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Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 - Gold Award

BA (Hons) Sport Development and Coaching

This is one of our broadest ranging sports degrees. You can tailor you experience towards your career aspirations and keep your options open. You'll learn how sport is used to develop communities, inspire young people and fulfil potential, from grassroots up to elite athlete levels.

Sports development students organise and lead a sports event for local primary schools

Small class sizes

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Full-time Part-time

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

T level P (C+)

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above

Applicants with other qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis

UCAS points 96

UCAS code SDC2

UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full time or up to six years part time

Any questions?

Contact Charley Lumley, our Applicant Support Coordinator, if you have any questions. Email and Charley will get back to you.

Course Summary

You'll learn how sport can be used to develop communities and fulfil the potential of all individuals. with a focus on mass participation and community sport which offers the most employment opportunities. BA (Hons) Sport Development and Coaching offers a high degree of transferability across sport as it considers many elements of the sports industry.

You'll develop skills for working in the UK sport industry or further afield, these include the skills to coach, run sport development programmes, organise events and a critical understanding of how sport works. You’ll gain the skills needed to improve your communication, leadership, and teamwork, along with developing research and evaluation skills.

By your second year you will have an achieved the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA)'s Coaching Assistant award and by Year 3 you'll achieve Coach, which means you have an industry recognised professional qualification built into your degree.

We’ll ensure that you receive the right balance of academic and practical experience in a broad range of sport development topics. You’ll have the chance to interact with seasoned industry professionals through guest speakers, practical projects, work placements and inspiring study trips.

There are opportunities to undertake additional qualifications such as SCUK’s Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshops and students are engaged in career planning from the first year.

Phil: We work really closely with all our students. We see our students on a daily basis, a weekly basis, so we get really good personal relationships with them. We can tailor then the offer, our advice to them on a personal basis. We've got all the facilities on site, so our students can train, play and study all on one campus. We've got brilliant links with local networks and regional networks and national networks in terms of sports organizations in schools, in coaching organizations. We can really help students to gain applied experience to develop the employability skills. They get out of the classroom. They work with real people, real institutions, and develop some excellent skills. So when it comes to them looking for a job, they've got a whole host of people they can call upon. It's not just about a lecturer's giving support. They've got a whole community of people that are trying to support them.

Luke: It was the course that really put my focus on Marjon, but then the fact that it is a sports-based university and I'm a really sporty person, it's definitely give me the nudge to pick Marjon over other unis that I had offers.

Ami: I feel you get a lot better experience in such a small environment, where you're a lot closer to your lecturer and they take the time to get to know you as a person and as a student, which goes really well then if ever you need any help. I think probably the most beneficial opportunity for me is the fact that you get a second year and third year placement. It's fantastic to be able to get the experience, the hands-on experience, as well as doing your degree. A lot of people would have to try and find time to do voluntary work outside of their studying, whereas the great thing with sports development is you get that opportunity set aside for you during your degree.

Luke: Obviously, the gym's really handy. Last year, when I was staying on campus, me and my friend would go to the gym every day. It's on your doorstep. And then obviously all the strength conditioning rooms for athletes. I mean, it's like a playground for any athlete.

Ami: I think it's great that you get the sports center, so you're not just constantly sat in a classroom being told things. You can actually get into the sports hall. You can do demonstrations and you can be taught it really hands-on.

Kes: Marjon's given me confidence, it's given me a really good skill set, and it's made me believe in myself that actually I am a good teacher and I'm doing a good job at professional tutor. I think that's from just really good support in the three years I was here, but also continued support since I've left. It's actually made me probably believe in myself a little bit more and realize that you're never too young to do something and that if you're the right person, then go for it.

Why this course at Marjon?

