Sports Studies

BA (Hons)


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; Physical Activity and Health; and Sport, Culture and Society, offering a breadth of knowledge content and study from which students can then choose to specialise.

Key information

  • UCAS: C600
  • Degree type: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time
  • Course Director: John Taylor
  • School: School of Sport

Dr Ian Walshe University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 466489

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

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 provide the opportunity for students to build their CVs and pick up management and professional skills helping prepare graduates for excellent careers within the growing sports sector.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

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

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:
not available.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
not available.

Essential subjects:
To include PE at A-level.

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.
BTEC Extended Diploma
Students studying a BTEC Extended Diploma in a related field, such as Sport (Performance and Excellence), Sport(Development, Coaching and Fitness) or Sport (Outdoor Adventure) may be considered for advanced entry on a case by case basis. Please contact our admissions team for further details -

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), National 5 (B), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent required.
Preference will be given to those who have studied Physical Education Standard Grade (3), National 5 (C), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or Higher/A-level (or equivalent).
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Alternative routes

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

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

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 modules 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; Physical Activity and Health; and Sport, Culture and Society.  A Work Experience module is also available in Year 3 or Year 4 for selected students.

In Year 4 students undertake a Research Project as well as further study options.

Delivery and assessment

In addition to conventional lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops, 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.


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
  • Three further modules from options across the University

Year 3 and 4

In Year 3 all students undertake the Research Methods module plus five modules from:

  • Sport Governance
  • Sport, Culture and Nationhood
  • PE, School Sport and Youth Culture 
  • Sports Medicine, Health and Wellbeing
  • The Development of Excellence in Sport 
  • Sports Policy
  • Sport, Gender, Ethnicity and Identity
  • 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

In Year 4 students take two additional modules from the list above plus:

  • Readings in Sports Studies
  • Dissertation

Modules may be subject to change in order to meet sport sector and educational needs. 

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
Sports Studies, Professional Education and Physical Education CX61

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

Recommended reading

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.

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 and lectures. There are six weekly lectures - two per module - supported by seminars and workshops. On top of this core contact time, around 30 hours of independent study is expected each week.

Sports Studies

Find out more

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


  • 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)

Study abroad opportunities

Students have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connection with several North American, Australian and European universities. 


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; Physical Activity 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 select 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 including accountancy, psychology and sociology.

Within each module, experts and key players from the sport sector 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 or Year 4 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 sector, with leading thinkers in areas such as psychology, health and exercise, coaching, management, sport policy, finance and culture and society. With their support, students develop skills of scientific enquiry and critical evaluation, essential in the modern workplace.

Our staff

The School of Sport aims to deliver excellence in teaching and learning through a research-led approach that focuses on the sports studies knowledge streams of Management, Humanities and Physical Activity and Health. Staff concentrate on combining innovative and effective teaching embedded within research excellence and provide one of the best student experiences in the UK. In order to do this, we work with all aspects of industry to ensure that what we teach our students is relevant and appropriate for employment within the sector. Our commitment to this leads staff to actively seek positions with key sport organisations to ensure that what is taught reflects contemporary issues affecting the sport industry today. Examples of this include Stephen Morrow’s work with football managers, John Mather’s support of referees for the SFA and SRU and Justine Allan’s coaching of the Scotland Women’s U18 hockey team. 

Careers and employability

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.

Success stories

Chris Sellar graduated with a BA (Hons) in Sports Studies.  After graduating Chris was offered an internship at Scottish Universities Sport (SSS) working in Volunteer Development, which then led to part-time and full-time roles as Sport Administrator at SSS. Chris then moved on to become South-West Community Sport Hub Coordinator based at Heriot-Watt University.  These roles have given Chris valuable experience in sport development, project management, marketing and communications, sport administration and coordination and event management.  Chris is of the opinion that the volunteering he did with the University football club and Sports Union, while studying at University, have been pivotal in getting a role within HE sport.

James Saker graduated from Stirling with a First Class BA with Honours in Business Studies and Sport Studies. His dissertation was on the use of social media and football clubs and building on this interest he left university to work as the Digital Media Manager for Commonwealth Games Scotland. During the period of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as a consequence of the initiatives that James introduced, Team Scotland was the most followed Commonwealth Games team on social media. Following this James left to work  for Synergy Sponsorship where he is responsible for managing the accounts of RBS Six Nations, Canterbury and Royal Salute.


Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,275.00
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.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Scholarships & funding

Sports Scholarships

See details of our International Sports Scholarship Programme.

Scholarship finder
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