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Sport and Psychology

The BSc (Hons) Sport and Psychology degree is unique to Scotland. It examines the sciences underpinning the study of sport: how the mind and body work together for sport performance.

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code: CC68 BSc/SpPsy

Duration: 4 years (full-time)


Why choose this course?  

  • The programme is the only one of its kind in Scotland, and is professionally accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) conferring eligibility for Graduate Basis Chartership.
  • Teaching is underpinned by research and there is a strong emphasis on the links with industry, including opportunities for placements and internships.
  • 91% of students said they were 'very satisfied overall' with their Sports programme at Abertay University in the 2015 National Student Survey.
  • Sport and Psychology research at Abertay have been recognised as areas of excellence within the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Sports Psychology is the study of mental and emotional responses to taking part in sport and exercise and how this can be optimised to encourage participation and improve performance.

Teaching draws on the core disciplines of Sport and Exercise Science and Psychology.  Students will also be taught how to apply the theoretical knowledge gained to practical settings across a plethora of real world situations. 

Our students said: 

"I have enjoyed the diversity of both a sports degree and a psychological one, . . . the degree has allowed me to choose from a wider range of jobs in both sport and psychology."  Scott, Glasgow

"It is interesting to see the support an athlete has behind the scenes and you can learn a lot from doing a joint degree like sport and psychology."  Kirsty, Dundee

"The course has been hard at times, but really interesting.  Having sports science and psychology combined is a fantastic idea.  Keeps you physically and mentally fit!"  Sarah, Fife 


What you study

What you study

You will study the scientific underpinnings of Sport and Psychology with core areas following the curriculum set out by the British Psychological Society, including:

  • Biological and Evolutionary Psychology 
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology

The course also provides a strong focus on developing the necessary skills for understanding sport performance and how sport is experienced and delivered within community settings. This is reflected in its core areas of physiology, biomechanics, psychology and social sciences, the inclusion of which ensures students have an underpinning of the disciplines needed to comprehend how the body and mind responds to sport training.  In addition social science seeks to contextualise how communities experience sport, and the impact this has on them.

You will also have the opportunity to study theme-based, interdisciplinary elective modules in the early years.

Placement opportunities exist throughout the programme, and optional courses will allow you to take modules from other programmes, offering the opportunity to tailor the course to your own needs and interests.

In the final year, you will complete an individual piece of research of your own design which focuses on your particular area of interest within the field of Sport and Psychology. 

For more information on the course content, download the Programme information - BSc with Honours in Sport and Psychology

How you learn and are assessed

The programme consists of a mixture of lectures, practical laboratory classes, seminars/tutorials and independent study.  The practical laboratory classes offer the chance to learn relevant scientific techniques first hand, and provide an opportunity to engage in research by designing experiments, and collecting and analysing data.

The assessment strategy is aimed at developing a variety of skills which are valued by employers.  The vast majority of the assessment is by innovative coursework-related submissions such as lab reports, essays, oral and poster presentations, portfolios, reflective logs, practical tests.  Exams only form a small percentage - approximately 15% - of the overall assessment

Examination techniques

You will be assessed by the use of portfolio, reflective logs, case studies, laboratory reports, practical competencies, oral and poster presentations, as well as essays and exam-based assessment.

Assessments are designed to reflect the prospective needs of employers. 

Entry routes

Minimum Entrance Requirements

English and Maths: 
All applicants must have passes in English and Maths in one of the following: National 5 grade C or GCSE grade C/4

 ABBB; A Level BCC; Irish Highers H2H3H3H3;  International Baccalaureate 29 Points
Essential subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, PE or Maths
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Sport or Sport and Exercise Sciences
HNC/HND - our Coming from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses 
- successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAP - our Coming from College pages list approved SWAP courses

Year 2:
Advanced Highers: ABB (to include P.E and Psychology)
A Level: ABB (to include P.E and Psychology)
BTEC Extended Diploma: D*DD

Not sure if you are 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 know that some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university and that 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 3 Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have:

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

We encourage you to submit an application.

International Applicants
You must provide certified proof of your English language level (minimum requirements are listed here).  Our British Council accredited International English Foundation Course can help you reach that level or, if you would like further develop your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your full potential.

EU applicants:  Entry requirements can be found on our Europe pages.  Overseas (non-EU) applicants:  We're currently developing your country pages, so please email us details of your entry requirements.

Alternative Entrance Requirements
Please email us if you have other qualifications/experience not listed here.

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current fees

Overseas Scholarships

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

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).  They also have to purchase Abertay branded sports kit for use in practical sessions and placements.  The cost of the basic kit is £84. All costs stated are correct at April 2016. 

Further info

Career prospects

Graduates from this programme are well equipped to obtain employment across a wide range of vocations.  This programme will also help develop a range of transferable skills that help prepare graduates to take on a variety of professional challenges across diverse working environments.  In addition, students will also have acquired the necessary knowledge and expertise to pursue postgraduate studies in a related area.

With further study, students can become an accredited Sport and Exercise Pscyhologist or pursue a career in any other psychology discipline.

Professional accreditation

The degree is professionally accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), conferring eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC), provided a minimum Second Class Honours is obtained.  This is the first step to becoming a chartered psychologist.

Industry links

You will have the opportunity to develop links with various sports industries and work toward achieving professionally recognised awards. Work placements are an integral part of the curriculum to enable this.

Abertay staff have strong research links and many are members of professional societies.  There are good links between the Psychology and Sport and Exercise Division staff, industry, and many staff are also current practitioners.

Want to know more?

Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081


In this course you will study the sciences which underpin the study of sport, examining how the mind and body work together for sport performance.  You will also examine: how psychology is applied in practice in sport and exercise settings, as well as having the opportunity to consider how diet and physical activity influence health; and the theories which underpin coaching, as well as considering how to assess fitness and prescribe exercise/training programmes.  A rewarding feature of the course involves completing a research project in the final year of study based on independently choosing a topic area and working closely with a member of staff designated as your project supervisor.

"Sport psychology is something that has interested me for a while and Abertay offered a very structured and interesting course. "

Stuart, Northern Ireland

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