Delivered over 3 years, the BA (Hons) Physical Education programme aims to develop your critical understanding of physical education, through theoretical, practical and work-based learning experiences. You will have the opportunity to qualify and work in professional sports coaching and the option to study a PGCEi and an MSc in Physical Education.
Start Date11th February 2023
QualificationLevel 8 Honours Degree
Course Duration3 years
With the introduction of Physical Education as a state exam subject, this course is equipped to meet the demands of the growing market for specialist-trained PE teachers in Ireland.
A degree from a recognised global leading sports science university
This degree is designed to professionally develop practitioners to progress in both their practical and future academic careers. Awarded by Liverpool John Moore’s University (LJMU), graduates will hold an instantly recognised degree from one of the world’s leading universities for sports science and physical education.
This BA (Hons) Physical Education course has been co-developed by Portobello Institute and the expert academic team in LJMU who have an international reputation for the delivery of physical education degrees.
This PE degree combines practical and theoretical aspects of physical education and provides work experience opportunities at each level of study within the school and local community settings.
An alternative route to PE teaching with this programme
Our students can use this BA (Hons) in Physical Education as an entry pathway to becoming a PE teacher. Portobello Institute offers a Post Graduate Certificate in Continuing Education (PGCEi) with an MSc in Physical Education available from October ’23. These programmes combined are delivered over 2 academic years, offering graduates further opportunities to develop their expertise in physical education. Alternatively, many of our past students have used qualifications gained from Portobello Institute to gain entry to other universities to study post-graduate qualifications for PE teaching.
Essential knowledge for a career in physical education
Designed for those students considering entering the teaching profession, the content of this degree will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of physical education. You will study a range of modules considering learning and teaching alongside the main sports science disciplines. Modules such as Psychology and Introduction to Skills Acquisition in year 1 right through to Contemporary Issues in PE provide you with strong foundations to build a career in physical education.
Develop practical skills and techniques
You will learn practical skills relating to work as a physical education teacher and a sports coach. This is course is delivered efficiently over 3 academic years. You will complete an education-based placement as part of their course.
Learn from the experts
This honours degree is delivered by a team of expert tutors who are experienced practitioners and educators. You will have one-to-one support from a personal academic tutor who is an experienced PE teacher and is there to support you throughout your learning journey to achieve your personal best.
Here are some reasons to choose to study with Portobello:
- Accelerated programme completing your undergraduate degree in three years, getting you out into the world of work faster.
- Career-focused qualifications – our courses lead to awards that offer you the opportunity of immediate employment upon graduation.
- Notable university partners – our university partners are among the top-ranking universities in the UK offering you access to a qualification from a renowned university.
- Reputable placements – our work experience placements are with prominent organisations, connecting you with respected employers to build your future career network.
- Realistic entry requirements – our entry requirements are reflective of the academic ability needed to successfully complete this course. These are clearly stated and remain static regardless of the demand for places.
- Individualised support – we fit your learning model with support available when you need it throughout your learning journey.
- SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.
- Industry expert tutors – our tutors are all industry practitioners connecting research and theory with industry practice throughout their lectures.
- Condensed scheduling – we value your time by ensuring your timetable is optimised for delivery.
- Flexible delivery – we deliver theory sessions on-site, and online whilst also recording the session simultaneously offering you a choice of when and how you learn.
- City Centre Location – Commuting to Portobello is very accessible – the Luas stops outside our door, and we are located within minutes from the major transport hubs.
- Affordable payment options – all our courses offer you the option to choose an easy payment plan supporting you to spread the cost out over your learning journey.
Why should I study this course?
Portobello Institute’s BA (Hons) in Physical Education gives you the opportunity to learn from a range of experts who bring their insight, depth of experience and passion for teaching to this degree programme. You will have career opportunities as a professional sports coach working with professional athletes and teams. You will also have the option, like many of our past pupils, to engage in further study to become a qualified PE teacher.
