This programme is BPS accredited. 

Degree overview

This degree combines contemporary and traditional areas of research and theory in sports psychology with the principles and skills of management within the football and sports industries.

You will be introduced to the world of sports psychology, examining social and developmental aspects and explore the areas of cognitive and biological psychology in order to gain a better understanding of the psychological impacts on the brain and body. This programme is BPS accredited.


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Degree content

You will examine the psychology of optimum performance, covering theories that explain behaviour in sport and the skills involved to improve performance.

Individuals’ attitudes, personalities and their impact on behaviour on and off the pitch are explored along with research into contemporary issues in sports psychology.

The similarities of performance enhancement techniques employed in both the sport and business world will be examined, including motivation, decision making, leadership skills and team cohesion.

This degree combines contemporary and traditional areas of research and theory in sport psychology. In keeping with BPS accreditation stipulations, the degree is underpinned by theoretical knowledge based on core components of psychology such as: developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, social psychology, historical and conceptual issues, personality and research methods in psychology.

These core components underpin the knowledge upon which essential methods and theories employed in the applied world of performance enhancement, both in sport and other areas, are based.

This programme is accredited by The British Psychological Society (BPS) and therefore graduates of this programme are eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartership to continue their career in sports psychology as long as they gain a minimum of 2.1 and pass their dissertation.


Teaching locations for this degree include:

UCFB Wembley
Wembley Stadium

In addition to our teaching locations, we also use specialist facilities throughout the academic year as well as additional facilities where required.


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Degree specification documents and information

Graduates of the BA (Hons) Sports Psychology degree will be awarded degrees by our esteemed academic partner institution, Bucks New University.

Benchmark statements

UCFB degrees fall under three subject benchmark statements – Business and Management (2015); Events, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism (2016); and Psychology (2016). Visit the QAA website to access each of these benchmark statements.

Download programme specification

Please click here to download the BA (Hons) Sports Psychology programme specification documentation.


If you ask any sports person or any coach what’s the difference at the highest level it’s the mental side of the game, so why wouldn’t we try and train that?

Gareth SouthgateEngland manager and UCFB guest speaker


First Year
Introduction to Developmental & Social Psychology

This module aims to provide an introduction to the subject matter of psychology by focusing on two of the five core subject areas as proposed by the British Psychological Society.

The module will include the historical development of ideas, key debates and practical application of knowledge in the areas of developmental and social psychology. The module will provide a foundation in these core approaches to psychology, which students will build on as they progress through their degree.

The module aims to demonstrate the links between different schools of thought within psychology.  Studying this module will also provide students with the opportunity to develop their academic skills through the learning activities in seminars and the variety of assessments.

It will also help students to develop essential skills that can be transferred to the work place. Encouragement to use a variety of learning resources will also be given, including Blackboard, library books and databases, and internet resources.

Introduction to Biological Psychology & Cognitive Psychology

This module aims to give students an overview of two core psychological areas, biological psychology and cognitive psychology.

The module will provide students with a foundation in these two areas, which will allow knowledge to be built upon in Levels 5 and 6 of their programme.

Psychological Research Methods

The focus of this module provides an introduction to research methods and data analysis. It is a very practical module where students are encouraged to develop their own research skills.

Additionally, active participation in the learning sessions will facilitate the ability to critically evaluate the empirical work of others with confidence. With regard to data analysis, this will initially be taught using a calculator and formulae.

However, as the students’ progress through the module they will quickly be introduced to the data analysis software package SPSS (formerly Statistical Package for the Social Sciences; Statistical Product and Service Solutions).

Introduction to Coaching Theory and Practice

The aim of the module is to provide students with a foundation of knowledge underpinning sports coaching and provide them with the opportunity to experience practical coaching sessions as both a coach and a participant.

The module will require students to use knowledge of the coaching process, coaching pedagogy and principles of coaching science to design effective coaching sessions to be delivered and evaluated using an appropriate reflective practice framework. This may be recognised with the award of a coaching qualification from an external National Governing Body.

The module will provide an introduction to some additional concepts such as psychology, health and safety and sports law that are central to effective coaching practice.

Sport and Exercise Psychology: Emotions & Behaviour

The module provides students with knowledge how processes such as stress and arousal affect performance and participation in sport and exercise contexts.

Whilst students will cover a broad range of topics from within the discipline of sport and exercise psychology, particular attention will be given to emotions (especially anxiety), stress, self-confidence, and burnout.

Introduction to Personality & Applying Psychology

In conjunction with modules PS450 and PS451, this module aims to give students an overview of another core area in psychology, Personality, which will allow knowledge to be built upon in levels five and six of their programme.

