This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll study two modules that will introduce you to some of the key topics in sport and fitness.
- In Stage 2, you’ll study two modules that explore sport and exercise science and psychology.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
In Stage 1, you’ll explore the organisation, practice and delivery of sport and fitness activity. You’ll investigate who takes part in sport and fitness, how facilities cater for their needs, how to improve fitness, and how nutrition informs coaching and exercise instruction. You’ll also consider important skills for those working in sport and fitness such as effective communication; motivating participants and colleagues; and what makes a good leader.
Stage 2 focuses on the scientific aspects of sport and exercise. You’ll develop your analytical and communication skills while focusing on various aspects of sport and exercise science, including psychology, and their application to sports coaching and exercise instruction.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 13 September 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Sport and Fitness uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using diagrams
- finding external/third party material online
All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On completion of this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education in Sport and Fitness.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
You don’t need experience of working in sport and fitness prior to starting this diploma. However, you’ll find the modules and assignments much easier and more fulfilling if you can draw on employment (paid or unpaid) experience.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
Jobs in sport and fitness demand well developed skills for motivating customers; including the communication skills (written, oral and online) needed to enhance good relationships and coaching. This diploma course will boost your career potential and help you develop key skills that are highly valued by employers, including:
- empathy with participants
- knowledge of safety and welfare issues
- understanding group and individual psychology
- searching for and presenting information
- use of IT.
Overall, you’ll become a more critically aware leader who can reflect on your own and others’ practice and apply scientific theory to practical situations.
This diploma is ideal if you want to enhance your prospects in sports coaching, fitness training or the leadership of recreational groups. It’s also valuable if you’re self-employed in the sport and fitness sector, working at sports clubs or keen to develop your career in sports management or sports development.
Some students use this qualification as a route towards physical education (PE) teaching, although you’ll need to complete an honours degree and subsequent post-graduate training.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- sports club manager
- sports coach
- fitness instructor
- recreational group leader
- personal trainer
- fitness centre manager
- outdoor activities/education manager
- secondary school teacher (PE)
- sports development officer
- event organiser
- sports administrator.