Sport Development

BA (Hons) Combined

Sport and physical activity are important facets of modern society. Those engaged in sport development devise ways of enabling individuals to start, stay and succeed in sport. In essence, the sport development process is about promoting positive behaviour change (e.g. from inactivity to activity) and creating a supportive environment for this change to occur. It is therefore important that professionals working in this area have the appropriate underpinning knowledge and skills.

Why study Sport Development at our Warrington Campus?

The Sport Development programme aims to provide students with a sound, multi-disciplinary, academic background for a variety of sport-related industries. The programme represents key areas of the sport development continuum (from grass roots to excellence), where employment opportunities currently exist.

The programme offers opportunities to gain additional vocational qualifications (e.g. First Aid) and National Governing Body (NGB) awards relevant to student and industry needs. Members of the teaching team are working directly with the Institute for the management of Sport and Physical Activity (IMSPA), local professional sports clubs, the Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, and Sports Coach UK. All of this feeds directly into the teaching you will receive - making it up-to-date and relevant.


The course explores a number of key disciplines within the study of sport, moving from the foundations at Level 4 (Year 1) to more vocationally orientated and applied choices at Level 5 (Year 2) and Level 6 (Year 3). All students on this programme will study the foundations of behaviour and participation in sport, a background of the institutions that provide opportunities in sport, together with an introduction to sport development.

The programmes are supported by a sustained period of work placement, approximately five weeks, in the second year.

In their final year all combined honours students can choose to undertake a dissertation on a topic of their choice, or alternatively opt for taught modules.

Programme Structure:


Year 1 (Level 4)

Sport Physical activity & Behaviour Change

This core level IV module introduces students to a body of knowledge that attempts to understand and predict behaviour relative to engagement in sport and physical activity. Students will develop an understanding of the key concepts, models and theories that will assist them in their appreciation of the multifaceted reasons for initiation, adherence to and attrition from sport and physical activity. With this foundation knowledge as a basis they will be adequately prepared for year two, where they will move on to consider, in more detail, appropriate sport and physical activity interventions, from broad ranging ecological models to more precise practice aimed at individual behaviour change.

Sport in Society

This core level IV module provides an introduction to social issues and sociological enquiry. It provides a solid foundation to understanding the nature and context of sport. After consideration of key definitions the module looks at the significance and prevalence of sport in society; how the institutional framework is created that supports the provision of sport and examines issues related to the equality of access to sporting opportunities for different groups in society.

Introduction to Sport Development

This level IV core module introduces students to the concepts of community and culture, in addition to associated terminology (e.g. social exclusion). It provides students with definitions and basic sociological underpinning, as well as an understanding of the difference between the development of sport and development through sport. In particular the module looks at the models, methods and approaches used in sport to increase participation, improve performance, and enhance communities. The module is designed to broaden the students understanding of the relevance of sport in different contexts, through the use of guest speakers and experiential activities.

Year 2 (Level 5)


Sport Interventions: Behaviour Change

Sport development aims to promote positive change in the behaviour and attitudes of people and organisations and facilitate opportunities for people to participate, perform and excel in sport. This module aims to build on the foundation body of knowledge developed in SS4111: Sport, Physical Activity and Behaviour Change. Students will be encouraged to consider the challenges of selecting and designing interventions relative to the field of sport development. Beyond this they will need to develop a critical awareness of how such interventions are monitored, evaluated and their results interpreted with due consideration given to existing academic research and policy in the area. In addition to this and on a more applied front, the student’s skill set will be challenged as the module aims to introduce, explore and develop awareness and practice of counselling, interpersonal and reflective skills that can be utilised by the sports development practitioner.

Managing Community Sport Development

This level five core module enables students to engage with the National Occupational Standards for Sport Development in order to understand the role, and therefore the required knowledge, skills and competencies, of the Sport Development Professional (SDP).

An important feature of community sport development is that the SDP ensures that interventions are planned with the community not for the community and therefore this module will introduce students to concepts such as community needs analysis.

The contrasting and complementary aspects of development of sport and development through sport will be considered as will future challenges to sport development.


Research Methods for Sport & Physical Activity

The purpose of this level V module is to provide students with an understanding of the central role of research in the academic environment. Via a detailed examination of the research process, the module considers research design and implementation from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on both the manual manipulation of data as well as analysis using appropriate software packages. Research tasks carried out will be specifically concerned with sport-related topics and the module culminates in a research proposal which provides a potential starting point for the dissertation in year 3.

Coaching Process and Practice

This level V option module develops and assesses skills in planning, delivery and evaluation of sports coaching. It introduces students to the fundamental principles of good coaching practice and builds on knowledge of the components of the coaching process introduced in year 1. It examines concepts and principles relating to the understanding and application of theory to practice in sports coaching, and gives students the opportunity to undertake practical coaching activities to ensure they are able to reflect upon the skills required to be an effective coach.

Sport Marketing

This level V option module aims to develop an understanding of the principles of sport marketing through their application within the world of sport. It is designed to develop knowledge of the sport market and its connection with the process of marketing, and to appreciate the concept of sport marketing as a key function within the sport industry. The module provides a suitable opportunity to develop the skills and attributes required for marketing sport.

Physical Activity and Health

There is now a wealth of evidence to support the key role that physical activity can play in improving health and well-being. Physical inactivity contributes to coronary heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer – the UK’s leading killers. This level V option module is designed to study the relationship between physical activity and health, in light of current public health and sports-related initiatives. It will explore the various benefits that are known to accrue from regular physical activity, the characteristics of physical activity that can produce health benefits and methods used in research to measure physical activity and energy expenditure.

Sports Coaching: Professional Issues and Challenges

This level V option module addresses the athletic development agenda in relation to sports coaching and leadership. It develops an understanding of long term athletic development, considering implications for those engaged in delivering and co-ordinating the delivery of sports opportunity, aimed at improving participation levels and improving performance. The module is also designed to stimulate consideration of coaching /leadership philosophy and develop an understanding of the ethical basis upon which accountable and responsible sports coaching and leadership should take place. A framework of knowledge and skills is developed that enables reflective practice.

Year 3 (Level 6)


Student Conference: Issues in Sport and Physical Activity

This core level VI module aims to provide students with an opportunity to be an integral part of an academic conference. Students will work in small groups to present information on a contemporary theme in appropriate ways. In particular students will be expected to communicate to their peers and invited guests a detailed and academically informed understanding of a contemporary issue.



This double-weighted (40 credit) level VI core module is designed to enable students to develop their ability to work autonomously, research in depth a discrete specialised area of study and produce a dissertation on a topic specific to their programme of study. Students will be allocated a supervising tutor to submit an original piece of work of 8-10,000 words. This piece of work will utilise previously and concurrently acquired knowledge and skills that are synthesised in a logically argued and extensively evidenced format.

Strategic Management for Sport & Physical Activity

It is imperative that Sport Development Officers are able to critically analyse key policy/ planning areas and are skilled in making effective arguments for the implementation of resources. This level VI option module will give students the theoretical background to enable them to evaluate effectively the strategic management process as it applies to sport development.

PE and Youth Sport

Schools and the National Curriculum play a critical role in providing experiences which can potentially lead to lifelong physical activity, sustained recreational sports participation and high level sports participation and high level sports performance. This level VI option module provides students with the opportunity to understand the significance of the role of the school and the physical education curriculum and teachers at the foundation stage of the sports development continuum.

Physical Activity Promotion

Physical activity/exercise has been shown to be highly beneficial in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of health-related conditions. In addition many of the most prevalent diseases in the developed world are linked to lifestyle factors such as sedentary behaviour. This level VI option module addresses the role of physical activity/exercise in relation to health and considers broader challenges associated with physical activity/health promotion.

Applied Coaching Practice

This level VI option module is designed to develop knowledge and skills relating to practical sports coaching in a community setting. Specifically there is the opportunity for students to reflect on their own coaching practice. Reflecting on your own coaching practice is a crucial skill in coaching. This reflection is supported by consideration of both sides of the mentoring process.

Selling Sport

This level VI option module follows on from Sport Marketing in year 2. It aims to develop an understanding of the strategies and techniques used to generate sales of sport products and services. In particular the module focuses on the integrated marketing communications mix. It considers the inter-relationships between sport providers and sport consumers in the marketing of sport through different promotional tools including; advertising, sponsorship, branding and PR.

Teaching and learning methods include:

  • Interactive lectures
  • Analysis of contemporary research papers and research data
  • Practical skills sessions
  • Case study work
  • Discussion groups/seminars
  • Individual tutorials

Assessments develop and test both academic knowledge and skills and those valued in the workplace and include:

  • Assessment of practical skills
  • Essays and reports
  • Presentations
  • Case studies
  • In-class tests
  • Examinations

The Department uses a wide range of assessment methods, ranging from formal examinations through to essays, multiple choice tests, presentations, seminars and coursework. In the recent Teaching Quality survey, the Department received strongly favourable student reviews on its quality of feedback to students. In addition, we have been commended by our External Examiners on the depth and breadth of feedback on students' work provided by tutors and the range of assessments methods.

In general students are expected to demonstrate a theoretical and critical approach that requires evidence of ability to cite appropriate reading/research evidence. Assessments are designed incorporate assessment of key transferable knowledge and skills (e.g. time management, communication), as well as subject knowledge and skills (sport development processes and practice).

Formative assessment is used as appropriate across the programme to support and gauge student progress.

Assessment methods vary between modules and include assignments/coursework, practical work, presentations, seminars, continuous assessment and examinations. Work Based Learning assessment elements include objective setting and reflection. The assignment/examination ratio is normally weighted heavily towards coursework, although formal examinations do exist within the programme.

You will be equipped with transferable skills which are valued by employers such as:

  • research and data analysis skills;
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • presentation and oral communication skills;
  • written communication skills, including report writing;
  • time-management and planning skills;
  • effective problem-solving skills;
  • professionalism and customer focus;
  • a good understanding of information technology.

If you are studying this course on a combined basis you should look at options with both subjects.

For further information please visit:


UCAS points: 280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC

BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

BTEC Diploma:D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects
International Baccalaureate: 26 points
Access Access to HE Diploma to include 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit

OCR National Extended Diploma: Merit 2

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma - DMM

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma - D*D*

Extra Information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 20 points from GCE AS Levels and that Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A level General Studies will be recognised in our offer.  We will also consider a combination of A levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Contact us

For details about your course or your application please get in touch.

Dave Vitty

Great people (and) top facilities made Warrington an ideal location for my further education.”

Former studentDave Vitty