Course Details

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.

Start Date
12th February 2022
Level 8 Honours Degree
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
3 years


Are you interested in becoming a professionally qualified sports therapist with a BSc in Sports Therapy? This honours degree has been 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. You will enjoy excellent employment opportunities as a sports therapist with many of the leading clubs recruiting directly from this programme. Alternatively, you can follow the path of many of our past pupils directly into an MSc in Physiotherapy. There is one to one support available to you throughout your learning journey. Upon graduation, you will obtain professional membership of the global Society of Sports Therapists – the only programme in Ireland to carry this recognition. 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 Therapy gives you the opportunity to attain a level 8 honours degree. Obtaining professional membership of the global Society of Sports Therapists has many unique benefits as detailed below. You will have career opportunities as a Sports Therapist working with teams, in a clinic or as a self-employed practitioner. You will also have the option, like some of our past pupils, to use this qualification as a route to study a Masters in Physiotherapy.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completing this level 8 honours degree, you will hold a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU). When you begin your second year of this course you are invited to become registered as a student member of The Society of Sports Therapists. You may become a full member of the society when you complete your degree. Sports Therapists who are members of SST are recognised globally for the high standards they have attained during their training and are employed by leading clubs throughout the sporting world. Members of the Society of Sports Therapy are eligible for Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.

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 Therapy – Starts Feb ’22 course?

During this programme, you will learn to assess, treat and where appropriate refer athletes for specialist advice and intervention. You will learn to provide immediate care of injuries and basic life support in a recreational, training and competitive sporting environment. You will learn to plan and implement a unique rehabilitation programme for each athlete you treat. The practical techniques you will acquire, include sport and remedial massage for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

  • Foundations of Sports Therapy – 30 Credits

    This module is intended to serve as an introduction to Sports Therapy. It covers the core theoretical and practical competencies of a Sports Therapist including; first aid, application of effective sports massage and the fundamentals of a clinical examination and assessment.

    On completion of this module, you will be able to demonstrate safe and effective patient handling of a clinical examination and assessment. Where appropriate, you will be able to demonstrate effective emergency aid and trauma management in a sport and exercise context.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sport Rehabilitation – 30 Credits

    This module develops students’ ability to research, plan, provide and justify an appropriate rehabilitation programme for the early, intermediate, late and pre-discharge stages of sports injuries.

    This module aims to provide students with academic knowledge and understanding to plan a safe and effective rehabilitation programme suitable for the initial response, acute, sub-acute and remodelling stages of injury healing.

    Students will develop critical analysis skills in an oral context and develop awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses in a rehabilitation setting. Students will gain the underpinning knowledge and practical ability to screen for injuries, interpret the findings and implement a pre-habilitation programme to help reduce the risk of injury. Students will be able to plan, implement and deliver rehabilitation and remedial programmes suitable for the early, intermediate, late and pre-discharge stages of any common sports injury.

  • Clinical Examination and Assessment in Sports Therapy – 15 Credits

    This module is focused upon the safe and effective clinical examination and assessment (E&A) of the peripheral anatomical region of the body and the clinical significance of these E&A findings. The module also develops the students’ understanding of the theory which underpins these practical elements including knowledge of common injuries and the underlying pathophysiology. This module aims to provide the students with the knowledge, understanding and ability to safely and effectively conduct a thorough examination and assessment of a peripheral joint. To link theory with practice, this module will also discuss common injuries and the use of the assessment protocol to identify these injuries whilst considering the epidemiology, aetiology and pathology. The knowledge obtained through completion of this module provides the students with essential skills which are key competencies for their future employment as a Sport Therapist. They will also gain key fundamental skills such as communication, personal responsibility and decision making, which are transferable to a wide range of employments.

  • Peripheral Manual Therapy – 15 Credits

    Students will gain the understanding, knowledge and expertise to apply safe and effective manual therapy to the peripheral joints by introducing the students to the concepts and current philosophies of manual therapy techniques. The application of manual therapy techniques will be based on the clinical interpretation of case notes.

    The module also aims to develop the ability to clinically interpret athlete information, formulate clinical decisions to develop a treatment program based on knowledge of common sporting/dancing injuries, their mechanics and their sporting demands. The knowledge obtained through completion of this module provides the students with essential skills which are key competencies for their future employment as a Sport Therapist. They will also gain key fundamental skills such as communication, personal responsibility and decision making, which are transferable to a wide range of employments.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Advanced Sports Therapy Techniques – 30 Credits

    This module allows students to integrate their knowledge gained throughout their degree and combines this with new skills and knowledge developed within their final year.

    The module focuses on vertebral mobilisations and the theoretical and practical knowledge of electrotherapeutic modalities.

    Guidance notes: Students must pass the practical attendance in order to successfully complete the module.

  • Sports Therapy Work Placement – 30 Credits

    Students will gain experience in a variety of sports therapy arenas and they will continually develop in the ability to critically reason, interpret and produce treatment plans based on case notes of specific sports injuries. The module also introduces the students to aspects of sports medicine.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.


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.

Eddie Jackman

At 28 years of age, Eddie Jackman was forced to retire from rugby. He worked full time in the pharmaceutical industry and played AIL rugby at quite a high level. Once his ability to play was removed, Jackman realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life in sports.

That led him to earning his BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree from Middlesbrough University. Little did Jackman know that his post-playing sports career would take him further than his playing career ever did.

“I worked with the IRFU. I ended up Lead Sports Therapist with Munster rugby for four years and at the same time I was with the Irish under 20s. I’ve worked in the League of Ireland for 20 years with Waterford FC. I’ve worked with numerous GAA senior intercounty hurling and intercounty football teams.”

As a Munster man and a former rugby player himself, there’s no doubt which was the career highlight for Eddie.

“My first coach at the time was Garrett Fitzgerald who ended up CEO of Munster…my first game where I was the lead therapist was when we beat Australia down in Musgrave Park. I had a good innings with them. They were fantastic to work with.

I went full circle from being a player to being a member of the backroom team.”

Although Eddie had to travel back and forth from Waterford to be with the team, he made lifelong friends in rugby clubs all over the country and was engulfed by the culture of rugby. He was also fortunate to get to work with some of the legends of Munster and Irish rugby.

“Woody was there. You had Mick Galway, Peter Clohessy. You had Richard Wallace, you had Paul Wallace. Paul O’Connell wasn’t really coming on the scene but he was in the underage structures at the time. I didn’t know Paul that well but my son did because my son played with Young Munster for three seasons.”

Working with elite athletes in an elite setting propelled Eddie forward in his career. As he continued to work with different teams across different disciplines, his experience expanded and he was able to more effectively and more efficiently treat his clients.

Having developed through further education and worked for so many years, Eddie felt compelled to influence the next generation of therapists.

“I’m 40 years a clinician. I did my first post-grad in rehabilitation and then I did my second one in sports medicine and biomechanics in Dundee University…I feel I have a wealth of knowledge I want to pass onto the next generation of therapists. I mean, I’m 65 next birthday and I think it’s the right time for me to pass on this information.

My approach to lecturing is simple. Make it fun, entertaining and try to make the overall experience for the students a place to enjoy learning.

I just love passing on the information.”

Student feedback has revealed that students have loved Eddie’s approach to teaching because of his ability to relate the theory to practical situations and his own experience. The benefit of working across so many different sports, in so many different leagues with so many different player personalities is that he always has an example for students to learn from.

Eddie has become so popular in Portobello that two of our recent students who attained offers of places on master’s degree courses called him for advice and to give him the news.

Eddie had never even taught either student. They had just gotten to know him and learned from him so his impact was lasting even outside of the classroom.

Alan Whelan

Emma McLoughlin is a Portobello Institute lecturer who worked in psychology away from sports before moving into sports education. Cathal Brady was a Portobello student before becoming a lecturer. Barry Roe underwent a late career change to become a sports lecturer.

Alan Whelan?

Alan Whelan did all three.

“The big thing for me is I put off going back to full-time education. I sat in a job for six years, six out of 10 years that I knew I didn’t like it…I put off for years making that jump. And that’s always something I say to a lot of people, just go and chase what you want to do.

Even if it’s a mistake you won’t regret it.”

It wasn’t a mistake for Alan. He was 36 years of age when he first walked through the doors at Portobello Institute. Fearing that he would be the oldest student in the class, he’s familiar with how mature students feel when they now walk into his lectures.

Fortunately for Alan, his class was diverse and he wasn’t even the oldest student in the class. He almost proudly noted that another student was six months older than him.

Many of our sports students come back to education later in life because they weren’t pushed towards a career in sports when they left school. Despite being an intelligent student and a sports-obsessed teenager, the adults in Alan’s life guided him towards a more traditional college and career choice.

Real estate and corporate finance made up most of Alan’s next 18 years.

The day-to-day monotony of going into school to study subjects he had no interest in was replaced by the day-to-day monotony of going into an office and doing the same work over and over again.

