BA (Hons) Sports Leadership and Development

Sport has the power to inspire people and change lives. But to inspire the next generation, we need the right people leading and developing sport. By giving you the right leadership skills and sports development knowledge, the sports leadership degree will prepare you for working in the sports development and management industry. You will gain an understanding of the varied, dynamic and constantly changing nature of sports development, from grass roots community projects that engage people to take up sport and/or physical activity, to working with elite athletes who are at the top of their game.

Sport can be used to bring about social change, and you will learn the important role that leaders, development officers, coaches and volunteers play in the delivery of sport across the country. You will gain first-hand experience of working in the sports industry, either with a sports development organisation, a social enterprise, a school or a community club. Through these placements you will develop and apply vital leadership skills that are needed to work in sport.



UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
N900 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
N900 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A

Your studies will integrate theory and practical lectures with community sport experience, so you’ll develop leadership and enterprise skills, and gain experience of the industry. Modules you will study include managing sport, community sports development, enterprise in sport, leadership in sport, mentoring in sport and practical work-based learning modules. The work-based learning modules are an opportunity for you to gain valuable experiences that will build and test your existing knowledge and skills, while enhancing your personal reputation and networks in the sport industry.

Year One: Sports Leadership and Development Degree

Your first year will provide you with the underpinning theory and practice of sports leadership and development via practical lectures and classroom-based lectures. You will gain knowledge of how sport is organised and managed in the community, and you will have the opportunity to lead sports activities and events. Understanding fundamental principles of how young children learn sports skills and the different stages of the sports development continuum will help to inform your industry work-based learning experience which you will undertake in years two and three. You will also have the opportunity to undertake sports leadership and coach education qualifications to boost your CV.

  • Academic Research and Professional Skills
  • Fundamentals of Coaching Children
  • Foundations of Sports Studies
  • Introduction to Sports Development
  • Managing Sport
  • Sports Development in Practice

Year Two: Sports Leadership and Development Degree

You will further develop the skills and knowledge gained in year one including the understanding of coaching and leadership principles and approaches to developing and managing sport across a range of target groups. You will enhance your breadth of knowledge by studying barriers to sport and you will have experience of running an enterprising event and completing a community sport placement which will enable you to put your ideas and knowledge into practice in the sports industry. This year will therefore expand your understanding of the world of sports development and the different career options available to you.

  • Research Methods
  • Sport Placement
  • Community Sports Development
  • Enterprise in Sport
  • Sports Coaching and Leadership

Optional Modules:

  • Physical Education and School Sport
  • Fitness Assessment and Management

Year Three: Sports Leadership and Development Degree

Your final year of study will help you to consolidate your previous years’ learning and start to specialise your work-based learning experience in line with the career path that you would like to take on graduation. You will develop your confidence and communication through debating key issues in sports development and you will undertake a management or research project examining a sports development related issue. During this year, you can choose to undertake a placement for one or two days a week working with one of our partner sports organisations. Some of our current students are working with organisations such as Welsh Cycling, Welsh Netball, Welsh Football Trust, Sports Development departments, schools and other sports organisations.

During this year, you could also play a lead role in the management and running of our student led social enterprise called Active Valleys. This experience will enable you to enhance your CV and create a strong network within the sports industry in Wales and beyond.

  • Dissertation or Applied Professional Project
  • Contemporary Issues in Sports Development
  • Advanced Sports Coaching and Leadership
  • Strategic Sports Development

Optional Modules:

  • Work Based Learning
  • Contemporary Issues in Sports Coaching


Learning and teaching methods include lectures, interactive workshops, practical sessions, work-based learning, guest lectures (from industry professionals), debates and tutorials. This range of teaching and learning approaches ensures that you gain a wide variety of skills and the variety keeps you on the ball!

All lectures/modules are sport specific which you will attend with other sports students. Most lectures/tutorials will be fairly small groups (25-45) which provides a more interactive and personal approach to your study. Group work and class discussions help you to develop critical thinking skills and we encourage students to voice their opinion and challenge the norm.

The sports leadership course is delivered over the year from October – May. You study six 20 credit modules in year 1 and 2; and one 40 credit + four 20 credit modules in the final year.

Most modules are studied over the year for 24 weeks (2 × 12 week terms); but some are delivered more intensively during a term (e.g. Fundamentals of coaching children and Sports Development in Practice)

Contact time varies over each year of study due to differences in modules, work placements and dissertation/project work in your final year. Average lecture contact time each year is as follows:-

Year 1: 12 hours contact time (18 hours of independent study per week)
Year 2: 10 hours (20 hours independent study per week)
Year 3: 8-10 hours (15-20 hours independent study and 7-14 hours of placement per week – depending on module chosen)


You will be assessed via a range of methods to ensure that you develop a number of different skills. Assessment methods include written essays and reports; presentations; practical sports coaching and leadership assessments; work-based learning assessments; posters and leaflets; reflective blogs; team debates and exams (multiple choice and essay style).


The University of South Wales is an accredited Higher Education Partner of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.


In addition to your lectures, you will have the opportunity to undertake voluntary coaching and sports leadership work with local partners and Active Valleys during the degree.Where possible, your timetable in your final year will be organised to give you at least two days off teaching to enable you to undertake a work-based placement with a sports organisation, meaning that you can balance your studies and gaining valuable experience during your year.

Our Centre of Employability, Enterprise and Leadership in Sport (CEELS) demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our students are employable upon graduation. We have partnerships with over 50 sports organisations who offer work placements for our students, enabling you to gain first-hand experience of working in the sports industry during your sport studies degree – an essential requirement for anyone wanting to gain employment in sport.


 At USW Sport Park, you’ll find a notational analysis suite and over 30 acres of playing fields, including five floodlit pitches. We have a sand-dressed ‘astroturf’ pitch, as well as a full-size FIFAa-pproved 3G pitch. In addition to these all-weather pitches, there are six grass football pitches, three grass rugby pitches, and a large changing pavilion.

Our facilities are regularly used by international professional teams, such as the Wales national football team and Cardiff City Football Club, as well as the touring New Zealand, South Africa and Australia rugby squads. Plus, Cardiff City Football Club Academy is based at our Sport Park. This confirms the high quality of our pitches and the versatility of our equipment.



You will be taught by leading experts who have worked in the sports development and management industry. Our staff have experience of coordinating and managing sport in both local authorities and national governing bodies of sport, and are able to bring this real-life knowledge and experience into the classroom to bring topics to life.

Many of our staff are still active in the industry representing sports organisations on boards and strategic groups. Our academic staff are also actively involved in research, so you can be sure you are taught by staff who are at the forefront of their specialist subjects. 

Tony Wallis, course leader


The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances Other: You will also need an enhanced DBS check.

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 
  • Part-time UK and EU:  £620  per 20 credits.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International:  £12300 
  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £57.2
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service £13
Whilst optional it is strongly recommended signing up for this service especially if you are likely to have placements each year and wish to persue a career post University where a DBS check is a requirement. Please note the service has to be joined within 19 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
Other: Placement * £0 - £200
Travel and other costs associated with a work placement are undertaken by the student. Costs will vary dependent on location.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Graduates of our sports leadership and development degree are employed by national governing bodies of sport, regional sports agencies, national sports charities, leisure providers, sport enterprises, as well as a variety of education and health-related positions. Equally, you can develop your own employment opportunities in the industry by applying the enterprise principles you will learn.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.