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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.

Small class sizes

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.

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

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

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 where there are 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.

Show video transcript

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.

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...

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."

Matt Cracknell

"The content is interesting. The way the lecturers deliver the lectures is also a main reason that I enjoy my course so much as it is made engaging and interesting. Overall the people I met on the course and the lecturers made the first year of my study so enjoyable, and made every lecture and practical session worthwhile. My course has developed me academically and as a person more than I could have imagined."

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


Stacey Ferris

"I thoroughly enjoy working with disabled young people. The lecturers put a lot of emphasis on the importance of volunteering, without this, I don’t think I would have volunteered. The lectures had various contacts in many organisations and helped make that important first link. Having this experience definitely helped me get my job. At 23, I never expected to be where I am today, managing a department and responsible for the biggest disability club in Plymouth."

Stacey is a Youth and Inclusion Manager at YMCA Plymouth.

Daisy Merrifield

“My role is about organisation, planning fixtures for our four academy teams and the Development Squad and making sure everything runs smoothly on match day. Helping with the first team’s WSL home matches is really rewarding and further develops my experience. The modules I did at Marjon support what I do now and I got great help with CV writing. Our lecturers emphasised that it’s not just about having a degree and I completely agree because volunteering undoubtedly developed my skills too.”

Daisy is Academy Administrator for Bristol City WFC.

Matt Cory

“Having a job in football, something I am passionate about, makes every day at work enjoyable. In sport development, no day is the same as the previous one, it is challenging and also very rewarding. The range of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and voluntary opportunities at university helped me to improve my transferrable skills which employers look for. The contacts I made on placement and the support I gained from the lecturers also contributed to me succeeding in finding a role.”

now works as a Football Development Officer for Devon FA.

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.

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.

Course leader

Dr Phil Brown

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.

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Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

Funding available for this course


Additional costs:

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



Lee Ballard


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Lee is an experienced sports coaching lecturer. He was formerly an academy coach for Bristol City FC and also worked for the Football Association on girls' football and grassroots football initiatives. He holds the UEFA B coaching licence.

Dr Aaron Beacom

Senior Lecturer

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Aaron's research interests in the areas of sport and international development, sport policy and disability sports.

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 reserach interests are in primary PE and the increasing use of modern technology in enhancing PE.

Ian Stonebridge


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Ian was an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur, and played professionally for Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe Wanderers, representing England at Under 18 level. He retired through injury and now coaches at Plymouth Argyle’s Youth Academy. With a UEFA ‘B’ Licence and FA Youth Award coaching qualifications he understands the football-specific knowledge required to coach in a range of different environments, from ‘grassroots’ to the elite game. He teaches coaching process, coaching philosophy and behaviour, and the coach-player relationship.

Frequently asked questions

Q1   How many students are on the course?

This 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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