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C603 Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity BA Undergraduate  2018


UCAS code C603
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 6985

Course Summary


In studying Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity at Durham, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of academic and applied aspects of sport, exercise and physical activity from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Our flexible programme of study is organised around six subject areas: sport and exercise psychology; sport and exercise physiology; sports development and policy; the sociology of sport; physical activity and health; and research methods in sport, exercise and physical activity . Your three years of study at Durham University will also enable you to develop your intellectual capacities and personal qualities as well as to acquire a broad range of practical, professional and employability skills that can be applied to a range of future career paths and further postgraduate studies.

We also offer a number of exciting opportunities for you to take part in community-based sports initiatives such as working with disadvantaged young people in the local region as well as coaching within University projects overseas (for example, Zambia).

Year 1

Students will establish a fundamental knowledge and understanding of key concepts and issues relating to selected disciplines within the study of sport, exercise and physical activity through the combination of five compulsory modules and the choice of an open module:

*As part of our flexible teaching programme, you have the opportunity across all three years to expand on your own academic interests through choosing to study ‘open’ modules in, for example, Business, Education, Languages, Geography or Politics.

Year 2

Students will build on their knowledge and understanding of key concepts and issues in sport and exercise contexts. There is one compulsory module, which allows students to develop their understanding and application of research methods in preparation for their final year research dissertation project. Choices of optional modules then allow students to either begin to specialise and develop their theoretical knowledge and understanding of sport in particular disciplines or alternatively maintain the breadth of study experienced in Year 1.

Compulsory modules

  • Researching Sport

Then four optional modules - in the past these have included:

  • Sport, Physical Activity and Society
  • Sport, Crime and Deviance
  • Media, Sport and Society
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • Psychology of Exercise and Public Health
  • Sports Development: Policies and Practices
  • Open module*.

*As part of our flexible teaching programme, you have the opportunity to expand on your own academic interests through the study of ‘open’ modules in, for example, Business, Education, Languages, Geography or Politics in the second and third years.

Year 3

Students will critically analyse and evaluate more complex issues in relation to selected disciplines within the study of sport, exercise or physical activity. As is the case across the entire programme, modules and option choices in Year 3 are refined on an ongoing basis to reflect developments in industry, employment opportunities and the latest academic research. Students will also undertake an in-depth, critical analysis of a chosen topic in sport, exercise or physical activity, through their dissertation (an independent research project). 

Compulsory module

Dissertation in Sport (40 credits).

Then four optional modules - in the past these have included:

  • Sport in the Community Placement
  • Exercise Programmes for Health and Performance
  • Applied Sport Psychology
  • Sport Policy in Action
  • Nutrition for Sport, Physical Activity and Health
  • Advanced Sociological Perspectives on Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity
  • Open module*.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical laboratories, practical workshops, informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a state-of-the-art virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). Seminars and practical classes are taught in much smaller groups than lectures, small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with tutors.

Practical lab sessions allow 'hands-on' experience of the work that sport and exercise science professionals perform. Workshops allow students to develop knowledge and skills through investigating real-life sport and exercise issues and undertaking practical tasks, such as filmmaking and working with different client groups. This emphasis on small-group and practical teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the quantity of formal sessions. In fact, the degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as students move from their first to their final year.

Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal Academic Advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout the degree, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone research dissertation. The dissertation is supported by one-on-one supervision and makes up a third of final year credits.

In this way the degree programme systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. All formal teaching arrangements are supported by individual tutorials with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin in the week before the start of the programme and continue at key times throughout each year of the programme.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

GCE A' level Requirements

  • AAB
  • We do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking
  • You do not need to have studied a PE or Sports Studies A-Level to apply.

BTEC National Diploma (18 Units) Requirements

  • DDD
  • Subjects Required: We will prefer this qualification to be from a related subject area, e.g. Sport or Exercise focus.

International Baccalaureate Requirements

  • Acceptable on its own, or combined with other qualifications
  • Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects. Standard level subject requirements apply, see above

Other Qualifications

  • We welcome students with other post-16 qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements
  • We welcome applications from mature students and from candidates with non-standard qualifications. Every application will be considered on its own merits. Lack of formal qualifications need not be an obstacle to entry.
  • For those with non-traditional qualifications who may need further preparation to enter an undergraduate programme, Durham University offers a Foundation Programme, which provides a route onto our BA Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity degree.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £18,300.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


Further details on career opportunities can be found here:

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information



Durham University is an outstanding place to study sport, as well as to take part in sporting activities. We offer a contemporary approach to the study of sport, exercise and physical activity – combining academic and applied learning experiences in the social and natural sciences.

Our BA (Hons) Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity degree is taught by leading academics who are internationally recognised for their research and contribute to world-leading research centres within the School of Applied Social Sciences and the University’s Wolfson Research Institute. The degree is research-led and will prepare you for a wide range of careers and vocational opportunities.


  • 95% of our Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity students said they were satisfied with the quality of their course in the National Student Survey 2015 (sector-wide average 85%).
  • 4th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016.
  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2016.
  • 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2016.


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Applied Social Sciences web pages.


We have excellent teaching facilities at Durham, including a dedicated Human Performance Laboratory.

Our superb sporting facilities include:

  • 60 acres of beautiful and well-maintained playing fields which cater for rugby (union and league), soccer, lacrosse, football and cricket
  • A purpose-built sports centre with a 50-station fitness suite, high performance weight room, sports hall, squash courts, tennis courts, netball courts and athletics track
  • Indoor rowing tank
  • Purpose-built dedicated fencing salle
  • Dedicated rowing ergo gallery
  • Performance analysis suite
  • Purpose-built sports medicine/physiotherapy treatment rooms
  • Artificial turf pitch with floodlights: sand-dressed
  • Artificial turf pitch with floodlights: water-based
  • Two artificial turf pitches with floodlights: rubber crumb
  • Two county-standard cricket squares
  • International standard cross country course
  • Excellent river rowing facilities including new purpose-built boat houses on Wear, Tees and Tyne
  • Access to swimming and artificial skiing nearby
  • Biomedical science and sports fitness facilities.

The widest possible range of sporting opportunities for high performance, recreational participation, coaching and officiating, as well as involvement in community outreach programmes, are offered by a well-managed Athletic Union, ‘Team Durham’.

Team Durham also offers an Elite Athlete Support Programme and also scholarships. For further information visit: