UCC Undergraduate courses

Sports Studies and Physical Education

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Sports Studies and Physical Education

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BEd (Hons)

  • Fees

    €3,165 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; O6/H7 in another language. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2018: 487

Course Outline

The Sport Studies and Physical Education degree is a dynamic course that aims to produce the best educators in physical education, sport and physical activity settings. As well as qualifying to teach PE, you will also graduate in a chosen specialist arts subject from one of the following: English (five places), Irish, Mathematics, French or History.

Graduates from our course display independent and innovative thinking and are agents of change in the area of sport, physical activity and physical education. Our staff are experts and leading researchers in their discipline.

Teaching, coaching and community placements are available throughout the course and we work in partnership with schools, clubs and the community, allowing you to become part of the teaching and coaching professional community from the beginning.

The course also operates a comprehensive mentoring programme involving buddy mentoring, tutor mentoring and teacher/coach mentors.

Year 1 Modules (All 5 credits): 


  • AN1063 Anatomy of Exercise
  • ED1308 Psychosocial Basis of Physical Education, Sport & Health
  • ED1309 Movement Analysis
  • ED1310 Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • ED1313 Health
  • ED1314 Practical Areas 1
  • ED1316 Placement 1
  • ED1322 Curriculum Design: Youth, Learning & Cultural Contexts
  • ED1323 Practical Areas 2


One Arts subject (15 credits) from English, French, Gaeilge/Irish, History or Mathematical Studies

In addition, you will learn about dance, gymnastics, striking and fielding, badminton, athletics and aquatics and adventure activities, as well as your a specialist Arts subject (The Arts subject is studied throughout all four years). You will also complete your first school/club placement under the guidance of a mentor.

Year 2 Modules:


  • Exercise Prescription
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Practical Areas
  • Physical Education Teacher & Coaching Pedagogy
  • Placement
  • Creativity & Innovation in Physical Education
  • Sport and Physical Activity


Arts subject continued from First Year (25 credits)

Practical modules include dance, gymnastics, GAA and rugby. You will also complete your second placement in a school setting where you will observe, plan and teach PE under the guidance of a mentor.

Year 3 Modules:


  • Skill Acquisition & Analysis
  • Sports Medicine
  • Curriculum & Assessment
  • Placement; Research Methods
  • Policy and Practice in Physical Education
  • Disability: Pedagogical Approaches to Physical Education


Coaching Science


Understanding Health & Wellness and Health Promotion

You will also focus on your specialist Arts subject during your third school-based placement, during which you will observe and teach this subject in a school under the supervision of a mentor.

Year 4 Modules:


  • Philosophy & History of Education
  • Professional Issues in Education
  • Approaches to Teaching & Assessment in Physical Education
  • Research Project; Placements
  • Historical & Philosophical Aspects of Physical Education


ED4309 Health 3 or ED4310 Coaching Science 3

and one from the following (all 5 credits)

  • ED4319 The Teaching of Irish
  • ED4328 The Teaching of English
  • ED4329 Second Language Education - French
  • ED4331 The Teaching of History
  • ED4334 The Teaching of Mathematics

You will be on a school placement, teaching PE and your specialist Arts subject for an entire school year (mornings only). You will then return to university for lectures, practicals and workshops in the afternoons.

You can find out more in the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment including in-class tests, oral presentations, assignments, end-of-semester exams, portfolios and reflections, microteaching/microcoaching etc. You will develop invaluable transferable skills of independent, critical thinking by completing these wide-ranging assessments.

Who teaches this course?

  • Dr Fiona C. Chambers - Course Director and Senior Lecturer 
  • Dr Susan Crawford  -  Lecturer 
  • Ms Trish Fitzpatrick -  Lecturer and Teaching Practice Coordinator
  • Dr Wesley O Brien – Lecturer

Why Choose This Course

the Quercus Scholarship Programme also gives me much valued support with physiotherapy and advice on nutrition.”

Samuel Grace

Sports Studies and Physical Education, Year 2

Find Out More

The vast majority (97%) of our graduates gain employment in the teaching and coaching sectors. To date, our graduates have found employment in Ireland, the UK, the US, Korea, Canada and New Zealand.

This is the only course in Ireland that offers both a teaching and coaching qualification. It is also the only course in Ireland that offers placements in all of the following sectors: coaching, teaching , community sport and physical activity.

The BEDSSPE also provides a pathway for graduates who wish to study at postgraduate level sport, physical activity, physical education or education.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Year 1: Coaching Placement (24 hours)

Year 2: School Placement teaching PE (4 weeks)

Year 3: School Placement teaching chosen Arts subject (4 weeks)

Year 4: School Placement teaching PE and Arts subject (entire school year)

Skills and Careers Information

The graduates from our course gain a range of transferable skills in planning, implementing and assessing learning – whether in schools, clubs or communities and across the lifespan and ability range – in the areas of sport, physical activity and physical education. 

The course, through its school-university partnership, also provides career advice and preparation practice for interviews for all our students.

Graduates are very well placed to begin a postgraduate course of study through our School of Education MEd (two sport and PE related modules are included here) or cohort PhD course. 


Leaving Cert entry requirements:

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish. Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:



Other Language




Mature students:
 Applicants should apply directly through the CAO, include a statement of interest and must apply for and sit the MSAP exam. Approximately five places are available on this course for mature students.

International Students should visit the International Education website.

FETAC Requirements.

Fitness to Practise

Commencing with the 2013/2014 intake, this programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – full details may be found here.

Student Garda Vetting
All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on the programme. It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees.

The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria.

In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee is expected to be €165.

Costs may include €150 for SSPE sports clothing; and €400 for the Assistant Swim Teachers Course.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU Applicants: Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact