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Sports Development and Coaching

There has been an increase in the importance of sport in recent years. Grassroots initiatives developing the next generation of athletes, sport development and coaching are thriving areas. This, coupled with the UK’s aspiration for sporting success on the world stage, means there is a demand for well qualified graduates who truly understand the field.

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code: C600

Duration: 4 years (full-time) or 3 years (accelerated)


This is one of the specialist routes within the sports portfolio at Abertay. You will make your choice of specialist route at the end of stage 2 of the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme.

Why choose this course?  

You can opt to complete an Honours degree in three (rather than four) years - refer to the Accelerated Degree tab on this page for more details 

There has been an increase in the importance of sport in the last few years. This is in the context of elite sport, where the UK struggles for consistent success on the world stage, health-related exercise, and the rise of certain disease states associated with inactivity. One consequence of this has been an increase in the importance of sports development.

Both the government and national governing bodies of individual sports have been striving to increase participation in sport with a view to identifying future talent. The 2012 Olympics is a significant driver in this area. Similarly the health agenda has prompted much activity around the provision of sustainable recreational sporting activity.

One consequence of all this has been an increased demand for well qualified graduates who understand the complexities of sports development. If you feel you have something to offer in this area, this is the course for you.


What you study

The modules you will study if you choose to follow this route are:

Stage 3

  • Sports development policy and practice
  • Managing sports development
  • Coaching pedagogy 1 
  • Motor control and skill acquisition
  • Growth and development
  • Work-based learning 
  • The coaching process 
  • Research methods

Stage 4

  • Strategic management and sports development
  • Community sports development 
  • Coaching pedagogy 2 
  • Option
  • Work-based learning 
  • Project

Sports development practice

In this strand, you will consider the inter-relationships between policy and practice. You will build on the social sciences strand of the BSc Sport and Exercise programme to understand policy development, as well as exploring sports development practice in a variety of contexts. You will explore the differences in developing a particular sport, developing a multi-sport approach and developing performers within a sport. You will develop practical skills in working with various client groups and study the theoretical basis for these skills.

Pedagogy and the coaching process

This strand is concerned with development of the individual, and allows you to develop essential coaching skills and understand key theoretical concepts associated with coaching. You will explore different pedagogical approaches and study in detail the coaching process, including long-term athlete development. You will consider the role of the coach in diverse environments, from working with community groups and local authorities to managing support services for elite performers. 

Work-based learning

We consider work-based learning to be a central component of your studies. It presents you with the opportunity to apply theory to practice and develop a range of practical skills which are valued highly by prospective employers. It is expected that these modules will enable you to develop as a reflective practitioner, developing the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, understanding how you can address your weaknesses whilst optimising your strengths.

Academic and research skills, and Honours project

The research methods module will allow you to further develop your critical skills and ensure that you are prepared for the Honours project. This project, which accounts for 37.5% of your final award, presents a significant opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to conceive and carry out a small-scale research project.  As a result, you will not only learn a considerable amount about your chosen topic, but also be able to demonstrate your ability to function as an independent learner, a quality much in demand by employers.

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

Entry routes

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.

Year 3

Advanced entry is available to applicants with a suitable HND.  Please refer to the articulation routes to BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise on our Coming from College pages.


All applicants are required to provide certified proof of competence in English Language and the University's minimum requirements are 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. 

Accelerated Degree

Students who wish to undertake the accelerated degree will complete the first two years of the degree programme alongside those students following the non-accelerated route.  

Acceleration starts in May at the end of second year, the table below illustrates the difference between the two routes.

Academic Year  Non-accelerated Route  Accelerated Route
 Year 1  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 1  Term 1
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 2  Term 2
   Term 3 (May-Aug)     
 Year 2  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 3  Term 3
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 4  Term 4
   Term 3 (May-Aug)      Term 5
 Year 3  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 5  Term 6
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 6  Term 7
   Term 3 (May-Aug)     Term 8
 (Honours degree completed)
 Year 4  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 7  
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 8
(Honours degree completed) 
   Term 3 (May-Aug)    

Further info


There are many career opportunities available for well qualified graduates from this route. These include sports development officers in local authorities or individual sports, physical activity development officers/coordinators, GP exercise referral consultants, community wellness programme workers, lifestyle managers and sports administrators.

You will 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 are interested in teaching as a career, all of courses meet the requirements for entry onto PGCE courses. This course will also provide appropriate underpinnings for further study at MSc or PhD level.

Specialist facilities

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

Want to know more?

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

"Abertay a very approachable and stress-free place to study, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone."

Matthew Morgan

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