Course Details

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full-time and study this BSc Sports Psychology, Coaching & PE. You will have the opportunity to qualify and work with athletes and teams to enhance their performance and achieve their goals.

Start Date
2nd October 2021
Level 8 Honours Degree
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
3 years


Do you want to understand how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors? If the answer is yes, then this BSc in Sports Psychology, Coaching & PE will be of interest to you. As you study this degree, you will learn to draw on knowledge from many related fields including biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. You will explore cognitive, motor and emotional theories and how these impact an athlete’s performance. In addition to instruction and training of psychological skills for performance improvement, you will learn to apply sport psychology when working with athletes, coaches, parents regarding injury, rehabilitation, team building and career transitions.

This honours degree is designed by Portobello Institute for blended learning so you can study at your time. Seminars are delivered over the weekend with one to one support available to you throughout your learning journey. 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 a level 8 degree that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

Why should I study this course?

Portobello Institute’s BSc Hons in Sports Psychology, Coaching & PE gives you the opportunity to attain a level 8 honours degree through a blended mode of delivery combining contact tuition with online learning. You will have career opportunities as a Sports Psychologist working with athletes, teams or as a self-employed practitioner. The transferable skills developed throughout the degree are relevant to all forms of employment in the sport, exercise and health industries.

You will also have the option, like some of our past pupils, to use this qualification as a route to study a Masters in Psychology. Visit our Graduates Success Stories to understand the opportunities they availed of, the further studies they have undertaken and their unique learning journeys.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon successful completion of this programme, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Sports Psychology, Coaching and PE. This is awarded at level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

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 BSc (Hons) Sports Psychology, Coaching & PE – Starts Oct ’21 course?

During this degree you will explore general psychological theories and develop applied interventional skills to be used in practical settings with individuals or teams. Over the course of this degree you will progressively build the knowledge and skills needed to perform needs analysis, develop interventional strategies, implement and assess these strategies and report back to multi-disciplinary team members. You will learn how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors.

  • Human Anatomy & Biomechanics – 30 Credits

    During this module, you will be introduced to human anatomy and biomechanics. The module has a bias towards the specific interests of those studying for sports-related degrees. Thus, the principal focus in anatomy is the musculoskeletal system, together with movement analysis and the isolation of specific muscle groups.  In biomechanics, the focus is on the basic anthropometry and kinematics of the human body.

  • Human Physiology and Training Principles – 30 Credits

    During this module you will be introduced to exercise related physiology, the sub-discipline of sport and exercise science. This is accompanied by the principles of training and athletic preparation which ensures a bias towards the specific interests of those studying for sports-related degrees.

    This module will provide you with a fundamental grounding in exercise physiology. You will become familiar with physiology, biochemistry and cell biology. The module encourages an appreciation of the contribution of Physiological Science to sports performance and exercise delivering both theory (the muscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems) and practical skills (scientific methods of testing and data collection).

  • Foundation of Sports Psychology & Coaching – 30 Credits

    This module intends to introduce students to basic principles in a range of areas, which will be critical to development of a true understanding of sports performance and participation. These basic principles will primarily feature sport psychology and coaching. The module will primarily develop an understanding of the impact that psychological state has on both performance and participation; as well as the most effective way to develop a sound coaching/teaching knowledge base and pedagogy.

    In addition, parts of the module will focus on sociology of sport and health related aspects of sport and exercise, referring to the sociological value of sport and how this links to coaching and teaching pedagogy; plus, coverage of health-related aspects, showing how sport and exercise can benefit our physical condition and psychological well-being.

  • Sports Research Skills – 30 Credits

    During this module, you will be introduced to the study of sport in higher education as well as develop life-long skills in organisation and application of knowledge. This module aims to introduce you to the learning resources within the college to assist your personal and professional development. You will enhance your planning, preparation, academic writing styles, referencing, resourcing and development for academia to enable an easy transition between levels.

    In addition, you will be introduced to methods of data analysis using computer software, which will enable you to apply statistical techniques to data, as part of your studies as well as in a more general work environment.