Gain employment through our strong network of connections
Gaining employment is the objective of this degree and it is important students have the opportunity to gain practical experience and build a network of contacts within the sector. If you are interested in health and physical activity promotion in community settings, this course provides you with the skills and knowledge required to work effectively in community-based physical activity and health promotion.
Portobello Institute has an established network of connections with many schools and clubs seeking PE teachers and coaches. The work experience programme for this programme affords students the opportunity to gain practical working experience and engage with those connections to advance their careers following graduation.
Explore our Graduate Success Stories to understand the opportunities they availed of, the further studies they have undertaken and their unique learning journeys.
Accessible, affordable, achievable
There is an easy payment plan designed to make this degree affordable for you. These factors, together with the one-to-one tutorial support, offer you the opportunity to access a career in the business of fashion, with a qualification that is accessible, affordable and achievable.
Who will recognise my qualification?
Upon completing this level 8 degree, you will hold a BA (Hons) Physical Education awarded by Liverpool John Moore’s University (LJMU), one of the leading universities globally for sports science and physical education.
You will be registered as a student of LJMU for the duration of your studies.
This degree provides you with the required credits to be eligible to apply for post-graduate qualifications in teaching PE within Irish and UK universities.
Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK
The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.
What will I study during this BA (Hons) Physical Education – Starts February ’23 course?
Contemporary content for modern-day physical education
This degree has been designed and developed in 2021 and includes relevant and up-to-date content that reflects the context of physical education in modern society eg the module Contemporary Issues in PE covers topics such as race, technology, social media, gender, and historical and philosophical concepts.
You will also learn about the underpinning principles of sports science as well as practical learning and teaching skills relating to work as a physical education teacher or sports coach. You will learn how to facilitate the enhancement of physical education through effective teaching. You will understand the principles and limitations of measurement and assessment strategies in sports, exercise and physical education.
Study gymnastics, dance, games athletics, aquatics and adventure activities
The fundamental components of the revised and updated PE curriculum in Ireland (e.g. gymnastics, dance, games athletics, aquatics and adventure activities) are taught. You will develop critical consideration on national and international policy and curriculum design in PE. The degree provides you with a strong foundation in motor development, psychology, sociology and physiology.
You will develop your applied teaching, lesson planning, communication, assessment and reflective practice skills through extensive work-based learning and work-related learning activities.
Who will I learn from?
Dr Liam Clohessy
“I aim to support students, exposing them to different ideas and helping them to
identify things that would be aligned to their beliefs and values. Highlighting that
there are lots of different areas, different approaches and different ways of going
about it and helping them to come up with their own teaching philosophy and their
own beliefs about what is quality PE.” – Liam Clohessy, Programme Lead BA (Hons)
Physical Education, Portobello Institute.
As a child, Liam Clohessy wanted to grow up to be a sports commentator. With an
innate interest in sports, getting into coaching and summer camps as a teenager
gave him the buzz for helping others to progress, leading him to a career that
perfectly combines teaching, PE and leadership.
Liam holds a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching specialising in PE, a PhD in
the area of Leadership in Physical Education as well as experience as the former
Chairperson of the Irish Primary PE Association (IPPEA) and PE Advisor for the
Department of Education Professional Development Service for Teachers Health and
Well-being team (PDST).
Liam brings this wealth of experience and passion for educating others who want to
pass the baton in developing the role of PE throughout education in Ireland to
Portobello Institute’s sports department as the Programme Lead for the LJMU BA (Hons) Physical Education.
“Having worked as a teacher and worked in a variety of different settings I have the
experience to share with people. I also really enjoy teaching and working with people
and supporting them to develop themselves, to facilitate and point them in the
direction they want to go.
“It’s great to see people going on and flourishing and getting into something that
they really enjoy working at,” he said.
As a passionate educator, Liam values the one-to-one student support
provided at Portobello Institute.
“The biggest highlights include working with teachers, and maybe you are working
with somebody who is not that confident with a particular topic or maybe struggling
with a particular class or issue and working together and helping them to come up
with solutions is probably the most satisfying thing and seeing the positive outcome
for the students involved.
“The biggest thing is actually seeing the impact for that learner,” he said.
With his PhD covering leadership in PE, Liam works to support and share the positive
impacts of PE in education in Ireland.
“When you think about leadership, I think about influencing others leading to
positive changes so basically it’s about looking at how you can work with people to
have a positive influence on other people.
“That can be with your students but perhaps if you are working in a school maybe
there are other teachers you could share new ideas with or share the things that
have worked well for you?
“It’s about sharing the ways we work whereby all the students in the school are
going to benefit from that expertise rather than maybe just the group that you are
“Are there simple ways we can share and maximise the positive impacts and
expertise of the particular person within the school context, within the club or within
the sporting organisation and look at strategies to help spread that positive impact?”
He aims to guide his students on their education journeys through Portobello
“I aim to help support the students as they are exploring the world of PE for the first
time and to help facilitate their own learning and their own exploration of it.
“Highlighting that there are lots of different areas, different approaches and
different ways of going about it and helping them to come up with their own
teaching philosophy and their own beliefs about what is quality PE.
“Supporting them around how they could help the people that they are going to be
working with in a school context or maybe in a physical activity context either and to
have really positive experiences that lead to meaningful experiences for their
“I aim to support students, exposing them to different ideas and helping them to
identify things that would be aligned to their beliefs and values in terms of working
with young people or working with people in this area,” he said.
With his academic research and publications and his roles with the IPPEA and
Department of Education, as well as teaching experience, Liam is practice-based and
research-led in his position leading the BA in PE programme.
- Mary Immaculate College, Limerick PhD PhD in the area of Leadership in
- Higher Diploma Probated by Department of Education.
- Mary Immaculate College, Limerick – Bachelor of Education – Education
Specialism: Physical Education
Publications and Selected Conference Presentations
- Clohessy, L, Bowles, R & Ní Chróinín, D (2021): Follow the leader? Generalist
primary school teachers’ experiences of informal physical education
leadership, Education 3-13, 49 (6): 661-673
- Clohessy, L, Bowles, R & NíChróinín, D (2020). “Playing to our Strengths:
Generalist Teachers’ Experiences of Class Swapping for Primary Physical
Education.” European Physical Education Review 26 (2): 571–586. Doi:
- Clohessy, L, (2020), Teaching circus skills for PE using self-paced progressions,
Irish Primary Physical Education Association Conference, Mary Immaculate
College (practical workshop)
- Clohessy, L, (2019), Teaching social skills in physical education, Irish Primary
Physical Education Association Conference, Watershed Kilkenny (practical
- Clohessy, L. & Cosgrave, C, (2017) Cooperative games, Irish Primary Physical
Education Association Conference, Croke Park Dublin (practical workshop)
- Clohessy, L. (2016). Quality Primary Physical Education. InTouch. Jan/Feb,158,
- Clohessy, L, Bowles, R & NíChróinín, D., (2016), Class swapping for Physical
Education in Irish Primary Schools: Effectively Utilising Generalist Teachers’
Talents, PEPAYS Ireland Annual Forum, Institute of Technology Tralee (Oral
- Clohessy, L, Bowles, R & NíChróinín, D., (2016), Playing to our strengths:
Leading physical education in Irish primary schools, European Conference on
Educational Research, University College Dublin from 22-26August, 2016 (Oral
- Clohessy, L, Bowles, R & NíChróinín, D (2015) Physical Education in Irish
Primary Schools: Generalist Classroom Teachers Experiences of Subject
Leadership. Oral presentation at AIESEP International Conference, Universidad
- Clohessy, L. (2014). Outdoor and Adventure Centres as Part of a PE
Programme. InTouch. Jan/Feb, 141, 63-65
Personal Academic Tutor
You will learn from a range of applied practitioners including primary and secondary school PE specialists, psychologists, and sports and exercise scientists.
Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one-to-one guidance at a time convenient to you.
Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.
This level of one-to-one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.
How will I learn?
Blended learning takes the schedule of a traditional face-to-face learning programme and restructures it to reduce the contact tuition time by introducing more online learning together with one-to-one tutor support.
This mode of delivery includes contact tuition and web-based e-learning sessions. The e-learning platform is interactive including recorded sessions, webinars with weekly content and assigned tasks to themes and topics. This mode of delivery will usually include a minimum of 1-weekend seminar per month attendance required. This type of delivery is generally applied to courses with a practical skills element such as this BA (Hons) Physical Education and allows you to work full-time and balance the requirements of a degree programme with home and work.
There is a fully equipped gym with strength and conditioning equipment available for use as part of your course.
The Difference between Blended Learning and Full Time Delivery Modes
There are two delivery mode options for this degree available at Portobello Institute giving you the freedom to choose how you will learn and making education accessible around work and life commitments.
Full-Time delivery offers you the opportunity to study with a more traditional schedule with lectures delivered on-site in Portobello during weekdays. Typically, those lectures are generally scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday. Monday’s lectures are delivered online.
Blended Learning is essentially the same, with a blend of online and on-site lectures taking place at the weekends. This makes it easier for you to study while working full-time. It also makes studying for a degree more accessible if you live outside of Dublin.
With both delivery modes, there will be lectures you need to attend on-site due to the nature of the content – practical skills etc. All online-only lectures are recorded for you to catch up on later. Where lectures are delivered onsite – these will simultaneously be delivered online and will also be recorded so you can customise your learning journey – attend on-site, online, or catch up later.
Having the flexibility to choose whether you attend a lecture as it is taking place or to catch up later means you can seamlessly access and fit education into your life whilst still continuing with your everyday life.
You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query and there will be scheduled opportunities to submit a draft of your assignment. Our programme management team are always available to meet you or offer you telephone and email support. For more information about our team, click here. Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion.
This level of one-to-one support is unique and is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello Institute. We have invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced sports therapists and clinicians as well as knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme and support you to achieve your personal best.
Online Learning Portal – ePortobello
During the induction seminar, we will show you how to navigate and find what you need with all of the information you need to complete this programme uploaded onto ePortobello. The content of this programme is set out in an easy to follow format with a combination of notes, articles, podcasts and other materials that will help you to understand the subject and complete your assessments.
Other delivery modes available
The course is delivered over three academic years with entry points in October and February each year. There are supported seminars held at weekends with a schedule available here.
In first year, you will complete the core modules which will introduce you to this programme of study and provide you with essential skills that will aid your study for the course of your degree.
In second year, you will complete a total of six modules, three 20-credit modules each semester.
In third year, you will complete five modules and your final year dissertation project in the area of Physical Education and your work placement.
Real Life Learning Opportunities
How will I be assessed?
SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.
The primary aim of the varying assessment styles is to support you to demonstrate your knowledge of theory and practice as a result of a range of assessments.
Group assignments will add another dimension to your learning experience – they will help you to learn to work in teams and will provide you with the benefits of peer learning.
All these methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and encourage and guide you for future implementation into your career as a physical education teacher.
On completion of this BA (Hons) Physical Education degree, graduates will have the opportunity to pursue further education at the post-graduate level as there is an emphasis on research skills to support those who wish to pursue a combined career in applied practice and academia at MSc or PhD level.
After gaining the foundations in physical education during their degree, many of our graduates progress to study post-graduate qualifications and begin their careers as PE teachers.
An alternative route to PE teaching with this programme
Portobello Institute offers a Post Graduate Certificate in Continuing Education (PGCEi) with an MSc in Physical Education available from October ’23. These programmes combined are delivered over 2 academic years, offering graduates further opportunities to develop their expertise in physical education. This BA (Hons) in Physical Education fulfils the entry requirement for the PGCEi and MSc programmes. Alternatively, many of our past students have used qualifications gained from Portobello Institute to gain entry to other universities to study post-graduate qualifications for PE teaching.
Wide variety of employment opportunities
In addition to teaching, graduates from this programme will be eligible for a wide variety of employment opportunities within sports governing bodies, social inclusion and public health initiatives.
Portobello Institute sports graduates are eligible for a huge array of postgraduate courses in Ireland and the UK. Dr Susan Giblin, head of the sports department, explains “our sports graduates are in demand for selection onto post-grad courses because of the broad range of subjects in the degree programme and our focus on up-to-date thinking and learning in all aspects of sport”. She suggests that “our classes are small and we take a personal interest in each student … in year three, we work with them to define their career goals and help them develop a plan to achieve them”.
Who else has studied this degree?
Follow the links below to read the many stories of our successful graduates.
Colm Dunne came through Portobello Institute's PE and Coaching degree to earn a place on UL's Teaching Masters in PE.
Colm Dunne – Success as a PE Teacher Through Portobello InstituteRead Full Testimonial
Matthew Bursey says that he owes much of his professional success to the guidance he received at Portobello Institute.
Matthew Bursey – PE and Coaching Helped Me from Leinster to ExeterRead Full Testimonial
Thomas Maher is a mature student who was a qualified personal trainer in his own gym. Now he has opened his own sports therapy clinic.
Thomas Maher – Sports Therapy and Stepping Forward with Portobello InstituteRead Full Testimonial
Speak to an expert
Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to Masters programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.
It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.
How do I apply?
Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.
With a Leaving Certificate
Leaving Certificate requirements – Minimum of grade C or O6 in ordinary level Biology* or Physical Education, English and Maths with a pass in 3 other subjects.
Sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2022
Students may apply and be granted a “Conditional Offer” prior to completing the Leaving Certificate.
Step 1 – Submit your application
Step 2 – Review of application and confirmation of eligibility criteria and entry requirements
Step 3 – Conditional Offer issued on the basis of successful achievement of LC requirements
Step 4 – Confirm acceptance of a place and pay deposit as detailed
Places can not be held open for applicants awaiting leaving certificate results, however, should a student accept a place and then choose not to progress with this course, after first round CAO offers have been made, a refund of 75% of fees paid will be made. Refunds must be requested in writing on or before 25th August 2022
Applicants who have previously completed the Leaving Certificate;
Minimum of grade C or O6 in ordinary level Biology* or Physical Education, English and Maths with a pass in 3 other subjects.
*Applicants who do not hold LC Biology or Physical Education, are required to undertake the QQI level 5 Anatomy & Physiology and use this award in place of LC Biology. This course is available through Portobello Institute, further information is available here.
Without a Leaving Certificate
Students are accepted onto this programme without a leaving certificate however applicants must meet one of the following criteria;
- QQI level 5 major award containing a biology subject
- ITEC level 2 award containing anatomy & physiology
- An undergraduate degree in another subject
- QQI Level 5 Anatomy & Physiology – available through Portobello Institute
- Mature entry at 21 years. Mature students are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and entry is via interview. Those without a grounding in science and a previous academic qualification in science or biology must complete QQI Level 5 Anatomy & Physiology or equivalent. This course is available through Portobello Institute, further information is available here.
- Equivalent qualifications with biology/anatomy & physiology module
Applicants who do not meet the criteria may be required to attend an interview with an offer of a place on the programme issued following an assessment of suitability. Applicants confirm acceptance of offer by returning the acceptance form.
Please note places on this course are only confirmed once tuition fees have been received.
Fees & Payment Options
Year 1 Fees & Payment Options
Exam Body Reg. Fee€335.00
Easy Payment Plan
Deposit of 33%. Balance payable in 8 equal instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course commences. There is an additional fee of €365 applied to instalment plan. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees and instalment plan admin fees are included in the easy payment plan detailed.
Deposit + 8 Instalments
- €510.46 due on 1st March 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st April 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st May 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st June 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st July 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st August 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st September 2023.
- €510.46 due on 1st October 2023.
Year 2 Fees & Payment Options
Exam Body Reg. Fee€335.00
Year 3 Fees & Payment Options
Exam Body Reg. Fee€335.00