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The University of Wolverhampton

BA (Hons)Sports Studies and Development

Why choose this course?

This course has been especially designed to equip you with the necessary experience and skills to enter a variety of sports careers. You will learn about and prepare for work in many different areas within sport including the sport development industry, national sports organisations (such as Sport England, Sporting Equals and UK Sport), sport governing bodies, local country sports partnerships (such as the Black Country Consortium), schools and colleges, research centres and academic institutions.

One of the key features of the course is the wide range of real world assessments. You get to plan, organise and deliver a sports event gaining valuable real world industry experience. You will also evaluate sports initiatives, write funding bids, prepare practical sessions for different populations (including youth, disabled, older people, obese people), learn how to research different populations and learn about issues relating to working in elite level sport.

Module content and assessments are linked to the work of local and national sports organisations. We have partnerships with a number of local colleges and you will get the opportunity to plan and deliver practical sessions to real students in both lectures and other outreach events delivered by the University such as SportFest and This Girl Will. You will have the opportunity to work with a range of organisations including Street Games, Youth Zone and the West Midlands Police Community partnerships team (see more in ‘What happens on the course?’).

Our industry links and contemporary curriculum will help you to develop the mind-set, skillset and behaviours required to succeed during and after this dynamic course.

Developing team work and leadership skills with Street Games and the Us Girls project. Creating opportunities for fun and enjoyment is an important part of community sport development

Inspiring future leaders. Not all learning takes place in a classroom!

Setting the girls a challenge during the photo project #ThisGirlWill

Dani putting her leadership skills to the test during the This Girl Will event

The BA (Hons) Sport Studies and Development​ is just one of an exciting range of courses on offer at the University of Wolverhampton’s Institute of Sport and Human Science. Why not come and visit us at one of our Open Days.

If you are uncertain if this is the right sport course for you, have a look at this video to help you decide:

What happens on the course?

In the West Midlands, sport participation levels are significantly lower than the national average (Sport England, 2015). BA (Hons) Sports Studies and Development explores the social function of sport and in particular how sport can be used to promote social change. During the course, you will evaluate the power of sport and physical activity to bring communities together, and learn about barriers for particular groups and how to overcome these issues by creating opportunities for participation. The course will help you develop skills required for working with different client groups, for instance older adults, youth, people with a disability, obese clients, women and girls, and people from BME groups – these groups are considered ‘priority’ within the local area and so the specialist knowledge you’ll gain from the course is particularly valued.

In your second year you will undertake a placement with a relevant sports organisation and have the opportunity to plan, deliver and evaluate a sport event alongside one of our industry partners. In third year, you will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of a real life sports initiative. Monitoring and evaluation was identified in the new Sport England strategy as essential for the future of sport development projects. You will also complete a project on a subject of your choice, allowing you to develop particular areas of interest.

Throughout the course, you will engage with relevant and contemporary issues in the rapidly changing industry. You will consider the changing culture of sport and examine a range of issues that are relevant to the world of professional sport including the media representation of professional female athletes, doping in sport, the growth and impact of social media on the professional sporting landscape, and the commercialisation and branding of leagues, teams and individual athletes.

The course contains three key strands, allowing you to examine sport from a broad perspective.

  • Sport Development
  • Social Issues and Sport
  • Media and Sport

We take pride in opportunities that we are able to provide to students, and are currently working in partnership with a number of local and national sports organisations. These include The Black Country Consortium, Sporting Equals, Street Games, Youth Zone, Football Futures, Walsall Football in the Community and Walsall Council. The opportunity to do a placement module allows you to further develop the industry skills acquired on the course and build relationships with potential future employers. A number of students who have completed a successful placement or voluntary work are now working in paid positions.

Modules and Assessment

Assessment is strongly linked to the industry skills you will gain. This allows you to sell yourself to employers better as you will have hands-on experience of the type they’re looking for. For example assessments may be putting together a sports initiative, bidding for a pot of money to run a sports initiative, conducting market research – as opposed to being purely assessment/exam based.

Level 4

Youth Sport

Introduction to Youth Sport

Focusing on the delivery of sport and physical activity to young people in a community based setting, this module is centred on the way in which sport can be used as a tool to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, improve health and increase academic achievement. Relevant research and policy is used to highlight the issues faced by this population and their motives for engaging in sport.