  • Psychological Factors in Sporting Teams & Individuals – 30 Credits

    This module elaborates on the key theories in sport psychology, covering a wide range of sport psychology topics and the mental skills used within those topics. The module aims to provide students with an understanding of key psychological theories which underpin sporting performance and participation itself. Students will focus initially on the psychological factors which influence an individual’s sporting behavior and later develop an understanding of group dynamics in sport.

    The module encourages an appreciation of how to work effectively in a team setting and also aims to develop students’ communication and literacy skills to allow them the ability to write a scientific piece of work with confidence. Most mental skills developed in sport psychology are directly transferable therefore students are given qualities necessary to advance in many other areas of life

  • Principals of Effective Coaching & Teaching – 30 Credits

    This module explores the key pedagogical theories that inform sports coaching and teaching as well as covering a wide variety of themes relevant to contemporary sports education and training. The module includes a strong emphasis on experiential learning with students engaging in practical coaching and teaching sessions on a weekly basis.

    The module aims to provide students with an overarching appreciation of important theories relating to effective teaching and coaching practice. Students are afforded various opportunities to develop their practical competencies in relation to teaching and coaching. Ultimately, the module seeks to develop responsible and effective practitioners with a firm grounding in the necessary interpersonal and decision-making skills required within the coaching/teaching profession. The ability to communicate and use a variety of strategies to achieve coaching/teaching objectives is developed, along with an appreciation of the value of reflective practice in personal development.

  • Sports and Exercise Physiology – 30 Credits

    This module introduces students to the responses of tissues and organs to acute and chronic exercise training. Students are also familiarised with a variety of field and laboratory-based tests of physical performance to assess components of fitness and work capacity.

  • Biomechanics of Human Movement – 15 Credits (Optional)

    This module focuses on understanding the principles of human movement in terms of anatomy and biomechanics. In addition, the module provides examples of the application of this knowledge to performance analysis, the development of sporting excellence, and injury prevention. A practical programme explores in more detail topics covered in the lectures.

  • Contemporary Issues in Sport – 15 Credits

    This module explores a variety of theories drawn from the social sciences and encourages students to apply such thinking to contemporary issues in sport.

    The module examines variously: the history of sporting Ireland, the role of sport in the Irish war of Independence, amateurism in the GAA and m the changing dynamic of sport in Ireland from a cultural perspective, the globalisation of sport, the use of sport as a political tool, sport and nationalism, issues around gender and ethnicity and the controversies that surround both the delivery and practice of sport.

  • Sports Science Research Methods – 15 credits

    During this module, you will reflect on your chosen course. You will select your project within the context of the course and possible future career. You will consider and carry out the preparation necessary for a scientific dissertation proposal. In so doing, you will gain experience in devising dissertations by taking into account experimental design, feasibility in terms of costs and resources, and aspects of ethics and safety.

  • Sports Science and Therapy Dissertation – 30 Credits

    This module will enable students to reinforce the skills necessary to carry out a scientific programme requiring significant research.  It will allow students to demonstrate the final development of their subject knowledge, skills and understanding through extended research based on laboratory, literature or field work. This research will lead to the presentation of a detailed written report.


    This module aims to encourage students to reflect and build upon their subject knowledge and expertise by means of a specific investigation requiring significant research. During the course of the module they will develop the skills necessary to plan, carry out, analyse and report upon the results of an experimental or analytical programme on a scientific topic. The module gives students the opportunity to attain achievement of a high level of personal development by working independently with the minimum necessary supervision. This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and, the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

    Formative feedback is provided on a weekly basis in the lecture/seminar sessions. These sessions are comprised of students working in similar areas of research which provides the opportunity for both peer and lecturer formative feedback. Students are supported by their supervisor with whom they are encouraged to facilitate regular contact. Students prepare interim reports, for which summative feedback is provided. Summative feedback is also provided on completion of the dissertation via assessment of the report, oral exam, and supervisors mark for process.

  • Sports Psychology and the Elite Athlete – 30 Credits

    This module explores contemporary theory in sport psychology and its relevance to the competitive sporting environment. Approaching from an applied perspective which relates to employability, important concepts are considered in terms of their potential impact on an athlete’s psychological state and therefore their engagement and performance. The module aims to introduce students to the key real-life psychological demands associated with sports performance, in conjunction with coping mechanisms and solutions used to deal with those demands. In terms of employability, students will gain a critical insight into the applied practice of sport psychology and gain experiences of some of the key interpersonal skills that make an effective sport psychologist.

  • Advanced Coaching Theory & Practice – 30 Credits

    This module focuses on advanced theoretical aspects of coaching and its delivery that enable the full role of a practising coach to be explored. Building on the theory laid down in Principles of Effective Coaching and Teaching this module will facilitate the development of practical coaching expertise. Theoretical aspects are based on the critical appraisal of advanced coaching related theory and research, and a range of current issues, and professional developments. The module promotes the refinement of advanced practical coaching skills. The module is designed to enhance students’ critical analysis and independence of thought regarding sports coaching and develop skills of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and social skills within the context of sports coaching.

  • Advanced Biomechanics – 15 Credits

    This module focuses on motion capture and movement analysis backed up by other biomechanical analysis techniques including electromyography and the use of force platforms.  Students will be expected to perform a small group research project, presenting the results as a poster conference at the end of the semester.

    Reflective work throughout the module will allow the student to develop a greater understanding of, and employability possibilities within, biomechanical research.  Students will be given the opportunity to research either a project of their choice of select from a given list of project titles.

    The module aims to provide the student an opportunity to examine an area of biomechanics, focusing on motion analysis, in detail.  Students are encouraged to evaluate, and critically reflect on their chosen area of investigation.  This module aims to prepare students for post-graduate study, and further research suitable for academic publication.

  • Clinical Exercise Physiology – 15 Credits

    This module analyses the interactions between exercise and a variety of disease. It covers both general topics such as epidemiology and pathology, as well as specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and psychological disorders. The module aims to give students some theoretical and practical experience of describing and understanding clinical conditions.


  • Business Development in Health Studies – 15 Credits

    This module is an introduction to the principles of business in the specific context of health science related ventures.

    More specifically, it aims to provide students with academic knowledge and understanding to implement good business practice including marketing, accounting, management, service and reflection. These topics should provide the underpinning information to allow students to harness an entrepreneurial approach to business and professional work to optimise their employability and performance.  The module also seeks to develop competence in discussion, oral presentation and written work, encouraging clarity of presentation and transferable tools often used in many employment settings.

  • Sports Science Work Placement – 15 Credits

    This module extends students’ learning experience by providing them with an opportunity to reflect on, and evaluate, their personal experiences of a given employment related to their area of academic study.

    Autumn and Spring Period (15 weeks)

    Assessment: Learning log & written project report (70%), Oral presentation (30%), Satisfactory Employer Comment (0%)

    This module aims to provide the student with an opportunity to gain experience of the culture and structure of a working environment related to the student’s area of academic study. Students are encouraged to evaluate, and critically reflect on, the workplace as well as their role in it. Furthermore, it is expected that students will apply previously-learned academic knowledge to employment tasks.

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Dr Susan Giblin

‘Sports students are passionate, determined and motivated people. They bring an energy to the classroom that is infectious. They are a joy to mentor and our academic team are invaluable in providing that mentorship to our students.’

About Susan

I have been passionate about sport from a young age, I decided to pursue my passion academically when I had the opportunity to and completed my BSc in Health and Performance Science in UCD. I was part of the first graduating class in Health and Performance Science, the concept of sports science was very new in Ireland at the time and opportunities to gain applied experience were rare. On graduating, I was determined to gain as much hands-on practical experience as possible and I was very fortunate to work as a Sports Scientist at Sports Med Ireland where I gained invaluable insight into the world of supporting elite athletes. Notably, there were no practical or applied experience elements as part of my degree, we worked in the lab but not on the field with coaches or athletes which meant really learning on your feet, trying to gain practical competence when starting to work in applied settings. This was something I knew I wanted to try and change if I ever found myself back in academia. It didn’t make sense to me why the applied and academic aspects of sport were so separate, really to change performance both need to be intertwined. Since then, I have endeavoured to combine applied and academic work.

