Department of Sport

School of Psychology, Sport and Education

Welcome to our Department of Sport

Thank you for taking the time to check out what we offer at University College Birmingham, the highest-ranking university in the region as voted by students at the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards. Our student support is the best in the region too, according to students, as is our provision for international students and postgraduates.

If you are looking at joining us to carve out a career in sport, from working in fitness coaching or strength and conditioning to sports management, 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

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 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 to a marketing strategist for a Canadian Major League Soccer team. 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

Professor Gill Brown
Executive Dean, School of Psychology, Sport and Education

Welcome from Professor Gill Brown

When I was growing up, I was hugely interested in why people behaved the way they did and had a particular interest in offending. I was glued to the latest crime-related film or documentary, trying to make sense of the factors at play in an individual’s behaviour, so studying psychology was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Psychology, sport and education all go hand-in-hand with lots of crossover, so you know whatever subject area you pick, you will have plenty of broad opportunities, opening up even more career paths and giving you more ways to become a stand-out professional.

As a team, we are passionate about helping you put theory into practice in the real world through work-based learning and hands-on experience and look forward to guiding you through your journey and challenging you as you progress, igniting your passion for learning as you go.

Find out more about Gill

Stephen Garvey
Deputy Dean (Teaching, Learning and Digital)
School of Psychology, Sport and Education

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

Whichever sports 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, we won best student support in the region at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2024.

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

Sports facilities

Our university facilities are award-winning and include excellent sports facilities, helping you gain industry experience to prepare you for work or further study.

Our Human Performance Laboratory 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. 

We look forward to seeing you on campus

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

Back to top