Skip to main content

Sports Science (Human Performance, Performance Analysis or Strength and Conditioning pathways)

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy

UCAS Code: C610

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time

Five years part-time


UK - £9,250 per year

Part-time - Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • State-of-the-art facilities and delivered by expert practitioners/researchers
  • Choice of pathways allowing you to pursue the areas you are interested in and maximising your career choice opportunities
  • External endorsement by BASES (British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences) and NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) for meeting educational criteria in these areas with an opportunity to apply this knowledge to real-world settings
  • Small class sizes means all students are able to get hands-on with our lab equipment and facilities
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme is also available with a Foundation Year

Our Sports Science programme is for individuals interested in the science underpinning all aspects of human performance. The course aims to develop your skills in analysing and evaluating performance and providing interventions within the traditional (including exercise physiology, psychology, biomechanics  and  nutrition) and the contemporary sports science disciplines (such as performance analysis and strength and conditioning).

This excellent course offers you the chance to study in a department equipped with its own human performance laboratories, performance analysis facilities, and strength and conditioning suite for testing, analysing, and training.

We take an applied approach to our programme delivery, drawing on cutting edge research and decades of practitioner experience, to give you the transferable skills to make a difference in the field of sports science.

Our choice of pathways allows you to specialise in the final year and ensures the best preparation for a range of career choices, including sports science support, teaching, coaching, performance analysis and strength and conditioning.

You will be taught alongside students on other courses with similar disciplines including Sport Rehabilitation and Exercise, Nutrition and Health. This broadens the links between sports science and professions aligned to health care.

We're pleased to say that Sports Science at Salford is ranked 17th nationally in the 2018 Guardian League table.

This course is endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and is recognised by the NSCA under their education recognition programme.

“I joined the University of Salford because of the excellent reputation of the Sports Science programme. During my studies, I have always found the lecturers to be extremely approachable and willing to help in answering any of my queries. Something I have found useful for my learning is reading around the topic area which has been helped by the appropriate and extensive reading lists provided by lecturers. Throughout the programme, I have particularly enjoyed studying sports psychology as I did not study this during my BTEC studies. The course has taught me the importance of understanding an athlete  and their needs. I now approach my coaching practice in a different way, realising that I may need to alter my coaching practice with certain athletes. I am excited about starting my dissertation project in my final year, particularly because I have been allowed to choose a research project in  an  area I enjoy.”

Michael Haworth, 3rd year student on Human Performance pathway.

"Having been working full time in the fitness industry for a number of years I approached the sports science course as a mature student at the age of 25. I was a little wary of the decision at first but was wanting to acquire more knowledge within the field of study, as I am very passionate about the human body and how it can be improved for performance. From the first day I knew that the right decision had been made and now entering my 2nd year of study I'm fully enjoying the experience even further. My first year studying at Salford was great. I've made some good friends for life and learnt subject matter I'm passionate about.”    

Jack Murphy, 2nd year student

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

Throughout the course you will study the science underpinning human performance, including exercise physiology, sports psychology, kinesiology, biomechanics, performance analysis, theory and practice of training, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition.

You will learn how to assess a client’s fitness and performance needs and design appropriate exercise programmes. You will be able to work with all levels, from the recreational exerciser to the elite athlete. The applied elements of this course will improve your knowledge and skills in practical environments and, through our organised placement module, you will have the chance to work in a range of applied settings including with local sports clubs and their athletes, in schools, and in the wider community.

Previous placement opportunities have included the English Institute of Sport, British Cycling, Manchester City Football Club, British Lacrosse, Sale Sharks, UK Athletics, Salford Red Devils, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and local schools. Together with new partnerships developing with organisations including the Manchester Institute for Health and Performance, students on this course have an exciting variety of opportunities ahead.

In addition to the core modules, the final year allows you to specialise in the areas of Human Performance, Performance Analysis, or Strength and Conditioning.

Human Performance Pathway

In this pathway you will study the Applied Human Performance module where you will develop and integrate your knowledge of physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology towards the improvement of sports performance in an athlete. Along with the Placement module, this module, allows you to further develop your skills in the traditional Sports Science disciplines and apply them in real-world settings. There will be additional opportunities to provide sports science support for local teams and athletes, which are integrated into the final year modules.

Performance Analysis Pathway

In this pathway you will study the Advanced Performance Analysis module, that develops the theoretical background of biomechanics and performance analysis, and applies these concepts to the analysis of sports performance using both qualitative and quantitative methods. This pathway provides you with the knowledge and expertise to actively practice the discipline of Performance Analysis within an elite setting. You will utilise industry standard equipment to assess, monitor, review and improve performance in athletes/teams. You will use multiple methods to increase performance productivity in your clients.

Strength and Conditioning Pathway

In this pathway you will study the Advanced Strength and Conditioning module. This module will provide you with an extended understanding of the principles governing the training of elite athletes. This module, along with a specific work placement opportunity in a strength and conditioning setting (Placement module) allows you to develop competencies that are closely aligned to the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA) and permits progression to individual accreditation after graduation.

Year 1

In year one, you will study modules that introduce you to all of the Sports Science disciplines and lay the academic knowledge and practical skills foundations that will underpin later years.

This module provides a basic knowledge and understanding of the core human physiological systems which are fundamental to sport, exercise, health and movement.
This module aims to present foundation knowledge which is fundamental to the study of energy metabolism and nutrition for human performance.
This module aims to provide you with the necessary understanding of human anatomical structure and function, with a specific focus on movement and exercise analysis. You will learn the principles underpinning the development of cardiovascular fitness, strength, power, speed and flexibility, and apply these to performance in specific sports. You will be encouraged to use a practical approach to this learning and apply your knowledge to movements related to common sporting activities. 
This module introduces you to the field of sports science and the competencies required as a Sport Scientist. You will be introduced to the concepts of research in sports science through hands-on practical experience. This module will also develop your academic, personal and professional skills to facilitate a successful progression through university and into employment in sports science.
This module introduces you to psychological factors that are important for athletic and team functioning in sport. You will explore key theories and research across a range of psychological topics relevant to athletes and teams. You will examine relationships between psychological factors and how psychological factors influence sports performance.
This module will introduce you to the fundamental principles of mechanics and biomechanics. You will learn how to collect and analyse, and interpret basic biomechanical data in relation sports performance.

Year 2

The second year builds upon the first year with more targeted modules that advance your knowledge and applied skills across all of the disciplines. 

This module examines the theoretical and practical aspects of the physiological responses to exercise.
This module provides you with an applied understanding of the theoretical principles of training to enhance athletic performance.
Introduces you to research design and analysis to allow you to critically appraise evidence and to plan your own research.
This module aims to develop a good theoretical and practical understanding of sports nutrition. The module presents the general principles, concepts and underpinning theory in sports nutrition necessary for the development of nutritional strategies for those engaged in recreational through to elite sport.
This module develops the theoretical background of biomechanics and performance analysis, and helps you to apply these concepts and analyse sports performance using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Explores the practical application of psychological skills and group-based interventions for psychology and performance. This module introduces you to the importance of evidence-based practice when working with athletes and teams in a consultancy role. You will examine different methods of needs analysis, measurement, intervention, and evaluation when applying sport psychology principles in practice.

Year 3

In year 3, you really get the opportunity to specialise. You choose from our three pathways with their specific modules and undertake a placement and dissertation that allow you to focus on the area of sport science or career path that most interests you. Overall, this year gives you the in-depth knowledge and advanced skills and practice, to enhance your employability when you graduate.

Allows you to conduct an in-depth, evidence based study on a topic of your choice (quantitative, qualitative or review) and analyse, synthesis and evaluate the outcomes of the study.
This module provides you with a vocational opportunity aimed at developing personal transferable skills and work specific skills, thus enhancing future employability. By gaining experience of sport and exercise science in a real world setting you will be challenged to link theory with practice. The module will also provide you with the opportunity to reflect upon evidence-based practice within a vocational setting.

Your choice of pathway from:

This module will provide you with an extended understanding of the principles governing the training of elite athletes focusing on application of the latest research to a real world environment.
This module aims to integrate your knowledge of physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology towards the improvement of sports performance in an athlete. You will apply this knowledge to develop a critical understanding of the practical needs of the athelete.
This module aims to provide you with the knowledge and expertise to actively practice the discipline of Performance Analysis within an elite setting. You will utilise industry standard equipment to assess, monitor, review and improve performance in athletes/teams. You will use multiple methods to increase performance productivity in your clients.

Plus your choice of one module in each Semester from the following:

Semester 1
Explores advanced psychological topics that are considered as current or emerging themes within sport. This module focuses on critical thinking in relation to psychological themes, theories, research, and interventions. You will critically appraise the current state of sport psychology to suggest applied and theoretical implications and avenues for future research that would advance the discipline of sport psychology.
This module will provide you with a critical understanding of physiological and environmental factors that influence exercise performance for a diverse range of athletes and people engaged in physical activity, including special populations. You will also learn to present and demonstrate the principles of test construction and methods of assessing physical performance and develop the ability to interpret data pertaining to physical performance.
Semester 2
This module will evaluate the use of nutritional strategies to maximise adaptation to training as well as before, during and after sport and exercise events. You will then examine the importance of individualising nutritional strategies for specific clients/athletes, and practice the skills necessary to translate sports nutrition principles into practical professional advice in a range of sporting settings.
Looks at how athletes modify technique and movement skills for performance and injury prevention and how this can be assessed using video-based technology.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Access to HE 60 Credits, 45 at level 3, 30 at Distinction level, the other 15 will be at level 2 and will be ungraded
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
Five subjects grade C or above including English Language and Mathematics and Science
UCAS tariff points 112 points
GCE A level BBC - At least one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Human Biology, Psychology, PE, Sport Studies.
BTEC National Diploma DMM - Sports Science, Sports Studies, Applied Science
Scottish Highers 112 points must be in maths and science
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 points must be in maths, english or science (biology, chemistry, physics)
International Baccalaureate 31 points
Access to HE 60 Credits, 45 at level 3, 30 at Distinction level.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate. The University offers two routes for entry under the scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. As this course is part of the School of Health Sciences you will only be considered under Entry Route 1.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

We are looking for students with a keen interest in sport and sports performance, matched with good academic skills and an application for science. Students may come from sporting, coaching and personal training backgrounds.

Typical Sports Science students are keen, hard working, and committed with good interpersonal and communication skills. Entry may be directly from school at 18 or after a period of gaining experience in the workplace.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

In addition to course fees, students can opt to purchase a course uniform which costs approximately £70. In addition, students may incur other expenses during placements. An optional cost may be incurred to undertake a First Aid qualification should the student wish to do so. Costs are approximated based on the  current academic year.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


Teaching is delivered in small groups, meaning that you will be given every opportunity to develop the practical skills you require in the performance laboratory and gym, gaining first-hand experience on the equipment. You will experience a range of teaching methods such as:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical sessions 
  • Problem-based learning
  • Independent study
  • Placement


Assesment will include:

  • Coursework 50%
  • Oral presentations 5% 
  • Poster presentations 5%
  • Written and practical exams 40%


Career Prospects

The sports science market is currently one of the key growth areas in the UK. The Human Performance pathway opens up a wide range of career opportunities in areas including sports science support, sports development, health and fitness, coaching, teaching, postgraduate study and research. The Strength and Conditioning pathway can lead to a number of opportunities for employment as a strength and conditioning coach or internships at our sports partnerships (e.g. Sale Sharks, Manchester Storm, the English Institute of Sport), which have noticeably increased in the last few years. The Performance Analysis pathway can open many doors within elite sport, to enable students the chance to become match analysts, scouting and recruitment analysts, Talent Identification Specialists or Technique Analysts.

Previous graduates of this programme have gone on to work for Manchester City Football Club, Salford Red Devils Rugby League Football Club, Quintic Consultancy, Fitness First, and the NHS. Some students go on to further study or research, while others use their degree as a stepping stone to a career in teaching or higher education.

Graduate roles include Health Professionals, Teaching Professionals, Sports Science Support and Sports Coaches (DLHE Survey Data 2012/13).

Alumni Profile

“Completing the Applied Sport Science degree has equipped me with a range of essential academic and practical skills. These skills have provided me with a platform for pursuing postgraduate education and providing sports science support to professional athletes. The University has excellent links with local sports clubs, which can help you gain invaluable work experience and build a network of contacts for your future career.”

During his time on the course John took advantage of the University’s links and gained work experience in providing strength and conditioning support at the English Institute of Sport on a part-time basis. This experience helped John attain UKSCA accreditation soon after graduation. In addition, to gaining experience John also presented two posters at the BASES annual conference in 2009 and International Society of Biomechanics in Sport conference in 2010. John is now a PhD candidate at the University of Salford.

John McMahon, graduated with a first class honours degree in Applied Sports Science in July 2010

“I was living in Manchester when I decided to make the switch from full-time football to part time and begin studying. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a strength and conditioning coach, ideally within a professional football club, and the degree course at Salford, which was local to where I lived, offered the opportunity to specifically follow this pathway.

The placement opportunities available on the Strength and Conditioning pathway were second to none. I was fortunate enough to be given the responsibility of designing and implementing a periodised training programme to a squad of athletes, and being able to witness progression and how this influenced their competition was extremely rewarding.

My biggest highlight is finishing the course with a 1st Class Honours Degree. However, numerous experiences including being able to gain voluntary experience with professional sports clubs and having the practical experience of improving myself as a coach and individuals as athletes are up there. I am now going to complete an MSc in Strength and Conditioning whilst also working for a top professional sports club.”

Robert Williams, BSc (Hons) Sport Science graduate, 2015

Links with Industry

We also have strong working links with top sports clubs in the North West such as; Sale Sharks, Salford Red Devils and Manchester Storm. The performance analysis strand has also allowed us to develop strong links with elite sporting clubs outside the north west with opportunities to provide remote support for clubs up and down the country. You will have opportunities to conduct data collection for your final year research projects on these athletes.

Further Study


Human performance laboratory

Our world-class human performance laboratory is one of the best equipped in the country and contains almost every type of physiological, performance analysis and biomechanical testing equipment, including a 30-metre sprint track with in-built force platforms, motion capture systems, blood and gas analysis equipment and speed guns.

We also have a separate physiological testing laboratory and fully equipped strength and conditioning suite, which includes and isokinetic dynamometer and portable force platforms.

Our Strength and Conditioning Suite has recently benefitted from huge investment and now boasts equipment such as:

  • 10 dedicated PowerLift lifting platforms for both students and athletes alike to learn advanced training techniques.
  • Biodex isokinetic dynamometer to assess muscle function/ asymmetries.
  • FT700 Power Cage with integrated force platform and linear position transducer to assess force and power output during a variety of athletic performances, plus a portable isometric mid-thigh pull station.

We also have extensive equipment in our Exercise and Physiology Laboratory including:

  • Portable and static online gas analysis systems for breath-by- breath cardiopulmonary exercise testing, including VO2 max tests.
  • A Lode Cycle Ergometer to provide isokinetic testing conditions within cycling.
  • An Analox G37 Multi-Assay Blood Analyser to study blood lactate concentration. We also have a range of field based Lactate Pro analysers, which have been used to test professional athletes as part of our partnerships.

The University is also home to three gait labs, which, together with the human performance lab, are used to conduct ground-breaking research by the Centre for Health Sciences Research that underpins your learning.

Not the course you're looking for?

If this course isn't for you then please retry our course finder below.


Visit our A-Z list of courses.

A-Z courses