Psychology (Sport and Exercise) lacrosse header

BSc single honours Psychology (Sport and Exercise) 2018/19

Year of entry

Clearing places available

100% of our most recent Psychology (Sport And Exercise) students were in jobs or further study 6 months after finishing their course.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016-2017

Psychology seeks to understand human thoughts, emotions and behaviour though scientific study such as observations, interviews, experiments and questionnaires. A degree in Psychology (Sport and Exercise) gives you the chance to study an inherently fascinating and useful subject, within the specific contexts of sport and exercise, while offering you many opportunities for future development and employment.

The degree has three key strengths. First, the applied nature of our course provides insight into the practical application of psychological knowledge in the athletic and physical domain from early on in your academic journey. All core modules are designed to complement and balance one another. Second, aspects of employability are embedded within our course from start to finish, helping you to build a broad range of academic, personal and career skills, relevant to sport, exercise and physical activity. Finally, we are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This ensures quality and affords those passing their final year project and graduating with a 2:ii or above the Graduate Basis of Chartered Membership (GBC) required for many postgraduate psychology training courses.

“Studying Sport and Exercise Psychology at Christ Church not only helped me become a teacher of PE but it also helped me become a subject specialist and am now helping students find their own passion in sport psychology! My own sporting achievements and coaching benefitted too - helping to channel arousal, stop negative thoughts, focus attention and to know what makes a team tick. Helpful on the hockey field, tennis and netball courts! I cannot recommend this course and staff highly enough - the best decision I have ever made. You will never watch sport the way same again!”

Laura Green, a single honours course graduate. 

Top reason to choose this course:

In this course, you will meet a dedicated team of research-active staff who are passionate about teaching. 

Together, we have designed a course that provides an excellent study experience, with an interconnectedness between modules enhancing the coherence of your learning about psychology, sport and exercise. For example, in your first year, the theoretical aspects of topics presented in our Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Skill Acquisition module are applied to real sporting or exercise situations and further examined in the Contemporary Themes in Sport and Exercise Psychology module.

Awards to staff and students from within the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences include:

  • British Association of Sport and Exercises Sciences (BASES) student conference presentation prizes.
  • Joint BASES/British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) award for best exercise science research conference presentation.
  • Coubertin Prize 2008 awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (IPCC).
One member of the staff within the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences recently broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest 100km treadmill run (6 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds) – completed in our laboratory!

Psychology is a diverse and fascinating subject that deals with how we perceive the everyday world. From early on, we provide insight into the practical application of psychological knowledge in sport and exercise contexts. If you have a keen interest in the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of others and want to study them in a scientific way, specifically in relation to athletes, teams and physical activity, then this could be the ideal course for you.

The well-qualified and energetic team of research active staff is dedicated to ensuring that your course is thought-provoking and exciting. A fundamental aim of our staff is to facilitate your best performance throughout your educational journey.

90% of our most recent Psychology (Sport and Exercise) students were satisfied with their learning opportunities.

National Student Survey 2017

Our British Psychological Society accredited course is designed to offer a coherent delivery of subject specific knowledge, research skills, practical application and personal development at all levels of study. All the core areas of psychology are covered: biological, cognitive, developmental, individual differences, social, as well as conceptual and historical issues. These are related to key themes within the unique environments of sport and exercise. These themes, and typical questions asked, include:

  • The Psychology of the Individual: Is there a ‘psychological profile’ that predicts athletic success?
  • Social Psychology: How does our social environment influence the way we think, feel and act?
  • Motor Skill Acquisition and Coaching: How could a coach enhance a goalkeeper's perceptual anticipation of a penalty?
  • Health and Physical Activity: If regular exercise makes people happier and healthier, why do so few people actually do it?

