About This Course
You’ll learn about what sport and exercise psychologists do, how they do it, and why. You’ll learn from expert staff about a range of topics from how sport performers thrive under pressure to what motivates exercisers to engage in physical activity. You’ll also complete a novel research project that enhances what we know about the application of psychological factors related to exercise and sport preparing you for a career as a sport psychologist.
Are you thinking of becoming a sport and exercise Psychologist?
Whether you are interested in working with elite and professional athletes and teams to improve their performance or are more interested in how regular people learn how to enjoy sports and learn to stick to an exercise program then this is the course for you.
Sports & exercise psychology is the study of the psychological factors that influence sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. Sports & exercise psychologists investigate how psychological factors influence elite athletes’ ability to perform under pressure and how participating in recreational sport and exercise can improve health, mental health and wellbeing.
An unusual focus of this course at Bangor is its examination of psychophysiological factors, like brain imaging & in-depth heart rate monitoring, to better understand how psychological and physiological processes interact with, and relate to, the sport and exercise behaviour of elite athletes and recreational exercisers. As you progress through the course there are many areas of specialism that you can explore including more unusual aspects such as such as the psychology of addictive behaviours, neuroscience and counselling approaches and more traditional areas such as the influence of stress and anxiety on performance, psychological skills, the influence of personality and individual differences on health and performance and how to design and evaluate interventions.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to provide you with Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the Society, the necessary first step to any career as a psychologist in the UK and of course of particular relevance to sport and exercise psychology careers.
Learn from the best
You’ll be taught by chartered psychologists from the forefront of the discipline. Sport, Health and Exercise science staff have worked, and currently do work with numerous Olympic Sports, professional sport, the military and the NHS. In addition, the department currently houses the largest concentration of performance focused psychology researchers anywhere in the world and many of the subjects taught on this course are delivered by staff in psychology who also have international reputations in their specialist areas.
North Wales offers a stunning natural environment for your studies, and our department, which was established in 1978, is proud to call itself one of the original and longest serving Sport and Exercise Science providers in the world.
Why choose Bangor University for this course?
- Internationally renowned Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance (IPEP) boasting state-of-the-art sports psychology labs.
- Staff provide sport psychology and leadership expertise to bodies including: GB Telemark Ski Team, England and Wales Cricket Board, UK Sport, Sport Wales, Ministry of Defense, Lloyds TSB, Ericsson.
Additional Course Options
This course is available with a Placement Year option where you will study for 1 additional year. The Placement Year is undertaken at the end of the second year and students are away for the whole of the academic year.
The Placement Year provides you with a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons and develop valuable skills and contacts through working with a self-sourced organisation relevant to your degree subject. The minimum period in placement (at one or more locations) is seven calendar months; more usually you would spend 10-12 months with a placement provider. You would normally start sometime in the period June to September of your second year and finish between June and September the following year. Placements can be UK-based or overseas and you will work with staff to plan and finalise the placement arrangements.
You will be expected to find and arrange a suitable placement to complement your degree and will be fully supported throughout by a dedicated member of staff at your academic School and the University’s Careers and Employability Services.
You will have the opportunity to fully consider this option when you have started your course at Bangor and can make an application for a transfer onto this pathway at the appropriate time. Read more about the work experience opportunities that may be available to you or, if you have any questions, please get in touch.
This course is available with an International Experience Year option where you will study or work abroad for 1 additional year. You will have ‘with International Experience’ added to your degree title on graduating.
Studying abroad is a great opportunity to see a different way of life, learn about new cultures and broaden your horizons. With international experience of this kind, you’ll really improve your career prospects. There are a wide variety of destinations and partner universities to choose from. If you plan to study in a country where English is not spoken natively, there may be language courses available for you at Bangor and in your host university to improve your language skills.
You will have the opportunity to fully consider this option at any time during your degree at Bangor and make your application. If you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch.
Read more about the International Experience Year programme and see the studying or working abroad options on the Student Exchanges section of our website.
Students will typically have one or two hours of lectures per week for each module as well as laboratory time, seminars and tutorials. This direct contact time will be tied with student-centred learning such as reading, writing essays and reports, gathering information and data, working on group projects and preparing verbal and poster presentations. These activities form the basis of your assessment, along with examinations, case studies and critiques of research.
25% of students’ time is spent in lectures, seminars and lab practical's. We keep most of our lectures, seminars and lab class sizes small:
- Lectures: 30-150
- Seminars: approx. 12
- Laboratory practical's: approx. 25
This approach allows our students to have closer contact with lecturers and tutors, and all our students have access to regular one-to-one meetings with staff.
