you want to follow a career in coaching children, adolescents or adults across all levels of abilities, or if you are a mid-career professional looking for a change of focus, then this course is for you. Gain the knowledge and skills needed to work in a wide variety of roles within performance sport.

Our graduates now work in the fields of sports performance, sports management and sports development, health care, teaching, and the health and fitness industry. Many also undertake further postgraduate study.

We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2019 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Professional Skills and Development 1

Ask difficult questions, and develop the skills needed to answer them. In this module, you learn how to critically analyse research literature to find gaps in scientific understanding, and gain the fundamental practical skills needed to create new knowledge.<br><br>Develop skills in research design, the application of key methods, the statistical analysis of data, and the interpretation and presentation of research findings. The practical skills that you will develop in this module, such as blood sampling, heart rate monitoring and psychological testing are also the professional competencies expected of Sports Scientists and acquiring them will begin to prepare you for a career in Sports Science support or in the field of exercise and health.

View Professional Skills and Development 1 on our Module Directory


Top athletes can move their bodies with astonishing speed and precision. But how? This module is concerned with the physical and mechanical principles that govern how our bodies move. You consider the effects of force, mass, speed, velocity, acceleration and momentum, and study how our bodies interact with other moving objects. You get hands-on right from the start, investigating theory through a number of laboratory-based practicals.

View Biomechanics on our Module Directory

Principles of Nutrition and Metabolism

Students will gain a basic knowledge of nutrition and metabolism underpinning Sports Science. On completion of the module, students will be able to describe the flow of nutrient intake and energy production supporting not only training and performance but optimal health. Intake of food, digestion, absorption, assimilation or metabolism of nutrients will all be explored, as well as sources of energy for different types of exercise and the cause of fatigue. This module will give students a firm foundation from which to study exercise physiology and the specific nutritional requirements of athletes including legal and illegal substances, in later modules.

View Principles of Nutrition and Metabolism on our Module Directory

Sport and Exercise Psychology

Is it all in the mind? The margin between victory and defeat is thin, but can an athlete’s psychology really give them an edge? You explore the potential application of Freudian Behavioural and existential psychology on a range of sport and exercise topics, focusing particularly on coaching and training. Investigate how psychology may be used to improve sports performance, and its role in sport with reference to the social forces of racism and sexism.

View Sport and Exercise Psychology on our Module Directory

Introduction to Coaching

Discover the basis, theory and practice of high-quality sports coaching. Learn how to develop your own coaching philosophy and style, how to plan, deliver and evaluate your coaching practice. You also explore how coaching combines knowledge from psychology, sociology and education to improve the performance of athletes and teams and how coaches manage behaviour, instruct sports-specific skills and administer physical training effectively.

View Introduction to Coaching on our Module Directory

Anatomy and Physiology for Coaches

This module will provide you with knowledge on the fundamental concepts of human anatomy and physiology which underpins the biological sciences. You will gain knowledge of the mechanisms associated with the control and regulation of the major systems of the body. The content will give you a foundation for more advanced study of Exercise Physiology or Applied Biomedicine.

View Anatomy and Physiology for Coaches on our Module Directory

SRES Summer School

In the Sports Science summer school you apply some of the basic science and research skills that you acquired in lectures and practical classes during your first year to the identification and investigation of research questions relevant to performance in a variety of sports. You also have an opportunity to develop your group working and communications skills whilst indulging in the simple enjoyment of participating in novel sporting experiences. You’ll practise and extend your skills in processing, evaluating and analysing data, basic tools of a sports scientists trade. Youll also be provided with a structured opportunity to think about your future, about how the academic, sporting and social experiences of your University life are contributing to your development as an individual and what you need to do to fulfil your hopes and potential.

View SRES Summer School on our Module Directory

Professional Skills and Development 2

Your biggest competition to date: the graduate job market. This module gives you a crucial head-start, ensuring you can both practically apply and effectively communicate your skills to the real-world and future employers.<br><br>During the Sports Science summer school you will identify and consequently investigate a chosen research question, working as part of a team to process, evaluate and analyse data. You will also have chance to prepare for life beyond graduation, developing a written strategy for optimising your employability, updating your skills e-portfolio and CV, and examining the job application process in detail.

View Professional Skills and Development 2 on our Module Directory

Exercise Physiology

How do our bodies respond and adapt to exercise and training? You review the structure and function of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, assessing how they respond to physical strain, and how they contribute to the limitations of human performance. You also consider how the nervous and endocrine systems are affected as well as the overall influence of environmental temperature and altitude.

View Exercise Physiology on our Module Directory

Sports Injuries and Exercise Rehabilitation

What are the major causes of sports injuries, and what are the best methods for treatment and prevention? Identify the causes, signs and symptoms of sport-specific injuries. Discover the anatomical and physiology mechanisms that underlie injuries and discuss the mechanisms that allow recovery. You also gain practical skills, learning to design and evaluate an exercise rehabilitation plan – considering the various phases of exercise rehabilitation.

