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Durham University


C603 Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity BA Undergraduate 2021


Please note: 2021-22 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

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
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


Studying on the BA (Hons) Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity here at Durham will enable you to explore a broad range of topics across the spectrum from grassroots to elite sport, and also across the varied connections between sport and issues such as obesity, crime and inequality.

Across your three years of study, you will engage in a variety of core and optional modules in the social science disciplines of sport sociology, sport policy and sports development. The flexible design of the degree will also allow you to select and experience modules associated with other areas of the sport and exercise sciences, including physiology, psychology, and physical activity, nutrition and health.

Your research and academic study skills will be developed through bespoke modules, and during the final year dissertation project you will engage in deeper investigation of a sport, exercise or physical activity topic that particularly interests you. In addition, our employability-focused course provides further opportunities for you to take sport and exercise leadership and placement modules, as well as open modules from other departments across the University.

Learning, teaching and assessment approaches all emphasise the application of academic knowledge to real-life examples and practices in sport, exercise and physical activity.  As such, we will 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.

Year 1

You 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 two compulsory modules and the choice of four optional modules.

Compulsory modules:

  • Critical Skills for Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • Introduction to Sport, Culture and Society

Examples of optional modules:

  • Introduction to Physical Activity, Diet and Health
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Industries
  • Open module*.

Year 2

You will build on your knowledge and understanding of key concepts and issues in different sport, exercise and physical activity contexts. In addition, one of our compulsory modules will enable you to develop your skills and understanding of various research methods that will be valuable across your degree, into your final year research dissertation project and future career. Choices of optional modules then allow you to either begin to specialise in particular sport, exercise and physical activity subject areas or, alternatively, maintain the breadth of study experienced in Year 1.

Compulsory modules:

  • Contemporary Research Methods for Sport & Exercise Sciences (40 credits)
  • Advanced Sport, Culture and Society
  • Sports Development.

Examples of optional modules:

Then two optional modules:

  • Nutrition for Sport and Health
  • Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Sport, Health and the Environment
  • Open module*.


Year 3

You 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 course, 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. You will also undertake an in-depth, critical analysis of a chosen topic in sport, exercise or physical activity, through your dissertation (an independent research project). 

Compulsory modules:

  • Dissertation in Sport (40 credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Sport, Culture and Society
  • Sport Policy in Action

Examples of optional modules:

Then two optional modules:

  • Sport in the Community Placement
  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Nutrition based module (under development)
  • Open module*.

*As part of our flexible teaching, you have the opportunity across all three years to expand on your own academic interests through choosing to study ‘open’ modules offered in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences or in other subject areas, such as Business, Education, Languages, Criminology and Psychology.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2021 entry from September 2020.


Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this course learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and laboratories, informal but scheduled one-to-one support, and self-directed learning, such as academic reading, research and preparation tasks. All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO).

Seminars, workshops and practical classes are taught in much smaller groups than lectures, small enough to allow one-to-one interaction with tutors. These sessions allow you to develop knowledge and skills through investigating real-life sport, exercise and physical activity issues and through undertaking practical tasks, such as filmmaking and working with different client groups. Our 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. 

Small-group teaching and one-to-one attention from a personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the course) 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-to-one supervision and makes up a third of final year credits.

In this way the degree systematically supports you in transforming from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to becoming 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 course and continue at key times throughout each year of the degree.


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A level offer – AAB. You do not need to have studied a PE or Sports Studies A level to apply.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.

IB Diploma score – 36 with 665 in higher level subjects.

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

  • 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 degree Durham University offers a Foundation Programme, which provides a route onto our BA (Hons) 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 £22,550.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £22,550.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 93% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 69% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £24,500.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey 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



At Durham, you can combine studying on outstanding sport and exercise degrees with unbeatable opportunities for participation and excellence in sport.

Studying in the sport and exercise sciences will allow you to study a broad range of topics across the spectrum from grassroots to elite sport, and also across the varied connections between sport and issues such as obesity, crime and inequality.


  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 5th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
  • 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
  • 7th in The Complete UniversityGuide 2021.


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: