Top Universities for Sports Science in 2022-2023

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Best global Colleges and Universities to study Sports Science

About Sports Science 

Sport science is a branch of health science that analyses the functions of the human body and how they perform during various sports activities. It deals with the scientific theories and principles involved in sporting activities. There are four key areas in sports science:

  1. Psychology-  It is concerned with the psychological aspects of sports performance, such as the role of thoughts, behavior, and feelings, and how they influence athletic performance.
  2. Physiology- It involves the study of how the human body performs through exercise and physical training. 
  3. Biomechanics- It is the study of biological data in response to exercise and movement, such as hormone levels, glucose levels, and so on.
  4. Motor control/learning- It addresses the motor skills required to conduct physical activities in order to improve performance and endurance in preparation for events and competitions while reducing injury risk.

A degree in sports science is perfect for students who are passionate about sports, exercise, and fitness. This article walks you through the process of earning a sports science degree and provides information on top universities that offer a variety of sports science degree options.

Duties of a Sports Scientist 

Sports science is utilized to evaluate strengths and limitations so that a training program can be adapted to each individual. Following are some of the duties of a sports scientist:

  • Work with athletes, researchers, and health care providers to enhance health via exercise and fitness
  • Conduct research on exercise and health 
  • Assist athletes with scientific advice in preparation for competition
  • Create plans and approaches that help athletes perform better
  • Adapt programs and training to target certain muscles in the body in order to cope with a variety of environmental situations
  • Provide knowledge, technical, and practical advice on training, injury prevention, technique analysis, nutrition, and performance optimization, as well as psychological support

Skills required for Sports Science 

A degree in sports science teaches how to assist individuals, notably athletes and sports staff, in training for various sports as mentors, trainers, coaches, dieticians/nutritionists, therapists, and so on. The following are the essential skills necessary for it:

  • Research and data collection
  • Leadership and problem-solving abilities 
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Time management and organization skills
  • Inter-personal skills
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Basic IT and technical skills

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Sports Science

Sports science is progressively coming into prominence in countries around the world, and as a result, several colleges are now offering degrees in the field. The following is a list of popular degrees offered by top universities for sports science around the world.

Bachelor’s programs

An individual can opt for either a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree as their undergraduate degree in sports science. Some popular bachelor’s degrees offered by top universities for sports science are:

  • Sports Science and Nutrition
  • Sports Management
  • Physical Education
  • Applied Sports Science
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiotherapy

Master’s programs

Because sports science is an interdisciplinary profession, a master’s degree can be completed in a variety of specialties. A master’s degree offers more employment opportunities and teaches important skills required in the field of sports science. The following are some of the most popular specializations:

  • M.Sc. in Sports Science
  • M.S. in Sports Science, Exercise, and Rehabilitation 
  • M.S. in Exercise and Nutrition
  • M.Sc. in Exercise and Sports Science
  • M.Sc. in Kinesiology
  • M.Sc. in Human Kinetics
  • M.S. in Kinesiology and Sports Management
  • M.Sc. in Humanities and Social Sports Sciences
  • M.S. in Physiology and Sports Science

Doctoral programs

The terminal degrees are often preferred by students who wish to enter research or academics. A dissertation is required to get a Ph.D. in sports science. Some doctoral degrees in sports science are: 

  • P.hD. in Kinesiology
  • P.hD. in Exercise and Sports Science
  • P.hD. in Sport, Physical Education, and Health Sciences
  • P.hD. in Sports Therapy
  • P.hD. in Exercise, Nutrition and Health

Specializations in Sports Science

A sports science specialty will give prospects a greater grasp of how science may be applied to sport and physical activity, which will help to improve coaching and/or teaching skills. They can specialize in one or more of the following areas in sports science:

  • Sports physiology
  • Sports management
  • Sports psychology
  • Sports biomechanics
  • Sports physiotherapy
  • Physical and sports education
  • Sports nutrition
  • Sport and exercise science
  • Nutrition and metabolism
  • Sports journalism
  • Physical therapy
  • Athletic training
  • Sports medicine

Duration of programs in Sports Science

The length of sports science degrees varies by country; for example, in the USA and Canada, a normal bachelor’s degree takes four years to finish, whereas, in the UK and other European countries, it takes three years.

CountryBachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeDoctoral Degree
USA and Canada4 years2 years4-7 years
UK and Europe 3-4 years1-2 years4-7 years
Australia3-4 years1-2 years4-7 years
Others4 years1-2 years4-7 years

Career opportunities in Sports Science

Students might work in a public or private hospital, a sports field, a research facility, an office, or a fitness center. Potential job options in the field of sports science include

  • Fitness coach
  • Sports and fitness administrator
  • Fitness manager 
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Sports scientist
  • Sports teacher or professor
  • Performance analyst
  • Nutritionist
  • Personal trainer 
  • Sports therapist
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Outdoor activity manager
  • Fitness expert 
  • Sports journalist
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Sports medicine physician

Average salaries in Sports Science

The average pay in sports science varies depending on the field of specialization and the type of job. The salary ranges in sports science are summarised in the table below.

CountryAverage salary in USD*/year
USA53,000 (Source: 6fig.com)
Australia51,292 (Source: Payscale)
UK44,721 (Source: Glassdoor)
Canada41,403 (Source: Talent)

*Note: All prices mentioned in USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and country to country.