It will also introduce them to a number of key areas that will be optional modules at level 6, thus informing later choices in their degree programme.

Sports Psychology: Individual Differences & Group Dynamics

The module provides students with knowledge in various aspects of personality, social-cognitive and behavioural factors underpinning performance and participation in sport and exercise contexts.

Whilst students will cover a broad range of topics from within the discipline of sport and exercise psychology, particular attention will be given to personality, motivation, and understanding group processes.

Second Year

This module examines and demonstrates the biological processes underlying human emotion, affect and behaviour, though this is often referred to more simply as the biological basis of behaviour. The biological basis of behaviour may be considered from a number of perspectives.

For example, the module considers the mechanisms of behaviour, as well as the functions (or evolution) of them. It also considers how behaviours may develop from conception and over the lifespan.

A further perspective in biopsychology explores possible applications of the discipline, primarily, perhaps, in terms of dysfunctions of human behaviour. The module encourages a broad understanding of all of these perspectives whilst also considering the various research methodologies appropriate in this area.

Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology

Building on the knowledge gained at Level 4 in PS455, this module provides students with a range of practical skills and an appreciation of the conceptual issues associated with major quantitative paradigms commonly used in psychological research.

It therefore aims to foster an understanding of the nature, purpose and logic of experimental and psychological assessment methods. In addition, it will equip students with a critical understanding of, and provide preliminary training in, the use of the important techniques needed to analyse the data derived from all these approaches.

Throughout the module, students are facilitated to conduct research projects, which may be carried out in groups, but which are written up individually in the form of research reports. For each new piece of research students are encouraged to thoroughly explore and evaluate relevant theory and prior research findings in the area, thus directing them towards a clear rationale for addressing specific research questions.

They are also required to show that they have fully considered ethical issues in relation to their proposed research.

Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology

This module builds on concepts introduced briefly at Level 4 in PS455 by orienting students to key philosophical and practical aspects underlying a qualitative approach to psychological research. Throughout the semester students will develop an understanding of relevant theoretical issues, as well as the skills involved in conducting qualitative research.

Students will learn how to collect data using interviews, and how to analyse data using a number of different techniques (including Thematic Analysis and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis).

A primary goal of this module will be to explore these topics and skills in the context of degree-specific examples.

Throughout the module, students will engage in practical tasks designed to facilitate their learning, which will lead to a written report that will demonstrate their ability to plan and conduct a piece of qualitative research. For this piece of research students are encouraged to thoroughly explore and evaluate relevant theory and prior research findings in the area, thus directing them towards a clear rationale for addressing specific research questions. They are also required to show that they have fully considered ethical issues in relation to their proposed research.

Developmental Psychology

This module aims to explore the debates between theorists within various areas of developmental psychology.

These include the nature of perceptual, motor and cognitive development during infancy, the development of general representational abilities such as language, drawing, and number, the nature of cognitive change in the school years, the development of self and identity, gender socialisation, and emotional development.

The module also examines research methods appropriate to the study of development, general theories of the nature and nurture of psychological attributes, and comparative analysis of constructivist, socio-cultural, and information processing theories of development.

Cognitive Processes in Psychology

The purpose of this module is to demonstrate the accessibility and relevance of cognitive processes in psychology by firmly situating cognition within human experiences, and illustrating its dynamic role in intra- and inter-personal behaviour.

This module will explore the origins of cognitive psychology, as well as the methodologies used, theories developed, and current directions, in cognitive psychology. The module can be divided into two broad sections: ‘Foundations of Cognition’ and ‘Higher Cognitive Processes’.

Foundations of Cognition: Provides insights into the evidence, theories and debates that underlie all cognitive functions. These include perceptual and attentional processes and the different aspects of memory. Higher Cognitive Processes: Builds on the previous section by applying the basics of cognition to more complex areas such as language, decision making and expertise. This section also explores the topics that have traditionally challenged cognitive psychologists, for example: creativity, emotion and consciousness.

Cognition and Emotion in Sport & Exercise Psychology

The module will focus on the cognitive and affective processes influencing human functioning. It will specifically focus on the complex interplay between cognitive and affective processes, and the resultant impact on human functioning in a range of sport and exercise contexts.

The module will explore problem and insufficiency based explanations for the enhancement of performance, physical activity and well-being, as well as present an argument for adopting positive/optimal functioning approaches in the study of cognition and emotion within sport and exercise psychology.

Applied Sport & Performance Psychology

Students will analyse the key concepts and dominant models of practice within applied sport and performance psychology as well as explore the philosophical, theoretical and methodological approaches informing the discipline.