Our students tell us this course broadens their horizons in terms of the careers available in the sport sector

We have exceptional industry links keeping you up to date with both academic and industry developments

We are well connected through local sports organisations and through national networks such as the UK Sport Development Network (UKSDN) and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)

Deepen your understanding of sport and enhance your employability - check out our graduate case studies below

We have small classes and therefore we’ll get to know you as an individual

A balance of academic and practical experience

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

In your first year you will learn about sport in the community and develop an understanding of core coaching techniques used in sport. You will also learn about how sport is managed at a local level. In the second year you will learn about inclusion in sport, how sports marketing operates and how the national curriculum is linked to sport outside the classroom. During the third year you will learn about sporting excellence and develop an understanding of the governance of sport at elite level, as well as doing a dissertation project
Phil Brown - Course Leader

1st Year

Sport and community
You’ll engage with sport programmes aimed at community group. Some of the teaching for this module is by experts from the sports industry so you community sport professionals and start to develop your own network. You will consider specific target groups and inequality in community sport, exploring the ‘target group’ philosophy and barriers to participation in sport.
Introduction to sport development and coaching
You'll develop understanding of the coaching fundamentals of planning, conducting and evaluating. You'll not only develop theoretical knowledge of the coaching process but through practicals you'll also develop your skills and confidence for delivering coaching sessions.
Organisations in sport
Understand the organisation and structure of sport and physical education. You’ll consider the interconnected nature of the three sectors of sport: public, private, and voluntary. You'll also examine government involvement in sport and physical education and the role of key sports organisations including UK Sport and England, National Governing Bodies of sport, and charities such as the Youth Sport Trust.
Foundations in sport development
You’ll explore sport development from community to elite level, learning how sport and football contribute to wider society issues, such as inclusion, health and physical activity. You will gain a Street Games Activator qualification and visit the London Olympic Park
Introduction to the management of sport
You will study the organisation of sport being introduced to marketing, accounting and economics, communications/public relations, human resourcing, performance and strategic and event management.
Foundations in coaching

2nd Year

Industry placement in sport development/coaching
You’ll spend up to 100 hours working in the sports industry. You can shape the placement to meet your area of interest working practically as a coach or developing projects. Previous students have enjoyed placement opportunities with Active Devon, Plymouth YMCA, Plymouth City Council Sports Development Unit, Teignbridge Council, NGBS and Argyle Community Trust.
Sport and physical activity event management
You'll get to grips with the theory of sports event management considering small scale, major, and mega events. You'll also get practical experience by delivering two small scale events with external sports organisations, one of which will be Plymouth Schools Partnership.
Research methods
This module is focused on structured inquiry-based learning. You will learn how to generate appropriate research and when, how, and why, to use different research methods for sport-based research.
Sport and physical activity policy to practice
You'll explore a range of government policy areas that impact on sport and recreation provision in the UK.
Coaching theory and practice
You'll further develop your understanding of the coaching process and the role of the coach by studying coaching models, principles, philosophy, coaching behaviour and coaching styles. You'll apply this knowledge by planning a number of practical coaching activities.
Inclusion in sport and physical activity
You'll develop an understanding of the principle of inclusion that underpins contemporary sport development practice and associated coach and teacher education. You'll learn about the social and cultural basis of exclusion, including gender, ethnicity, and disability and how to make practical adaptations to enable the delivery of inclusive activities.

3rd Year

Honours project
You'll select a topic and develop a project with support from your tutor. You'll source and synthesize relevant academic literature; apply relevant theoretical concepts, collect and analyse your own data. All students will share their projects, learning from one another, at a student conference.
Strategic sport management
This module explores how sports organisations identify and respond to local, national and international change; how they survive and thrive. You'll learn the key principles and processes of strategic management in sports organisations and how to gain a competitive advantage. You'll undertake a strategic analysis of a sport organisation of your choice.
Inclusive coaching in sport & physical activity
Leadership & mentoring in sport
Graduate employability in sport
Sport in a global society

Current students say...

Chloe Whittle

"The course has supported me to develop academically and professionally as I have been introduced to a broad range of modules, such as event management, sport coaching and inclusion in sport, and given opportunities to put the learnt theory into practice. As a coach and practitioner as I have been able to receive part-time employment from these opportunities. A major highlight is working with organisations which are advocates for sport development, such as Argyle Community Trust."

Melissa Baverstock

“I enjoy the flexibility in what we learn via the specialist pathways we choose. My goal is to become a PE teacher so the PE pathway is guiding me. Personally, I have gained a lot of confidence from the course. The placement module in my second year gave me the opportunity to work in a school and get first-hand experience in the field which I choose to continue in. Academically, I feel I have have improved massively. It is very rewarding to watch myself and my grades grow.”