Top 50 Universities in the world for Sports Science based on ranking (QS/Shanghai/THE):

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
15351-400Loughborough UniversityUKClick HereClick Here
2654The University of QueenslandAustraliaClick HereClick Here
351-10058The University of SydneyAustraliaClick HereClick Here
41437University of British ColumbiaCanadaClick HereClick Here
54118University of TorontoCanadaClick HereClick Here
63251-300Deakin UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
751-10051-100The University of MelbourneAustraliaClick HereClick Here
8NA201-250University of BathUKClick HereClick Here
927125University of AlbertaCanadaClick HereClick Here
1020154University of FloridaUSAClick HereClick Here
11196University of CopenhagenDenmarkClick HereClick Here
1215105University of BirminghamUKClick HereClick Here
1351-100143The University of ExeterUKClick HereClick Here
14101-150201-250University of OtagoNew ZealandClick HereClick Here
1512401-500Liverpool John Moores UniversityUKClick HereClick Here
16201-30054Seoul National UniversitySouth KoreaClick HereClick Here
1751-100119Pennsylvania State UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
184424University of Michigan-Ann ArborUSAClick HereClick Here
193580McMaster UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
20101-150NAUniversity College LondonUKClick HereClick Here
2151-10085The Ohio State UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
2251-10030The University of EdinburghUKClick HereClick Here
232742KU LeuvenBelgiumClick HereClick Here
2451-100201–250Griffith UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
2511201–250University of CalgaryCanadaClick HereClick Here
26101-150201–250University of Massachusetts AmherstUSAClick HereClick Here
2739201–250Auckland University of Technology (AUT)New ZealandClick HereClick Here
2825132The University of Western AustraliaAustraliaClick HereClick Here
2951-100143University of Technology SydneyAustraliaClick HereClick Here
3023401-500Edith Cowan UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
31101-150201–250Western UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
3251-10046Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)SingaporeClick HereClick Here
339401-500Victoria UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
3445201–250University College DublinIrelandClick HereClick Here
35NANAThe University of ManchesterUKClick HereClick Here
36NANAThe University of Hong KongHong KongClick HereClick Here
3736201-250La Trobe UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
38NA70The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)AustraliaClick HereClick Here
393852University of North Carolina, Chapel HillUSAClick HereClick Here
4051-100162University of OttawaCanadaClick HereClick Here
41NA21National University of Singapore (NUS)SingaporeClick HereClick Here
42101-150801-1000Waseda UniversityJapanClick HereClick Here
43NA137The University of AucklandNew ZealandClick HereClick Here
4451-100193Texas A&M UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
45101-15044McGill UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
469NAUniversity of JyväskyläFinlandClick HereClick Here
471596Ghent UniversityBelgiumClick HereClick Here
4851-10063University of Southern CaliforniaUSAClick HereClick Here
4922251-300Australian Catholic UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
50NA113National Taiwan University (NTU)TaiwanClick HereClick Here

Top Universities in the USA for Sports Science

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
1020154University of FloridaUSAClick HereClick Here
1751-100119Pennsylvania State UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
184424University of Michigan-Ann ArborUSAClick HereClick Here
2151-10085The Ohio State UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
26101-150201–250University of Massachusetts AmherstUSAClick HereClick Here

Top Universities in the UK for Sports Science

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
35NANAThe University of ManchesterUKClick HereClick Here
15351-400Loughborough UniversityUKClick HereClick Here
8NA201-250University of BathUKClick HereClick Here
1215105University of BirminghamUKClick HereClick Here
1351-100143The University of ExeterUKClick HereClick Here

Top Universities in Australia for Sports Science

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
351-10058The University of SydneyAustraliaClick HereClick Here
63251-300Deakin UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
751-10051-100The University of MelbourneAustraliaClick HereClick Here
2451-100201–250Griffith UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
2825132The University of Western AustraliaAustraliaClick HereClick Here

Top Universities in Canada for Sports Science

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
41437University of British ColumbiaCanadaClick HereClick Here
54118University of TorontoCanadaClick HereClick Here
927125University of AlbertaCanadaClick HereClick Here
193580McMaster UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
2511201–250University of CalgaryCanadaClick HereClick Here

Top Universities in New Zealand for Sports Science

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor ProgramsMaster Programs
14101-150201-250University of OtagoNew ZealandClick HereClick Here
2739201–250Auckland University of Technology (AUT)New ZealandClick HereClick Here
43NA137The University of AucklandNew ZealandClick HereClick Here

Academic requirements for studying Sports Science

The academic requirements for pursuing a degree in sports science vary from one specialization to another, but typically involve all or some of the following:

Bachelor’s level

Undergraduate admissions criteria include some combination of the following:

  • A high school diploma with a GPA 3.0 or greater (on a scale of 4.0 GPA) with science and mathematics (or psychology) as compulsory subjects 
  • Academic transcripts
  • SAT and/or ACT scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letter of recommendation
  • A valid passport
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (varies from 5.5 to 6.5)

Master’s level

  • A bachelor’s degree in sports science or related field with a GPA of 3.0 or greater (on a scale of 4.0 GPA) 
  • Academic transcripts
  • MCAT and/or GRE scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letters of recommendations
  • A valid passport
  • Work experience (preferable)
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (varies from 5.5 to 6.5)

Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation is typically required for certain specializations in sports science. It is beneficial to acquire accreditations with the following associations in the field of sports science to boost credibility and networking opportunities:

  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
  • Sports Medicine Australia (SMA)
  • British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences (BASES)

The USA pays the most to sports science majors, with an average salary of 53,000 USD per year (Source: 6fig.com). 

The USA, UK, Canada, and Australia, are among the top countries offering great sports science degree programs for international students. 

Yes, definitely if you are a fitness freak and want to motivate others. A sports degree has a wealth of career options such as sports scientists, coaches, psychologists, personal trainers, etc., making it one of the best career options out there.