The module will provide students with the requisite knowledge required for effective service delivery within applied sport psychology, when working with teams, young performers and special populations (i.e. coaches/parents). Students will be presented with a number of ‘applied’ problem-based scenarios to challenge their understanding of the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of behaviour when working in performance scenarios.

Third Year
Critical Social Psychology

The aim of this module is to study a range of theory and research concerned with our thinking and behaviour in a social world. On completion of this module, students will be familiar with the key issues, main theories, methods and practical solutions on a variety of topics in social psychology. The module will provide the students with an awareness of the historical and philosophical background of social psychology and an in-depth knowledge of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches to the discipline. Other areas include language and communication, close relationships, social influence, pro-and anti-social behaviour, small-group processes, inter-group processes and social cognition. The module also covers the procedures and practices of ethical research conduct.

Issues in Personality & Individual Differences

This module will further develop the students’ understanding of personality and individual differences gained at level 4. A range of the key theories of personality development will be discussed and evaluated using contemporary research evidence.

Psychological testing skills will be developed. In depth research is also encouraged and assessed. Both traditional and contemporary perspectives will be discussed. Learning outcomes will progress through level 5 to level 6 by way of engaging with additional learning challenges and assessment. The assessment criteria will be at a level 6 standard.

Empirical Dissertation

The empirical dissertation forms part of all of the programmes accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), and is an opportunity for students to investigate an area of psychology that interests them, and allows them to extend and deepen their knowledge and expertise within a focused area of study.

Students will have presented an initial project proposal as the final piece of coursework in the Level 5 module PS504 Empirical Psychology, and are encouraged to develop this proposal for their dissertation. The final dissertation submission is an academic research report based on a project undertaken independently the student under the guidance of a supervisor.

This project should: identify an issue that needs investigation; critically evaluate relevant theories and research in the area; employ an appropriate method to collect, and subsequently analyse, data; interpret, evaluate, and consider the implications of these findings in relation to previous research. As part of the final submission, students are required to include a brief reflective section in which they relate their research work to their career plans and the employment skills they have gained.

Historical & Conceptual Issues in Psychology

This module explores philosophical, scientific, social and historical influences in the development of psychology, and aims to help students understand the evolution of psychology by situating seminal research and theory within past and present Zeitgeists.

Conceptual issues such as the nature-nurture debate, the mind-brain problem, free will and determinism, representations of race and gender in psychology, and morals and ethics will be explored, examining the influences that have rendered them subject to change over time.

The constraints of psychological theory and methodology, and the development of new theory and methodologies, are also examined in a historical context. As is the impact made by seminal research, on past thinking and on present day psychology and the development of the discipline.

Professional Development & Employability

With the graduate employment market becoming increasingly congested, it is those with excellent academic qualifications, industry based experience and vocationally relevant skills that are amongst the most desired by employers.

This module will help prepare students for competing in the graduate jobs market and eventually the workplace. Developing employability, career development and management skills, as well as methods of application of vocationally relevant knowledge are all addressed within this module.

Working with a Client

Students can choose to specialise in one of the sport science disciplines – physiology, biomechanics, psychology or performance analysis – and conduct 90 hours of fieldwork with an athlete, sports team or general exerciser.

Fieldwork can include administration of initial fitness tests and/or psychological skills assessment and team performance analysis, followed by an appropriate programme to target selected areas of performance and programme evaluation.

Students will be able to build vocational skills and professional competencies, alongside developing personal and interpersonal skills, through their work-based learning fieldwork and will be afforded a number of fieldwork opportunities encompassing work with professional sporting organisations.

The aim of this module is to enable the student to develop the practical skills and theoretical knowledge required of an applied practitioner within the sport and/or exercise science setting.

Professional Practice Issues in Sports Psychology

This module will discuss the contemporary challenges facing professional practitioners within sport and exercise psychology. Students will develop a critical understanding of the theoretical and applied perspectives underpinning a range of professional practice issues.

The module will also relate the challenges faced by neophyte and experienced practitioners, in seeking to further their careers as professional practitioners. Students will be exposed to the experiences of a range of educators and applied practitioners throughout the module.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from students with a genuine passion and ambition to work in the football and sports industries.

Three Year Degree
UCAS codes
  • UCFB Wembley course code: SP10
  • Institution: U10
  • Campus: W

The minimum academic requirement for this degree course is a 112 UCAS point score under the UCAS tariff system.