During my early applied work, I became fascinated with the interplay between physical and psychological performance. I left for the UK to pursue a MSc in Performance Psychology, based in the UK I gained valuable opportunities to work in applied, elite sports settings (largely focused in soccer, motorsport and golf). From there, I completed my psychology accreditation and pursued my PhD and post-doctoral research focusing on the use of technology to assess physical and psychological parameters of development. I returned to Ireland to work with the international data sports science company Kitman Labs as Head of Research and I gained fantastic experiences working with innovative international sports organisations. On completion of my post-doctoral research I began lecturing in sports science and sports psychology. In doing so, I quickly realised that not much had changed in terms of academic qualifications in sport, despite the applied sports industry having developed light years ahead with integration of performance technology. Throughout my career development to date, mentors have been an incredibly important asset to me in terms of personal and professional growth. I wanted to be able to provide similar support to individuals who were passionate about pursuing a career in sport. Portobello institute provided the perfect opportunity to address the frustrating limitations of current educational practices in sport by developing innovative, applied degree programmes that ingrain practical skill competence, personal and professional development for students and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Portobello Sports Team since arriving here as a lecturer in 2016.

Why did you choose to work in education?

Education has always been a big part of my life (despite hating school!!). The value of education and the privilege of being able to pursue third level education was instilled from a very young age. I firmly believe that education is an incredible tool that can be used to build a fulfilling life and education should be accessible and individual. Accessible, individual education is something I am very passionate about; from personal experience I understand that one size rarely fits all in terms of education. Unfortunately, primary and secondary (and in many cases tertiary) education comes in a very generic form and that can be very damaging. In fact, it can lead to individuals not pursing their full potential, or not even recognising the potential that they have to pursue. I am dedicated to ensuring that teaching/lecturing is recognised as a role of great responsibility that goes beyond delivering curricular content and focuses on promoting confident learners who are eager to pursue their dull potential after completing their primary degree.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

My experience as Programme Manager to date has been an incredibly rewarding one. As Programme Manager I am privileged to support our students from the day arrive to the day they graduate and beyond. The most fulfilling part of my role is being able to work with and get to know the person behind the student number, understanding what their ambitions are and guiding them on to the next step of their journey. That next step may be to postgraduation education or to employment as a practitioner. Whatever it is, my role is to support our students in figuring out their path and providing individual support to ensure that students’ personal, academic and professional development is optimised during their time at Portobello Institute.
In addition to providing personal support, as Programme Manager I am involved in the continual review and strategic development of our academic offering in the Sports Department. I work with industry and academic collaborative partners to ensure that the qualifications we offer our students are leading the curve in the sports industry.

Why Portobello?

Portobello Institute is an agile, innovative Institute of Education. In academia Institutes tend to be slow to change or develop, as sport is such a new and evolving science having an Institute that is willing and able to change ahead of the curve is absolutely essential. Portobello Institute offers this dynamic, forward thinking environment that is focused on changing the way we educate our next generation of practitioners in Sport. Portobello Institute is bridging the gap that has previously existed between applied practice and academic research. The focus here is on developing graduates who are proficient, evidence-based practitioners who are also passionate about scientific research, that is something you just don’t find elsewhere.


  • Post-doctoral fellowship – Psychomotor assessment validation (University of Central Lancashire)
  • PhD Psychomotor Development (University of Central Lancashire)
  • MSc Performance Psychology (University of Edinburgh)
  • PGDiploma General Psychology (University of Derby)
  • BSc Health & Performance Science (UCD)

Research / Industry Participation

  • Accredited member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
  • BASES Accredited Sports Psychologist
  • HCPC Chartered Scientist Status (CSci)
  • Former Head of Research, Kitman Labs Ltd.

