FdSc Applied Sports Coaching & Physical Education

The Conservation and Education Centre at the former Bristol Zoo Gardens site remains open to students.

You will have private access to the zoo grounds during lectures, to carry out your observations and data collection, but as more animals are moved, this will gradually be carried out at the Bristol Zoo Project. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Course Description

The Sports Coaching and Physical Education programme is designed to combine contemporary theory with innovative practice and vocational experience. This applied course will take you on a two-year journey from discovering and exploring your own personal learning philosophy (your ‘why’) to the application of theory in a range of practical settings including business, coach-development, classroom and on the sports pitch. The programme is taught by a team of experienced practitioners with a range of industry experience who share a passion for inspiring your journey into Sports Coaching and/or Physical Education. The programme will equip you with the skill needed to enter a range of professions that use coaching, teaching and instruction as transferrable skills.

Opportunity for Work

Students will experience a number of opportunities to work with internal and external staff/partners, and coaching across different contexts such as primary school, secondary school, academy coaching and classroom practice. These opportunities are supported by through relationships with local and National bodies such as ‘Progressive Sport’ and world leading coach developers ‘The Magic Academy’. The Sports Coaching and Physical Education programme is a two-year foundation degree (FdSc), comprising of 2 years (levels 4 and 5) and can be followed by the level 6 top up in Sports Coaching (BSc). The two-year programme is a blend of practical, lectures and seminars and will also include elements of hybrid learning, tutorials and appraisals.

Collaboration is Key

Year one develops key academic and practical skills in collaboration with your fellow students and industry professionals, this will be achieved in lecture rooms across the campus in areas such as our all-weather 4G pitch or indoor basketball arena. The second year of the course introduces innovative modules that combine theoretical knowledge with practical application. Modules such as applied pracademic (practical and academic) skills will be assessed using portfolio that combines practical coaching/teaching, reflective practice and evidence from your journey. This is your chance to work in a professional setting with athletes in our diverse range of academies as a coaching, teaching or analysis intern and work towards employment in your chosen field.

"I have been offered amazing opportunities"

"This course has opened me up to the complex world that is the world of coaching. As I have also been a volunteer coach with the Filton Pride American Football Academy this has allowed me to put into practice what I have learned through the course. I have also been offered an amazing opportunity to work with an American Football coach over in the US, which has accelerated my learning and understanding of American Football and coaching."

FdSc Applied Sports Coaching & Physical Education
Study Modules
Physical Education Curriculum Design

During this module you will explore the role physical education plays on the development of individual physical and psychological well-being and the impact it has on society as a whole. The module will also explore the social and historical context in which curriculum design is situated, considering how this relates to the development of educational science. Analysing the differences between traditional and contemporary approaches to physical education you will develop appropriate approaches to planning to meet the needs of selected individuals and groups.

50% Individual, Assignment

50% Individual Presentation

Introduction to Applied Practice

This is the exciting start of your applied practice! The module will give you a range of applied coaching and physical education opportunities, allowing you to explore theory from both this and other modules along with developing your skills and expertise as a practitioner. This module will support your understanding of the entire coaching/cycle i.e. planning, delivering and reflecting on your practice. The assessment will focus on this journey in the form of a yearlong portfolio of evidence, proving a view of your holistic development over the course of the year. The module will include peer coaching alongside coaching different groups both in a range of contexts.

50% Individual Portfolio

50% Group Practical

Foundations of the Knowledge: Professional Practice

The Foundations of Knowledge module focuses on three key areas in the development of professional practice in sporting contexts: employability, academic skills and reflective practice. The module enables you to develop your academic skills as-well as enhancing your growth and development as you move through professional environments. You will develop your professional profile through C.V writing, self-analysis and goal setting as well as developing awareness of reflective practice and related theory which will allow you to develop your interpersonal skills and reflect on your development over the year.

50% Individual, Portfolio

50% Individual, Portfolio

The Human Body: Explore the Fundamentals and Application of Anatomy

Understanding and drawing upon anatomical knowledge is important for professional?practitioners, enabling a holistic approach to coaching, teaching and instructing. Introducing and developing knowledge related to the structures and functions of the human body, the module will focus on the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. You will explore the complex nature related to how these systems work together, with application to fundamental movements and sports performance. This module provides the foundations in order for more complex topics to be discovered including, creative coaching; integration into Physical Education; sports conditioning; training and exercise.

100% Group, Presentation

Power of the Mind: Sport and Exercise Psychology

This module draws on the foundations of sport psychology and looks to explore how these theories can be best applied in context. Learning is, itself, a cognitive process and understanding our minds has a significant influence on our thoughts, feelings behaviours and therefore our performance. Psychological knowledge is important for professional practitioners, enabling a holistic approach to coaching, teaching and instructing. Individuals are in a unique position to apply their knowledge, together with educating others as to the amazing and complex processes of the mind. Students are encouraged to engage with the fundamentals of psychology, together with taking this knowledge to the broader context of the course and practical application.

100% Individual, Portfolio

Learning to Learn: The Foundations of Pedagogy

This module allows you to explore, understand and apply pedagogical theory to enhance the learning environment and develop the knowledge and skill of others. Practitioners in both Sports Coaching and Physical Education need to understand the complexities of learning and this module will introduce a range of theories from traditional approaches to more contemporary methods. You will be supported to make links between theory and practice. This module will focus on traditional learning theories such as Behaviourism, Constructivism and Cognitivism along with more contemporary concepts such as Connectivism and games-based approaches to learning. Methods of teaching/coaching will be explored using theoretical frameworks such as Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction and Teaching Games for Understanding.

