Skip to content Exit mobile menu

This two-year foundation degree course is aimed at individuals who are currently working or gaining experience within the Sports Coaching industry, or those looking to become a sports coach whilst studying. 

Sports Coaching video

Why study Sports Coaching?

Studying Sports Coaching at university can empower graduates to develop a career that inspires young people, adults and communities to make the best of themselves through sport and physical activity.

Whether developing athletes to greater performance or encouraging individuals towards participating in physical activity for health benefits, the UK is a developing area for coaching education.

This two-year degree is aimed at individuals who are currently working or gaining experience within the Sports Coaching industry, or additionally, those looking to progress in the field.

One key aim is to develop self-sufficient sports coaches within two years and you will be encouraged by your tutors to build on your professional experience and industry qualifications.

Why St Mary's?

Sports Coaching at St Mary's has been designed to provide you with a thorough grounding in key areas of Sports Coaching, via a strong vocational element. You will frequently be required to put your academic and work-based learning into context through modules that relate to the science of sports coaching.

In the first year of study, you will undertake a professional observation; we can assist you in securing a place in an observational setting. During the second year of the course, you will complete a more formal work placement. Placements are usually located at a place convenient to you - either near the university or close to your home. Previous students have undertaken placements within local schools and sports clubs.

Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of a foundation degree and provides students with the opportunity of spending a further year completing a BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Science undergraduate degree.

Key facts

  • Flexible two-day a week schedule
  • Substantial vocational aspect to the programme
  • Strong focus on personal development
  • Integration of practical and theoretical concepts
  • Enables individuals to develop a CV and enhance their career opportunities
  • Opportunity to study for one further year to achieve a full BSc award after successful completion of the Foundation degree
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus.

Entry requirements

48-72 UCAS points required


A Levels


BTEC Extended

View alternative requirements

Additional requirement information

  • GCSE grade C or equivalent in English Language. Maths and Science also preferred.
  • Standard offers will normally be made at two D grades for A level – minimum 48 UCAS points (one of which should be in a science subject) or the equivalent including Vocational A levels (VCEs), AS Levels, BTEC or Access. This must include at least one 6-unit qualification.
  • Lower offers may be made in some cases, for example to mature students where the candidate's academic profile is offset by practical or vocational experience.
  • Students wishing to study part-time should apply directly to University.
  • All full-time applicants should apply via UCAS.
  • All applicants are invited to interview. It is favourable for applicants to be currently working in the sector they wish to study in.

Requirements for other qualifications (including BTECs, Irish Highers, Scottish Highers, International Baccalaureates and Access Courses) are also available. For more information please email

To calculate your expected UCAS points, please use the UCAS Tariff calculator.

We will make you an offer if you are within the tariff band range and you meet subject-specific requirements (where applicable).

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section (or equivalent).

Course content

Year one

  • Study Skills Core
  • Physiology and Human Movement Core
  • Understanding the Coaching Process Core
  • Introduction to Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisition Core
  • Holistic Approaches to Coaching Core
  • Professional Development Core

Year two

  • Applied Skill Acquisition Core
  • Applied Sport Psychology Core
  • Applied Physiology and Human Movement Core
  • Applied Coaching Practice Core
  • Reflective Work-Based Practice Optional
  • Business and Enterprise Optional
  • Performance Analysis Optional
  • Developing Professional Practice Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Sport Optional

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

Many pathways can be followed by graduates of the Foundation Degree, including: 

  • Sports coaching in clubs and schools
  • Sport recreation and development
  • Coaching with private companies and organisations
  • Teacher training (following graduate training schemes or PGCE courses)

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

A range of teaching methods including presentations, discussions, small group work, workshops and practical sessions are utilised.

Students are expected and challenged to bring their own work experiences into the discussions and to learn to place their academic work into an appropriate vocational context.

This degree regularly welcomes specialists in the field of Sports Coaching to deliver visiting lectures on current trends and applications of theory to the workplace.

Class sizes tend to be around 20 students for core modules, and 10 to 15 students for optional modules.

Teaching breakdown

Learning on the course is made up through a combination of:

  • Contact time: 25%
  • Work-based learning: 5%
  • Independent study: 70%

Independent study is a key feature of your degree and is crucial to furthering your knowledge.

You will receive your timetable a week before teaching is due to start at the latest.

Assessment methods

The assessments are structured so as to reflect the underlying vocational principal of the course. Methods of assessments include presentations, coursework and portfolios, as well as practical and spoken assessment.

Students will need to develop their critical analysis and reflective skills in order to develop writing and reasoning through a range of topics relating to Sports Coaching. It is also critical in  this field to be ‘fit to practice’ and so students must be well versed in practical demonstration alongside the theoretical underpinning.

There are no traditional written exams.


We adhere to the university’s policy of providing feedback on assessments within three weeks.

See how your final degree mark is calculated...

Compensated passes

Please refer to the information on compensated passes throughout your degree as outlined in the academic regulations.

Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £8,660
  • International: £12,250

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs can occur if you opt to purchase a St Mary's sports kit and core text books.


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new foundation students. This includes:

Living costs

A guide to your living costs has been created by our Student Funding Team.

Accommodation costs vary depending on whether you opt for an en suite room and on-site catering. Take a look at our accommodation options and the prices you can expect to pay.


View all facilities

Teaching staff

Colm Murphy Colm Murphy
Lecturer - Sports Coaching Science

Dr Paul Dancy Dr Paul Dancy
Senior Lecturer - Sports Coaching Science

Emily Martin Emily Martin
Lecturer - Sport Science and Sport Psychology

Rik Mellor Rik Mellor
Senior Lecturer - Sport Science

Claire Mulvenna Claire Mulvenna
Lecturer - Physical Education and Sport Coaching

Further information

UCAS Application Timeline