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Sports Facilities and Courses for Postgraduates at UK Universities


UEL SportsDock We all know the importance of being fit and healthy, and there is a stack of evidence showing that participation in any kind of sporting activity is also of benefit to our mental wellbeing. Plus, as a postgraduate student, you should know that, whilst work has to be done, there is far more to university life than just the academic stuff!

Continuing with any kind of sport you enjoyed pre-university, or even taking up something completely new gives you the all-important opportunity to get out and meet other like-minded individuals who enjoy the same sport as you, and probably participate in the same kind of social activities, too.

Sports clubs and societies at universities will vary in their facilities, abilities and the degree of seriousness they take in their chosen activity, so it is worth looking around and finding the one that is right for you. Most universities are keen for their students to participate in these extra-curricular activities, and will endorse and fully support them.

Great Sports Facilities

The University of East London has achieved unparalleled success and growth over the past five years, and this achievement has been largely down to their unique range of sports facilities, programs and sports scholarships. The range of sports facilities at University of East London are amongst the finest in the UK, including their flagship SportsDock complex that was opened in 2012 and hosted the USA Olympic team during the Olympic games. SportsDock combines a great range of fitness and conditioning facilities alongside two enormous indoor sports Arenas, including 20 badminton courts, four basketball courts and eight volleyball courts. UEL also benefits hugely from the legacy of the Olympic Games, and utilises the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park facilities for sports such as swimming, hockey and tennis (three of UEL’s current focus sports).

UEL SportsDock David Cosford, the Director of Sports at UEL explains, “Having such an array of facilities at a student’s disposal gives an unrivalled opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity at any level of performance or fitness.”

Meanwhile, the University of Bath in the South West of England is another UK university with a wide range of sporting facilities, including an eight-lane floodlit athletics track, an indoor athletics hall, eight fencing pistes and even a bobsleigh/skeleton push track! Bath is proud to offer these facilities not only to undergraduates and postgraduates, but also to the local community. What’s more, from 2016 all students will have a Sports Pass included in their fees; this allows them free access to many facilities at student-only times and priority bookings on other occasions. And for those wishing to study sport at postgraduate level, Bath’s prospectus includes MSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Science programs, MSc Sports Physiotherapy and a distance-learning MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine degree.

Another UK university with great sporting facilities and postgraduate programs is Bournemouth University, boasting nationally recognised provisions for golf, tennis and cricket, plus they have degree courses suitable for elite athletes. For those who enjoy sport as a recreation rather than career choice, Sport BU’s recent upgrade of its gym, sports halls and studios means that it now offers the best recreational facilities in the area at reasonable student rates, and the nearby beach means that surfing, volley ball and beach Ultimate Frisbee are available, too!

Historically, Loughborough University is probably the UK university that people think of as being associated with sporting achievements, sports education and great sports facilities, and in fact it prides itself on “ensuring every student has the opportunity to get involved regardless of ability or interest”. Its sports program reflects this ethos, offering at least 30 free fun sporting events every week. Plus, there is also a brand new Health and Fitness Centre and a Powerbase gym meaning that Loughborough’s students have fantastic opportunities to keep fit and socialise. For athletes who are studying, Loughborough can provide the highest quality coaching and personal development support to ensure the flexibility needed to balance the demands of performance sport with studying. Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences has an internationally renowned reputation and a vast choice of study programs for postgrads.

Sports-related Postgraduate Programs And Scholarships

UEL SportsDock

UK universities are also encouraging more students to take up sports-related postgraduate programs, as well as supporting sporting students from overseas who wish to do their postgraduate studies in the UK. Matthew Tansley, the High Performance Sport Manager at UELSports, explains, “Crucially student athletes from the USA are not subject to NCAA rules regarding eligibility once they arrive in the UK. This means any student wishing to study abroad can do so while continuing to play, even if they have completed four years of eligibility in the USA. As a result, postgraduate students have been instrumental in some of our more recent successes in University Competition (BUCS).

He continues, “Some of our most notable alumni include Taylor Wilson and Martin Etem. Taylor Wilson joined UEL following two NCAA D1 Volleyball championship titles with UC Irvine and a successful playing career abroad. He graduated from UEL in 2014 with a Masters Degree in Sports Management having led the UEL men’s team to their first ever BUCS premiership promotion. Martin Etem was a trialist for the USA senior men’s rowing squad and joined UEL after graduating from Syracuse University. Martin graduated in 2013 with a Masters Degree in Fine Art at UEL and was part of the most successful men’s rowing crew UEL ever produced, securing three Gold medals at the University championships.”  The sports scholarships scheme at UEL was instrumental in both of these athletes’ success, as Matthew Tansley explains, “Both athletes were part of UEL’s unique sports scholarship scheme, which continues to grow from strength to strength, and offer student athletes a world-class environment to study whilst achieving improved sports performance. UEL sports scholarships provide tuition fee discounts, bursaries and access to a wide range of sports science and sports medicine services, ensuring athletes have every chance of achieving success both in the classroom and in competition.”

The Importance of Sport and Fitness

UK universities are now appreciating more and more the importance of sports and fitness, in fact sport and recreational activities are more relevant today than they ever have been. The ‘Sport for All’ ethos means that everybody has the chance to participate, whatever their level of ability or commitment, and as a postgraduate you have the opportunity to participate in your sport at your level. Plus, if sport is a professional consideration for you, there are also great opportunities for you at many universities up and down the country regarding postgraduate courses and sports scholarships.

It’s time to look into sport and push your limits.


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