“That mundane 9-5, sitting in a desk in front of a computer in that kind of corporate world was just killing me. It was boredom, it was monotonous. It was the same thing day in day out with little gratitude.

It was my wife who pushed me. She said ‘Look, you’re clearly not happy. Go and take the risk and do it’…I completely packed in my job, I was a couple months shy of 10 years working there.”

Had Alan reached the 10-year milestone, he could have earned an extra five days off each year. That was the only thing driving him to stay in work, the opportunity to get out of work. Instead of getting that five days off, he took three years off and studied the Sports Science and Physical Education degree at Portobello Institute.

“When I gave up my full-time job, I had a little bit of savings behind me. My idea was I was going to completely stop working and I was going to focus on year one of the degree, then with the potential of getting some part-time work in year two and three to help.

But I actually ended up not working for the entire three years.

I remember I used to say to people ‘I have never been so broke in my entire life but I’ve never been as happy as I am now.’”

That happiness extended further when Alan travelled up to the University of Ulster in Belfast to do his master’s in sports psychology.

Dr. Susan Giblin had noticed Alan’s enthusiasm for his education in sports. She also noticed how impressive his dissertation was before offering him the opportunity to become a lecturer at Portobello. Alan took all of five seconds to realize it was a great idea.

“I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s more freedom [compared to my previous jobs]…Now I’m working in Portobello and I set up my own psychology business last February.

It’s night and day the difference, particularly in relation to my own happiness.”

Having followed the path from uninterested secondary school student to college dropout to staying in the wrong career for more than 10 years, Alan can empathize with all of his students. Those students who have experienced that office depression can listen to him outline what his job is now and where he works.

He is no longer chained to an office for eight hours a day. Instead, he can work from home, can work in a sports hall, a classroom, on a field, in a locker room or, if he suddenly gets the urge, he can go and work in an office.

But working in an office would now be a choice he makes rather than something he does out of necessity.

That is because of the education he received at Portobello Institute and the decisions he made to take risks in pursuit of what he wanted.

Alan himself notes that he’s a happier person now, which makes him a more effective lecturer. He loves engaging his students and guiding them towards where they want to go.

“I am a very open and approachable tutor. I 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 maximize their potential for learning.”

Barry Roe

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.

Colm Murphy

During the final weeks of the Portobello school year, Colm Murphy is frenetically keeping track of his students and handing out grades. It’s an incredibly busy time of year after which anyone would want to take a long break.

But Colm doesn’t go and sit on a beach somewhere. Instead, he dives straight into summer camps for the children at his local tennis club.

“The youngest ones are five. It’s mostly aimed at primary schools so a few of them are 11 and 12. We split them into smaller groups within that but the smallest ones are really small. They’re very funny.”

You can sense the delight from Colm as he talks through the fun of coaching kids.

Even on this unseasonably stormy summer day where the sessions were disrupted more than once, you can sense his enthusiasm and passion. The energy he radiates personifies that delight that only comes from someone who is fully enjoying his day-to-day activities.

Colm had always wanted to be a PE teacher and a coach of some kind. There’s no doubt that he’s living out his dream but that alone isn’t enough to explain him being so content with life.

That kind of happiness comes from someone who has endured a winding and often disrupted journey to where he wanted to be.

“In school it was all about the sport and not about the study. I came to study very late in the day. At the time the only thing I wanted was to become a PE teacher but the academic requirements for that were way out of my reach.

I certainly didn’t regard myself as any kind of student or certainly not an academic. I was enjoying sport far too much to actually apply myself to my studies.”

Needing to get a proper job, Colm forewent college and went to work straight away.

Instead of PE and coaching, he spent his days in a bank. After working his way up through entry level jobs to land in the finance department, Colm was pushed towards doing accountancy exams. A proper job.

“I was trying to basically hammer a square peg into a round hole. It didn’t want to go…I had to stop at the certificate stage, I couldn’t force myself over the line no matter how valuable it would be. I was just completely sick of it at that point.”

Having not found his fit in the bank, Colm departed to an IT Software company. He was closer to what he wanted to be here, filling a position of leadership in quality control and project management. But it still wasn’t PE or Coaching.

While it didn’t feel like it at the time, Colm was very fortunate to be forced away from that career after a couple of years.

“The dotcom bubble burst in 2002 and the company I was with just shrank and shrank and shrank…eventually [my boss] called me into the room and said ‘I have a new list [to let go] and you’re on it.'”

