Department of Sport and Nutrition

School of Health, Sport and Food

Welcome to our Department of Sport and Nutrition

Thank you for taking the time to come and check out what we offer at University College Birmingham, the highest ranking university in the region as voted by students at the 2023 Whatuni Student Choice Awards. Our student support is award-winning too, as is our provision for international students.

If you are looking at joining us to carve out a career in sport and nutrition, from working in strength and conditioning to sustainable food production, here is a glimpse into our student and staff community - and the enrichment we offer - to see if we are the right choice for you. 

Find out about our Whatuni awards

Laura Hodgkiss
Head of Department of Sport and Nutrition

Welcome from Laura Hodgkiss

As head of department, I am extremely proud of what we offer to ensure you excel in these fields. There’s so much to look forward to on our courses, which are informed by industry needs, are challenging and will best prepare you for the workplace.

We have seen our sports and nutrition facilities go through an enormous transformation and we have some really great partners, including Bournville Rugby Club, as well as fantastic placements and trips.

Our graduates range from a Coventry United Ladies FC sports therapist who supported at the Rugby World Cup and a marketing strategist for a Canadian Major League Soccer team to new product developers creating on-trend and sustainable products. A diverse mix! We look forward to helping you meet your aspirations.

*Laura was a semi-professional footballer who played nationally and internationally before moving into education

Find out more about Laura

“This is a university with incredible facilities and student-centred staff. And that includes myself – you are always welcome at my informal ‘Talk with the Dean’ sessions, your chance to say what’s going well and what we can improve on.”

Dr Anne Coufopoulos Executive Dean, School of Health, Sport and Food

Stephen Garvey
Deputy Dean (Teaching, Learning and Digital)
School of Health, Sport and Food

Meet Stephen Garvey  

My role is to ensure we stay at very forefront of progress across the education sector and across industry, building innovative technology and skills such as immersive virtual reality into your educational experience.

We are committed to providing face-to-face teaching as we know students value this quality time with their lecturers and fellow students. But to support your academic studies, we also have a sophisticated lecture capture system that provides accessible recorded lectures, where possible.

We are very proud of the exceptional and sustained record of teaching excellence we have in the provision of our vocational educational experiences, and the future-focused curriculum we have to offer you.

*Stephen is a registered dietitian with a background in research

Read more about Stephen

Our teaching and learning

Whatever sport or nutrition-based degree you are studying, our aim is simple - to turn you into a stand-out professional. Since we launched our degrees in these fields, we have earned a reputation for the highest quality courses and a learning experience that sets us apart from bigger universities.

Our degrees are designed to develop you personally and professionally, with graduate advantage, employability and enrichment sessions threaded throughout the curriculum, sitting alongside really interesting theory modules. Our partnership with the University of Warwick, a top-ranking Russell Group university, also brings extra opportunities including access to guest speakers and additional resources.


Our courses are developed and taught by experienced lecturing staff, many of whom still work in industry. This means they can draw on years of experience to make scenario-based discussions, debates and concepts come to life, supporting the linking of theory to practice.

You will learn so much from our lecturing teams, who are passionate about their profession and eager to inspire and nurture the next generation of professionals.

We also have many invited guest lecturers participate in our courses, sharing their knowledge and experiences to enhance your learning.

Students also have a lot to bring and as a team, we will also learn a lot from you! We encourage you to share your perspectives and viewpoints, especially when reflecting on your own life and placement experiences.


Placements are key to success as employers want you to have real experience. We have excellent links with employers and organisations across the region, all bolstered by our designated employer boards.

As well as excellent training facilities, we have a unique partnership with Bournville Rugby Club and have access to their pitches for practical sessions. Sport, Coaching and Fitness, Sports Therapy and Strength, Conditioning and Sports Nutrition all use the space for a range of modules. Students have collected GPS data during football sessions, developed their coaching skills and ran pitch-based conditioning sessions. 

Our Food Science and Innovation Suite provides an excellent training environment to put theory into practice, with educational trips helping students to gain wider understanding of key issues.


Our support is exceptional, so much so, our students voted to make us the winner of the Student Support award at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022.

Throughout your studies, you will not only have a personal tutor, but a link tutor during placements and module leaders to support you through academic modules. And we have a whole range of additional support services available, providing you with as much or as little support as you need to succeed in your degree. Our smaller teaching groups enable all students to grow and flourish, with strong peer support and friendship.  

Our Learning and Teaching Strategy 2021-24 is key to how we approach the educational journey, focusing on three main pillars that set out our commitment to your learning and teaching experience while you are studying with us.

  • Pillar 1 – Provide accessible and inclusive teaching and learning across a wide range of vocationally-led courses
  • Pillar 2 – Develop next generation opportunities and skills through innovative, future-focused curriculum and pedagogy
  • Pillar 3 – Shape local and global sectors, promoting sustainable futures and global citizenship

Read our Learning and Teaching Strategy

Sport and nutrition facilities

Our university facilities were shortlisted in the 2022 Whatuni Student Choice Awards and include excellent sport and food and nutrition facilities, helping you gain industry experience to prepare you for work or further study.

Our Human Performance Centre includes a 35-metre sprint track, six Olympic lifting platforms, integrated force plates and a range of conditioning equipment. We have an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, used to help rehabilitate injured athletes as we support them on their return to play journey. 

Our Food Science and Innovation Suite features the industry-standard scientific analysis equipment, which you get to use across all levels of the Food and Nutrition degree course. 

We look forward to seeing you on campus

As you prepare to join us, here's a refresher on some of the essentials:

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