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Getting Sporty with Sports Science

Not all young athletes can build a stable career out of sport, but a Sports Science degree does provide the option of being associated with the industry whether as a trainer, product developer or physiotherapist who works with athletes.
BY Achala Upendran |   27-01-2014
What is Sports Science?

Sports science involves what the University of Edinburgh calls the ‘application of scientific principles to the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of sport and exercise related behaviours’

Universities around the world offer Sports Science degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Typically, students take courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition and Sports Sociology.

Who can do a degree in Sports Science?

Pretty much anyone who has been involved in sport at some level can apply for an undergraduate degree in sport science.

Akriti Sharma, who did an undergraduate degree in the subject at Leeds Metropolitan University, told  ”it helps to have a science background in school”.

What can you do with a degree in Sports Science?

One can pursue a postgraduate degree, specializing in a specific aspect of the science. Sharma, for example, is pursuing a Master’s in Kinesiology - the science of movement, at the University of British Columbia in Canada. She is also a certified strength and conditioning coach, which qualifies her to train athletes for improved physical fitness.

Other options in this field include becoming a physiotherapist (requires additional training), sports psychologist, sport nutritionist, exercise psychologist and personal trainer.

Sports Science degrees around the world

We’ve picked out a few programs that might give you some idea of what to expect.


Victoria University

Victoria University in Melbourne, Sports Centre; Photo

Victoria University in Melbourne, ties its sports science program to the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Learning (ISEAL), where postgraduate students and faculty members engage in cutting-edge research. ISEAL’s research centre houses a number of specialized laboratories, including an Altitude Hotel. The Hotel’s temperature and oxygen level settings are carefully controlled to simulate those found at high altitudes, enabling  research into the effects on endurance sport athletes such as mountain climbers.


United Kingdom

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh; Photo Courtesy:

The University of Edinburgh’s Applied Sport Science programme is the only one in the U.K. officially recognized by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES). Alumni include Sir Chris Hoy, Great Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete – who has won a total of six gold medals and one silver in various track-sprint events.

Edinburgh’s is a three-year undergraduate program. In the third  year, students concentrate on two specialized sports disciplines and write a dissertation, which counts for one third of the final grade.

The university also offers a four-year Sport and Recreation Management degree, which offers work placement opportunities.

United States of America

The United States Sports Academy

The United States Sports Academy, Alabama ; Photo Courtesy:

In Daphne, Alabama, the United States Sports Academy offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the broader academic discipline of sports science. There are four different majors to choose from in its four-year Bachelor of Sports Science program: Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies and Sports Strength and Conditioning.

The Academy’s Mentorship program gives students an opportunity to set up ‘mentorships’ with sporting organizations, to gain understanding and experience in the field. At the end of the mentorship, the Mentor  submits a report on the student’s tenure -  one-third of the student’s final grade.

All of the Academy’s programs are also offered online. . The  campus also hosts the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA).



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