Research & Publications:

  • Cruickshank, A., Giblin, S., Collins, D. ‘Mental preparation for competitive sprints’ in The Science of Sprinting. Platt, G., (Eds) Routledge
  • Ng, J., Button, C., Collins, D., Giblin, S., and Kennedy, G. (2019). Assessing the Internal Reliability and Construct Validity of the General Movement Competence Assessment for Children. Journal of Motor Learning and Development  8, 1, 87-106, available from: <>
  • MELG Funded Research in collaboration with UHL HSE and UL. An investigation of physical activity engagement and barriers to engagement in children with T1DM (2019)
  • Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015) ‘A markerless motion capture system to enhance injury monitoring in professional sports: a single case validation study on the example of external and internal shoulder rotation’ Functional Sports & Exercise Medicine DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.3434.5440
  • Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015). ‘Wholebody magnetic resonance imaging enables assessment of spatial accuracy and precision of skeletal joint locations inferred from motion capture systems’ 6th Int. Conference on 3D Body Scanning Technologies October DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3105.0963
  • Giblin, S., Meldrum, D., McGroarty, M., O’Brien S., Wetterling, F. (2015) ‘Bone length calibration can significantly improve the measurement accuracy of knee flexion angle when using a marker- less system to capture the motion of countermovement jump’ DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3105.0963
  • Giblin, S., Collins, D., & Button, C. (2014). Physical literacy: importance, assessment and future directions. Sports Medicine, 44(9), 11771184.
  • Giblin, S., Collins, D., MacNamara, A., & Kiely, J. (2014). “Deliberate Preparation” as an Evidence-Based Focus for Primary Physical Education. Quest, 66(4), 385395.
  • MacNamara, Á., Collins, D., & Giblin, S. (2015). Just let them play? Deliberate preparation as the most appropriate foundation for lifelong physical activity. Frontiers in psychology, 6.

Personal Academic Tutor

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.

Colm Murphy

Position: Sports Lecturer

“Never stop learning! You are never too old to learn new things.”

About Colm

I took my career in a completely new direction in 2003. After many years working in banking (accounting & finance) and Information Technology (project management), I returned to my love of sport/coaching. I resurrected my long-dormant tennis coaching work and then embarked on an academic journey to acquire and develop new skills and qualifications in related areas (physical therapy, teaching & learning and sport psychology). This journey from employee to self-employed was extremely challenging and has not only made me resilient and self-reliant but has also boosted my belief in my own abilities.  My academic journey as a mature student has converted me into a life-long learner. These experiences have shaped me but have also given me a depth of knowledge and life experience that helps me relate well to students.

Colm’s Teaching Philosophy 

My favourite aspect of teaching is de-mystifying the course material, breaking it down for students and watching their confidence and knowledge grow as they begin to believe that they can overcome the challenge they have set for themselves.

I tell my students that I empathise with them as I understand the challenge of balancing study and exams with other commitments. However, I don’t sympathise! After all, you have chosen to enrol. The workload goes with the territory.

I balance my teaching with an active (tennis) coaching career and a Physical Therapy practice. I provide Sport Psychology education and support to Basketball Ireland and a variety of teams and individual athletes.

I encourage my students to be research led and evidence based in everything they do. This is what will distinguish them as practitioners in their chosen field.


  •  MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology (Waterford IT)
  • Post Grad Certificate in Third Level Teaching & Learning (DIT)
  • Diploma in Physical Therapy (IPTAS)
  • Tennis Ireland Development Coach (Tennis Ireland)

Research / Industry Participation

  • Anatomy & Analysis Tutor for 11 years with IPTAS (Institute of Physical Therapy & Applied Science). 2006 – 2017
  • Physical Therapist in private practice since 2006
  • Tennis Ireland Development Coach since 1994
  • Sport Performance Coach since 2015

Alan Whealan

Position: Sports lecturer

“There is no failure, only feedback!”

About Alan

I spent 15 years working in corporate finance and accounts before committing to the long held desire to move in a new direction and pursue a career in sport. Having completed a BSc in Sport Science and Physical Education and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology, I now run my own sport psychology business while also working as a tutor in Portobello Institute since 2018.