What will you study on this course?
In year 1 you will study the foundations of sport and exercise psychology, physiology, research methods and core aspects of psychology such as the role of the brain and mind. You can also undertake 2 weeks work experience focused on an area of interest to you, develop your professional skills or diver deeper into some aspects of positive psychology.
Year 2 focuses on the key elements required for BPS accreditation including cognitive, social, developmental and biological psychology alongside content in sport and exercise psychology and the psychophysiology of sport and exercise. You’ll also further hone your research methods skills and begin the process of developing your research project, where you’ll develop an original research question focusing on an area of particular interest to you.
In year 3 the major focus is your research project, where you’ll collect and analyse data relating to a novel research question and present the findings in a variety of formats. You’ll also take an in-depth look at topics such as stress and performance, personality and individual differences and look at ways of intervening with athletes to improve performance.
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Sport and Exercise Psychology BSc (Hons) Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
This course has very strong links with the department of psychology which has a a wide range of specialist research laboratories including MRI, ERP, TMS, Eye tracking, etc.
Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences facilities
- £1M teaching lab
- an altitude (hypoxia) chamber
- multiple 3D motion analysis labs
- a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) whole body scanner
- exercise testing and rehabilitation labs
- an environmental chamber
- psychology, psychomotor and psychophysiology testing suites
- biochemistry and cell biology labs
- 3 x Psychomotor control/testing labs
- Psychology testing labs
- 1 x Driving simulator lab
- 1 x Live-in/Social Psychology lab
- 1 x Water immersion testing lab
Physiology Research Labs
Testing takes place with external clients e.g., we have tested members of the Welsh National Kayaking and Sailing Squads, patients suffering from various conditions – breast cancer, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, renal, diabetes, obesity, members of the fire service, elite athletes, military personnel, and mountaineers to name but a few. The equipment in these labs includes:
- Online Breath by Breath analysers – measure maximal aerobic fitness, energy expenditure, ventilation. They are more a sophisticated version of the Douglas bag system also seen in this lab and the teaching lab.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine – 12 lead suitable for monitoring during exercise or rest.
- YSI lactate/glucose analyser
- Treadmill with 30km speed, reverse belt to allow downhill running, safety arch for downhill and sprint running.
- GEM - Blood Gas Analyser - measures gas concentrations in blood e.g. oxygen and carbon dioxide and acids e.g., lactic acid.
- Osmometer: for measuring salt content in urine (hydration status).
- Reflatron – photometer that allows measurement of capillary blood, cholesterol, uric acid, glucose, HDL (high density lipoproteins i.e., good cholesterol).
- Temperature can be varied up to 40º and down to -20º, plus 5-95% variations in humidity.
- Used to measure reactions when body going through extreme stress, for example dehydration. Psychological testing can also take place when exercising under stress conditions, for example cognitive functioning when dehydrated.
- Recent testing involved a new method of recording temperatures using sensors/data loggers taped to the skin of subjects which feed data directly to a computer. We also have the capacity to take skin and rectal temperatures while subjects are undergoing testing in the chamber.
The chamber allows manipulation of the environment from 21% oxygen (0 m) to 7% oxygen (8,900 m, summit of Everest) using a unit which acts as a molecular sieve to remove oxygen from the air. It controls temperature and humidity accurate to 0.1 oC and 1%, respectively. The School also has two portable units with a tent system to allow at home altitude training, sleeping and acclimatisation. By using this chamber in combination with the fMRI scanner (based within Psychology), it is possible to image the brain and determine why people get serious and often life threatening mountain sickness and headaches. Studies combining the use of the chamber with exercise have helped to determine if simulated altitude can help people lose weight.
- Keystone - more sophisticated version of the lung volume machine (spirometer) in the teaching lab. It measures most lung capacity and volume functions e.g. residual volume (the volume left in the lungs after normal expiration) – measured by re-breathing helium mixed gas, and measures strength of respiratory muscles and efficiency of gas exchange in the lung.
- Haemocue – photometer that measures haemoglobin from capillary blood.
- Physio Flow – stoke volume and cardiac output i.e., how much blood is being pumped by the heart with each beat and each minute.
- Tango - automated blood pressure during exercise.
- + RPE (Ratings of Perceived Exertion) cards – used to assess effort during exercise. Important because perceived exertion controls exercise intensity in athletes and normal people exercising.
