BSc (Hons)

Equestrian Psychology and Sports Science

Student with horse
  • UCAS code(s): D422 / D423
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This unique equestrian degree reflects the industry's growing need for a better understanding of equine behaviour and is designed to equip students to succeed in the field. Choose to specialise in areas including equine behaviour and learning, equine assisted therapies or sports psychology.

Why choose this course?

This is the ideal course if you would like to become a specialist in equestrian psychology and sports science. The modules have been developed to reflect the growing need to gain a greater understanding of equine behaviour and the horse-human relationship.

You'll also benefit from the following:

  • Brackenhurst Equestrian Centre has international sized indoor and outdoor arenas, a horse walker and a round pen for you to use.
  • You will receive regular lectures and demonstrations from equine industry guest speakers and professionals.
  • The Mary King Arena was opened in May 2012 by the Olympian herself.
  • Our brand new 1,000 square metre and £2.5 million campus eco-library opened in 2013.
  • We offer sport scholarships to elite athletes across a range of sports, including high-level riders.

International exchange opportunities

You can spend six months on international exchange with a partner university in Australia, Canada or Hungary during your second year of study. The equine team have close links with the University of Guelph, Canada.


100% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course (National Student Survey 2017).

What you'll study

The course complements study towards the internationally recognised British Horse Society (BHS) examinations and United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC).

You will be able to select from a range of specialist modules in your second and final year, including:

  • equitation science
  • rider performance
  • horse behaviour and welfare
  • equine assisted therapies.
  • Year One

    Introduction to Sports Psychology and Coaching

    Explore the field of sport and exercise psychology. Study the psychological factors that are associated with elite performance in sport and investigate how these can be applied to equestrian sports.

    Equine Anatomy and Physiology

    Gain knowledge of equine body systems and the significance of their interrelationships. Topics include skeletal and muscular anatomy, cell biology, tissue structure and function, endocrinology, haematology and physiology.

    Research Skills for Scientists

    Develop your skills in scientific writing and communication along with practical laboratory skills.

    Equine Behaviour and Welfare

    Study the role that evolution and domestication has played in the development of innate equine behaviour patterns. You'll assess the consequences of current approaches to horse management on the behaviour and welfare of the horse.

    Equine Health and Husbandry

    Gain a scientific introduction to horse health by reviewing theoretical principles of nutrition and veterinary science and applying this knowledge to practical horse husbandry.

    Horse – human Relationship

    Take part in practical sessions and develop different methods of handling, training and riding. Investigate the history of the horse – human relationship and the implications for the current uses of the horse.

  • Year Two

    Research Methods for Behavioural Sciences

    Learn about research principles, experimental design and statistical analysis. You'll also carry our small-scale research projects.

    Equine Learning and Cognition

    Learn about animal cognition and how it relates to the findings for equine cognitive ability. Discuss the various approaches to the study of learning and related theories with reference to their application in horse management and training.

    Equine Health and Nutrition

    Explore and evaluate a range of health disorders and problems of the horse, including relevant treatment regimes. You will also study nutritional science, practical feeding and the relationship between nutrition and health.

    Equine and Human Sports Science

    Study the structure and function of the equine and human athlete. Develop an understanding of the demands of equestrian sports on horse and rider.

    Example optional modules (choose one of the following):

    Analysis of Equestrian Performance

    Explore the developing technologies available to riders, coaches and trainers for the analysis of performance and exercise psychology. You'll also study a range of mental preparation techniques and consultative approaches.

    Sports Injury

    Study the common injuries affecting sports horses and examine the implications for health and welfare.

    International Study

    Undertake an independent investigation into an area related to equine science or the equine industry with an international emphasis. This can include a short international placement opportunity.

    Therapeutic Use of the Horse

    Explore the different ways in which animals are utilised in human therapy. Investigate the wide range of therapeutic uses of the horse that exist both nationally and internationally.

  • Year Three

      This is a placement year for students on the four year course.
  • Final year

    Emerging Issues, Ethics and Welfare

    Investigate and examine emerging ethical and welfare issues related to the horse. Learn how to critically evaluate these issues and explore the challenges you are likely to face when entering employment within the equine industry.


    Carry out an original investigation into a chosen area of study. Focus on your own areas of interest within equine sports science.

    Assessment of Equine Behaviour

    Explore the different methods of assessing equine behaviour and critically evaluate their application.

    Optimising Performance

    Develop a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the factors that contribute to optimal performance in the sports horse. Focus on recent advances in scientific research and technology and explore the impact of these on equestrian sports.

    Example optional modules (choose one of the following):

    Animal Assisted Interventions (Equine)

    Study selected areas of interest relating to animal assisted interventions. You will develop global knowledge and understanding of the sector.

    Rehabilitation Strategies for Horse and Rider

    Gain an awareness and appreciation of a range of rehabilitation programmes, strategies and models available to both horse and rider.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

100% of students are satisfied with this course (National Student Survey 2017).

How you’re taught

You will be taught through a variety of methods including group seminars, lectures and practical sessions.

Assessment methods

Year 1 coursework (33%), written (34%) and practical (33%).

Year 2 coursework (50%), written (33%) and practical (17%).

Year 3 coursework (66%), written (17%) and practical (17%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (28%), independent study (72%) and placements (0%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (27%), independent study (73%) and placements (0%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%) and placements (0%).

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study.

You'll hear from external industry professionals through guest lectures and visits to a range of equestrian and research establishments.

Careers and employability

Your career development

This course will give you the skills you need to become a:

  • feed research officer
  • horse passport officer
  • insurance assessor
  • medical lab assistant
  • national hunt groom
  • postgraduate researcher
  • RSPCA inspector
  • trainee equine veterinary nurse
  • competition groom.

You will be equipped to start a career in:

  • British Dressage
  • British Horseracing Authority
  • Cambridge University
  • Newmarket Equine Hospital
  • Om El Arab
  • University of Glasgow
  • World Horse Welfare.

Excellent placement opportunities

You will have the option to take a year's placement in industry.

Why undertake a placement?

  • You will gain vital experience in a vocational position.
  • It will boost your CV and build useful contacts for your future career.
  • There are some exciting and challenging opportunities available within organisations such as Kentucky Equine Research, and Sydney, Edinburgh and Liverpool Universities.
  • You will also have the opportunity to carry out research for your final year dissertation.
  • Your placement opportunity may lead to a supplementary Certificate or Diploma in Professional Studies.

Students have gained valuable experience through recent placements such as:

  • Australian Equine Behaviour Centre (Andrew McLean)
  • Bellerive Stud, Australia
  • Bennett Equine Sport Rehabilitation
  • Fittocks Stud Newmarket
  • Hartstone Equestrian Ltd
  • Pakiri Beach Horse Riding, New Zealand

Our Brackenhurst Campus Equestrian Centre is home to a British Horse Society (BHS) approved training and livery establishment.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BCC, including a Science subject; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM, including relevant Science modules; or
  • 104 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level equivalent in a Science subject; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths grade C / 4.

For this course we accept the following Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Biology and Psychology.

Applicants without A-levels will have their applications assessed for subject compatibility.

We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations.

If you are unsure whether the qualifications you have, or are currently studying for, meet the minimum entry requirements for this course, please contact us before submitting an application through UCAS.

The UCAS Tariff

We've created a UCAS Tariff calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statementBe honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Apply now

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What do the course fees cover?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course. If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

All students will also be expected to provide their own riding equipment to include jodhpurs or breeches; hairnet; riding hat; gloves; long boots or jodhpur boots with matching half chaps; polo short and sweatshirt.

All students will also be expected to provide overalls, wellington boots and sturdy footwear.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

International fees and scholarships

For information on international and EU fees and advice on how to pay, please visit our international fees page.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University. For details and an application form please visit our international scholarships information.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418