These themes are connected and supported by a common psychological research theme that seeks to unpick the methods and procedures we might use to explore issues of a psychological nature, particularly within in the physical domain. By examining the theoretical, applied and practical literature underpinning each of these themes and core areas, you can develop your descriptive, investigative and critical thinking skills at every successive level of study. To further facilitate this development, our staff are enthusiastic and committed to helping you immerse yourself in research and consultancy activities.

In the Psychology (Sport & Exercise) programme, many of the core modules are rooted in mainstream psychology. The option modules are focused on sport, exercise, physical activity and coaching, allowing you to specialise in the areas of sport and exercise psychology you find the most stimulating.

Year one

Core Modules

Brain, Mind & Behaviour

Psychobiology and cognitive psychology are core areas of the British Psychological Society’s curriculum for accredited undergraduate programmes. This module will introduce you to the contribution that psychobiology and cognition have made to our understanding of the brain, cognition, behaviour, and the links between them.

Key Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology

This module provides an introduction to research methods relevant to sport and exercise psychology. Through a combination of lectures, seminars, and practical experiences, you will explore the strengths and limitations of different methodological approaches to examining psychological and behavioural processes in sport and exercise. Learning to analyse and interpret both qualitative and quantitative data will also strengthen your appreciation of the research process from inception to dissemination.

Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Skill Acquisition

This module will provide an introduction to the area of sport and exercise psychology. Central concepts such as personality, attributions, aggression, motivation, arousal, anxiety and stress are currently examined with reference to their implications for sport and exercise behaviour. The nature and development of groups and the influence of group dynamics on individual behaviour will be introduced. Cognitive processes involved in skill acquisition and performance, and the relationships between sport, exercise and health and well-being will be studied.

Research in Psychology 1

This module provides the building blocks for the scientific study of thoughts, emotions and behaviours. You will be introduced to the most commonly employed methods of data collection and data analysis. You will also gain practical experience in designing empirical studies and analysing data. This module will emphasise the importance of research methods not only to conduct research, but also to understand and critically evaluate psychological literature in all of your other modules.

Social and Developing Self

Social psychology, developmental psychology and individual differences are core areas of the British Psychological Society’s curriculum for accredited undergraduate programmes. This module will introduce you to the contribution that social and developmental psychology, and the psychology of individual differences, have made to our understanding of the self.

Likely optional module

Contemporary Themes in Sport and Exercise Psychology

This module encourages you to explore and examine contemporary issues in sport and exercise psychology and critically apply them to a wide range of scenarios. Within seminars, students currently present and explain an observed behaviour that may relate to psychologically relevant topics such as confidence, motivation and aggression. The module focuses upon contentious aspects of psychological theories and encourages you to reflect upon your own perspective in relation to such issues.

Year two

Core modules

Biological and Cognitive Psychology

Expanding on content covered in the Brain and Mind module in year one, this module will further your knowledge and understanding of contemporary topics, theories and research in biological and cognitive psychology. The module will also examine the techniques used in neuropsychology and explore the relationship between brain and behaviour to enhance your understanding of issues such as cerebral asymmetry and movement.

Psychology of Exercise and Health

This module examines a number of the psychological factors associated with the adoption of and adherence to active lifestyles. Specific attention is paid to the cognitive and affective consequences of participation in exercise programmes, and the impact of these on health and wellbeing. An additional topic currently explored is the motivational effects of music in exercise settings.

Research Methods in Psychology 2

This module builds upon material covered in Research in Psychology 1 by extending your knowledge and understanding of research methods in psychology, introducing you to more sophisticated techniques widely used in the analysis of quantitative data (such as ANOVA) and qualitative data (such as content analysis) and providing further, more independent, experience in designing, conducting and reporting your own research.

Skill Acquisition

This module aims to provide insight into some of the factors which influence the acquisition and performance of perceptual and motor skills in sport. You will develop an understanding of selected cognitive and ecological methodologies to skilled performance. These theoretical approaches to skill acquisition will be used to critique the design and organisation of current coaching practice.