There were no opportunities in the sector. That forced Colm to look elsewhere, which led him back to the tennis coaching qualification that he had earned in his youth.

“Funnily, I really started to enjoy it hugely, really quickly. And I actually got quite busy really quickly as well…this was an enforced change that I wouldn’t have chosen but it was kind of opportune as well. So what else could I do? What else would I like? What else would fit with this?”

At 35 years of age with two kids and a mortgage, Colm couldn’t go back into a 9-5 college education to become a physiotherapist. He instead found a Blended Learning course that could fit into his established life that allowed him to become a qualified physical therapist.

Despite never being a good student in his youth, Colm impressed so much on his course that the Institute of Physical Therapy and Applied Science offered him an opportunity to become a lecturer.

He carried out that role while still coaching and working as a therapist himself for more than 10 years before Portobello Institute came calling.

Colm has been demystifying the course material for Portobello students for three years now. He’s an energetic lecturer with a positive outlook that helps students to build their confidence and knowledge so they can overcome the challenges they have set for themselves.

But more than just putting on a show and celebrating their development, Colm’s journey allows him to empathise with his students on a professional and personal level. Especially the mature students.

“I find the mature students to be really interesting. I suppose it’s because my pathway has been unconventional and a lot of them are in the same boat…You look back at some crunch times in your journey and you wonder how you managed to get through it.

I often end up having that conversation or conversations like that with mature students.

You say, ‘Look there are gonna be bumps in the road here. You mightn’t know yet what they are but they’re gonna pop up and you need to be prepared for the fact they’re gonna pop up. If it does pop up, come and talk to me because chances are whether it’s me or Cathal [Brady] or Barry [Roe] we’re going to have had a similar experience.’”

When Colm was a mature student, he and his wife were both working and studying while taking care of their two children. They had a third child during those years and each of them felt the heartbreak of losing a parent.

So even though students now get to work with an incredibly enthusiastic and positive lecturer who can put on a show in the classroom, the person behind that lecturer also has all the experience to empathize and understand their needs.



  •  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
Success Story

"My main goal is hydrotherapy but in a couple of years I hope to have an innovative physio practice instead of just having a room where it’s super boring.”

Aoife Fleming - BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy Graduate

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22 BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22
Success Story

"I’ve chosen my path and I have a bit of life experience behind me. I know what hasn’t worked for me in the past and I’ve now found something which I’m passionate about."

Thomas Maher - BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy Graduate

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22 BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22
Success Story

"The workload suits me anyway. It’s more evenly spread in Portobello, which is easier for me to handle. Portobello’s modules are quality over quantity."

Donna Power - BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy Graduate

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22 BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy – Starts Feb ’22

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 Therapy and allows you to work full-time and balance the requirements of a lengthy programme with home and work.


The Difference between Blended, Full Time and Online with Webinars Delivery Modes

There are three delivery mode options to study degree and Masters courses in Portobello Institute.

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 scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday. Monday’s lectures are delivered online, and lectures do not take place on Fridays.

This condensed scheduling offers you flexibility to study and continue working whilst also reducing your commuting time and possible accommodation costs in Dublin.

Blended Learning is essentially the same, but the on-site lectures take place at the weekends. This makes it easier for you to study while working full-time. It also makes studying 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 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.

Online with Webinars – you will not be required to attend on-site lectures if you are enrolled on a course with this delivery mode. All lectures are delivered online and are recorded so you can 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.

Other delivery modes available

Full Time

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy

Portobello Institute
Start Date
8th October 2021

Course Structure

This course is delivered over three academic years. There are supported seminars held at weekends with an exact schedule available here.

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, two year long core modules which run for the duration of both semesters, alongside two additional modules each semester. You will have a choice of certain modules 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 12/02/22 – 28/08/22

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.

Academic Year 2

The second academic year of this course is delivered between 01/10/22 – 31/05/23

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 third academic year of this course is delivered between 30/09/23 – 31/05/24

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.

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Student Sports Clinic

The Student Sports Clinic has been an invaluable part of our BSc Sports Therapy Degree training. As a Portobello Institute Sports Therapy student, you are insured to practice under the Society of Sports Therapists. Our Student Clinic runs on a Thursday evening in the College. As a therapist, practitioner-skills are typically not learned from books or lectures but from years of hands-on work. You gain early client-contact hours in our Sports Therapy clinic where you will be tasked with setting up the clinic, completing client consultations, providing sports therapy treatments and providing rehabilitation or follow-up as required. In doing so, you learn essential clinical skills and work autonomously (with guidance and support from our Clinic Supervisor).

