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This two-year foundation degree course is aimed at individuals who are currently working or gaining experience within physical education settings and the sports coaching industry, or those looking to become a physical education teacher or sports coach.

  • Strong focus on personal development enables you to develop a CV and enhance your career opportunities.
  • Substantial vocational aspects to the programme.
  • Flexible two-day a week schedule.
  • Opportunity to study for one further year to achieve an undergraduate degree on either BSc Sports Coaching Science or BA Physical Education, Sport and Youth Development after successful completion of the programme.

Why study Physical Education and Sports Coaching?

Studying our course will empower you toward a career that inspires young people, adults and communities to make the best of themselves through sports and physical activity.

Many primary schools use sports coaches to deliver physical education provisions, so an understanding of physical education alongside sports coaching principles will help effective delivery.

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

Why St Mary's?

St Mary’s University has a history of developing teachers and sports professionals. This course has been designed to provide a grounding in sports coaching and physical education theory to enhance your understanding of effective practice.

During the second year of the course, you will complete a 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 at 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 Sports Coaching Science BSc (Hons) or Physical Education, Sport and Youth Development BA (Hons) undergraduate degrees.

Course lead

Jessica Boyd headshotJessica Boyd
Course Lead - Physical Education and Sports Coaching FdSc

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Entry requirements

48-72UCAS points required

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Standard offers will normally be made at two D grades for A level (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.

It is favourable for applicants to be currently working in the sector they wish to study in.

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

For undergraduate programmes we will take into account subjects studied at Level 3, your GCSEs (or equivalent) profile, relevant non-academic achievements outlined in your personal statement, references and your motivation for study.


GCSE grade 4/C (or equivalent) in English Language is required. Maths and Science also preferred We offer GCSE equivalency tests for those who need to improve their GCSE grades.

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).

UCAS Personal statement support

Create your UCAS personal statement through our online builder and we'll email you a copy of your completed version at the end.

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Course content

Year one

  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Core

Year two

  •  Core
  •  Core Option
  •  Core Option
  •  Core Option
  •  Core
  •  Core
  •  Optional
  •  Optional
  •  Optional
  •  Optional
  •  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.

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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.

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How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

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 physical education and 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 physical education and 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.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 fees

  • Home: £9,250
  • International: £14,850

*Please note: tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.

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

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 undergraduate 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.

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Further information

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Visit the campus

Upcoming open days

Meet current students, explore our green campus, and find out why St Mary’s could be the place for you.

You'll also get a chance to:

Staff from various teams, including the Student’s Union, Student Funding, and Admissions, will also be around to discuss any questions you may have about studying at St Mary’s.

Book your place now

Campus tours

There are plenty of opportunities for you to explore the campus, even if you can't make it to an Open Day. We run campus tours every Wednesday at 12pm. If you'd like to join us for one of these tours please register your place for your preferred day.

Virtual tour

We know that for it's important to you to see where you'll be living and studying before you make your decision. However, we also know that for many people it's not always easy to make it to the campus.

That's why we've developed a virtual tour of campus, allowing you to explore that facilities and the beautiful views that we have to offer.

Launch the virtual tour

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