Alan’s Teaching Philosophy

I am a very open and approachable tutor and believe in a student centred approach to learning, with student engagement and discussion at the heart of every lecture. A firm believer in the benefits of effective goal setting, engaging in reflective practice and practical application, I employ a number of sport psychology related skills into the education setting to ensure all students maximise their potential for learning. 


  • BSc Sport and exercise Science
  • MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology

Barry Roe

Position: Sports Lecture

Barry Roe started out his career in what he calls one of the big three (Business, Medicine, Law).

“Nobody ever really entertained the possibility of a real career in sports, even though there were a lot of serious athletes involved, people who were hugely successful in their sporting lives, got scholarships and everything. They never took sport seriously in terms of seeing it as an actual career path.”

He landed that coveted corner office in a tall building managing pension funds. Barry had what most would consider a perk. His office literally overlooked the Leinster training ground. If Leinster scored a try off a set piece move on Friday night, Barry had seen it happen on Tuesday. He knew who the next superstar talent was and got to watch him everyday.

But that’s not what Barry wanted. Instead of a perk, it was only adding to his misery in his office job.

“It was only my wife really who sat me down and said ‘Look you’re obviously miserable.’

Having studied something like business and marketing, it was a great experience…but if I could go back I would definitely have just gone through the sporting route. If I could talk to my teenage self I would say what do you actually really like to do and what would you like to do with the rest of your life as opposed to what do you think you should be doing.

Forget what you think you should be doing, just go do what you like to do and you’ll succeed in it. You’ll make more successful leaps and bounds far quicker than you would slogging it out during a recession in finance.”

With a very understanding wife at his side, Barry gave up his career in finance and became a personal trainer. He earned his MSc Sports Performance from the University of Limerick before becoming a strength and conditioning coach and nutrition advisor for Munster Rugby.

“When you’re sitting there thinking ‘I’m here working in pension funds until I potentially start drawing my own pension.’ Nah, that was not happening. No. Game over.”

Having worked with elite athletes and having set up his own personal training business, Barry then sought out to satiate his desire to educate. That’s how he wound up at Portobello Institute.

“My philosophy is to always be open to new challenges and opportunities. In doing so, I feel that I will maintain a fresh perspective and continue to grow professionally and personally. My goal as an educator in the undergraduate program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to become professionally competent in their chosen pathways.

My teaching philosophy takes a student-centric approach. I strive to create a collaborative and interactive learning environment; one that allows our diverse student body to share their own unique experiences and perspectives. My overall aim is to equip my students with the skills and confidence to make a seamless transition from their academic studies into their chosen careers.”

Becoming an educator was a natural fit for Barry as he has continually sought out education himself as a student. His initial degree in marketing wasn’t ultimately what he wanted to build his career in but it didn’t mar his passion for education. Since then he has earned his Masters from UL but also completed the National Qualifications in Suspension Training, Pre & Post Natal Exercise, Indoor Cycling and Kettlebell Training and further qualifications with the IRFU, U.K. Anti Doping, ISAK and Les Mills.

Fiona Skelly

Position: Sports lecturer

“My passion is the use of exercise to optimise health and well-being and improve quality of life. I believe that a physically active lifestyle can have benefits for all, regardless of fitness levels or abilities.” 

About Fiona

Exercise and sport has always been a huge part of my life. I studies Sports Science and Health in Dublin City University, and went on to complete a PhD in clinical exercise physiology. In addition to my current role here in Portobello Institute, I also lecture part time in Athlone Institute of Technology. 

I am a qualified gym instructor and personal trainer and have worked as part of the fitness team in DCUs Sports Complex since 2015. I am a strength and conditioning coach for both the men and women adult GAA teams in Clontarf GAA and have previously work as the youth athletic development coach in Belvedere F.C. 

Fiona’s Teaching Philosophy

Lecturing in the area of exercise physiology is a role I truly have passion for. My teaching strategy employs a number of methods, including visualization, peer learning, debate and problem solving. The area of exercise physiology is vast, and I aim to guide students to navigate the scientific and evidence-based literature to support their knowledge of each topic.  


