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Explore the vital role psychology plays in sport performance, exercise and wellbeing

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C841
3 years full-time
Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester)

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Overview

Study the role of psychology within sport performance and exercise

Our BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology course sees you explore how sport performance, physical activity, and wellbeing are influenced by psychological factors.

National Student Survey 2023

Overall average positivity
Top 20
in the UK for Sport and Exercise Sciences
'Teaching on my course'
12th
in the UK for Sport and Exercise Sciences
Learning opportunities
Top 10
in the UK for Sport and Exercise Sciences

British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited

We are one of a few universities to have British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation for both our undergraduate and postgraduate Sport and Exercise Psychology degrees, meaning you can be sure of that our teaching and course content meet the industry requirements.

British Psychological Society logo

Develop the knowledge and skills needed for your career

You will learn how to work with a range of people in sport and exercise settings to enhance confidence, maintain motivation, achieve their goals, and improve their psychological wellbeing.

Study key topics such as:

  • Human interaction and behaviour
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Performance psychology
  • Biological and developmental psychology
  • Stress and emotions
  • Psychology of injury and rehabilitation
  • Psychology of physical activity

Learn from active sport and exercise psychology practitioners

You will learn from our team of experienced and active applied practitioners who have excellent international research and consultancy profiles, meaning they bring their breadth of knowledge from the wider industry into the classroom.

Discover our specialist facilities and laboratories

Our range of dedicated sport and exercise science facilities support you to apply theory to practice and provide you with everything you need to succeed.

Specialist facilities include

  • Four dedicated psychology labs
  • Virtual reality reader
  • Brain imaging unit
  • Observation suite
  • Biomechanics labs
  • Physiology labs
  • Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Unit (SPRU)
  • Environmental climate chamber

Gain real-world, hands-on experience with placement options

In your final year, you will have the opportunity to complete a work placement, which will allow you to apply theory and knowledge in a sport, exercise, or health setting of your choice.

Smaller class sizes for better learning

Our commitment to smaller class sizes means that you won’t get lost in the crowd and that our teaching staff can provide more individualised support that fits you and your ambitions.

Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) education partner

CIMSPA logo

On this course you will:

  • Understand the psychological effects of physical activity.
  • Learn both quantitative and qualitative research methods to guide scientific inquiry.
  • Study the complexities of the human brain and how we interact with others.
  • Learn to apply psychological strategies to real-life sport and exercise examples.
  • Examine the psychological factors that impact learning, performance and control of movment.
  • Learn from experienced and industry-active sport and exercise psychology practitioners.
  • Feel more support from our teaching staff as they get to know you and your needs.
  • Gain vital professional experience with work placement opportunities.

The Course

Understand the psychological factors involved in sport performance and participation

Year One

In your first year, you will explore the fundamental principles of psychological study and begin to apply them within a sport and exercise context.

Year Two

Your second year introduces you to more advanced aspects of psychology, including cognitive, behavioural, and developmental, as you begin to develop your skills in research methods and data analysis.

Year Three

In your final year, you will focus on more advanced research methodologies and skills that will support your work on your final research project, which acts as the culmination of your learning across your degree.

In addition, you will apply your newly-acquired knowledge of psychology to a range of scenarios and contexts, as you look to build experience and understanding of the practical applications of your studies.

Edgar

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science graduate and now a freelance Sport Psychologist
"The best feature of the course was the breadth of knowledge gained from traditional and niche areas of psychological study. In my third year, I enjoyed the placement module and had the opportunity to work alongside my lecturers for the university's Sport and Performance Rehabilitation Unit. Since graduating I've been involved in podcasts, built and maintained my own consultancy, created psychology video series for reputable brands and been invited to give multiple guest lectures."

Indicative modules

You will study a selection of core and optional modules during your degree. Each module is worth a particular number of credits and is delivered differently depending on the needs of the module.

This list is indicative and subject to future change.

Select a year

Interpersonal Skills

The module will begin by considering the nature of interpersonal skills and the elements that constitute effective communication. This will provide an opportunity to explore models of communication and effective verbal and non-verbal communication. You will also consider how interpersonal skills may be evaluated and improved.