100% Group Presentation

Applied PRACademic Skills

In the Applied PRACademic Skills module you will continue to develop the application of theoretical concepts in a range of sporting contexts. The term pracademic refers to a practitioner that combines theoretical research with applied practice. The module encourages you to look innovatively through the lens of business owners, policy makers, curriculum designers or National Governing Bodies to create an intervention that will support the development of people in sporting contexts. This approach will be informed by a range of empirical evidence that is used to justify your approach to people development. Throughout the module you will have a significant amount of autonomy in the direction of your project, meaning you can shape it around areas of theoretical interest and your sporting expertise

50% Group Presentation

50% Individual Presentation

The Evolution of Lifelong Participation: An Exploration of Physical Literacy for Life

This module will introduce you to physical literacy, linking both theory and practice. Exploring the historical development of this concept, you will consider the theoretical perspectives of monism, phenomenology and existentialism, to appreciate the subjective and personal nature of individual experiences and the impact of the surrounding world. Considering the development of physical activity through health literacy, sport and exercise, you will consider how physical literacy can be fostered to support an individuals journey, from youth to adulthood, together with the role and impact of the professional practitioner in facilitating physical literacy. Appreciating the diverse nature of physical activity, health and well-being, you will additionally consider and develop strategies and opportunities to promote positive experiences and lifelong participation, including your own journey.

100% Individual, Presentation

Application of Knowledge: Professional Practice and Research

This module aims to link theory with practice further, developing the knowledge and understanding of research approaches, together with the impact of these on professional practice and application. Exploring an interest area, you will consider academic literature and research to-date, identifying and analysing the current landscape, additionally drawing upon the experiences and practices of industry professionals. Through lectures and independent study, you will explore the underpinning theory and concepts to research from both a natural and social science perspective, with greater consideration for data collection and analysis techniques. This module will result in a proposed direction for research in your chosen area, which may provide the platform for future investigation. Documenting your experiences throughout this module and engaging with an appropriate placement within the sector, you will further establish your credibility as a professional practitioner, with application informed by academic literature, research, continuing professional development (CPD) activities and applied practice.

40% Individual, Assignment

60% Individual, Portfolio

The Complex Development Landscape

The complexities of talent development are well documented in contemporary literature. This module will explore the pathways of young people in sports and how they progress through sports. Considering the different policies and theoretical concepts the module will evaluate the current design of Talent Development Pathways and the potential role coaches and PE teachers can play in the nonlinear development of learners. Throughout the module you will develop your knowledge and understanding of the how informed and well-designed talent programs and pathways can help can support athlete's bio-psycho-social development. A range of theoretical concepts such as genetics, giftedness and talented, models of Talent Development, athlete trajectories, relative-age effect, psychological characteristics and social opportunities will be covered over the course of the semester.

100% Individual, Poster Presentation

Classroom to Pitch: Learning Design

The module explores the planning, application and review of teaching practice both in a classroom and on pitch setting. Over the course of the semester the module will help to develop your understanding of the principles of teaching practice and explore, learning outcomes, questioning, differentiation, inclusivity, activities for learning, summative and formative assessment and behaviour management. The application of relevant learning theories and principles will also continue to be developed both in class and in practical sessions such as Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction, Teaching Games for Understanding and Constraints Led Approaches. You will be encouraged throughout the module to develop your critical thinking skills by asking questions of both your own practice and theory. Finally, this module will explore how online and digital teaching methods can be utilised in modern teaching practice.

100% Individual, Practical

Psycho-Social Influences in Physical Education and Coaching

Psycho-social influences in Physical Education and Coaching is a module that will explore the multidimensional psycho-social components involved in P.E and sports coaching. Throughout the module you will explore and analyse the role P.E and sports participation play in the development of both learners and athletes. A broad range of theoretical perspectives will be explored through the module. In the first part of the module, you will be asked to think critically about the purpose of sport and P.E, before looking at emotional well-being, motivation theories, holistic development and a range of sociological issues from social opportunity to equality and inclusion. The second part of the module will look at the impact of interpersonal skills, transformational leadership, autonomy supportive behaviours and the coach-athlete relationship, analysing how these concepts can be applied to develop the developmental environment.

50% Individual, Assignment

50% Group, Presentation

Course Video
Craig Hughes
HE Programme Lead - FdSc Applied Sports Coaching & PE
*This programme is subject to validation and delivery approval by the University of Gloucestershire.
University Centre WISE
Foundation Degree
Full-time Duration:
2 Years
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
4 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

The minimum UCAS tariff entry points from a level 3 qualification. GCSE Maths, English and Science at grade C/4. Mature students over 24 without the relevant qualifications will be required to demonstrate previous experience and evidence of academic ability.

Course info last updated:
April 20, 2024
Delivery Format

The delivery format for your degree-level programs is primarily face-to-face and in-person sessions. However, there may be some hybrid sessions offered occasionally, mainly for flexibility purposes, such as tutorials or for larger events like visiting lecturers. Additionally, it's mentioned that all degree programs are well-supported by Virtual Learning Environments, which include Teams or Google Classroom.

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