  • PhD in clinical exercise physiology 
  • BSc in Sports Science and Health
  • ITEC qualified gym instructor, studio instructor and PT
  • BACPR qualification in cardiac rehabilitation


How will I learn?

Delivery Mode

Blended learning takes the schedule of a traditional face to face learning programme and re-structures 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 our BSc (hons) in Sports Psychology, PE & Coaching and allows you to work full-time and balance the requirements of a lengthy programme with home and work.

Course Structure

This course is delivered over three academic years. There are supported seminars held at weekends.

In first year, you will complete four year long core modules which will introduce you to the 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 five modules, three year long core modules which run for the duration of both semesters, alongside an additional module each semester. In second semester you will have the choice of which module to study which will be specific to your area of interest.

In third year, you will complete five modules, three core year long modules that run for the duration of both semesters, as well as an additional module each semester. The core modules include your final year dissertation project in the area of Sports Science and Therapy and your work placement. You will have the option to choose a module related to your area of interest to complete in first semester.

Practical classes are delivered in a fully equipped therapy training room with theory classes taking place in one of the many theory rooms within Portobello Institute. There is also a fully equipped gym with strength and conditioning equipment available for use as part of your course.

Seminars & Tutor Support

The tutorial seminars held at the start and throughout each module introduce you to your tutor who will guide and support you throughout the module. These seminars lay out the module for you and support you to learn and acquire the skills you will need as a Sports Therapist. The assessment and expectations for successful completion are covered in detail as is where and how to access the information on the Moodle platform. You will meet fellow students and have the opportunity to create your study network for the duration of your learning journey.

You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance.

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 a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced sports therapy practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.

Online Learning Portal – Moodle

During the induction seminar, we will show you how to navigate Moodle and find what you need with all of the information you need to complete this programme. 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 assessment. You will need basic computer skills to search the internet and type a word document to complete your assignment.

Academic Year 1

The first academic year of this course is delivered between 02/10/21 – 27/05/22

Classes are delivered on scheduled Saturdays or by Webinar during this period. Webinars are recorded so you may catch up later if you are unable to attend.

The schedule for the upcoming academic year 21-22 is available here – please note there may be some variation to these dates.

Academic Year 2

The second academic year of this course is delivered between 01/10/22 – 27/05/23

Classes are delivered on scheduled Saturdays or by Webinar during this period. Webinars are recorded so you may catch up later if you are unable to attend.

Academic Year 3

The 3rd academic year of this course is delivered between 30/09/23 – 25/05/24*

Classes are delivered on scheduled Saturdays or by Webinar during this period. Webinars are recorded so you may catch up later if you are unable to attend

*Dates TBC

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Placement

During your final year, you will complete a module incorporating work experience. For this, you will choose an individual work placement in the field of sports therapy to complete alongside your studies. This allows you to put into practice the skills you have learnt in class. Portobello will support you to obtain placement in an area of interest to you.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies, skills demonstrations to examinations. The final year project provides the opportunity for an extended piece of formal scientific writing preparing you for your future career and the need to keep scientific based patient notes. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Career prospects

Employment opportunities for graduates of this degree are diverse. This course is designed to provide a broad foundational undergraduate education in sports science with a heavy emphasis on the psychology of sport. The course will equip students to progress on to further education in sports psychology, physiology or coaching. The transferrable skills developed throughout the course are relevant to all forms of employment, particularly in the sport, exercise and health industries. Employment opportunities lie both within the public and private sector.

In this course there is also a heavy emphasis on research skills to support those who wish to pursue a combined career in applied practice and academia at MSc or PhD level. Our graduates also go on to teaching and tutoring in roles Sports Therapy at third level.

What is the role of a Sports Psychologist?

Sports Psychologists work with athletes and teams to help them cope with the pressures of competition, stay focused on their goals and prepare for competition. When working in the area of sports psychology you will be helping professional athletes use the mental skills required to improve confidence, focus, composure, and intensity for enhanced performance. From a physical performance perspective, sports psychologist work with athletes and coaches to develop understanding and control of an athlete’s zone of optimal functioning and develop tools and skills so that athletes can control their arousal levels.

