Options with sport science
Studying sport science provides you with science-based knowledge and understanding of sports performance and factors that affect behaviour in sport. You will gain subject-specific knowledge in areas such as physiology, psychology, biomechanics and nutrition.
Sport science courses may be combined with a number of other disciplines, such as coaching and sport and exercise science.
You will gain a theoretical understanding of sport science as well as the ability to apply this knowledge and develop practical skills in the laboratory and in the field.
Studying for a degree in sport science also provides you with a strong set of transferable skills valued by many employers. These include:
Courses also provide you with the opportunity to undertake a period of related work experience, for example working with local athletes or with a sporting organisation or company. This provides you with the opportunity to undertake research, gain valuable practical experience and further develop your transferable skills.
While full-time or graduate roles may not always be immediately available in your field of interest, proactively pursue part-time and voluntary work opportunities. In voluntary and temporary roles, try to take on responsibility, demonstrate initiative and adapt when necessary to changing work demands. Identify opportunities that match your career goals, such as youth sport volunteering if you are interested in coaching or further academic research if you are interested in athletic performance and training.
Portfolio working may help you develop sports industry experience on a part-time or voluntary basis, diversifying your work experience. Consider short-term events as well as long-term opportunities.
Although some of the jobs listed here might not be first jobs for many graduates, they are among the many realistic possibilities with your degree, provided you can demonstrate you have the attributes employers are looking for. Bear in mind that it’s not just your degree discipline that determines your options. Remember that many graduate vacancies don't specify particular degree disciplines, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. Look at your degree... what next? for informed advice on career planning and graduate employment, or login/register with My Prospects to find out what jobs would suit you, a helpful starting point for self-analysis.
Explore types of jobs to find out more about the above options and related jobs.
Sport science graduates often work directly with athletes and sportspeople, for example as a sport scientist or performance analyst, but also undertake a range of other related careers using the skills developed during their degree. Popular career areas include research, coaching, teaching, general management, consultancy, sports development, youth work, health promotion and the health/fitness industry in general.
Six months after graduation 64% of sport science graduates are in employment. An additional 9% are combining work with further study. Of those employed, just over 20% are in sports-related professional roles, 7% are working in education, 8% are in management roles and the remainder work in areas such as hospitality, healthcare and administration.
Many recent graduates take a job they do not regard as permanent and plan to use it as a stepping stone to gain experience to support their longer-term career aspirations.
Jobs are available with a wide range of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Typical employers include:
Sport science graduates may also go on to establish their own businesses and consultancies.
For an insight into potential employment areas see:
For further information on possibilities in other employment areas, see job sectors.
Statistics are collected every year to show what HE students do immediately after graduation. These can be a useful guide but, in reality, because the data is collected within six months of graduation, many graduates are travelling, waiting to start a course, paying off debts, getting work experience or still deciding what they want to do. For further information about some of the areas of employment commonly entered by graduates of any degree discipline, check out What Do Graduates Do? and your degree...what next?
A 2011 HESA survey of 2010 graduates indicates that six months after finishing their course 21% of sport science graduates had gone on to further study or a combination of work and further study.
Around 5% of sport science graduates went on to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland) in preparation for a career teaching physical education.
Sport science graduates also choose to undertake postgraduate study at Masters or PhD level in order to specialise in a particular area of interest within their discipline and open up opportunities in teaching and research in higher education.
Some sport-related careers, for example, sport and exercise psychology, require further study at postgraduate level. Those wishing to become a sports coach will need to gain appropriate coaching qualifications.
Some sport science graduates choose to pursue further studies in a different area entirely. Many postgraduate courses in areas such as marketing, finance, business, law or journalism are open to graduates with a degree in any subject. These programmes are often directly vocational and, combined with relevant experience, will equip you for specific areas of employment.
These trends show only what previous graduates in your subject did immediately upon graduating. Over the course of their career - the first few years in particular - many others will opt for some form of further study, either part time or full time. If further study interests you, start by thinking about postgraduate study in the UK and search courses and research to identify your options.
For details relating to finance and the application process, look at funding my further study.