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. If you are interested in progressing to physiotherapy, Portobello will support you to obtain placement with a physiotherapist – graduates have found this first-hand experience and insight into physiotherapy gave them advantage when preparing for interview and subsequent successful entry to Masters programmes in the area of physiotherapy.

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 in sports therapy are diverse. Many of our graduates continue to pursue careers directly in Sports Therapy, working as allied support teams for sport or as part of multidisciplinary healthcare teams specializing in musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Over the course of the three years students develop proficiency in therapeutic skills and modalities as well as business development in health sciences for those wishing to pursue private practice.

Currently, many of our graduates’ work in private clinics or with sports clubs/ teams either individually or as part of a multi-disciplinary medical team. Private sector employment is offered by health and fitness organisations, including those operating leisure and fitness centres. Larger private companies and hotels, frequently offer sports and leisure facilities ‘in house’ and recruit Sports Therapists to run injury clinics. Many graduates have taken up employment or further education in clinical exercise physiology settings, working to promote safe exercise prescription and management for rehabilitation for populations with cardiovascular, respiratory or cancer.

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. Many graduates of this course have gained successful entry to Masters programmes in physiotherapy and are now working as professional physiotherapists. Our graduates also go on to teaching and tutoring in roles Sports Therapy at third level.

What is the role of a Sports Therapist?

If you are interested in working with athletes to support the prevention of injury and rehabilitate them back to peak fitness, then a role in Sports Therapy will be of interest to you. When working in this particular aspect of healthcare, you will support athletes to return to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of their age and ability. As a sports therapist, you will utilise the principles of sport and exercise sciences incorporating physiological and pathological processes.

Sports Therapy as an alternative route to Physiotherapy

Many of our students use the BSc Sports Therapy degree as an alternative entry pathway to becoming a Chartered Physiotherapist. With the points ever increasing for professional degrees such as Physiotherapy, many Universities have opened graduate entry professional qualifications for students who have graduated with a level 8 BSc honours degree in Sports Therapy or other affiliated areas.

We provide individual support to each student who is hoping to pursue graduate Physiotherapy Qualifications in preparing their applications and for interview to ensure students chances of success are optimized. Our BSc Sports Therapy degree also provides students with supervised clinical practice hours and clinical research skills that are imperative for progressing to achieving the MSc in Graduate Physiotherapy.

Graduate Physiotherapy courses are accredited by CORU and by IACP, most offer the qualification over a 2-year period. The main Universities in Ireland/UK that offer graduate routes for Physiotherapy are University of Limerick, University College Cork, RSCI, University College Dublin. There are similar progression routes to Graduate Physiotherapy available in the UK.

Who else has studied this degree?

Student Feedback – Dan O’Mahony

On successful completion of his sports therapy degree, Dan O’Mahony was accepted on the RCSI  master’s degree in physiotherapy.

“Portobello Institute provided me with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge for me to attain my ultimate career goal … I was also very fortunate to be given the opportunity to study with a great class of students and extremely supportive lecturers”.  

Success Story

Cathal Brady runs his own sports therapy clinic, lectures at Portobello and works with various sports teams across different codes.

Cathal Brady – Inspiring Sports Therapy Students to a Fulfilling Career
Read Full Testimonial
Success Story

Aoife Fleming helped to save a child's life when she was younger and after that she knew she wanted to become a hydrotherapist.

Aoife Fleming – Sports Therapy Opens Opportunities in Hydrotherapy
Read Full Testimonial
Success Story

Shannon Byrne opened her own clinic within a month of graduating and has since hired her first employee, who is a Portobello student.

Shannon Byrne – Sport Therapy Course Graduate to Clinic Owner in One Month
Read Full Testimonial
Read more stories

Related Courses

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 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 available here

Without a Leaving Certificate

Students 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 + 6 Instalments

    Deposit payment (€1,654.50), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00.

    • €643.42 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st April 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st May 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st June 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st July 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st August 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 + 6 Instalments

    Deposit payment (€1,722.00), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00.

    • €669.67 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €669.67 due on 1st April 2022.
    • €669.67 due on 1st May 2022.
    • €669.67 due on 1st June 2022.
    • €669.67 due on 1st July 2022.
    • €669.67 due on 1st August 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 + 6 Instalments

    Deposit payment (€1,654.50), followed by 6 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00.

    • €643.42 due on 1st March 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st April 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st May 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st June 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st July 2022.
    • €643.42 due on 1st August 2022.