Social and Developmental Psychology

This module builds on material covered in The Social and Developing Self in year one, in covering key perspectives and topics in the study of social and developmental psychology. You will be given the opportunity to acquire a comprehensive understanding of topics spanning the breadth of interpersonal relationships to intergroup relations (e.g. social influence), with special attention given to the potential for practical application. This module also considers aspects of development that are relevant to children’s developing understanding of the self and the social world such as infant cognition, play and moral understanding.

Sport Psychology

This module examines a range of factors which influence the competitive sport performance of both individual athletes and teams. Psychological phenomena currently addressed on the module include individual motivation, confidence and anxiety and such social psychological processes as group motivation and cohesion, the nature of the group environment and the components of effective leadership.

Year three

Core modules

Applied Sport Psychology

This module provides you with a rich understanding of the processes involved in developing, delivering and evaluating a sport psychology intervention. A critical consideration of the evidence-base for sport psychology alongside an understanding of the practical techniques and processes commonly used by sport psychologists will equip you with a well-rounded perspective about the perils and promise of applied sport psychology.

Extended Research Project

The final year empirical project is a core requirement of the British Psychological Society’s curriculum. This module offers you the opportunity to undertake a significant piece of independent research, under supervisory guidance, of a particular topic or issue related to and/or arising out of sport, exercise or coaching topics covered in the Psychology (Sport and Exercise) degree. The module offers you the opportunity to build upon the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in previous years, and a vehicle by which you may further explore the use of quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies used within the discipline.

Personality and Individual Differences

This module builds on material covered in The Social and Developing Self in year one, by covering key perspectives and topics in the study of personality and individual differences. The module aims to provide you with a knowledge and understanding of key theories, research findings, and debates in this area.

Sport and Exercise Psychology in Critical Perspective

This module covers a range of topics and issues central to psychology, from a critical standpoint. The included topics will reflect the ongoing and dynamic research taking place within the section, and will facilitate a sceptical and scientific approach to the nature of psychology applied to sport, exercise and the physical domain. A range of philosophical issues having a bearing on psychology’s methodological and foundational assumptions will be critiqued.

Optional modules

Applied Exercise and Health Psychology

This module explores the current perspectives and contemporary research in the psychology of exercise and health field. This module examines the potential for effective behaviour change interventions in the exercise domain. The module currently involves topic areas such as the psychology of exercise addiction, exercise and pregnancy, and eating behaviours. The module explores the impact of exercise behaviour on the holistic health of individuals, communities and the population.

Psychology of Sport Coaching

This module will examine the processes and principles of coaching both adults and children in sport. Students will gain significant theoretical and practical experience of different approaches to coaching practice and the application of coaching ideologies in a variety of sports. The module examines coaching research and current issues in coach behaviour, currently including such topics as the coach-athlete relationship, coaching styles, modes of communication, and motivational climates.

A degree in Psychology (Sport and Exercise) affords you many employment and postgraduate study options. Careers in the health and fitness professions are common, and sport coaching roles are underpinned by the skills developed within the course, as are a variety of teaching positions (via postgraduate teacher training) or roles as sport ‘scientific support’ personnel. Psychology graduates also often find employment in the caring professions, education, business and management, and other people-focused occupations. Accreditation from the British Psychological Society gives qualifying graduates the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), which is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. It allows graduates to pursue postgraduate vocational training in areas such as clinical psychology, educational psychology and health psychology.

“I currently work as part of a multi-disciplinary team on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, specialising in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Studying the Psychology of Sport and Exercise enhanced my interest in this area and provided me with a sound knowledge base, which I am utilising on a daily basis as I assist children in all aspects of their road to recovery. The subjects covered during my degree, combined with the invaluable support of my course tutors has certainly provided me with a springboard to success and a positive mind set!”

Charlotte Kay, Psychology (Sport and Exercise) graduate 

Many of the personal, academic, professional and social skills and competencies that are much sought after in a wide variety of positions are embedded within and systematically developed over the course of the degree, thus preparing you for a broad range of potential careers and postgraduate study options. These skills include information seeking, research, data handling, problem-solving, interpersonal communication and critical evaluation.

