Sports scientist
Health Sciences

Sports scientists study, research and advise on the scientific aspects of sport and exercise. Sometimes teaching or coaching is involved.

Work Activities

Sports scientists study and research the scientific factors that influence sport and exercise. They have knowledge of biomechanics, physiology and psychology. They use this knowledge to give specialist advice on a wide range of sport-related issues.

Sports scientists work with sportspeople to help improve their performance. They assess current performance, using various tests. When they have analysed the results, they put together a training programme, which could focus on factors like psychological preparation, movement analysis or diet-related issues.

Other sports scientists research a particular area, rather than individual people's performance. They might use a series of tests to find out how the heart reacts to different exercises, for example.

Sports scientists sometimes work as fitness consultants in a gym or fitness club. They assess people's fitness and put together suitable exercise programmes for them. Some sports scientists also teach or coach particular sports (in which they hold coaching qualifications) on a part-time basis; others become full-time physical education teachers in schools, or managers of sports, leisure and recreation centres.

Sports scientists who are based in universities, combine research activities with lecturing and student assessment. Sports scientists who work in sports medicine centres provide advice on sport injury treatments and prevention, nutrition and conditioning.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers for sport scientists include organisations such as:

  • the British Olympic Association
  • the English Institute of Sport
  • national governing bodies of sport
  • commercial sports performance centres.

Sports scientists also work in universities and in sports and fitness centres. There are opportunities, too, for self-employment.


Entry requirements will vary for each degree so it is important to check with each university for details.

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