View Sports Injuries and Exercise Rehabilitation on our Module Directory

Applied Biomechanics and Movement Analysis

To optimize performance in sports or rehabilitation, we first need to understand it. Biomechanics provide an interesting tool to do so. You start by exploring the most common and basic human movement: walking. You will learn about research on human gait and how we can use biomechanics to better understand human movement and enhance performance. In a practical, you will collect your own data and perform scientific experiments to understand and characterize the effect of footwear on performance, moving on to other cyclic movements, such as wheelchair exercise and mobility in the context of rehabilitation.<br><br>You also consider how biomechanics can help to prevent injuries in Paralympic wheelchair athletes, or improve mobility for persons in a wheelchair. Learn how to apply biomechanics in the multi-disciplinary context of sport sciences by modelling cyclic sports performance using an energy flow model.

View Applied Biomechanics and Movement Analysis on our Module Directory

Training Techniques and Assessment of Athletes

Students will learn about the theoretical and practical values and limitations inherent in assessing fitness, and of the methods and outcomes of training to enhance components of fitness. Student will learn how to perform reliable fitness tests, how to interpret their results and develop an understanding of the limitations of test methods. We will also review the rationale for, and the design and management of, training programmes to develop different components of fitness that are tailored to produce sport- and health-specific outcomes.

View Training Techniques and Assessment of Athletes on our Module Directory

Psychology of Coaching

The module aims to examine the personal, interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of sports coaching through the discipline of Sport Psychology. Sport Psychology can assist understanding and practice allocated with the core aspects of sport coaching such as; managing relationships, establishing effective communication, cultivating effective leadership, developing motivation, creating positive achievement climates and assisting participants in the development of important personal qualities and mental skills which support both participant well-being and performance achievement objectives.

View Psychology of Coaching on our Module Directory

Strength and Conditioning: Application and Theory

A good coach can take someone from where they are to where they want to be. This module aims to develop your understanding of how sport and exercise can be used in the coaching process. You will explore different approaches to planning training over a season, look at how to vary and monitor training volume, as well as the indicators of and consequences of overtraining. In addition, you will study the issues surrounding talent identification and development, the acquisition of skills, and contemporary issues associated with doping. You will also learn the importance of commitment - how developing your knowledge and skills as a coach, is a lifelong process.

View Strength and Conditioning: Application and Theory on our Module Directory

Performance Analysis

To achieve repeated success, coaches and athletes must know and understand what they have done to make them successful or unsuccessful, and make the right decisions at the right time. However, research shows that on average, athletes and coaches can only recall 30% of performance correctly. Performance analysis helps with the remaining 70% by providing the facts of what happened which makes it a vital component for athlete improvement. Performance analysis involves regular observations to enhance performance and improve decision making, primarily delivered through the provision of objective statistical (data analysis) and visual (video analysis) feedback. You will learn to apply these in a sport setting with the Universities Scholarship Sport Teams and with University Sport Partners.

View Performance Analysis on our Module Directory

Coaching for Learning and Psychosocial Skill Development (optional)
Applied Sports Psychology (optional)

This module will develop your skills to perform a thorough needs analysis of sports, individuals, and/or teams, investigate psychological strategies that are used to enhance performance, and examine how to develop interventions based on the current research literature. You will also explore the role of technology to enhance the delivery of sport psychology services. The module builds on Year 1 and 2 Sport and Performance Psychology modules and will focus on the application of scientific principles to enhance athletic performance.

View Applied Sports Psychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Strength and Conditioning (optional)

The role of a strength and conditioning coach is to use exercise prescription specifically to improve performance in athletic competition. They also help athletes with injury prevention and proper mechanics within their sports performances. Strength and Conditioning encompasses the entire physical development of the athlete in terms of what is needed to improve performance. This includes plyometrics, speed and agility, endurance and core stability with strength training being just one piece of the jigsaw. You will learn to design and deliver strength and conditioning programming in conjunction with sports medicine support. You will also learn the fundamental practical techniques that will aid you in the attainment of the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association Qualification (UKSCA).

View Strength and Conditioning (optional) on our Module Directory

Research Project and Skills in Sports Science

Conduct an individual scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree. Develop the skills required to identify a suitable question and then design an experimental approach to obtain data addressing this question. This module evaluates your analysis and presentation of these data in a suitable scientific paper format report, the research, understanding and critical writing about the scientific literature relating to your project. Your oral project presentation skills and response to questions, the planning and management of your project work, your progress reflection and your employability skills will also be part of the assessment.

View Research Project and Skills in Sports Science on our Module Directory


On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.


  • Practical work in your first two years
  • Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
  • Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely


  • Degrees are awarded on the results of your written examinations together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework
  • Contribute towards real-world research projects in your final year of study

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


International fee


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing


We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

Apply now
Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Related courses

Two women looking at a PC screen
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.