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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

We are passionate not only about improving sport performance, but also reducing inequality, promoting social justice, and ensuring better health and wellbeing through sport, exercise and physical activity. Studying on the BA (Hons) Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity with us 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 contemporary issues such as inequality, the environment, crime, and obesity.

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.

Core modules:

  • Critical Skills for Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • Introduction to Sociology of Sport.

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.

Core modules:

  • Contemporary Research in Sport and Exercise Sciences (40 credits)
  • Advanced Sociology of Sport
  • Sports Development.

Examples of optional modules:

Then two optional modules:

  • Sport, Health and the Environment
  • Nutrition for Sport and Health
  • Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • 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).

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (40 credits)
  • Applied Sociology of Sport and Exercise
  • Sport Policy in Action.

Examples of optional modules:

Then two optional modules:

  • Active Communities Placement
  • Applied Sport Psychology
  • Futures in Sport, Exercise and Health (title TBC)
  • 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 Anthropology, Business, Criminology, Education, Geography, Languages, Psychology and Sociology.


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


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, Learn Ultra.

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 podcast recording 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.

Entry requirements

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.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £24,900 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £24,900 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 Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Sport and Exercise Sciences

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 77% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 70% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £25,000.

(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

Department information

Sport and Exercise Sciences

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 examine a broad range of topics across the spectrum from grassroots to performance sport, and also across the varied connections between sport and issues such as obesity, inequality and social justice.

For more information see our department pages.


  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2022
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2022
  • 2nd in The Complete UniversityGuide 2023.


For a current list of staff, please see the Sport and Exercise Sciences pages.

Research Excellence Framework

100% of our submission was world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 21).


Our teaching and research facilities include the Human Performance Laboratory and the Truscott Imaging Suite, which were built as part of the University's £30m investment in the new Sports and Wellbeing Park at Maiden Castle. These facilities support our undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes and provide opportunities for collaborative research within and external to the University.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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