HNC/D in Sport and Exercise Science (Coaching Science)

We are the lead site for the Higher National Certificate and Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science which is led in partnership with Virtual Learning UK at various sites around the country. Our teaching team at UCC brings a variety of experience and subject specialisms within the sporting sector; this ensures we are able to facilitate each student’s individual learning journey both academically and vocationally. We look forward to meeting prospective students so please do get in touch if you have any questions or if you would like to visit us here at UCC.

The HNC/HND in Sport and Exercise Science (Coaching Science) programme allows you to work towards a Higher Education qualification at HNC Level 4 in your first year and HND Level 5 in your second year of study. It makes it ideal for those learners taking their first steps in Higher Education or returning to study after a break.

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsAdditional

Your profile

You are enthusiastic, patient and a great communicator. Your passion and commitment to sport knows no bounds. You have the ability to inspire confidence, motivate performance and mould the sportsmen and women of the future. If you have already completed the relevant HNC and HND qualifications, the BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching top-up degree could be the next step in your career development.

Your subject

The global sports coaching industry is worth billions, and with a growing awareness of the health benefits of keeping fit, trained coaches are in demand. Sports coaches, managers, assistants, coordinators and instructors all help individuals reach their sporting potential. As a qualified coach, you could work across all sporting areas, with amateur athletes or sporting professionals. You will create and manage practice sessions, evaluate performance and improve people’s skills, techniques, form and stamina.

Your course

The Sports Coaching programmes will provide you with the knowledge and experience needed for a professional career in sports and fitness coaching. As a student, you will have the opportunity to tailor your qualification to specialise in a sport of your choice. You will develop an awareness of sports science, nutrition, safeguarding and first aid, and explore motivational techniques, styles of communication, performance evaluation and plans for athletic progression. You will learn in a range of sports settings and benefit from a placement, which will ensure you can apply the theory you have learnt in seminars and lectures to real-life sporting environments. You will be taught by academics and vocational experts who will stretch and challenge you at each stage of your journey, and make use of modern facilities, including the institution’s own gym, which is furnished with the latest TechnoGym equipment.

Your future

As a newly-qualified professional in the area of sport and fitness coaching, you could progress into a diverse selection of roles, including government agencies, private coaching, sporting agencies or team management. Your career will leave a lasting impression on individuals of all abilities, and you could shape the future of sport in the UK.

Undergraduate courses operate on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30/40 or 15/20 academic credits (depending on the programme), with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Course Overview Course Modules

Entry Requirements: Applicants will normally need to have gained 96 UCAS tariff points from; a BTEC Level 3 qualification or a GCE ‘A’ level profile which demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or an adequate performance in more than one subject. In addition, 4 or 5 GCSE grades at A* to C or equivalent, including English and Maths. Other related level 3 qualifications, or an Access to Higher Education Diploma awarded by an approved further education institution or related work experience would also be considered. In addition, there will be an interview on a one to one basis.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practicals. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures.

When not attending lectures, seminars and practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

HNC in Sport and Exercise Science (Coaching Science)
LevelLevel 4
Duration1 Year
UCAS CodeC611
Academic Year2022-2023
Study ModeFull-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2022
Fee(s)2021-22: £6,500
Awarding/Validation BodyPearson
HND in Sport and Exercise Science (Coaching Science)
LevelLevel 5
Duration2 Years
UCAS CodeC612
Academic Year2022-2023
Study ModeFull-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2022
Fee(s)2021-22: £6,500
Awarding/Validation BodyPearson
Course Overview

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Sport and Exercise Science at UCC follows the Coaching Science pathway and provides a solid grounding which students can build on as they continue their studies beyond the Level 4 Certificate stage. The Level 5 Higher National Diploma allows students to specialise in more specific career paths associated with Sports Coaching and Sport and Exercise Science and progression routes to degree-level study. The purpose of our Higher National’s in Sport and Exercise Science (Coaching Science) is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals who are able to meet the demands of employment in the Sport and Exercise Science sector.

Who is this course for?

This course is for students looking to develop a career in sport. It will be focused on skills knowledge and experience needed to make a successful career in the sports industry. Students will be expected to gain practical coaching experience during the course.

Course Description

The HNC Course is a BTEC modular course with the HNC running for one year looking at core units of Nutrition, Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Anatomy and PhysiologyCoaching Practice and Skill Development and Training, Fitness, Testing as well as topics such as Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Health.

The HND course builds on the knowledge gained on the HNC. The HND is a level 4 course in the first year before introducing higher level studies at Level 5 in the second year. Level 5 is the equivalent of a typical second year undergraduate programme. Core modules include Advanced Coaching, Performance Analysis, Research Project and Talent Identification and Development

In addition, both courses will improve general study and literacy skills up to the level of the qualification.

Course Modules

BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma in Sport

The Edexcel BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma in Sport is a qualification with a minimum of 120 credits (It can stand alone or act as the first year for the two year HND Course)

BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Sport

The BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Sport is a qualification with a minimum of 240 credits.

Coaching Science units to be taken are:

Module Code and Title:

Y/616/0950 – Unit 1: Nutrition (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
The aim of this unit is to equip you with the knowledge, skills and competencies to understand the nutritional composition of food and the effects of nutritional choices on the health of a person. You will gain knowledge of the importance of eating a balanced diet and the dangers associated with the consumption of a poor diet.

What do I learn?
You will be able to identify the main components of nutrition for optimal health and sports performance, explain the components of the digestive system and factors that affect optimal function, investigate the connection between food consumption and disease and explore a range of specific diets.

What’s the assignment?
There are three assignments; these include an individual presentation on the components of nutrition and two written reports on the digestive system and the connection between food and disease exploring a range of specific diets.

K/616/1682 – Unit 2: Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Psychology (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This unit will illustrate how psychological concepts underpin involvement in sport and exercise and to determine their impact on human behaviour. Evaluating how psychological theories and principles can influence participation in sport and exercise is a key responsibility of sport science practitioners.

What do I learn?
You will explore the innate characteristics which are seen as the basis for sport exercise behaviour and how the social environment influences the outcome of their participation. Topics included are: motivation, self-confidence and self-efficacy, group processes and cohesion, leadership, models of exercise behaviour, exercise dependence and development of positive psychological wellbeing. 

What’s the assignment?
There will be three assignments; the first assignment is a report demonstrating understanding of theories and principles relevant to motivation and the effects of self-efficacy on sport and exercise participation. The second assignment will involve an individual presentation on group processes, cohesion and leadership. The third assignment will involve designing an information booklet on the impact of sport and exercise participation on psychological wellbeing.

D/616/0951 – Unit 3: Anatomy and Physiology (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This unit involves the study of the human body. Anatomy studies the structure of the human body while physiology is concerned with understanding its function. This unit will focus on the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems. If you are interested in careers such as personal training, performance analysis, coaching and physical education teaching this is a key unit in informing practice.

What do I learn?
You will gain knowledge on the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system and understand how movement is produced, exploring the structure and function of the skeleton, bone growth, joints, types and structure of muscles.  You will also explore the structure and function of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and their role in exercise.

What’s the assignment?
There will be two assessments to complete. The first will be a written information guide on the structure and function of the skeletal and muscular systems. The second assignment will include an individual poster presentation on the structure and function of the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

M/616/1683 – Unit 4: Professional Skills (Pearson-set) (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
The aim of this unit is to support students in using and applying the knowledge and skills they have developed through other areas of their studies to complete and present an individual project. Developing appropriate professional skills is fundamental to becoming a sport scientist and will open up an array of career opportunities within sport science.

What do I learn?
You will be able to identify, define, plan, develop and execute a successful project by working through a clear process. This module will develop knowledge and understanding of the skills and techniques necessary to carry out a Sport and Exercise Science-related research.

What’s the assignment?
The assignment for this module is set by Pearson but marked internally. Students will negotiate a project based around a theme identified by Pearson. The submission will involve the completion of a project file, a presentation and performance review.

T/616/1684 – Unit 5: Coaching Practice and Skill Development (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This unit will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of coaching practice and the skill development associated with athletic performance. You will gain practical and technical knowledge to review the positives and negatives of coaching practices, various environments, utilising resources, developing skills and planning effective sessions.

What do I learn?
You will be able to explain the key principles of coaching practice and compare these in order to enhance athletic performance for a range of participants. You will investigate the coaching, teaching and learning styles used to develop a range of participants and reflect on delivered coaching sessions.

What’s the assignment?
There will be two assessments to complete. The first assignment will involve producing a written report on the key principles of coaching practice, the environmental factors impacting skill development and comparing coaching practice requirements for enhance performance for a range of participants. The second assignment will involve producing a portfolio which investigates the coaching, teaching and learning styles used to develop a range of participants.

A/616/1685 – Unit 6: Training, Fitness, Testing (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
Training, fitness and testing can be applied within all areas of sport and exercise science because it examines the different fitness requirements of different sports, the different training methods that can develop these areas and the adaptations that occur within a team or individual as a result of these adopted methods. Understanding the principles of training is particularly important for many practitioners including sports therapists, sport and exercise scientists, coaches and personal trainers.

What do I learn?
You will be able to explain the principles of training and assess the fitness levels of different sport and exercise participants. You will learn how to plan safe and effective fitness training programmes and carry out these training programmes with sport and exercise participants.

What’s the assignment?
There will be two assignments. The first will involve producing a booklet which explains and applies the principles of training. The second assignment will require developing a portfolio of evidence which covers assessing fitness levels, along with planning and carrying out safe and effective fitness training programmes for sport and exercise participants.

Additional Modules

  • Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Health
  • Injury Prevention
  • Performance Analysis
  • Talent Identification and Development
  • Advanced Coaching

Katherine Ewing is Course leader and internal verification lead for HNC/D in Sport. Katherine has taught at Hertford Regional College and Redbridge College before joining Colchester Institute.

Katherine’s most recent research is an investigation into the effect of a nutrition education intervention on nutritional knowledge of university performance basketball athletes, carried out as the research aspect of an MSc course in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at the University of Ulster.

She has been a lecturer at University Centre Colchester since 2013. She also works at the University of Essex, providing lifestyle and nutritional advice to the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) athletes.

Katie Ewing


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The course information describes programmes offered by University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.