Introduction to Skill Acquisition

This module explores the psychological factors that affect the learning and performance of skills in sport. You are introduced to selected theories of performance and learning and the strengths and weaknesses of these theories are examined. Research findings will be used to help you make the connections to your responsibilities as sports coaches.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology

Sport and exercise contexts provide a fascinating and complex opportunity to investigate the psychology of human affect, cognition and behaviour. This module aims to introduce you to diverse areas of psychology in the context of sport performance, exercise, and well-being.

Perspectives On Psychology

This module seeks to enable you to understand the contribution of key thinkers to the development of modern psychology and to appreciate their biographical backgrounds. The lives and work of key thinkers will be introduced and contextualised with reference to contemporary ideas and more.

Principles of Psychology

This module examines the origins and development of modern psychology. You will focus on the main approaches to studying and describing human behaviour, for example, behaviourism, the psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach, the cognitive approach, and the biological basis of behaviour.

Questioning Sport, Exercise and Health

You will be introduced to study skills for higher education  and discover the philosophical underpinnings of research in the sport and health sciences. You will also be introduced to qualitative research methods.

The Study of Human Interaction

This module explores the functions of understanding relationships. You will study the processes related to forming an impression of someone and forming a relationship with them through a variety of behaviours.

Certain psychological theories and empirical findings will form investigations into attraction, prejudice, and stereotyping and a range of methodologies and analyses, such as interviewing, content analysis and observational approaches will be explored.

Biological Psychology

This module explores the ways biological processes have been studied, for example through brain lesions and cell stimulation methodologies.

The areas of behavioural genetics, neuro-imaging, neuropsychology, socio-biology and evolutionary psychology will be investigated in terms of underlying theory and empirical research.

Cognitive Psychology for Sports Performance

Within the sporting domain, knowledge of cognitive psychology can promote efficient acquisition and effective performance of skill among athletes at all stages of skill development. This module critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of theory and research concerning the cognitive processes that underpin the acquisition and performance of skill.

Developmental Psychology

This module explores the study of development and maturation in cognitive, personality, and social processes, as well as introduce you to basic theory, research findings, and methods of investigation in childhood, adolescence, and lifespan development.

You will consider the ways in which behaviour is influenced by developmental factors, the nature of developmental processes, and the ways in which empirical research can help us to understand how developmental processes influence what we do.

Performance Psychology

This module will introduce you to the key theories and concepts in performance psychology, examining theory and research into a range of factors (e.g., confidence, motivation, emotional regulation) that have been proposed to contribute to performance in sport and other achievement domains.

The module content will seek to develop understanding of the importance of these concepts for performance, their determinants and how to change them.

Psychology of Physical Activity and Health

The course will examine contemporary theories relating to the adoption and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. It will also examine the relationship between activity involvement and individual affective responses, cognitions of self and health-related behaviour. Specifically, theories of behaviour change and self-concept will be explored alongside an emphasis on the positive and negative consequences of exercise involvement.

Researching Sport, Exercise & Health

You will further develop your skills in research methods and data analysis, with a broad focus on analysis procedures including the qualitative method of interviewing, and quantitative methods of analysis of variance, correlation and linear regression. These methods are commonly used procedures in the sport, exercise and health sciences, and understanding of these will also provide a solid foundation for understanding more advanced research methods that you may learn in your future work including research projects or postgraduate study.

Social Psychology

This module acts as an introduction to Social Psychology and social cognition.

The module will cover topics such as person perception, social influence, stereotyping and prejudice, attitudes, attributions, group processes, and attraction and close relationships.

Stress, Coping and Emotions

This module aims to examine the demands (i.e. stressors) of sport and how these are experienced by athletes, the appraisals and coping strategies employed by athletes when experiencing these stressors, and the subsequent emotional responses.

Advanced Research in Sport and Exercise

This module accesses sections of the provision for MSc students and so begins to move you towards postgraduate level thinking. You will work alongside MSc students to access sections of work at the appropriate level. Assignments will reflect that the module is in Year Three but will take an applied approach to promote independent use and evaluation of research methods and statistics.

Applied Sport Psychology: Delivering Mental Strategies

Traditionally, sport psychologists have advocated the use of numerous mental training strategies that are purported to enhance the cognitive, affective, and behavioural states of the performers that they work with. This module provides you with an understanding of the efficacy of these strategies, to provide opportunities to deliver these mental strategies and to reflect on the delivery of these strategies.

Applied Sport Psychology: Professional Practice

The ‘soft’ skills required by a sport and exercise psychologist are imperative to effectiveness as a practitioner. the aim of the module is to examine the nature of applied sport psychology practice and discuss and critique how sport psychologists work with clients in relation to initial assessment, case formulation, intervention planning, and delivery, monitoring, and evaluation.

Classroom Pedagogy

This module will use a series of lectures and workshops to explore curricula employed in classroom teaching such as

  • the National Curriculum
  • GCSE PE
  • BTEC Sport
  • A-level PE

to consider how schemes of work and lesson plans are developed for delivery in school and college classrooms.

Contemporary Issues in Sport, Exercise and Health

This module will explore a selection of contemporary issues that may have ethical and moral considerations, in relation to sport, exercise and health.

Entrepreneurial (Business Setup)

This modules focuses on the environmental factors that are directly relevant to a small business context, to allow you to develop a critical understanding of the entrepreneurial process. You will concentrate upon the planning that needs to be undertaken prior to the start-up of a small business.

Exercise and Physical Activity Interventions

This module applies health behaviour change theory and research to the promotion of physical activity in specialised populations, such as those with chronic health conditions or physical disabilities. It looks at different types of interventions, such as those targeting individuals, groups, and national campaigns.

Group Dynamics in Sport

This module aims to examine and evaluate current knowledge of sport group productivity and functioning and evaluates current practice in developing and increasing the effectiveness of group functioning. It is important to have an understanding of group dynamics due to the potential impact that groups can have on an individual’s performance, life satisfaction and psychological well-being.

Practical Applications in Coaching and Teaching

This module aims to provide you with blended learning opportunities via university-based work that develops and enhances depth of knowledge when working practically with performers. It is aimed to run concurrently with the Practical Pedagogy (Placement) module so that you can apply theory to the practical coaching and teaching environments within your micro sessions and placement context.

Psychology in Context: Work and Organisations

You will consider a range of relationships between working conditions, jobs and organisational processes, psychological outcomes, and their impact on job and organisational performance. Psychological reactions including job satisfaction, job stress, motivation, work engagement, and organisational commitment are investigated, and organisational functions such as job design, health and safety at work, and organisational team-working, are considered.

Psychology of Injury and Rehabilitation

This module enables you to critically evaluate the psychological, social and cultural factors in injury risk, theories of psychological responses to injury, recovery and adherence to rehabilitation programmes. It will critically evaluate theory and research, and consider practical approaches to working with injured athletes to assist them with their response to and rehabilitation from injury experiences.

Research Project

The research project provides an opportunity to apply appropriate knowledge, concepts, and techniques to an in-depth study of a particular question or problem relating to sport,  exercise or healthcare.

This module aims to foster a greater understanding of the processes to undertake a small-scale research project and marks the culmination of the student’s learning experience over their undergraduate programme of study

Work Placement in Sport and Exercise

This module offers an opportunity to complete a unit of directed study incorporating a work placement of 105 hours (3-weeks) in a sport and exercise environment. This placement can take place in a wide range of environments including sports clubs, schools, colleges, private companies, clinical settings, or within the community. the focus of the work placement should be relevant to your needs, the programme of study you are taking and career aspirations.

Teaching and Assessment

Benefit from innovative teaching methods that focus on practice

Smaller class sizes for better learning

You will build your subject knowledge and practical experience through lectures, workshops, and tutorials in small classes, which means our expert teaching staff really get to know you and what support you need.

Teaching

Our team of lecturers combine innovation, enthusiasm and expertise to deliver the excellent standards that give our institution its high reputation.

When you come to Chichester, you will join a community of students and lecturers working in partnership to ensure that your learning experience reflects best practice and embraces the opportunities presented by new, interactive technologies.

Many sessions will require you to have completed some preparatory work and you will also be given structured follow-up work after a session to further progress your learning, often reading or an individual/group task. As you progress through your degree you will be expected to take more and more ownership over your learning and development, directing your study into areas of most interest to you.

Find supportive staff ready to help you reach your goals

Modules are assessed at every stage of the course, offering cumulative assessment of your progress, which means you can monitor your own progress throughout your degree and look to discuss and plan your development with your lecturers throughout the course.

Where appropriate, special arrangements can be made for students with an identified need/needs.

Assessment

Our course includes a mix of assessments, so that you may develop a wide range of transferable skills.

  • Essays
  • Examinations
  • Practical assessments
  • Lab reports
  • Oral presentations

Facilities

Discover a wide range of excellent sporting facilities that support your learning

Experience

Join our close student community and fit into our supportive environment

Paige

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology
"All my lecturers have been supportive, and they are easy to contact due to being a smaller uni. I like how it is a campus university, as everything I need is on site. It feels more inclusive than larger universities, and the area the campus is based in is lovely."

Emily

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology
"I really enjoyed my first year. At first, I thought it would be quite nerve-wracking, but the fact that it was such a small group and the lecturers were really approachable made it so much easier to integrate into university life."

Placement Opportunities

Utilise our extensive professional networks to support your learning

In the final year there is the option to complete a placement which will allow you to apply theory and knowledge in a sport, exercise or health setting of your choice.

This placement will give you the opportunity to further develop transferable skills, which will make you more employable for a career in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Where do students find placements?

Our students are from all over the UK, with the majority from the South and South East of England, with a few students from overseas. Many students find work placements in their hometowns, as well as local opportunities in Sussex.

Will I need to complete any additional documentation for my placements?

You will need to ensure you have all the necessary documentation in place before you start your placement. Some courses will insist that you complete a DBS check on entry to the course, and others will require you to complete a check once you have started.

Please check that you have completed all necessary documentation before commencing your placement.

Study Abroad

Explore the opportunity to study part of your course abroad

As a student at the University of Chichester, you can explore opportunities to study abroad during your studies as you enrich and broaden your educational experiences.

Students who have undertaken this in the past have found it to be an amazing experience to broaden their horizons, a great opportunity to meet new people, undertake further travelling and to immerse themselves within a new culture.

You will be fully supported throughout the process to help find the right destination institution for you and your course. We can take you through everything that you will need to consider, from visas to financial support, to help ensure that you can get the best out of your time studying abroad.

Careers

Gain the skills and knowledge you need for a successful career

The work of sport and exercise psychologists can be wide ranging. From working with high level athletes to help them reach their potential, to supporting the general population to optimise their exercise participation.

We are one of the only places in the country to offer training through undergraduate, postgraduate, and supervised work, meaning you can study here all the way through to a qualification as a BPS fully-accredited sport and exercise psychologist.

Typical careers include:

  • Sports and exercise psychologist
  • Assistant psychologist
  • Sports performance consultant
  • Mental health and wellbeing practitioner
  • Teacher
  • Researcher/Scientist
  • Public health project manager
  • Health promotion practitioner

Charlotte

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology
"There are many positives to studying Sport and Exercise Psychology at Chichester. You get to experience a wide range of modules, all taught by enthusiastic tutors. The tutors have experience in both applied and research backgrounds, and I couldn’t credit the support they provide enough. The course is inspiring and I would highly recommend it to anyone. For me, these experiences motivated me to pursue a career in sport and exercise psychology, and I am now a PhD researcher exploring performance anxiety in sport."

Further study

We offer postgraduate research programmes (MPhil/PhD) across the field of sport disciplines.

Supervision is offered by a strong, research-active team with a range of expertise. Our research interests stem from applied experience to deliver ‘real world’ meaningful results.

University of Chichester alumni who have completed a full undergraduate degree at the University will receive a 15% discount on their postgraduate fees.

Gifted Athlete Support Programme

Supporting athletes with their studies and sporting ambitions

The University’s Gifted Athlete Support Programme (GASP) helps students combine academic study with sport by offering support to compete at the highest level.

Our student athletes will have access to our experts in sport coaching, exercise physiology, biomechanics, strength and conditioning, performance analysis, sport nutrition, sport psychology, sport therapy or physiotherapy and receive:

  • Financial Support*
  • Fitness Suite access at the Tudor Hale Centre for Sport
  • Administrative support from SU Sport
  • GASP branded kit

* Level of financial support dependent upon level of achievement in sport

Course Costs

Course Fees 2024/25

UK fee
£9,250
International fee
£15,840

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fees page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.

Entry Requirements

UCAS
112-120
tariff points.
A Levels
BBB - BBC
including a science - PE accepted at grade C or above.
BTEC
DDM - DMM
including Sports Science, Applied Psychology or Health and Social Care.
GCSEs
C/4
or better in both English Language, Science and Maths.
IELTS
6.0 overall
with no element lower than 5.5
IB
28 points
Access to HE Diploma
Merit
with at least 12 credits worth of science units at Merit.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

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Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.

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How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?

Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.

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