After a successful career in the Parachute Regiment, a former mature student was the first person to paraglide from John O’Groats to Dover in aid of the charity Help for Heroes.


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £11,500
Part-time * £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2018/19 only. Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Clothing / Kit Corporate (badged by programme) sports kit purchase is optional. Price list by garment is sent to students via online induction web page normally in July prior to the start of their course. Prices of items range currently from £22 (for a t-shirt) to £50 (for a rain jacket).

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

93% for teaching quality in Psychology (Sport and Exercise).

National Student Survey 2017

Composition of the course

Learning and teaching methods may include lectures, seminars, individual and group tutorials, directed independent study, practicals and research projects, workshops, reflective practice, and structured discussions. For a typical 20 credit module, you will receive around 50 hours of academic direction and invest around 150 hours of independent study. Contact takes place in face-to-face and online environments, and learning and teaching methods are continually informed by student feedback.

In addition to curricular activity, we strongly encourage volunteering and graduate placements, and will help you connect with worthwhile charities and organisations.

Academic input

You will be supported at all stages of your degree by our research­active team of experienced academic staff including lecturers, senior lecturers, principal lecturers, and postgraduate researchers with additional input from external practitioners and experts on selected modules. The programme is supported by a group of dedicated administrative and technical staff. The Section of Sport & Exercise Sciences consultancy unit, SportsLab, also has a manager and access to a number of experienced sport performance consultants.

You will be assessed through a range of methods, including individual and group presentations, case studies, essays, scientific reports and examinations. These are planned to take account of two inter-dependent aspects:

  • the acquisition of relevant theory and principles;
  • the development of both academic and practical skills.

Accordingly, assessment procedures will take account of not only your newly-acquired knowledge, but also the process of developing skills and the ability to apply such knowledge and skills in the world of work.

Professional accreditation

GBC represents the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist and allows graduates to pursue postgraduate vocational training in areas such as clinical psychology, educational psychology and health psychology, as well as sport and/or exercise psychology. Other graduates continue their academic journey with further postgraduate study (up to and including PhD level).

The Psychology (Sport & Exercise) Programme adheres to the BPS Code of Ethics and Conduct, which can be obtained from the British Psychological Society. 

Specialist facilities

You will have access to both psychology and sport and exercise science-specific resources including online study skills materials and our dedicated teaching spaces and laboratories, which include seminar rooms, an eye-tracker, brain imaging equipment (EEG), and an observation suite equipped with a one-way mirror and video surveillance. Our sport and exercise related equipment includes treadmills, weights, light gates and body composition apparatus. We also incorporate the use of specialist software to conduct data analysis, including SPSS and NVivo. Finally, our academic tutors, technicians, administrators and support team together aim to make a positive difference to the student experience.

Industry links

Our course, research and consultancy work are continually developed with consideration of advances and relevant stakeholder needs within the wider health and fitness industry.

Our psychology team has numerous research groups that aim to collaborate with external organisations. For example, the Learning and Development group has conducted research in local schools, in local charities (e.g. SNAAP) and for CBeebies. Members of the team are also associates of the UK Institute of Migrant Research (UK­IMR).

Selected staff that contribute to the programme are accredited by or registered with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), the British Psychological Society (BPS), the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Many members of the teaching staff within the Section hold coaching qualifications awarded by a range of national governing bodies.

Grade C or above, or equivalent, in GCSE Mathematics


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • C813 Psychology (Sport and Exercise)

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements

  • A typical offer would be 96-120 UCAS Tariff points. We do not require you to have taken Psychology at A Level, although a background in the subject is always helpful. We do, however, require a GCSE C or above in Mathematics, or equivalent (including a GCSE in Statistics).

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited: 07/08/2018 14:07:00