DXA LAB (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Scanner)
We were the first Sports Science School in the UK to install a DXA scanner and use it for research. It is able to measure bone density and provide measurements of tissue – fat; lean and mass/muscle composition. Other equipment within the department such as electrical impedance measurement instruments, the underwater weighing tank and skin fold callipers can also assess body composition.
£1m Canolfan PAWB* Centre (*Physical Activity for Health and Wellbeing) Teaching Lab
This state of the art physiology teaching lab (costing in excess of £1 million) is designed to allow students to effectively develop their practical skills and includes equipment such as:
- Lung volume machine.
- Douglas Bags for collecting gas during various exercises and a machine to analyse these gases for Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide content which is used to determine aerobic fitness levels and energy expenditure.
- Wingate machine – tests maximal anaerobic capacity. Most people who use this will get a build-up of the by-product of exercise (lactic acid).
- Bikes and treadmills – these are used to induce an exercise situation to measure physiological, biochemical and psychological parameters.
- Two rowing machines – standard rower and kayak machine.
- Blood pressure machines.
- Back/leg dynamometer.
- Skin-fold callipers.
- Teaching ECG system.
Exercise Testing & Rehabilitation Labs
- Isokinetic/Isometric Dynamometer – measures all kinds of joint action and muscular strength. The dynamometer can also be used for rehabilitation from injuries and can be used in conjunction with Trunk Flexion Extension.
- Trunk Flexion Extension – added to the dynamometer to measure back strength and related muscles groups.
- Electromyography (EMG) machine – 19 channels plus conduction velocity. Measures electrical signals in the muscle, looking at the firing rate of muscles and if they fatigue during exercise.
- Ultrasound – looks at what goes on in muscles while exercising and will show scar tissue and can measure blood flow in vessels and heart as well can investigate heart function and morphology.
- Ergometers – Monarch bikes (patient testing bikes), Concept rower.
- Lode Corival.
Psychology and Psychophysiology Laboratories
- Electroencephalography (EEG) systems to measure brain activity via recording of the electrical activity on the scalp.
- Biofeedback machines and software to display psychophysiological signals (e.g. brainwaves, heart rate variability) in real-time and help individuals learn how to take control of their psychophysiological state.
- Mobile eye-trackers to measure eye movements during sport and exercise participation.
- Force and accelerometery sensors to measure movement profiles and develop understanding of how technique develops with learning and is impacted by psychological stress.
- High-definition video cameras and high specification computers to monitor human responses in psychology experiments and to allow the completion of online questionnaires about psychological state.
Psychomotor and Motor Control and Learning Laboratories
- There are 5 of these in total and the housed equipment is used to monitor, measure, and understand human movement and action control from simple fine motor skills to full body explosive sports actions; under unlimited psychological, physiological, and environmental manipulations.
- 12 Camera Vicon 3D motion analysis laboratory.
- Optotrack motion analysis laboratory.
- Upper limb Manipulandum's complete with accelerometers.
- High resolution 2D Graphics tablets.
- Mobile eye tracking system to measure eye movements during sport and exercise.
- Occlusion goggles to directly manipulate field of vision in real time during human movement.
- High definition video camera and high specification computers to monitor and analyse skill movement.
Throughout your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to access these facilities as participants in research projects, and you’ll be involved in some of these facilities as researchers during your project in the third year.
Psychology has its own research dedicated MRI/fMRI Philips Elition 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. Our new research-dedicated scanner was installed in summer 2019 in the main psychology building. This scanner offers cutting-edge MR imaging technique and includes MRI-compatible eye-tracking and capacity for in-scanner EEG recordings, and a nearby mock scanner to support training studies and work with children. The scanner is also equipped for 4D cardiac, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). As an example of how you may experience the scanner, apart from as a research participant, is that 3rd-year undergraduate students doing their project within Dr Koldewyn’s lab have been involved in studies involving the brain response to observed social interactions, including data collection and analysis of developmental data from primary-aged children.
Expertise in electrophysiological methods (EEG/ERP) is a particular strength in the School. The Psychology Open-access Electroencephalography and Topography (POET) lab consists of a fully shielded sound-attenuated testing booth, 128 channel BioSemi EEG system, and all equipment necessary for auditory and visual EEG/ERP experiments, with synchronized remote eye-tracking. Apart from opportunities to be involved as a research participant, undergraduate students in the 3rd year have had the opportunity to be actively involved in EEG/ERP lab for their 3rd year project.
Currently, the POET lab is used to investigate a diverse range of topics such as:
- machine learning to predict motor sequences from EEG activity
- social development and self-perception in infants
- development of single EEG trial analyses to compare language processing in typical and developmentally challenged groups.
