Sport and Exercise Psychology

BSc honours in combination with another subject Sport and Exercise Psychology 2020/21

Year of entry

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, you will meet a dedicated team of research active staff who are passionate about teaching and research. In relation to the Sport and Exercise Science’s more broadly, we are the number one Research Institution for the Sport and Exercise Sciences in Kent (REF 2014).

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.

A fundamental aim of our course is to equip you with key skills relevant to continuing your journey when you graduate.

Top reason to choose this course

Studying Sport and Exercise Psychology with us assures that you will be taught by a well qualified and energetic team of research active staff, dedicated to ensuring that your course is thought provoking and exciting.

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).

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to allow you to study the psychological elements of sport and exercise in combination with another subject of your choice, such as Dance, Early Childhood Studies, Sociology or Tourism and Leisure.

Many of our graduates go on to work within the healthcare professions, while others work within sports coaching or teaching. Some graduates will even work towards becoming a full-time accredited sport or exercise psychologist, supporting professional athletes to achieve optimum performance. Whatever path you choose, you will be equipped with the skills and the knowledge to make a success of your chosen career, and will be a valuable asset to employers.

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. To further facilitate this development, our staff are enthusiastic and committed to helping you immerse yourself in research and consultancy activities.

“The combined honours degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology and Theology at Christ Church facilitated my awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of professional life. Studying the diverse degree also sustained my interest, afforded the growth of a varied knowledge base and a flexibility of skill development which has widened my professional choices within the education sector”

Jodie Wallace, A combined honours course graduate. 

Core modules

Year one

Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Skill Acquisition

The 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 will be 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 wellbeing will be examined.

Key Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology

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 two

Sport Psychology

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

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.

Year three

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.

Sport and Exercise Psychology in Critical Perspective

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 One

Contemporary Themes in Sport and Exercise Psychology

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

The aim of this module is to facilitate 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 also aims to facilitate the development of skills and techniques used in the study of sport and exercise. It will identify a variety of methods by which research is conducted in the sport and exercise sciences and will provide the opportunity for you to develop a scientific approach to your studies.

Year Two

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.

Research Methods and Career Skills Development

You will explore alternative approaches to research within the sport and exercise sciences, 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.

Year Three

Applied Exercise and Health Psychology

The module explores the current perspectives and contemporary research in the psychology of exercise and health field. You will examine 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

The module will examine 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 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.

EITHER Individual Research Project OR Applied Research Study

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

A degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology sets you up for 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 full-time 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.


Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

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.

Students 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 interdependent 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.

You will require 55% in the year two Research Methods & Career Skills Development module to select the Applied Research Study module in year three.

As a student of Sport and Exercise Sciences, you will have access to our dedicated laboratories and equipment including treadmills, weights, light gates and body composition apparatus 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 use our expertise to help athletes boost their performance either as an individual or a team. Finally, our academic tutors, technicians, administrators and support team together aim to make a positive difference to the student experience.

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

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.

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

    6 years part-time


  • September 2020

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 29/05/2019 13:21:00