Sport science student


School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Ready for a career in sport and exercise sciences?

Do you have an interest in sport, exercise and physical activity?

Or perhaps you’re curious how science can enhance human performance or impact positively on behaviour and personal lifestyle? Then why not consider sport and exercise sciences as a career? A degree in sport and exercise sciences, applied sport psychology or science and football can offer a routeway into many career destinations spanning high performance sport, exercise, health and clinical settings including:

  • Athlete development co-ordinator
  • Performance analyst
  • Health advisor
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Sport psychologist
  • Performance and lifestyle advisor
  • Teacher and lecturer
  • Physiologist
  • Cardiac rehabilitation specialist
  • Sports nutrionist

Sport scientists typically work as part of a supportive entourage alongside, and in synergy with, athletes, sport teams, coaches and governing bodies to enhance elite performance. The sport scientist can be critical in seeking out the marginal performance gains that are required at an elite level. The pursuit of such ‘fine’ or ‘small’ performance enhancing margins can ultimately be the difference between winning and losing or achieving gold or silver medals. Alternatively, the skill set of a sport and exercise scientist enables you to work with organisations that are aligned and committed to positive behaviour change, promoting active and healthy lifestyles or a more clinical understanding of human form and function from a cellular and molecular perspective. Either way you will be encouraged to translate your theoretical understanding of science to make a positive impact in the sport, exercise, health and/or clinical communities.

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Deciding to study Sports Science at LJMU was definitely the best decision I have made in my career. The staff offer world renowned academic excellence as well as exceptional applied experience and expertise. I have no doubt that I would not be in the position that I am in now if I hadn't chosen to study at LJMU. 

Naomi Datson -
Sport and Exercise science graduate, now Head of Exercise Science (Women's) at The Football Association

Career prospects by subject

Take a look at the specific subject areas that interest you below to find out about possible career paths.

Sport and exercise science

  • Various roles within professional sports clubs such as football, rugby or athletics, or sports governing bodies and national sporting associations such as the FA, Sport England or English Institute of Sport
  • Postgraduate study and academic positions
  • Sports development officer within universities/colleges, councils or charities
  • Working within community sports
  • Roles promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Working in allied health professions: sport science graduates can continue to train in areas such as physiotherapy and dietetics or pursue other roles within the NHS such as cardiac rehabilitation, exercise physiology and health promotion
  • Working as a sports scientist such as a biomechanist, performance analyst, strength and conditioning coach

Science and football

A number of our former graduates are now employed in the football industry in the UK, Europe and further afield in sports science support, player development and community programmes.

Typical roles include:

  • Performance analysis
  • Sports psychology
  • Fitness and conditioning
  • Education and welfare
  • Nutritional advice

Sports nutrition

Graduates can pursue accreditation with the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) and seek work in the field of sport nutrition. Roles are typically with national governing bodies.

You could also choose to pursue further academic studies and move to a PhD in nutrition or exercise biochemistry.

Sports psychology

If you wish to become a sport and exercise psychologist after your British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited first degree, further training involves doing a postgraduate qualification and a period of supervised practice. This involves completing a BPS-accredited Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology, a programme that can be undertaken at LJMU, followed by either the Stage 2 Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology with the BPS, or a Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology. LJMU is the first (and currently the only) institution in the UK to offer this qualification.

Typical roles include:

  • Working with sports teams and athletes (either as an independent consultant or employed by professional teams or sporting bodies)
  • Exercise psychologist: you could work in GP referral, public health or private companies including workplace health and exercise providers
  • Sport and exercise psychologist: you could pursue consultancy work and/or university/college lecturing

Upon obtaining BPS accreditation you could consider training in other fields of psychology such as clinical, counselling, educational, forensic, health and occupational.

The knowledge that LJMU provides you with in terms of physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and psychology gives you tools that not many other courses can boast to offer. Therefore, you feel confident that you know your stuff to carry out an effective job and that gives you confidence to try for any job regardless of the difficulty.

Scott McGuire -
BSc Sport and Exercise Science/MSc Sport Nutrition graduate now works as a Nutritionist at Manchester United

How we'll help you achieve your dream career

Here are just a few ways we can help you reach your goals:

We will ensure our courses are professionally relevant

The School’s internationally recognised research activity, commitment to high quality teaching and active role in public engagement with external partners makes us the perfect choice for anyone looking to forge a career in sport and exercise sciences.

