PY0566 - Theoretical Frameworks in Sport and Exercise Psychology

What will I learn on this module?

On this module, you will explore a range of topics to develop an accurate understanding of the nature, purpose and use of sport and exercise psychology in physical activity and sport performance environments. You will learn about people’s motivational orientation to participation and achievement, key psychological factors associated with improved performance, the challenges athletes face, and mindset for growth and development in sport. Questions such as ‘What are the major reasons children to participate in and drop out of sport?’, ‘What is the role of parental involvement in youth sport?’, and ‘How to apply effective coaching practices and behaviour modification programmes in sport?’ will be approached scientifically with reference to published research and theoretical frameworks. Discussions will examine the contribution made by sport and exercise psychology research to extant understanding of the factors causing one’s exercise and performance behaviour to fluctuate, the role coaches play in ensuring long-term athlete development, realities of burnout and overtraining in tandem with evidence-based psychological support that can be offered by sport psychology practitioners.

How will I learn on this module?

You will attend weekly lectures that will provide the framework for the development of understanding based on wider reading. This involves a diverse range of learning activities including brief lecture-style presentations, discussion groups on videos/real-world case studies, student led tasks and practical workshops. This will help you to enhance your knowledge and skills (e.g., critical thinking, communication). You will experience and reflect on controversial issues in the discipline. Independent study will give you further opportunity to enhance skills in critical analysis and explore key theoretical underpinnings and practical contexts relating to professional practice.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of student resources linked to the lectures and assessments available on the eLearning Portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, lecture handouts) along with links to resources to encourage further exploration of specific research topics. A discussion board on the eLearning Portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to the module tutor. This enhances collegiality and means that support is available to all students. The module tutor will set aside fixed office consultation hours available for one to one and or small group appointments each week if students feel the need for direct contact for further explanation. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto recording software, online submission and marking of the summative assessment, along with the incorporation of different media formats into the lectures and seminars.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: Critically discuss a range of conceptual/theoretical frameworks and psychological orientations in the field of sport and exercise psychology.
• MK2: Demonstrate how to apply integrated experiential and scientific sport and exercise psychology knowledge to address real-world challenges occurring in sport and exercise environments.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: Demonstrate ethical, cultural and client-centered awareness in prescribing and applying sport psychological concepts to promote physical activity and sports performance in different client groups.
• MIP2: You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will develop and reinforce the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate by building research skills to contribute to knowledge generation and dissemination, demonstrating awareness of ethical principles.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
This will take place through discussion/observation based tasks where you will consider questions, practical demonstrations, student-led workshops and presentations relating to the discussed topics (MK1; MK2).

Module tutor feedback will be given during the preparation of and after each task.

Summative Assessment:
The assessment consists of two individual pieces of work:
1. A written assignment (maximum 3000 words) that offers a critical analyses/evaluation on the psychological behaviour of an exerciser, coach, athlete or team in sport and physical activity supported with relevant and evidence-based methods of dealing with such behaviour. This will be worth 90% of the module mark (MK1; MK2; MIP1; MPV1).

2. The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has influenced your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words).

For the first summative assessment, individual written feedback will be provided on the electronic submission. As a minimum, this will identify a strength, a weakness and an area for improvement.

You will be required to arrange a tutorial with your Personal Guidance Tutor for formal feedback on your reflection.





Module abstract

This module introduces students to topics in the vibrant and stimulating field of sport and exercise psychology, which offer a current perspective on what it is, whom it is for, how it is done and what formal education and training are necessary. You will explore the interrelated function between a person’s psychological makeup and physical activity/motor performance with an in-depth focus on some prominent psychological factors associated with exercise participation and performance in sport. Associated themes such as the psychology of coaching, pitfalls in sport, and mindset for growth and development are also outlined. This module engages learners in an active approach that aims to bridge the gap between scientific and experiential knowledge, which accustoms learners with the various orientations to the field (i.e. psychophysiological, social–psychological, and cognitive–behavioural approaches) allowing for a better understanding, assessment, identification, modification and prediction of behaviour among exercisers, athletes, coaches and officials from recreational to elite level. This introduction to the scientific base and professional orientations of contemporary sport and exercise psychology not only offers learners a sound foundation for pursuing exciting career prospects in the world of sport/health-care sector, but also ignite interest in service opportunities aimed at life-skills development and multidisciplinary research on pertinent issues in society.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy