Millions of people around the world love watching and playing sports. However, far fewer people are fascinated by how sport works: what makes the human body capable of it, what its effects are on the mind and body, how to best optimize the results. If you are one of these people, a degree in sports science may be for you.
Sports science encompasses several subjects, giving graduates plenty of opportunities for employment in their favorite field (no pun intended). You could end up coaching a team to glory, helping athletes reach their personal peak, or carrying out research that revolutionizes your favorite sport.
Best of all, studying sports science abroad allows you to do all this while immersing yourself in another country’s sports culture. You’ll learn about new teams, customs, and attitudes to sport, but most of all you’ll come to appreciate how sport is a unifying force that crosses borders.
At an undergraduate level, you will learn about the human body and how it reacts to exercise, as well as other related fields like nutrition or psychology. These degrees will mostly consist of theoretical learning in classrooms and lectures, culminating in a research dissertation.
Specializing graduate degrees such as Masters’ degrees and PhDs are also available, but you will usually have to already have an undergraduate degree in a related field in order to apply.
At this higher level, you will be able to choose between degrees involving real-world experience in the form of internships and practicums, and more academic degrees based on developing a thesis.
Sports science is a popular field, which can be studied in most countries in the world. Look for institutions with good sports facilities and a developed science department, or countries with a particular interest in the sports you love.
The UK is famously home to many of the world’s top universities, many of which will offer a sports science degree. However, some universities, such as the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, and the University of Gloucestershire, have entire departments dedicated to sports and sports science.
Noway is home to one of the world’s leading institutions in this field, the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences. Located in the vibrant capital city of Oslo, this school offers courses in English at both bachelor and master levels.
Norway is known as an expensive country, but this is balanced out by an extraordinary quality of life and a population that speaks fluent English.
From rugby to surf to Australian football, Australia takes its sport very seriously, and this is reflected in the country’s universities. A few of the best schools for exercise and nutrition sciences include Deakin University in Victoria, The University of Queensland in Brisbane, and the University of Western Australia in Perth.
Brazil is known for a handful of things: carnival, samba, coffee...and soccer. While the “beautiful game” is indeed a national obsession, Brazilians do find time to enjoy other sports like volleyball, Formula 1, and Mixed Martial Arts.
This makes it an excellent country to study sports and the ways they affect the human body, with courses on offer at top-notch universities such as the University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Planning Your Trip
Sports science covers a broad range of fields, from anatomy to psychology, physiotherapy, nutrition, and management. This means you have a whole lot of options when it comes to choosing and planning your study abroad experience.
How to Choose a Sports Science Study Abroad Program
You could start by choosing a country that you particularly want to study abroad in, and then finding the top universities in the country offering sports science courses. If you know what area of sport you would like to eventually work in, it helps to choose a country where that sport has a strong following.
If being able to play sports is important to you, it’s worth also looking out for which universities have the best sports facilities. Incidentally, you will usually find that state-of-the-art facilities go hand-in-hand with state-of-the-arts sports research departments.
Alternatively, you could lead your search with the specific type of course you want to do. Want to focus on nutrition? Anatomy? The psychology of sports? Look for degrees that focus on these areas, or find out which universities have published major papers in the topics you are interested in.
Health & Safety
If you’re studying sports science, chances are that sports are an important part of your life. The great thing about studying sports science is that you will soon become very knowledgeable about how to keep yourself safe and healthy when exercising.
However, you still need to make sure that you have appropriate health insurance for your stay. This should cover any specific sports you are planning to do, including outdoor and adventure sports.
Other Need to Know
Sports science is a separate field of study to sports management, but the two do occasionally overlap. Most sports management and coaching courses will have a sports science component -- after all, you’ll need to know how to keep your team healthy.
Conversely, many sports science courses are geared towards future managers and coaches. If your long-term goal is to work on the management side of things, you’ll want to look for one of these.