Physical Education & Sports Science Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Physical Education & Sports Science?

Physical education is a course taught in school that focuses on developing physical fitness and the ability to perform and enjoy day-to-day physical activities with ease. Kids also develop skills necessary to participate in a wide range of activities, such as soccer, basketball, or swimming. Regular physical education classes prepare kids to be physically and mentally active, fit, and healthy into adulthood. An effective physical education program should include engaging lessons, trained P.E. teachers, adequate instructional periods, and student evaluation.

Sports science is used is school districts, athletic associations and recreational departments. This technology is playing a role in training up and coming athletes to everyday individuals. Sports science has changed the way people work out. Individuals are now able to get data on endurance, performance, technique and more. This data can be compared with previous data and help improve performance.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Physical Education & Sports Science in the following subject areas:

  • BSc (Hons) Physical Education & Coaching – Full Time – This course is designed for those students considering entering the teaching profession and will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of physical education.
  • Pre University Sports Science – This one-year course introduces students to the broad and expanding sector of Sport Science.
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gain the skills and knowledge to be effective in your job role as a fitness instructor.
  • Exercise & Fitness (QQI Level 5) – Gain knowledge and understanding in the field of Exercise and Fitness, an introduction to the principal theories of planning and evaluating exercise programmes.

Studying Physical Education & Sports Science

There are many courses in Physical Education & Sports Science that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Although job opportunities in sport and exercise science are increasing, the number of sport and exercise science graduates is also growing, making competition for jobs intense. Relevant work experience in a sports or fitness setting, through work shadowing or volunteering, is vital and will help you to find out what the work is really like. Decide if you want to work in a particular sport and, if so, get experience, for example as a coach or fitness trainer, in this area.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Physical Education & Sports Science course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the way the body responds to exercise and training.

In the Physical Education and Sports Science fields, you will investigate how people respond and adapt to muscular activity and will use your skills and knowledge to improve their performance and fitness levels or to help prevent or treat illness.

You may work in a sport or health setting or follow a career in teaching or research. Depending on your career path, you’ll typically be employed by schools, sports organisations, national sport governing bodies, football clubs and other sports teams, commercial sports companies, universities and research centres or hospitals, medical centres and private healthcare organisations in some cases.

Exercise physiologists working within sport typically work either in a laboratory or in the field. If you’re working as a clinical exercise physiologist, you’ll usually be based in hospitals, medical centres and private healthcare organisations.

If you work with a sports team, you may need to spend time away from home to attend training camps, competitions, fixtures and events. If you work with children and young people, you’ll need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. In the school environment, your working day will be school hours and it is typically to spend time after hours planning lessons and preparing for lessons.

When on tour or at training camps with athletes or teams, your working hours may be long. If you’re working in a hospital, your working hours are more likely to be Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Part-time work and self-employment are possible. Consultancy work is also available for experienced and accredited physiologists.

Related jobs include:

  • Exercise physiologist
  • Fitness centre manager
  • Personal trainer
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Sports administrator
  • Sports coach
  • Sports development officer
  • Sports therapist
  • Choreographer
  • Clinical scientist
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Nutritionist
  • Outdoor activities/education manager
  • Sport and exercise psychologist

Further study

After completing a course in Physical Education & Sports Science you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as Psychology, Physiology, Biometrics and Motor control or Nutrition.


What is the importance of Physical Education & Sports Science?

Physical education helps students develop physical skills and confidence. Physical Education typically includes activities that help children to obtain and improve skills, such as running, catching, throwing, and striking that are applicable to sports such as baseball, volleyball, or karate. Balancing skills could be applied to dance or gymnastics. Physical education develops fitness and fosters the desire for lifelong participation in physical activity.

Sports Science is the study of the ways to help prevent avoidable injuries in exercise and sport. Most injuries can be avoided with proper knowledge and prevention.

Where can I study Physical Education & Sports Science?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • We can trace sports science back to its origins since the very first Olympic Games, which is said to occur in 776 BC in Olympia, ancient Greece. Since then, humans have been studying how to improve their athletic performance and gain an edge over one another in competitive games.
  • Dimples on a golf ball help reduce drag, allowing the ball to fly further than a ball without dimples.
  • Regular exercise helps boost the immune system.
  • The official distance of a marathon is 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles).
  • The fastest recorded tennis serves are over 155 mph (250 kph).

Mariza Halliday

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