Sports Development and Coaching

Abertay's Sports Development and Coaching degree produces graduates who truly understand the challenges and ever evolving nature of the field.

Course detail

Start Date



4 years

Award Title

BSc (Hons)



Why study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Sports Development and Coaching?

From grassroots initiatives developing the next generation of athletes to training elite sportspeople on the world stage – sports development and coaching requires well qualified graduates who truly understand the challenges and ever evolving nature of the field.

Please note: This is one of the specialist routes within the sports portfolio at Abertay. You’ll make your choice of specialist route at the end of stage two of the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme. Students must have completed SPS105 or have a coaching award, a coaching module or have prior experience of coaching at least one sport prior to starting Stage 3 of this programme.

Study the sciences that underpin sport – physiology, sociology, psychology and biomechanics – and gain a comprehensive understanding of sport coaching, social policy, sport development and social issues in sport and exercise more generally as you progress through this fascinating and hands-on degree.

Sport is an expansive industry, which is why this programme has been designed to reflect this diverse and changing employment market to incorporate  coaching, service provision, duty of care, as well as personal and community development. 

Practical activities and work placements will enable you to contextualise theory to real life applications – including volunteering with the Active Schools programme – and prepare for National Governing Body or industry qualifications and employment in sport. 

This course scored an incredible 100% for Overall Student Satisfaction in the 2020 National Student Survey. Also, Abertay ranked in the 2020 top three Scottish Universities for Student SatisfactionAnd in the Guardian Good University Guide for 2021, Abertay ranked 3rd in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching, and 8th in the UK for overall student satisfaction.

Virtual Open Day October 31 2020

We aim to immerse you in student life here at Abertay and give you a true feel for our courses and our amazing academic community.

Open Days are busy, fun and full-on. And Virtual Open Days online are new to all of us, so we will make sure you know what to expect, and how you can prepare for the event.

It's a day full of talks and videos about student life. Find out all about Abertay at our virtual Open Day on 31 October 2020.



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Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must have a pass Maths - National 5 grade C or GCSE grade C/4.  National 5 Lifeskill Maths not accepted in lieu of Maths.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses. You should look for those courses suitable for entry onto our BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise.

Years 1 or 2 Entry to year 1 or 2 of this programme is through the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme, which will allow you to progress to this programme at the end of Year 2.

Qualification Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Advanced entry is available to applicants with a suitable HND. Please refer to the articulation routes to BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise on our Entry from College pages. - -

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Your Journey Starts Here

In the first two years, you’ll follow a core curriculum that provides a basis for more specialised study in the final two years. At the end of the second year of study, you’ll choose a route leading to BSc (Hons) in one of the following specific named awards:

  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science
  • BSc (Hons) Physical Activity and Health
  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise
  • BSc (Hons) Sports Development and Coaching
  • BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning

You’ll also be given access to our Human Performance Laboratory, with running, rowing, fitness testing and weights machines. You’ll also have opportunities to meet the numerous professional sportsmen and sportswomen who draw on the expertise of our lecturing staff within this facility.

Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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Entry Requirements by Country

Discover whether you're eligible for entry and learn more about the country-specific qualifications you need to study at Abertay.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined below, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules. 

Key Modules (2019/20)

Sports Coaching: Linking theory to Practice (SPS301)

The concepts of coaching and learning and their application to physical activity environments. Move beyond a reductionist view of coaching simply as a systematic procedure and consider the influence of the social aspects of coaching such as leadership, relationships, and social environments. Module content: Coaching and learning; The role of the coach; The coaching process; Skill development; Participant Groups.

Social Issues in Sport and Exercise (SPS313)

Contemporary issues in sport and exercise, particularly those likely to be encountered and navigated in future employment. Module content: Social theory; Inequality and discrimination; Sport and politics; Ethics and sport.

Research Methods (SPS312)

Develop ideas about research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health, to better understand and appreciate published research and carry out a research project in your final year of study. Module content: The research process; Formulating and refining research questions; Research methodologies; Ethical issues; Practical skill development.

Managing Sport Policy and Development (SPS307)

An overview of sports policy and development in the UK. Learn to evaluate sports development planning and development. Module content: Introduction to managing sport development; Sport, exercise and physical body culture; UK Sport; Sport and social policy issues; Ideologies underpinning sport; Structures and governance of sport; Strategic management and organisational theory; Marketing and managing sports development; Monitoring and evaluation.

Sport Research Project (SPS400)

Undertake an independent research project in a subject area that reflects your award title. Module content: Research project topics - Students select their research project topics with staff. Each student is allocated a supervisory tutor within the Division; Supervisory sessions - Supervisory sessions will cover the identification of a research question; necessary elements of research design; the approach needed to prepare for and complete the research project; a range of appropriate research methods; appropriate statistical analyses; the structure of the research report; the interpretation of the research results; possible or probable conclusions; and the writing of the report.

Duty of Care in Sport (SPS413)

The Sport Duty of Care Review raised questions about whether the wellbeing and welfare of people are being put at the centre of what sport does and delivers. Examine relevant and contemporary topics related to duty of care in sport. Module content: Safeguarding; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Injuries; Career transitions; Mental health; Education; Representation of the participant’s voice.

Coach Education and Support (SPS406)

Build upon previously developed understanding of the concepts of coaching and learning by explicitly exploring coach development, education and the support of the coaching process. The issues of professionalism in education and pedagogy. Different approaches to the development of those responsible for expertise in athletes and other learners. Module content: The coach as a professional; Coach education; National Governing Bodies; Volunteer culture.

Sport for Development (1) (SPS407)

The way sport can be used to address social issues, some of the problems with this approach, and how these issues can be overcome. Module content: Community development; Ideologies of sport for development; Community Practice; Sport and urban regeneration; Sport for development and peace; Sport, globalisation and development; Sport, capitalism and inequality; Liberating education and critical consciousness; The politics of development.

How the Course Works


Learning and Assessment 

You’ll learn through a blend of lectures, small group work, and practical activities. You also undertake work placements to reinforce the link between theory and practice.

You’ll be encouraged to evaluate information and challenge commonly held ideas about sport and exercise, as well as being invited to research your own areas of interest and expertise.

You’ll be assessed through a combination of examination and coursework to help you develop a variety of intellectual and practical skills, such as being able to put forward a position based on evidence, or being able to discuss and promote ideas within a group.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BSc (Honours) Sports Development and Coaching

Programme Fees

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year. Fees are normally funded through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for eligible students.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Sport students have to cover the cost of the PVG scheme in order to be able to work with children and vulnerable adults (cost £59 for a new application, £19 for renewal). You’ll also have to purchase Abertay branded sports kit for use in practical sessions and placements. The cost of the basic kit is £84.

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Sport students have to cover the cost of the PVG scheme in order to be able to work with children and vulnerable adults (cost £59 for a new application, £19 for renewal). You’ll also have to purchase Abertay branded sports kit for use in practical sessions and placements. The cost of the basic kit is £84.

International Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Sport students have to cover the cost of the PVG scheme in order to be able to work with children and vulnerable adults (cost £59 for a new application, £19 for renewal). You’ll also have to purchase Abertay branded sports kit for use in practical sessions and placements. The cost of the basic kit is £84.


We offer a range of scholarships to help support your studies with us.

As well as Abertay scholarships for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and international students, there are a range of corporate and philanthropic scholarships available. Some are course specific, many are not. There are some listed below or you can visit the Undergraduate scholarship pages.

Abertay International Scholarship

This is an award of up to £12,000 for prospective international undergraduate students.

Abertay rUK Scholarship

This is a £9,200 award for prospective undergraduate students applying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £1,000 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.


There are many career opportunities available for well qualified graduates from this route, including:

  • Sports development officers in local authorities or individual sports
  • Physical activity development officers/coordinators
  • Sports administrators
  • Community coach

You’ll also find job opportunities in complementary occupations where leadership, motivation and communication are valued – including police officers, firefighters, journalists, marketing executives, public relations officers, and youth workers.

If you’re interested in teaching as a career, this programme meets the requirements for entry onto PGCE courses. This degree will also provide appropriate underpinnings for further study at MSc or PhD level.

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Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

Get inspired

Meet some of our Sports Development and Coaching graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

A picture of Debbi McCullock in her Spartans coaching outfit.

Debbi McCulloch

Debbi rose up from groundsman to Business and Operations Manager at Spartans Academy.

Find out more

A photo of Paul Brand in Manchester United kit holding a trophy

Paul Brand

Paul landed his dream job as Head of First Team Analysis at Manchester United.

Find out more

A picture of Mark Williams holding a football

Mark Williams

Mark is Chief Operations Officer at the Denis Law Legacy Trust, which puts on a range of different programmes, ranging from activities in primary scho

Find out more

Programme Leader - Sports Development and Coaching

Dr Rhiannon Lord

Dr Rhiannon Lord

School of Applied Sciences | Lecturer

View profile

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