Tom Smith

"I enjoy the diversity of the course, for one lesson we could be having a debate in a classroom and the next we could have a practical lesson in the sports hall. Working with external companies and people that really need your help to ensure that projects are delivered successfully means that you get quality hands on experience. It is also rewarding working with projects around the local area that are really making a difference to people’s lives and seeing what a difference you are making."

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

How can I run amazing sports events? What lessons can I take from the Olympic Games?

How does the sports industry work? And how can I get into it?

Why are some countries more successful at the Olympics than others?

Why do some groups in society do less sport? What can we do to increase the access for women and girls, the inactive, disabled, those on low incomes?

How does the government use sport to improve wider society?

What can sport do to tackle the obesity crisis?

This is a mature, confident and high quality programme with some innovative modules…and clear content and structure that goes beyond the expectations of the industry and academia... Learning outcomes are clearly met, teaching and assessment is of high quality and I am confident that standards are thorough and rigorous. Of 11 programmes I have examined… this is one of the very best. It is a credit to the teaching team and students that co-produce work as peers.
Dr Chris Mackintosh, External Examiner - Manchester Metropolitan University and Chair of the UK Sport Development Network

See where our graduates are now

Tom Rudd

Currently I am the Competition Team Coach of 25 athletes aged from 14-17 in Dubai (UAE). My role includes creating macro & meso plans throughout a swimming season, delivering nine training sessions a week and the individual goals of each athlete in the squad. The positive environment Marjon University provided allowed me to channel my passion for sport and coaching into career in this profession that I can continuously develop my delivery and overall performance as a coach.

Tom Rudd is Competition Team Swimming Coach for Speedo Swim Squads

Cameron Webb

"The university was able to provide me with many opportunities to get first-hand experience of what being a teacher would feel like during my time on my course. I feel very passionate about being a PE teacher as its something that I have always dreamt of doing since I was young. I really enjoy being able to educate the young people in the South West and hopefully provide some students with an opportunity to achieve a career in sports, as well as encouraging the next generation of PE teachers."

Cameron Webb is a Student PGCE Secondary PE Teacher for Kinetic Sports Group

Luke Overthrow

"University life allowed me to be my own person and to creating opportunities in sport outside the classroom. The placement module in Year 2 allowed me to get experience within a professional environment, setting me up for my current role. I love being able to support student-athletes making their transition into university whilst balancing their elite level sporting commitments. It gives me real pride to be a part of their support team and watching them flourish on the world stage."

Luke is BUCS & Performance Sport Coordinator at Plymouth Marjon University.

What might you become?

You will find our BA (Hons) Sport Development and Coaching graduates in a variety of roles including development officers for national governing bodies, local authorities, school sport partnerships, community trusts, commercial sports centres, and as coaches and teachers. We have superb links with the sport development sector locally, nationally, and overseas and the quality of our graduates is well recognised both locally and nationally.

This is a broad ranging degree and this ensures that you are employable when you leave us and that your degree remains relevant no matter which area of sport you work in in the future.

Ben: So, I finished my university degree here at Marjon in 2016. In my time, they would work with like a lot of external partners. I did a lot of volunteering with a local council I'm still working at, as well as Active Devon, so that kind of prepared me for working with local partners, where they can kind of network in general. It gave me a lot of confidence.

Jenna: I did a foundation degree at Exeter College for two years. I then came to Marjon and did a top up degree in sports development and coaching. Having that extra year here at Marjon really helped me to get the practical skills that I needed and hands-on skills to help me go to a job on the outside world.

Josh: So, after I graduated from Marjon's, there was a school games organizer role with the Plymouth School Sports Partnership. I went for that. With my degree and my coaching experience from working for lots of coaching companies whilst at university meant I got that role, which was for full time, working for the Plymouth School Sports Partnership.

Alice: While I was at uni in my third year, I took six months at the end of the year to go and approach Active Devon and I volunteered with them. So, I did school games for six months and worked with all of the other employees as well there, just to give myself more practical experience.

