In the West Midlands, sport participation levels are significantly lower than the national average (Sport England, 2015). BA (Hons) Sports Studies and Development explores the social function of sport and in particular how sport can be used to promote social change. During the course, you will evaluate the power of sport and physical activity to bring communities together, and learn about barriers for particular groups and how to overcome these issues by creating opportunities for participation. The course will help you develop skills required for working with different client groups, for instance older adults, youth, people with a disability, obese clients, women and girls, and people from BME groups – these groups are considered ‘priority’ within the local area and so the specialist knowledge you’ll gain from the course is particularly valued.
In your second year you will undertake a placement with a relevant sports organisation and have the opportunity to plan, deliver and evaluate a sport event alongside one of our industry partners. In third year, you will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of a real life sports initiative. Monitoring and evaluation was identified in the new Sport England strategy as essential for the future of sport development projects. You will also complete a project on a subject of your choice, allowing you to develop particular areas of interest.
Throughout the course, you will engage with relevant and contemporary issues in the rapidly changing industry. You will consider the changing culture of sport and examine a range of issues that are relevant to the world of professional sport including the media representation of professional female athletes, doping in sport, the growth and impact of social media on the professional sporting landscape, and the commercialisation and branding of leagues, teams and individual athletes.
The course contains three key strands, allowing you to examine sport from a broad perspective.
- Sport Development
- Social Issues and Sport
- Media and Sport
We take pride in opportunities that we are able to provide to students, and are currently working in partnership with a number of local and national sports organisations. These include The Black Country Consortium, Sporting Equals, Street Games, Youth Zone, Football Futures, Walsall Football in the Community and Walsall Council. The opportunity to do a placement module allows you to further develop the industry skills acquired on the course and build relationships with potential future employers. A number of students who have completed a successful placement or voluntary work are now working in paid positions.
Modules and Assessment
Assessment is strongly linked to the industry skills you will gain. This allows you to sell yourself to employers better as you will have hands-on experience of the type they’re looking for. For example assessments may be putting together a sports initiative, bidding for a pot of money to run a sports initiative, conducting market research – as opposed to being purely assessment/exam based.
Introduction to Youth Sport
Focusing on the delivery of sport and physical activity to young people in a community based setting, this module is centred on the way in which sport can be used as a tool to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, improve health and increase academic achievement. Relevant research and policy is used to highlight the issues faced by this population and their motives for engaging in sport.
You will draw upon theoretical models of positive youth development to plan, organise and deliver a range of practical sessions that are used to create a resource pack that can be used by sports leaders. You will develop valuable leadership and delivery skills that are valued by employers in the sport sector. A number of guest sessions are led by external organisations to provide real-world examples of youth sport in action. Guest speakers have included Youth Zone, Street Games and Football Futures. You will also be given the opportunity to deliver practical sessions developed in the module during outreach events throughout the year, gaining valuable hands-on experience.
Socio-historical Issues in Sport
Explore a range of issues including gender, race disability, social class and deviance in sport. An understanding of these issues is vital if you wish to work within the sport industry, particularly in careers such as sport development, sport organisation or teaching.
Introduction to the Sport Industry
Studying this module will provide you with an understanding of the sports industry in the UK, covering provision within the public, private and voluntary sectors of sport. Current research and policy is drawn upon to identify priority issues and groups that organisations may wish to target through sports initiatives.
Working with Diverse Populations
Gain specialist skills for working with clients from specialist populations including older adults, disabled people and obese individuals. You will learn about the barriers to participation for these groups and prepare sessions that break down these barriers to allow access to sport and physical activity.
You will be given the opportunity to work through a range of scenarios that are linked to real-world delivery of sport and physical activity, working in groups to research, deliver and reflect on session planning and delivery. Through practical delivery of sport and exercise based sessions, you will learn how to adapt your delivery to ensure that it is appropriate for the intended client group.
The specialist knowledge and experience of planning and delivering practical sessions to different groups is valued by employers. You will be encouraged to gain additional leadership and coaching qualifications that link to the module to further enhance this aspect of your knowledge and experience.
Sport in a Digital Age
The financial and commercial interests of sport and the media are increasingly intertwined. The English Premier League domestic broadcasting rights, for instance, are currently worth £5.1 billion showing clearly how much money comes into sport from the media and the growing power of the media in shaping sports programming. This module explores the consequences of sports relationship with various forms media and how developments have impacted on the way we engage with sport.
Youth Sport Subcultures
This module focuses on a wide range of activities often referred to as subcultural or alternative sports including parkour, ultimate Frisbee, skate boarding and snowboarding. Through a combination of theory and practical based sessions you will learn how these sports differ from more mainstream activities. With the latest Youth Sport Insight document suggesting that sports providers need to tap into a broader range of activities to engage young people’s participation, the module encourages you to think outside the box when considering sport provision.
The Study of Professional Sport
This exciting module explores a range of issues relevant to professional sport including the ethics of playing with injuries, the lack of British Asians in elite sport, media coverage of elite female sport, the power of the Nike brand within commercial sport, eating disorders and the coach-athlete relationship.
Sport and Globalisation
This module examines the extent to which sport might be considered global. Using a number of examples such as the NFL franchise in the UK, the NBA and English Premier League’s prominence in South East Asia, students are encouraged to examine the implication of sports’ spread across the globe.
Critical Issues in Community Sport
On this module you will examine the importance of sport within the local area. Guest speakers including representatives from the Black Country Consortium, Walsall Football in the Community, Walsall Council and the University Sport England project have contributed to module delivery of the module. You will complete a real-world assessment, drawing on the knowledge you have gained from the module to make recommendations for policy, planning and delivery.
Sport Event Management You will plan, deliver, manage and evaluate a sport event of your choice, challenged to pitch your ideas in a ‘dragon’s den’ style to staff and external representatives. Our current students have worked with Sportivate funding to develop an event to engage previously inactive people. This module is an exercise in seeing a project through from start to finish, providing you with a wealth of experience relevant for gaining employment after graduation.
Sport Industry Experience
This placement module gives you the opportunity to gain relevant industry experience in a sporting career of your choice. You will be provided with career guidance and support from staff in planning for the placement. The practical experience gained through the placement will provide you with valuable experience and employability skills.
Writing a Research Proposal
This research based module provides the underpinning knowledge for the completion of the professional project at level 6. You will learn about a wide range of research techniques in sport and make decisions about which methods you will use to collect data in your final year.
Sport and Film
Explore the ideologies contained within sport film and develop a critical appreciation of sports media. You will examine the relationship between media producers and consumers particularly in terms of power.
As part of the sport development strand you will have an opportunity within the module to monitor and evaluate sport related projects. The evaluation of sport is a key employability skill required for working in the sport development sector.
Global Mega Events
Explore the economic, social and political implications of hosting mega-events such as the football World Cup and Olympic Games.
Contemporary Issues in Sport
Develop a critical understanding of a number of contemporary issues in sport. Choosing an issue that is of particular interest to you, you will complete a critical review of the academic work in the subject area. In the past, students have considered topic areas such as hazing, new media and sexuality and sport.
The professional project allows you to collect data and research a topic area of your choice, working independently guided by a project tutor.