Related Courses

Blended Learning

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Oct ’21

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full-time and study this BSc Sports Therapy. You will have the opportunity to qualify and work as a professional sports therapist with the option to progress to a Masters in Physiotherapy and become a qualified physiotherapist.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
2nd October 2021
Blended Learning

BSc (Hons) Sports Science & Performance Analysis – Starts Oct ’21

Delivered for blended learning, you can work full-time and study this BSc Sports Science and Performance Analysis. You will gain an in-depth knowledge of sports science and have the opportunity to qualify and work as a professional sports performance analyst.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
2nd October 2021

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.

Your Consultant

Johanna Shaw

About Johanna 

Johanna is Portobello Institute’s Sports Development and Admissions Advisor. Prior to working with us Johanna worked in TCD and Kingston College in the UK. Johanna completed a MPhil in Physical Activity for Health and a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science.

How long are you working in Portobello?

I started working at Portobello in August 2020.

What do you enjoy about working in Portobello?

I enjoy working with the other staff here at Portobello, everyone is so friendly and happy to help there are no stupid questions or ideas.

What inspires you about working in education?

I love being able to make a huge difference to so many students lives and helping them progress towards the career they want to do or didn’t know they could do before they talked to me.

Have you a story that you recall that touched you/made you laugh/made you cry?

I am always touched when you meet or hear from a past student and hear all the amazing achievements they gained after completing the course you helped put them on or helped get them through.

How do you feel when you have helped a student reach a decision on their course choice?

My role is so rewarding when you know you have helped a student get one step closer to the career they are interested in.

Book a consultation

How do I apply?

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.


With a Leaving Certificate

Sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2021

Students may apply and be granted a “Conditional Offer” prior to completing the Leaving Certificate.

Step 1 – Submit application

Step 2 – Attend interview

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 2021.

Applicants who have 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 available here

Without a Leaving Certificate

Applicants should 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 available here
  • Equivalent qualifications with biology/anatomy & physiology module
Application Process

Step 1

Complete the online booking form.

Apply Now

Step 2

Applicants will be contacted for confirmation of the entry criteria.

Step 3

Confirmation of a place will be given to applicants immediately meeting the criteria.

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 assessment of suitability. Applicants confirm acceptance of offer by returning acceptance form.

Please note places on this course are only confirmed once tuition fees have been received.

Students will be registered as an undergraduate degree student with London Metropolitan University.

Fees & Payment Options

  • Year 1 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year1)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year - due at start of academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 1).


    Easy Payment Plan

    Deposit of 30%. Balance payable in 6 equal instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course commences. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees are included in the easy payment plan detailed.

    Deposit Amount

    30% deposit payment, due on application of your course.


    Instalments Payments

    Deposit payment (€1,654.50), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s).

    Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00. Payments scheduled every 1 month(s).

    • €643.42 due on 1st November 2021.
    • €643.42 due on 1st December 2021.
    • €643.42 due on 1st January 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st February 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st April 2022.
  • Year 2 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year2)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year - due at start of academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 2).


    Easy Payment Plan

    Deposit of 30%. Balance payable in 6 equal instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course commences. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees are included in the easy payment plan detailed.

    Deposit Amount

    30% deposit payment, due on application of your course.


    Instalments Payments

    Deposit payment (€1,609.50), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s).

    Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00. Payments scheduled every 1 month(s).

    • €625.92 due on 1st November 2021.
    • €625.92 due on 1st December 2021.
    • €625.92 due on 1st January 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st February 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st April 2022.
  • Year 3 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year3)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year - due at start of academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 3).


    Easy Payment Plan

    Deposit of 30%. Balance payable in 6 equal instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course commences. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees are included in the easy payment plan detailed.

    Deposit Amount

    30% deposit payment, due on application of your course.


    Instalments Payments

    Deposit payment (€1,609.50), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s).

    Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00. Payments scheduled every 1 month(s).

    • €625.92 due on 1st November 2021.
    • €625.92 due on 1st December 2021.
    • €625.92 due on 1st January 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st February 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €625.92 due on 1st April 2022.