The Brain Stimulation Lab is equipped with two different types of stimulation equipment, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique that uses strong magnetic fields to briefly interrupt the processing of nerve cells in a small area of the underlying surface of the brain. An electrical current is passed very briefly through the stimulator device - a coil of copper wires (encased in plastic) held on the surface of the scalp. This current induces a magnetic field around the coil that, in turn, induces an electrical current in the underlying nerve cells on the surface of the brain. While the nerve cells are being stimulated, and for a few 10ths of a second afterward, they cannot perform their normal functions. This does not cause damage or injury to the nerve cells.
The second type of stimulation is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and like the TMS, it is non-invasive and painless, and uses low-intensity electrical currents to excite or inhibit neuronal activity in specific parts of the brain. Both of these systems have been interfaced in experiments with equipment for eye-tracking, electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), and for kinematic recording.
Psychology houses a number of motion capture labs for capturing of complex full body and limb motion for research with equipment including a Polhemus motion capture system (16-channels) that enables us to study skilled actions with high spatio-temporal precision.
Some recent examples of activity within these labs include Prof. Robert Ward investigating how body motion information is perceived by observers, and to what extent this information is reliable or deceptive. Dr. Koldewyn has used the systems to record search patterns during a physical search task designed to explore how quickly children learn where a target object is likely to be, and how that learning is influenced by observing others. 3rd-year project students were involved in designing the study and in collecting data from primary-aged children.
In addition to open-access shared facilities, the school has highly specialised facilities dedicated to specific academics such as:
- several dedicated EEG labs in addition to our open-access facility
- two sound-proofed labs for auditory studies
- virtual-reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) robotically controlled force-feedback systems
- mobile eye and pen tracking for studies of literacy development in schools and the lab
- a food and psychopharmacology lab including hardware and software for specialised food dispensing machine
- video analysis suite for children’s cardio-respiratory fitness and fundamental movement skills
- MRI-compatible force transducer keyboard (10-channels) to record bimanual finger presses continuously including preparatory and mirror movements
- Transcranial Doppler Sonography lab to allow for measurement of blood flow into each half of the brain.
The School shares University and College-wide licensing for Qualtrics and Pavlovia platforms to facilitate online research.
Several participant panels are available to help researchers in the School of Psychology recruit participants. As a psychology student you’ll be involved in the student panel (SONA) and in total our students participate in about 4000 hours of research overall each year.
We also maintain specialised participant panels which may form part of your third-year project:
- Neurological patient panel, in collaboration with the NHS.
- Learning disorders panel: focused on Dyslexia (in cooperation with our Miles Dyslexia Centre) and including other learning disorders in adult participants
- Community Participant Panel: These are helpful for identifying Bilinguals, People with Dyslexia, and the Elderly, and particularly for recruiting matched controls for patient case studies, and for providing a pool of bilingual Welsh/English participants.
- Infant/ Child Development Database
Psychology researchers studying child development benefit from a close relationship with Bangor’s Tír na nÓg Nursery. The nursery provides a unique resource for researchers in the Clinical, Health, and Behavioural Psychology and Language, Bilingualism, and Cognitive Development Research groups. Tír na nÓg is equipped with special facilities, such as an observation lounge and video cameras. Subject to the consent of the children’s parents or guardians, observations can be made to further understanding of language, learning, and development.
General University Facilities
Library and Archive Services
Our four libraries provide a range of attractive study environments including collaborative work areas, meeting rooms and silent study spaces.
We have an extensive collection of books and journals and many of the journals are available online in full-text format.
We house one of the largest university-based archives not only in Wales, but also the UK. Allied to the Archives is the Special Collections of rare printed books.
There is a range of learning resources available, supported by experienced staff, to help you in your studies.
The University’s IT Services provides computing, media and reprographics facilities and services including:
- Over 1,150 computers for students, with some PC rooms open 24 hours a day
- Blackboard, a commercial Virtual Learning Environment, that makes learning materials available on-line.
General University Costs
Home (UK) students
- The cost of a full-time undergraduate course is £9,000 per year (2021/22 entry and 2022/23 entry).
- The fee for all placement, international, and sandwich years is £1,350 (2021/22 and 2022/23).
- More information on fees and finance for Home (UK) students.
International (including EU) students
There are also some common additional costs that are likely to arise for students on all courses, for example:
- If you choose to study abroad or take the International Experience Year as part of your course.
- If you attend your Graduation Ceremony, there will be a cost for gown hire (£25-£75) and cost for additional guest tickets (c.£12 each).
