Sports Studies

Study sports studies and graduate with a university degree

1st in Scotland for Sport and Education
The Times Good University Guide and The Complete University Guide, 2012.
This course achieved 92% student satisfaction in the most recent National Student Survey.

What role does sport play in society? Who plays sport and why? How is sport managed and delivered? How does psychology enhance elite sports performance? What are the physical and mental benefits of sport and physical activity? Why are some elite sports stars so well paid? How did sport develop? What’s the legacy of events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games? These are the type of questions that a degree in Sports Studies will help you answer.

Sports Studies is a multi-disciplinary subject area – grounded in theory but with a strong emphasis on applied contexts.

The Honours degree is designed around three specific knowledge pathways: Sports Policy and Management; Sport, Exercise and Health; and Sport, Culture and Society, offering a breadth of knowledge content and study from which students can then choose to specialise.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points.

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with HND in certain Sport-related courses.
For information on accepted courses please consult our Advanced Entry pages

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), Intermediate 2, GCSE (C) or equivalent required.
Preference will be given to those who have studied Physical Education Standard Grade (3), GCSE (C) Higher or A-level or equivalent.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Students are taught through a mix of seminars, lectures and practical sessions. There are six weekly lectures - two per module - supported by seminars, workshops and laboratory practical classes. On top of this core contact time, around 30 hours of independent study is expected each week.

Sports Studies

Course contact

Alan Lynn University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 466489

Course Director

Emma Lyons

Alternative routes

Through articulation agreements with the Further Education sector and through normal international access routes.

Find out more

Degree course

Sports Studies is delivered across eight semesters, with the opportunity to combine Sports Studies modules with options from across the University.

Students are introduced to the core Sports Studies modules in Year 1 and also study four subjects from options across the University. Core modules in sport cover aspects of sport in society; patterns of participation in sport and physical activity; the foundations of sport and exercise science; and sports business, finance and management.

Year 2 considers issues and concepts in sport, reflecting on the historical development and the psychology of sport, again with the option to study further subjects outside of sport.

In Year 3, as well as completing a Research Methods module, students can specialise in their preferred area, choosing from detailed modules across the three knowledge pathways of: Sports Policy and Management; Sport, Exercise and Health; and Sport, Culture and Society.  A Work Experience module is also available in Year 3 for selected students.

Students who progress to Honours carry out a dissertation in Year 4 as well as further study options.

Module titles

Year 1

  • Introduction to Sports Studies I
  • Introduction to Sports Studies II
  • Four modules from options across the University

Year 2

  • Sports Studies Issues and Concepts
  • The Historical Development of Sport
  • The Psychology of Sport
  • Up to three further modules from options across the University

Year 3

Any six modules from:

  • Physiology of Sport and Exercise
  • Sport, Culture and Nationhood
  • PE, School Sport and Youth Culture 
  • Sports Medicine, Health and Wellbeing
  • The Development of Excellence in Sport 
  • Sports Policy
  • Applied Exercise Physiology
  • Psychology of Exercise, Physical Activity and Health
  • Research Methods in Sports Studies
  • Managing the Business of Sport
  • Sports Coaching and Leadership
  • Sports Work Experience

Year 4

  • Operational Management in Sport
  • Sport, Gender, Ethnicity and Identity
  • Readings in Sports Studies
  • Dissertation

Teaching and assessment

In addition to conventional lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and laboratory practical sessions, Sports Studies uses a virtual learning environment and internet technology to support its teaching programme. Assessment is blended by a combination of coursework, group project work, group and individual presentations, online assessments and end of module examinations.

Reading list

Each module has core texts, with further recommended reading and background reading expected. All texts are available in the University library and through electronic journal subscriptions.

Combined degrees

Sports Studies can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Accountancy NC46
Business Studies NC16
Film & Media CP63
History VC16
Journalism Studies PV56
Marketing NC56
Psychology CC68
Sociology CL63
Sports Studies, Professional Education and Physical Education CX61

(Combined Honours students can choose to undertake a dissertation in either of the subject codes.)

Stirling is Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, the first choice for students to study sport. Excellence is at the heart of everything we do in sport, from our innovative research (the best in Scotland) improving the health of the nation, to preparing athletes for success on the world stage.

Our scenic campus is home to a suite of sports facilities, across 310-acres, all open to students, including a 50m swimming pool, a golf course, a fitness centre, an eight-court sports hall; nine grass and artificial pitches and 10 tennis courts to name but a few.

Participating in sport couldn’t be easier, with 1,500 members of the Sports Union, which has almost 50 different clubs where you can meet new people and enjoy your sport of choice.

If performance sport is your focus, then our International Sports Scholarship Programme (ISSP) or national scholarship programme Winning Students could provide you with the funding and flexibility to compete at the highest level.

Sports Studies offers a breadth of study and flexibility which enable you to shape your experience of sport at Stirling.

Teaching is delivered by experts in their field and enhanced by cutting edge knowledge from our sports researchers and through integration with field professionals.

We prepare graduates for excellent careers within the growing sports sector and internships, exchanges and development programmes provide the opportunity for students to build up their CV and pick up the management and professional skills employers are looking for.

Study abroad

Students have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connection with several North American and European universities. The School of Sport also has further exchange programmes, where students can spend one semester or a year at American, Canadian and Swedish universities.


  • Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence

  • 1st in Scotland for sports research (most recent Research Assessment Exercise)

  • 1st in Scotland for Sport and Education (The Times Good University Guide, 2012 and The Complete University Guide, 2012)


The School of Sport offers a unique environment for students to develop their ambitions, with all courses delivered by our expert staff and shaped by the latest sports research. A major benefit of the School is its integrated nature, with both academic courses and a sports development service which manages a suite of world-class sports facilities.

Through the three core Sports Studies pathways in Sports Policy and Management; Sport, Exercise and Health; and Sport, Culture and Society, students gain a breadth of knowledge which can be applied to a wide range of sport related careers.

Sports Studies is a flexible course, with students able to change their modules and it is also available in a number of flexible options including as part of a combined Honours course with a range of subjects from accountancy to psychology and sociology.

Within each module, experts and key players from the sport sector discuss their successes and explore the world of sport with students. Stirling has forged strong partnerships with national governing bodies of sport, many of whom are based on campus.

Sports Studies offers a number of career development opportunities including a Work Experience module in Year 3 for selected students and the Coach Development Programme, delivered in partnership with Active Stirling. A range of further volunteering programmes give students the opportunity to develop professional skills and gain event management experience.

Academic strengths

Research and teaching staff work side-by-side, sharing their knowledge with one another and imparting this knowledge to students through seminars and lectures.

Sports staff are at the cutting edge of the sports industry, with leading thinkers in areas such as psychology, health and exercise, finance, coaching and management. With their support, students develop skills of scientific enquiry and critical evaluation, essential in the modern workplace.

Our students

I chose Sports Studies as sport has always been a big part of my life. I have also always been interested in keeping fit and healthy, and wanted to know more about how I could accomplish this the best way.

People on the course have a common interest in sport so it's easy to make friends. All the lecturers are very friendly and are happy to help with any questions you may have.

The degree covers all aspects of sport from nutrition, physiology and psychology to sports history and ethics in sport. I chose to go down the sports science route so I got to work in the labs using specialised equipment, which was very interesting. The course is constantly progressing and growing so it never gets boring.

I got involved in lifeguard and gym instructor courses and there are volunteering opportunities like teaching sport in Zambia. Once I graduate I hope to get more involved in being a fitness instructor and hopefully go on to create diet and fitness routines for athletes.

Victoria Smith Sports Studies, Year 4.

I completed a combined Honours degree in Psychology and Sports Studies in 2006 then returned to Stirling to do an MSc Sports Management. I was drawn to Stirling in particular because of the world-class sports facilities.

I was accepted onto the International Sports Scholarship Programme which supported me to train and compete in University, national and international events while studying.

I'd recommend Sports Studies to anyone thinking about studying in Scotland as it gave an excellent grounding in sport and was a really flexible degree. I was even able to apply elements of the psychology of sport to my own competition and ultimately, the degree enabled me to build up contacts in sport.

Through it, I worked part-time as a coach with triathlonscotland and am now employed full-time, assisting the national coach to train Scotland’s best young triathletes.

Image ©Mark Ferguson

Blair Cartmell Psychology and Sport Studies, graduated 2006; MSc Sports Management, graduated 2009. Current Assistant National Triathlon Coach

Our Staff

Dr John Mathers is the Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Sport. He manages the delivery of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses and is responsible for quality enhancement, quality assurance and the student experience within the School of Sport.

A chartered psychologist and accredited sport psychologist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), Dr Mathers lectures on sports science topics within the Sport Studies course and provides sports psychology services to students on the International Sports Scholarship Programme (ISSP).

Dr Mathers provides further mental skills support to elite amateur and professional sports people and is currently working with elite officials from the Scottish FA and the Scottish Rugby Union.

His research also focuses on the impact of pre-competition mood state on sports performance and on the impact of stress on the control of skilled movements.

Success stories

Golfer Richie Ramsay won the US Amateur Championship in 2006 while studying Marketing and Sports Studies at Stirling. Since graduating with a 2:1, Richie now competes on the European Tour and has already won his first title, the 2009 South African Open.

94% of University of Stirling 2012 graduates have found work, or are in a further programme of study within 6 months of graduation. The Telegraph ranks Stirling in the top 12 UK universities for getting a job.

Career opportunities

Careers in the sport sector account for around three percent of all jobs in Scotland according to a recent study by Cambridge Econometrics. This is set to increase even further with major sporting events, including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup 2014 providing a number of exciting opportunities for well qualified students.

Graduates from the School of Sport are prepared for a wide variety of roles and many have gone on to work as sports coaches, teachers, consultants, managers and administrators.

Employers who have benefitted from Stirling graduate expertise include local authorities, commercial and voluntary sport organisations and governing bodies of sport.

Fees 2014/5

Overseas students (non-EU)£ 11,000.00
Scottish and EU students£ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK£6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.


Sports Scholarships

See details of our International Sports Scholarship Programme.

Sports Studies
  • Degree award BA (Hons)
  • UCAS Code C600
  • Type Campus based, Full-time
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