International Baccalaureate - 30

Other minimum requirements

Applicants will normally have achieved one of the following:

  • A minimum of 2 A Levels including two C grades
  • A BTEC Extended diploma grade DMM
  • A BTEC Diploma grade D*D*
  • A combination of BTEC and A-Level qualifications with at least two C graded A levels or Merit graded BTEC equivalents.
  • International applicants will be asked to achieve Duolingo 95 or IELTS for UKVI at grade 6.0 overall or above.
  • International Baccalaureate (minimum of 30 points)
  • An Advanced GNVQ in an appropriate subject at Distinction level
  • An Access Course: minimum of 60 credits, including at least 45 at Level 3
  • An equivalent level 3 qualification

Applicants should have a strong GCSE profile, including English at Grade 4 or Grade C, or equivalent and Maths at Grade 4 or Grade C (specifically for Football Business & Finance, Sports Business & Sports Law and Sport Psychology).

Other equivalent qualifications, including those from your own country, will be considered for entry.

Applicants for whom English is a second language will need a valid Academic IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.0 with no lower than 5.5 in each component for entry on to a degree programme (Level 4).

All qualifications are subject to approval by the UCFB Admissions team, based on UKVI requirements.

We also welcome applications from mature students who may not possess the above qualifications but may have relevant experience.

All applicants are expected to demonstrate a strong interest in understanding human behaviour and the methods underpinning scientific research. Students will need to be able to synthesise and translate theory and knowledge from a variety of psychology disciplines to aid sportsmen and women achieve their potential and maximise their performance.

International students

UCFB cannot currently sponsor non-EU students’ visas.

You will not need a visa to study in the UK if:

  • You are a British citizen
  • You are a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) member state or Switzerland
  • You have a visa to stay in the UK for another purpose that allows you to study

If you are still unsure whether you would need a visa to study in the UK, or for more information, please contact

Entry with advanced standing

Students are normally expected to start at Level 4, but can be admitted to any level of the course which is considered suitable, after portfolio review and interview, using the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). Under this arrangement, a student may apply to have previous academic credits or other learning or experience taken into consideration. Such applications are considered by the Faculty CATS committee and must be supported by the Academic Department.

Career prospects

Further specialised postgraduate study and training is necessary to become a qualified sport and exercise psychologist. However, once qualified, sport and exercise psychologists work with a variety of clientele at various level in a fascinating and expanding field not necessarily constrained within the limits of sport. As well as working with professional clubs, athletes and governing bodies, the qualified sport psychologist may incorporate: performing artists, health and business clients depending on their interests.

The UCFB Employability & Enrichment programme

Over 90% of UCFB graduates are in employment within six months of graduating and almost two-thirds of them work within the global sports industry.

At UCFB we bridge the gap between education and business, allowing a unique approach to education. We provide two curricula; the academic curriculum which encompasses exams and coursework and the Employability & Enrichment programme – a three year journey of professional and personal development.

This provides access to best-in-class industry guest speakers, additional qualifications and exceptional opportunities to apply for work experience placements to ensure our students graduate as well-rounded, empowered professionals.

Find out more about your career journey at UCFB

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Employer Endorsement

We’ve been really impressed with the performance of the students we’ve had working with us over the last few months and are looking to employ some of them full time once they have finished their studies. Working with UCFB’s Employability & Enrichment team has been really easy and he’s been great at getting us candidates with relevant experience and skill sets.

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Home students

Home tuition fees 2021

£9,250 per year
Apply now
International students

International tuition fees 2021

£14,950 per year
Apply now
Additional information about fees and costs

Visit our dedicated page about fees and student finance.

Additional costs

The provision of a facility or service including accommodation may be subject to an additional charge (i.e. separate from tuition fees). Where this is the case, we will make this clear in advance and payment for such service shall be made in accordance with any additional contract made between you and the University.

In some instances, optional Employability & Enrichment activities provided by UCFB may carry an additional cost for participants (e.g. qualifications with external certification such as FA Coaching Badges). Any additional costs will be provided to students in advance of any such sessions running.

Students are expected to travel to Bucks New University no more than once per semester to use their laboratory equipment. A typical return journey from Wembley Stadium to High Wycombe through National Rail is around £14.

Scholarships & bursaries

UCFB has a range of scholarship and bursary options to help with the cost of studying and to encourage students to embrace their time at UCFB and graduate with more than just their university degree. Click here to learn more.

GIS global hubs

New York’s Red Bull Arena, Atlanta’s brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Toronto FC’s BMO Field and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) play host to the Global Institute of Sport hubs, enabling students and graduates to enhance their knowledge and expertise of the international sports industry.

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UCFB Award in Football and Sports Leadership

At UCFB we are dedicated to maximising the career opportunities of all of our students. This is why we offer unparalleled opportunities beyond the learning environment, enhanced by exclusive partnerships with some of the biggest and most influential names and organisations in world sport.

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