You will draw upon theoretical models of positive youth development to plan, organise and deliver a range of practical sessions that are used to create a resource pack that can be used by sports leaders. You will develop valuable leadership and delivery skills that are valued by employers in the sport sector. A number of guest sessions are led by external organisations to provide real-world examples of youth sport in action. Guest speakers have included Youth Zone, Street Games and Football Futures. You will also be given the opportunity to deliver practical sessions developed in the module during outreach events throughout the year, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Socio-historical Issues in Sport

Explore a range of issues including gender, race disability, social class and deviance in sport. An understanding of these issues is vital if you wish to work within the sport industry, particularly in careers such as sport development, sport organisation or teaching.

Introduction to the Sport Industry

Studying this module will provide you with an understanding of the sports industry in the UK, covering provision within the public, private and voluntary sectors of sport. Current research and policy is drawn upon to identify priority issues and groups that organisations may wish to target through sports initiatives.

Alternative PopulationsWorking with Diverse Populations

Gain specialist skills for working with clients from specialist populations including older adults, disabled people and obese individuals. You will learn about the barriers to participation for these groups and prepare sessions that break down these barriers to allow access to sport and physical activity.

You will be given the opportunity to work through a range of scenarios that are linked to real-world delivery of sport and physical activity, working in groups to research, deliver and reflect on session planning and delivery. Through practical delivery of sport and exercise based sessions, you will learn how to adapt your delivery to ensure that it is appropriate for the intended client group.

The specialist knowledge and experience of planning and delivering practical sessions to different groups is valued by employers. You will be encouraged to gain additional leadership and coaching qualifications that link to the module to further enhance this aspect of your knowledge and experience.

Sport in a Digital Age

The financial and commercial interests of sport and the media are increasingly intertwined. The English Premier League domestic broadcasting rights, for instance, are currently worth £5.1 billion showing clearly how much money comes into sport from the media and the growing power of the media in shaping sports programming. This module explores the consequences of sports relationship with various forms media and how developments have impacted on the way we engage with sport.

Youth Sport Subcultures

This module focuses on a wide range of activities often referred to as subcultural or alternative sports including parkour, ultimate Frisbee, skate boarding and snowboarding. Through a combination of theory and practical based sessions you will learn how these sports differ from more mainstream activities. With the latest Youth Sport Insight document suggesting that sports providers need to tap into a broader range of activities to engage young people’s participation, the module encourages you to think outside the box when considering sport provision.

Level 5

The Study of Professional Sport

This exciting module explores a range of issues relevant to professional sport including the ethics of playing with injuries, the lack of British Asians in elite sport, media coverage of elite female sport, the power of the Nike brand within commercial sport, eating disorders and the coach-athlete relationship.

Sport and Globalisation

This module examines the extent to which sport might be considered global. Using a number of examples such as the NFL franchise in the UK, the NBA and English Premier League’s prominence in South East Asia, students are encouraged to examine the implication of sports’ spread across the globe.

Critical Issues in Community Sport

On this module you will examine the importance of sport within the local area. Guest speakers including representatives from the Black Country Consortium, Walsall Football in the Community, Walsall Council and the University Sport England project have contributed to module delivery of the module. You will complete a real-world assessment, drawing on the knowledge you have gained from the module to make recommendations for policy, planning and delivery.

Sport Event Management You will plan, deliver, manage and evaluate a sport event of your choice, challenged to pitch your ideas in a ‘dragon’s den’ style to staff and external representatives. Our current students have worked with Sportivate funding to develop an event to engage previously inactive people. This module is an exercise in seeing a project through from start to finish, providing you with a wealth of experience relevant for gaining employment after graduation.

Sport Industry Experience

This placement module gives you the opportunity to gain relevant industry experience in a sporting career of your choice. You will be provided with career guidance and support from staff in planning for the placement. The practical experience gained through the placement will provide you with valuable experience and employability skills.

Writing a Research Proposal

This research based module provides the underpinning knowledge for the completion of the professional project at level 6. You will learn about a wide range of research techniques in sport and make decisions about which methods you will use to collect data in your final year.

Level 6

Sport and Film

Explore the ideologies contained within sport film and develop a critical appreciation of sports media. You will examine the relationship between media producers and consumers particularly in terms of power.

Evaluating Sport

As part of the sport development strand you will have an opportunity within the module to monitor and evaluate sport related projects. The evaluation of sport is a key employability skill required for working in the sport development sector.

Global Mega Events

Explore the economic, social and political implications of hosting mega-events such as the football World Cup and Olympic Games.

Contemporary Issues in Sport

Develop a critical understanding of a number of contemporary issues in sport. Choosing an issue that is of particular interest to you, you will complete a critical review of the academic work in the subject area. In the past, students have considered topic areas such as hazing, new media and sexuality and sport.