Ben: Now I get to come back and I get to do guest lectures, I get to interview former students and help out with course content and course programs that they're doing at the moment, which is always really enjoyable. So, I've got a really good working relationship with Marjon going on, and I really enjoy coming back and doing work here at Marjon, as well as what I do in my day-to-day role. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time and really looking forward to carry on working with them.

Endorsed by:


Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)

CIMSPA certify that this course meets the professional standards set by employers in the physical activity and fitness sector. CIMSPA's Coaching Assistant and Coach awards are included.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical coaching experience. You’ll study 6 modules per year. You will also embark on a 100 hour placement in year 2 or run sports events with an industry partner.

How will you be assessed?

You’ll write essays, give presentations, produce reports and there is the odd exam.  As you’d expect you’ll be assessed on your delivery skills, in coaching, at events, and on placement.

Phil Brown

Dr Phil Brown

Course leader

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Phil has over 20 years’ experience working in the sports industry. He’s led and delivered a number of community and school based sports development projects and events. He ran a national free swimming pilot for Sport England and the NHS based in Plymouth. Sport development is about working in partnership to develop sport and Phil has an excellent network in the sports section working nationally with the UK Sport Development Network (UKSDN) and the Chartered Institution for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). Locally he works with Active Devon, Plymouth YMCA, Plymouth City Council Sports Development Unit, Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, Devon FA, and Plymouth Schools Sport Partnership.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Additional costs:

  • A DBS check
  • Marjon sports kit
  • Some students opt to fund additional external coach education.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Learn more


Lee Ballard

Lecturer of Sport Coaching and Development

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Lee is an experienced sports coaching lecturer who has worked in Higher and Further Education. Lee also works for the FA as a coach developer across their coaching courses and as a coach mentor. Lee is a director at the Somerset FA and the chairperson of their Inclusion Advisory Group. Lee is a Talent Reporter for the FA's England girls programme and an associate coach developer for UK Coaching. Lee is also undertaking a doctorate programme through tUWE aiming to develop how we assess students' and how students' use feedback. Lee is also a co-convenor of our CAPE research and knowledge exchange group. 

Aaron Cusack

Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching and Physical Education

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Aaron is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching & Physical Education and is also the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sport Coaching. He teaches predominately across the Sport Coaching & Physical Education degree programmes focusing specifically on practice design, skill acquisition, performance analysis, participation coaching and performance coaching.

Dr Kass Gibson

Associate Professor

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Kass is a qualified PE teacher who has taught in schools, colleges, and universities in New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the UK. He is a member of the University of Toronto’s Suffering, Pain and Ethics Lab Scientific Team. His research examines experiences and practices in physical activity health promotion, sport, and physical education.

Kelvin Kirk

Senior Lecturer

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Kelvin Kirk is a qualified PE teacher who now teaches sports coaching at Marjon. He has risen through the coaching ranks of volleyball to enable him to award coaching qualifications; he has also more recently coached junior football for several years. His research interests are in primary PE and the increasing use of modern technology in enhancing PE.

Dr Ian Stonebridge


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Ian is a Lecturer in Sport Coaching and PE, teaching across a range of topics including coach behaviour, coaching philosophy and the coaching process. With experience as an Academy football coach, he holds the UEFA 'B' Licence and FA Youth Award qualifications. Ian's research interests relate to coach learning and coaching behaviours. He completed his PhD, 'Who is a coach? Understanding coach subjectivities in professional youth football', under the supervision of Professor Christopher Cushion at Loughborough University. Ian previously enjoyed a successful career as a professional footballer, making over 250 first team appearances and representing England at Under 18 level.

Ryan Thomas

Senior Lecturer

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Frequently asked questions

Q1   How many students are on the course?

BA (Hons) Sports Development and Coaching is a popular course with on average 40 students studying per year group, across three sport development degrees. This ensures dynamic class sizes for lectures and smaller seminar groupings for practical sessions.

Q2   What qualifications are included?

In addition to the degree and CIMSPA awards, additional qualifications to enhance your CV include Street Games, Level 2 Multi Skills and Safeguarding and Child Protection.

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