Course-specific additional costs
Depending on the course you are studying, there may be additional course-specific costs that you will be required to meet. These fall into three categories:
- Mandatory Costs: these are related to a particular core or compulsory module that you’ll be required to complete to achieve your qualification e.g. compulsory field trips, uniforms for students on placement, DBS Check.
- Necessarily Incurred Costs: these may not be experienced by all students, and will vary depending on the course e.g. professional body membership, travel to placements, specialist software, personal safety equipment.
- Optional Costs: these depend on your choice of modules or activity and they are shown to give you an indication of the optional costs that may arise to make sure your choice is as informed as possible. These can include graduation events for your course, optional field trips, Welcome Week trips.
Offers are tariff based, 104 - 144 tariff points from a Level 3 qualification* e.g.:
- A Levels (General Studies and Key Skills not accepted)
- BTEC National Extended Diploma: DMM - DDD
- Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: DMM - DDD
- Sports Leaders UK: Higher Sports Leadership qualifications
- International Baccalaureate Diploma: accepted
- Access: pass required
- Welsh Baccalaureate: We will accept this qualification in conjunction with other level 3 qualifications
- T-Levels: T Levels in a relevant subject considered on a case-by-case basis
- Extended Project Qualification: Points can include a relevant Extended Project (EPQ) but must include a minimum 2 full A-levels, or equivalent.
We are happy to accept combinations of the qualifications listed above, as well as alternative Level 3 qualifications such as City & Guilds, Access and Cambridge Technical Diplomas.
We also welcome applications from mature learners.
International Candidates: International Candidates: school leaving qualifications that are equivalent to A levels/Level 3 and/or college diplomas are accepted from countries worldwide (subject to minimum English Language requirements). More information can be found on our International pages.
*For a full list of accepted Level 3 qualifications, go to www.ucas.com.
General University Requirements
To study for a degree, you’ll be asked for a minimum of UCAS Tariff points. For a fuller explanation of the UCAS Tariff Points, please see www.ucas.com.
We accept students with a wide range of qualifications and backgrounds and consider each application individually.
All students need to have good basic skills and the University also values IT and communication skills.
As part of the University’s policy, we consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same grounds as all other students.
We also consider applications from mature students who can demonstrate the motivation and commitment to study a university programme. Each year we enrol a significant number of mature students. For more information about studying as a mature student, see our Studying at Bangor section of the website.
EU and International Students' Entry Requirements
For detailed guidance on the entry requirements for EU and International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages. International applicants can also visit the International Education Centre section of our website for further details.
Bangor University offers International Incorporated Bachelor Degrees for International students whose High School qualification is not equivalent to the UK school leaving qualification. The first year (or Year 0) is studied at Bangor University International College, an embedded College on our University campus and delivered by Oxford International Education Group.
The BSc Sport and Exercise Psychology degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to provide students with Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the Society, the necessary first step in a career as a psychologist in the UK. It also provides excellent preparation for careers in sport science and the sport, fitness and health industries as well as being suitable for progression into any field of psychology.
Where to from here? Routes to employment
The British Psychological Society (BPS) accredits the course. It provides you with the opportunity to gain graduate basis for chartered membership (or GBC) which is essential for starting any career in psychology. After completing the course you will be eligible to apply to the BPS for GBC. This is the first stage on the road to becoming a chartered psychologist or a Health Care professions Council registered practitioner psychologist Other areas of possible employment based on the skills developed on the course include:
- All avenues of psychology professions
- Sport and exercise Scientist
- Psychology Assistant
- Managerial positions
- Working in Health promotion or health behaviour
Many students also go on to study for a masters degree, for example the MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology programme at Bangor which is BPS accredited for graduates holding GBC from their undergraduate degree.
Opportunities at Bangor
The University’s Careers and Employability Service provides a wide range of resources to help you achieve your graduate ambitions.
The Bangor Employability Award (BEA)
The BEA is a comprehensive online course that you can work through at your own pace, taking you through all the steps you need to take to explore, prepare and apply for your dream career.
Bangor University runs a paid internship scheme within the university’s academic and service departments.
Volunteering widens your experience and improves your employability. Find out more about volunteering on the Students’ Union’s website.
What is a Foundation Year course?
If you don’t have the required qualifications for the degree-level course or are looking to re-enter education after time away from study, then a Foundation Year Programme might be the right choice for you.
The Foundation Year is an excellent introduction to studying this subject at university and will provide you with the knowledge, skills and confidence required to go on to study this course at degree-level.
When you have successfully completed the Foundation Year, you can progress on to the first year of this degree-level course.