Sport and Exercise Psychology

BSc honours in combination with another subject Sport and Exercise Psychology 2019/20

Year of entry

Clearing places available

This thought provoking and highly stimulating combined honours course offers you the chance to study psychology and its application to sport and exercise in combination with another subject of your choice.

Guided by a dedicated team of research active staff, you will explore a range of psychological themes and relate them to the unique environments of sport and exercise, applying them to real situations in an attempt to explain, predict or modify human behaviour.

You will explore areas including:

  • the psychology of the individual
  • social psychology
  • motor skill acquisition and coaching
  • health and physical activity.

The course covers a wide and provocative range of psychological concepts (such as the intricacies of thoughts and cognitions and the power of emotion) in an attempt to understand, explain and in some circumstances, predict or modify human behaviour in a variety of situations, particularly those related to sport, exercise and physical activity.

“Thanks for making Sport and Exercise Psychology so interesting! The staff are all so approachable and open – I’m going to really enjoy studying here!”

A current combined honours Sport and Exercise Psychology first year student. 

In studying Sport and Exercise Psychology with us within the Section of Sport & Exercise Sciences, you will meet a dedicated team of research active staff who are passionate about teaching and research. You will have access to a range of resources and equipment such as our student focused laboratories, which include aerobic, flexibility, strength and power testing, force mat and platform assessment tools, 3D high speed filming and eye tracker hardware. This allows for a varied student learning experience where theoretical understanding can be contextualised in practical participation.

This course has been designed to deliver an excellent study experience, with a coherent programme of study exploring psychology and the application to 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.

The Sport and Exercise Sciences are extremely well established at Christ Church with sport related academic courses having been successfully delivered for over 35 years, making us one of the longest standing sport and exercise sciences related providers in the UK.

Our wealth of expertise and dedication is drawn upon to support our goal of helping you to achieve your full academic potential.

Top reason to choose this course

Studying Sport and Exercise Psychology within the Section of Sport & Exercise Sciences guarantees that you will be taught by a well-qualified and dynamic team of research active staff, dedicated to ensuring that your course is stimulating and fun.  All students in the Section will have a ‘consultancy’ and ‘research’ informed experience.  Students will engage in activity aligned to the University consultancy unit ‘SportsLab’ that provides scientific services for sports people.  There are opportunities for paid employment for undergraduate students working for SportsLab when undertaking their studies. The Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences staff are nationally and internationally recognised for their research, and we are the number one Research Institution for the Sport and Exercise Sciences in Kent (REF 2014).

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

  • Student BASES conference presentation prizes.
  • Joint British Association of Sport and Exercises Sciences/British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine 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).

The course explores a number of psychological themes and relates them to 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 research and study skills theme that seeks to unpick the methods and procedures we might use to explore issues of a psychological nature in the physical domain.

As a Combined Honours student, you will have the flexibility to study more or less of these themes, depending on what and how you chose to study in your other subject.

By examining the theoretical, applied and practical literature underpinning each of these themes, you can develop your descriptive, investigative and critical thinking skills at every successive level of study. 

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!

Industry stakeholders regularly contribute to the teaching programme to enhance the student experience. Guest lecturers on the course have included multiple Olympians, international level coaches and medalists at the Commonwealth Games.

Core modules

Year 1

Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Skill Acquisition (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the fundamental psychology that underpins our understanding of human behaviour and learning in sport and exercise settings. Central concepts such as personality, attributions, aggression, motivation, arousal, anxiety and stress are examined with reference to behaviour in the sport, exercise, and the physical activity setting. The nature and development of groups and the influence of group dynamics on individual behaviour are also explored, along with cognitive processes involved in skill acquisition and performance, and the relationships between exercise participation and health and well­being.

Key Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 credits)

This module provides an introduction to research methods in 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.

Year 2

Sport Psychology (20 credits)

The 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.

Psychology of Exercise and Health (20 credits)

This module investigates a number of the psychological factors that are 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.

Year 3

Applied Sport Psychology (20 credits)

The module offers the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a particular topic in the sport and exercise sciences. The module affords an opportunity to build upon knowledge, understanding and skills developed in years one and two.  You will design, carry out, analyse and write up an individual research project under the supervision of a member of the academic staff with teaching responsibilities and/or research interests in the student’s area of study.

Sport and Exercise Psychology in Critical Perspective (20 credits)

The 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.

Likely optional modules

Year 1

Contemporary Themes in Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 credits)

The 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.

Orientation to Higher Education and Research in the Sport and Exercise Sciences (20 credits)

This module facilitates a smooth transition into Higher Education (HE) and the challenges it presents by building on your pre-existing skills, enabling you to become more independent and self-managed in your approach to study, learning and time management. The module developments skills and techniques used in the study of sport and exercise. It will identify a variety of methods by which research is conducted in sport and exercise science and will provide the opportunity for you to develop a scientific approach to your studies. You will have your personal academic tutoring initially aligned with the content of this module.

Year 2

Skill Acquisition (20 credits)

There are many roles within the sport sector which require well-qualified people to teach, develop and enable others to successfully execute skilled movements.  This module provides 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.

Research Methods and Career Skills Development (20 credits)

You will explore alternative approaches to research in sport and exercise science, and the philosophies and practices associated with each. The research process will be explored from conceptualisation through to presentation. Accordingly, you will develop an understanding of how to design research, collect, analyse, and interpret data, and present research in an appropriate manner. This module develops your ability to critically evaluate and conduct research in sport and exercise science and provides the conceptual underpinnings for a third year individual study, and supports the development of fundamental skills utilised in the sport and exercise industry

Year 3

Applied Exercise and Health Psychology (20 credits)

This module provides you with an opportunity to investigate 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.

Psychology of Sport Coaching (20 credits)

The module examines the processes and principles of coaching both adults and children in sport. You 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 probes coaching research and current issues in coach behaviour, currently including such topics as the coach­athlete relationship, coaching styles, modes of communication, and motivational climates.

EITHER Applied Research Study (40 credits) OR Research and Career Planning

These two modules offer you the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of a particular topic or issue related to the Sport and Exercise Psychology themes explored earlier in the programme. You will be able to build upon the knowledge, understanding and skills developed so far in the course and further explore or propose the use of quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies, as appropriate in a subject area of your choice.

A degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology affords you many employment 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).

Many graduates work towards becoming fulltime accredited sport or exercise psychologists (via continued postgraduate training) or ‘scientific support’ personnel. Other graduates continue their academic journey with further postgraduate study up to and including PhD level.

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 throughout the course, thus preparing you for a broad range of potential careers and post graduate study opportunities. These skills include information seeking, research, data handling, problem solving, interpersonal communication and critical evaluation.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900
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 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 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 It is recommended that all Sport and Exercise Sciences students including those taking Sport Coaching Science purchase a selection of required sport clothing items at the beginning of the first year. The cost is a minimum of £120.

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.


You will be taught through a combination of real and virtual lectures, seminars, practical sessions, labs, workshops and tutorials. You will typically have around 10-14 contact hours per week. Your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select.

Seminars and tutorials in smaller groups will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures and other sessions. In addition, you will meet with your personal academic tutor on a regular basis. 

As a Sport and Exercise Psychology student, you will have access to specific resources including state of the art laboratories housing ‘gold standard’ equipment; including  eye tracker technology, brain imaging equipment (EEG), reaction timers, gas analysis systems, cardiac screening equipment, 3D imaging, isokinetic and balance dynamometry, sprint timing systems and other sport/exercise related equipment (treadmills and weights, for example). The Sport and Exercise Psychology students have access to their own IT lab, and all teaching is supported by online study skills material.

There are many opportunities within the programme to focus study on areas of interest and study topics that are aligned with career ambition.  All students in the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences will have a ‘consultancy’ and ‘research’ informed experience. Students will engage in activity aligned to the University consultancy unit ‘SportsLab’ that provides scientific services for sports people.  There are opportunities for paid employment for undergraduate students working for SportsLab when undertaking their studies. The Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences staff are nationally and internationally recognised for their research, and you will have the opportunity to conduct a final year project (dissertation) which will based on a topic area of your choice utilising support from the academic, technical and professional services staff.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for workshops, seminars, coursework and examinations.

Each module tutors will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before and/or after class to support your learning and development. Your allocated personal academic tutor will help you review your performance, and support your independent learning.

During the final year of study the research project (dissertation), offers the opportunity to engage in an independent research programme where you will work under the supervision of a member of the academic staff who you will meet regularly.

Overall workload

Your overall workload typically consists of 10-14 contact hours per week. You will undertake 15-20 hours independent learning and assessment related activity.  During each semester you will normally study three modules, so each module will have a 10-12 hour commitment per week.

Academic input

The programme team consists of highly qualified academics, supported by a specialist professional services and highly skilled technical team. They have a range of expertise and experience across the breadth of disciplines in Sport and Exercise Sciences generally, and Sport & Exercise Psychology specifically.

It is a University requirement that all academic staff have, or are working towards obtaining teaching qualifications, the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences is 100% compliant with this regulation. The majority of staff hold the highest academic qualification (doctorate), with a small number of staff working towards achieving this standard. Staff are research-active, and many of the Sport and Exercise Psychology team are at the forefront of their research fields in the UK and beyond, and have substantial experience in delivering research led and research informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching team on our staff webpage. You should note that members of the teaching team might change.

The Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate cohort, and these students sometimes assist in teaching some module content in their areas of expertise, and assist with peer learning. However, the vast majority of delivery is undertaken by an experienced academic team.


The course frequently provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Many modules contain practice or 'formative' assessments or similar submissions for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Formative or practice assessments and submissions are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

The formal or 'summative' assessments on each module are planned to take account of two inter­dependent aspects - the acquisition of relevant theory / principles, and the development of both academic and practical skills.

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, your final year project (dissertation) and written examinations. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework over the duration of the programme is approx. 70%.


You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. We aim to provide you with feedback within 15 working days of hand-in.  The quality and quantity of our feedback is often highlighted as exceptional by external examiners who annually review our academic practices.

As a student within the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences, you will have access to our well-equipped laboratories used to measure and assess sport and exercise performance. You will also have the opportunity to work within our consultancy unit SportsLab, through which we work with professional athletes, conducting performance related tests and using our expertise to help athletes boost their performance either as an individual or as a team.

Our course, research and consultancy work are continually developed with consideration of advances and relevant stakeholder needs within the wider health and fitness industry. We are currently one of 12 Universities working with the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) to develop professional standards in the sector which are aligned with Higher Education qualifications.

Selected staff 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/or the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Many members of the teaching staff hold coaching qualifications awarded by a range of national governing bodies.


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

  • CM89 Applied Criminology/Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • CX83 Early Childhood Studies/Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • CN68 Tourism Studies/Sport & Exercise Psychology

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    4 years full-time including a Foundation Year

    6 years part-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 03/07/2019 09:51:00