Professional Project

The professional project allows you to collect data and research a topic area of your choice, working independently guided by a project tutor.

Who will be teaching me?

Kath Leflay
Kath has worked at the University of Wolverhampton for 7 years and is currently a Senior Lecturer in sport sociology and the Course Leader for Sports Studies and Development. Her teaching and research interests include: youth sport; community sport development; equality issues within sport, sport films and sport media representation. Her PhD focused on the media and celebrity culture surrounding professional football. She has a role in outreach and development for the Institute of Sport with a particular responsibility for creating links with colleges and organisations linked to the course. As a self-confessed chatter box, she loves meeting and working with new people. In her spare time she enjoys running, mountain biking, snow sports and walking her dog.

Ally Forbes
This is Ally's fourth year working at the University of Wolverhampton and teaching on the Sports Studies and Development Degree. She is nearing completion of a PhD which is a study on young British Asians, sport and identity. Her main research interests are based on identity and the culture of sport, especially football. She have published work on mixed gender football and female football officials. Outside of work Ally is a keen sportswoman and football mad. She currently plays football for Coventry United Ladies FC and also completed the 2016 London Marathon.

Dr Richard Medcalf
Richard is an Associate Dean at the University having previously been a Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing. His teaching and research interests lie in the fields of sports development and sport policy, often with a particular focus on issues relating to inclusive practice. He has recently edited Current Issues in Contemporary Sport Development (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and is currently editing Researching Difference in Sport and Physical Activity (Routledge, due for publication in 2018).

Ryan Scoats
Ryan gained both his undergraduate degree and masters of research from the University of Bath, researching masculinities and sports cultures, and is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Winchester. Ryan's sporting experiences are mainly based in subcultural sports such as surfing, skateboarding, karate, kung fu and ultimate. His research focuses on a number of areas including masculinities, sport, sexualities, identity and consensual non monogamy.

Craig Corrigan
Craig is currently working towards a PhD that investigates the Social Impact of Sport after being successfully selected for a studentship at the University of Wolverhampton. Prior to this he worked as a Sport Development Officer and Lecturer at Stafford College, with a primary focus on working with students to boost their employability skills through voluntary placements and securing additional sports specific qualifications. He graduated from Staffordshire University with a first class honours degree in Sports Development and Coaching. During his degree he gained valuable experience working voluntarily as a School Games Organiser and as a Notational Analyst for Burton Albion FC.

His research interests include: Monitoring and Evaluation, The Social Impact of Sport, Sports Coaching, Sport Development, The Social and Financial Inequality in Elite Sport, Coach Education, Grassroots Football, Youth Football, Skill Acquisition in Pedagogic Sport and Sport in the Third Sector. He is a member of the Football Collective, a research group that analyses and offers input into football. He is a FA level Two coach and a level two Multi Skills coach with additional qualifications in Rugby and Fitness instructing.

Why Wolverhampton?

As a student on this course, you will be a member of the University of Wolverhampton’s Institute of Sport and Human Science. This gives you a range of exciting benefits/opportunities. Here are just a few:

  • Access to fantastic specialist study and sports facilities.
  • As a graduate from the Institute you will be very employable. In the most recent annual national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey, over 99% of our Sport graduates reported that they were in in work or further study six months after they had left university.
  • You will have access to our fantastic ‘Career Development Week’. During this week you will have the opportunity to gain additional vocational qualifications at a heavily subsidised cost.
  • Work placement opportunities and the Wolverhampton Enterprise and Employability Award are embedded in all of the Undergraduate Degrees.
  • Free set of Sport kit from our official suppliers, Under Armour.
  • Represent your university as part of Team Wolverhampton. Could you be a future winner of one our Sports Awards?
  • Apply for one of our Sports Scholarships worth up to £4,500.
  • Gain ‘real world’ experience through some of our exciting partnerships, such as our work with Walsall Football Club.
  • Free gym membership for students in Halls of Residence.
  • Take part in our Social Sport programme.
  • If you have some qualifications and experience in football coaching, there are opportunities to take a year out as part of our Pass it Forward initiative with West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
  • You will be based on the Walsall Campus which is the home of one of our partners, British Judo.

The Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing series of seminars and lectures spans education, sport, care, psychology health and wellbeing, bringing you a variety of engaging speakers and experts from the University of Wolverhampton and many other UK universities, visit

What our students think

“My experiences of university have been incredibly positive. Members of staff and the friends I’ve made throughout my studies have allowed for, without doubt, the most enjoyable three years of my education thus far. The different forms of assessment combined with opportunities to demonstrate and gain skills across a breadth of fields, both practical and academic, allow you to excel and expose your strengths. I particularly enjoyed looking at sport’s role within the digital age and the sport film modules. For me, taking up the role as a course rep, as well as the independent nature of research for my dissertation, has allowed me to work with new people and develop as an individual. Choosing a course at university was a daunting prospect, however the Open Day I attended helped me make my decision – and I can say for certain it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I will treasure the memories I’ve gathered over the last three years and look forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice as I continue my studies at postgraduate level.”
Dan Bennett – 2016 graduate

"For me, the sport and film module was the most enjoyable on the course, it allowed me to apply the social theory that I’d learnt in lectures to iconic sport films of past and present."
Joe Jennings – 2016 graduate

“The event management module has allowed me to gain valuable real-life experience in running a sporting event. From being able to bid for actual funding, to organising, marketing and running the event, the module has been exciting, motivating and inspiring as to just what can be achieved when planning sports events.”
Phillipa Bailey – student (Level 6, 2016)

Adbul"Since coming back into education as a mature student, it was important for me to get practical experience in the sport industry as well as theoretical knowledge. The course has provided me with this experience in abundance. One module in particular provided me with real life experience in running a sport event. We bidded for a real pot of money and worked with a real life sport organisation in order to deliver an event at the University of Wolverhampton. This process was very exciting, inspiring and educational. A great course, which I know will provide me with all the tools to pursue my career goals in the future."

Abdul Waheed – student (Level 6, 2016)

Career path

The course has excellent links to industry and has been especially designed to equip you with the necessary experience and skills to be able to enter into a wide range of sports careers, across all sectors and levels of sport (from participation right through to elite level sport).

Opportunities will be available to you in the sport development industry, national sports organisations (such as Sport England, Sporting Equals and UK Sport), sport governing bodies, local county sports partnerships (such as the Black Country Consortium), schools and colleges, research centres and academic institutions. The variety of the course is ideal if you are currently unsure of exactly which career path you want to take, as you will learn about and prepare for work in many different areas within the sport industry.

If you want to work in education, but are unsure exactly what you want to specialise in, this course is ideal. The course enables students to move onto teacher training in primary or secondary education in subjects such as Physical Education. Our graduates can also apply for a number of Graduate Teaching Positions at the University, and gain valuable paid teaching/lecturing experience alongside a recognised qualification in post compulsory education to be used in colleges or universities.

What skills will you gain?

Skills required to succeed at university are embedded into modules throughout the course, as well as the subject-specific and employability skills desired by employers in the sports industry, including: working with specialist populations; promoting behaviour change; community engagement; the use of sport for improving mental health; and sports leadership. With these skills, you will be able to enter roles that make a real difference to people’s lives.

This course particularly develops your research skills – you will research the needs of a community, what the target groups and priority issues are. The course encourages you to experience being able to work with different client groups in preparation for your future career, for example as a Sport Development Officer who may work with the older population one day, then young offenders the next.

You will be provided with the industry skills to work confidently and competently with a wide range of people, developing strong leadership skills through practical delivery of sessions to different client groups. You will gain event/project management skills by organising and managing a sports event, as well as monitoring and evaluating other sports projects. You will design sport programmes for specialist populations and learn to understand the changing relationship between sport and media for governing bodies, leagues and individual athletes.

Entry requirements

2018 Entry

  • A Levels, minimum grade CCC
  • BTEC National Diploma grade MMM, BTEC National Certificate grade DD
  • BTEC QCF Extended Diploma grade MMM, BTEC QCF Diploma grade DD
  • Access to HE Diploma full award (60 credits)
  • If you've got other qualifications or relevant experience, please contact The Gateway for further advice before applying.
  • International entry requirements and application guidance can be found here

Other Requirements

Entry to this course requires a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check.

If you have accepted a Conditional Offer made by the University of Wolverhampton you will receive correspondence asking you to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The charge for this will be a DBS fee of £44.00 and a £6.00 ID check service fee. You will also need to complete a physical activity readiness questionnaire prior to starting the course.

Students must have studied a minimum of two years post GCSE level. However, it is expected that some applicants will be mature students with work experience, who wish to further their career development. These applicants will be processed through standard procedures, which may involve an interview as part of the process. Please see for further information.

Course fees and finance


2015/6 fees for this course have not yet been agreed. Please contact for further information.

The University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships in addition to other financial support packages

These fees are applicable for new entrants in 2018/9. If you have any queries regarding the fees listed please contact

These fees are for the current academic year only. Any subsequent years may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.

Contact us


01902 32 22 22



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