Our programmes are delivered by world-leading experts and are informed by extensive links with key industry partners such as the Football Association, Premier League football clubs, Rugby Football League, Team Sky Cycling, Olympic sports, UK institutes of sport, and many more governing bodies of sport, sports professionals and teams as well as local councils, hospitals, charities and clinics.

We ensure our programmes are current and relevant by working closely with these partners and engaging in extensive research to identify the skills and knowledge that organisations look for in graduates.

Our reputation as a world-leading research institute ensures we attract high-level professionals to give talks to our students about the reality of working in the industry.

We will help you find career-enhancing placements

Staff within the School have extensive networks with numerous elite and professional sporting and exercise organisations providing you with exciting research and placement opportunities. In all of our undergraduate programmes there is an opportunity to take part in a work placement so you can apply your knowledge and skills to the real-world, giving you a head start when you enter the graduate job market. In fact, many students have been offered permanent positions resulting from successful placement experiences having impressed employers with their knowledge, skills and passion.

Examples of placements include:

  • As a student on BSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Science, BSc (Hons) Sport Psychology, or BSc (Hons) Science and Football you'll be given the opportunity to take part in internships at Everton Football Club. As an intern you'll work in the professional football environment for a full season with the Youth Academy teams on training days, home matches and travelling to away games. You'll design and implement fitness sessions, testing and match day warm-ups.

  • If you choose to study the Applied Sport Psychology programme you could take part in placements at professional organisations, such as Wirral Metro Swimming, City of Liverpool Swimming, Widnes Viking Rugby League, Autism Together, Tranmere Rovers Football Club and Liverpool Football Club

  • As a student of the Sports and Exercise programme you'll have the opportunity to undertake an applied placement in areas such as: performance analysis, nutrition, strength and conditioning, biomechanics, physiology, psychology and physical activity, exercise and health

  • As a student of the Sport Nutrition MSc you could gain essential experience with professional sports organisations including Blackburn Rovers Football Club, Sale Sharks Rugby, Huddersfield Giants RFC, English Institute of Sport, Crewe Alexandre and Tranmere Rovers FC

  • If you decide to study the Clinical Exercise Physiology MSc you'll gain essential experience through a 140 hour clinical placement based in a hospital clinical exercise physiology department or related department in the NHS or private healthcare sector. This provides a unique opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain during the course in a real-world setting and will make you highly employable.

“The students gain a variety of skills from applying their degree knowledge to a practical setting and this instils the confidence for them to progress into different careers from performance analysis to sport psychology.”

Dr Martin Littlewood, Principal Lecturer in Sport Science and Head of the Football Exchange at LJMU talks about placement opportunities at Everton Football Club

Practical learning is a key part of your course

The School places a strong emphasis on active learning and practical training in its programmes. Not only will you have the opportunity to take part in work experience to further your professional development and prepare you for the workplace, but you will have extensive hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment in our modern laboratories and facilities. Plus you’ll learn from and work alongside world-leading experts in your chosen field.

We will maintain our accreditation by professional bodies

  • LJMU is one of a limited number of UK universities to provide a complete training route to become a BPS (British Psychological Society) Chartered Psychologist and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Sport Psychologist via our sports psychology programmes
  • The Sport Nutrition MSc course is aligned to the competencies set out by the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr). To boost your employability after completing the course, you will be able to secure professional accreditation with ISAK providing you meet the required entrance qualifications.
  • Learning outcomes of the Sport and Clinical Biomechanics course are designed to align with the Department of Health Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)

You will have access to careers support

Our careers service offers a wide range of resources to help you plan your next step, both while you are at university and after you graduate.

We offer in-depth careers advice and guidance, a My Jobs & Placements website for placements and graduate jobs, opportunities to meet and engage with employers and an extensive programme of careers and employability workshops, all designed to help you get the job you want.

Find out more about how our careers service can help you.

We can help you start your own business

The Centre for Entrepreneurship has been helping students and alumni get their business ideas off the ground since 2003. The Centre can help you with funding, networking, as well as business, legal and financial advice. Find out more about the type of support on offer at the Centre for Entrepreneurship.

My work experience at Blackburn Rovers gave me a greater knowledge of how a professional football club operates.

Christopher Mullen -
BSc Science and Football graduate now is the Sports Development Officer at Accrington Stanley Community Trust