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

    €3,130 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

    2021: 564

  • CAO Points Range

    2021: 564-625

Course Outline

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

Graduates from our BEDSSPE degree display independent, innovative thinking, and are agents of change in the areas of physical education, sport, and physical activity settings. Our staff are experts and research-informed practitioners in their discipline.

Teaching, coaching and community placements are available throughout the BEDSSPE degree, and the programmes works in partnership with schools, clubs and the community, allowing students to immerse themselves within teaching and coaching from the beginning.

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


All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Year 1 Modules: 


  • ED1308 Sport Psychology: Fundamentals & Application
  • ED1309 Movement Analysis
  • ED1310 Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • ED1313 Health and Wellbeing in Sport, Physical Activity & Physical Education 
  • ED1314 Practical Areas I
  • ED1323 Practical Areas II
  • ED1316 Placement I
  • ED1322 Curriculum and Pedagogical Coherence I
  • AN1063 Anatomy of Exercise


First year subject choice:

One Arts subject (15 credits) from the following: English, French, (a student will not normally be allowed to select French unless (s)he has attained a pass standard in French in the Leaving Certificate Examination [or equivilant]), Gaeilge/ Irish, History and Mathematics.

Please go to the individual subject pages for a list of first year modules to find out more details.


Year 2 Modules:


  • Exercise Prescription
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Practical Areas
  • Curriculum and Pedagogical Coherence 2
  • Placement
  • Creativity & Innovation in Physical Education
  • Sport and Physical Activity


Arts subject continued from First Year.

Practical modules include dance, gymnastics, G.A.A., and rugby. Students will also complete their second placement in a school setting where they will observe, plan and teach physical education, under the guidance of a mentor (co-operating teacher).

Year 3 Modules:


  • Skill Acquisition & Analysis
  • Sports Medicine
  • Curriculum & Assessment
  • Placement
  • Research Project Design
  • Inclusion: Policy and Practice in PE, Sport and Physical Activity
  • Disability: Pedagogical Approaches to Physical Education


Coaching Science



Students will also complete their third placement in a school setting where they will observe, plan and teach their chosen Arts subject, under the guidance of a mentor (co-operating teacher).

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


Coaching Science



and one from the following

  • The Teaching of Irish
  • The Teaching of English
  • Second Language Education - French
  • The Teaching of History
  • The Teaching of Mathematics

A large proportion of year four will comprise of school placement for the student, specifically teaching physical education and the selected specialist Arts subject for an entire school year (mornings only: 9am to 1.15pm approximately). Students will then return to university for lectures, practicals and workshops in the afternoons.

Prospective students can search the College Calendar for detailed information on the programme, and the Book of Modules for more precise individual module specifics.

Course Practicalities

As part of the BEDSSPE degree’s semesterisation format, some written exams will take place before Christmas (semester one), and in May (semester two).  Not all modules will have formal written summative type examinations.  Many modules use continuous and formative types of assessment, including in-class tests, oral presentations, end-of-semester assessments, digital portfolios, online learning tasks, reflections and micro-teaching/micro-coaching etc. You will develop invaluable transferable skills of independent, critical thinking by completing these wide-ranging assessments.

Who teaches on this programme?

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

Most recent 5-year trend data has indicated that 88% of our graduates successfully gain employment in the teaching and coaching sectors. To date, our graduates have found employment in Ireland, the UK, the US, Korea, Canada, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand.

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

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Year 1: Coaching Placement (24 hours)

Year 2: School Placement teaching Physical Education (3 weeks)

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

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

Skills and Careers Information

The graduates from the BEDSSPE degree gain a range of transferable skills in planning, implementing and assessing learning across the lifespan – whether in schools, clubs or communities – specifically 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 M.Ed, or cohort PhD routes also. 


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 and you can find out more about the mature entry requirements here.


International Students should visit the International Education website.

FETAC Requirements.

Fitness to Practise

Commencing since the 2013/2014 intake, the BEDSSPE degree is 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

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

Costs may include approximately €150 for SSPE sports clothing; and €400 for the Assistant Swim Teachers Course. Other optional opportunities during the BEDSSPE degree may comprise of coaching qualifications, workshops, and field trips, which may incur additional costs also.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Non-EU Fees

The 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

Non-EU applicants must apply online: 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. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact