BSc (Hons)

Equine Sports Science

Student and horse
  • UCAS code(s): DC37 / DC36
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Sandwich / Full-time
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 4 / 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This degree will allow you to explore and apply the scientific principles that underpin equestrian sport, management and the health of equine athletes. You'll develop a clear understanding of the global equine sports industry and become a confident and ambitious scientist.

Why choose this course?

The course provides the knowledge to improve the husbandry, performance and welfare of the horse as a leisure animal and as an equine athlete. You'll develop your ability to think critically and solve problems, the practical and investigative skills required by the industry, and a thorough background of equine science.

  • Brackenhurst Equestrian Centre has international-sized indoor and outdoor arenas, plus modern laboratories for the scientific study of nutrition, physiology, disease and genetics.
  • You will have the option to take a work placement during your third year of study.
  • Equestrian industry guest speakers and eventing professionals give lectures and demonstrations to students.
  • The Mary King Arena was opened in May 2012 by the Olympian herself.
  • NTU is recognised as a centre of world-class research into all aspects of equine and equestrian science.
  • We offer sport scholarships to elite athletes across a range of sports, including high-level riders.
  • 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 is built around the major scientific areas of anatomy and physiology, nutrition, veterinary science, reproduction and genetics. You'll explore the specialist areas of biomechanics and sports psychology, as well as looking at how equine performance and welfare are affected by training, doping and injury and rehabilitation.

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

  • Year One

    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 Handling Skills

    Develop the practical handling, riding, and training skills required by the industry. Explore the evidence base behind these techniques.

    National Equine Sports Industry

    Learn about the structure, organisation and scope of the national equine sports industry in preparation for the world of graduate work.

  • Year Two

    Research Methods and Experimental Design

    Gain knowledge of scientific research principles, planning experiments and projects, and gathering and evaluating data. Get involved in planning and carrying out a small-scale research project.

    Sports Injury

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

    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.

    Equine Health and Nutrition

    Learn about the effect of disorders and disease on the welfare of the horse, including relevant treatment regimes. You will also study the nutritional physiology and the relationship between nutrition and health.

    Equine Reproduction and Stud Management

    Explore the anatomical and physiological basis of equine reproduction, making comparisons with other species. Evaluate the practical basis of horse breeding and breeding stock management.

    Example optional modules (choose one of the following):

    Sport Horse Breeding and Genetics

    Develop knowledge of the use of veterinary management processes, assisted reproductive technologies and molecular tools to support and inform the breeding of horses for sport.

    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.

    Equine Disease and Diagnostics

    Develop an understanding and practical competency in the veterinary, diagnostic and performance assessment procedures routinely used in modern equine sport. Topics include sport performance and analysis, advanced nutritional analysis, and reproductive performance analysis.

  • Year Three

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

    Optimising Performance

    Develop knowledge and skills of the factors that contribute to optimal performance in the sports horse. Study recent advances in scientific research and technology and explore the impact of these on equestrian sports.

    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.

    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.

    Example optional modules (choose one of the following):

    Equine Genetics

    Understand the foundation role of genetics in modern selective breeding. Explore the molecular basis of genetics and apply these concepts to gene manipulation, biotechnology, veterinary genetics and genetic improvement.

    Global Equine Sports Industry

    Gain a strong understanding of the structure and organisation of the international equine sports industry.

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 (50%), written (33%) and practical (17%).
  • Year 2 coursework (67%), written (33%) and practical (0%).
  • 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
  • horse trainer
  • insurance assessor
  • medical lab assistant
  • national hunt groom
  • postgraduate researcher
  • research assistant
  • RSPCA inspector
  • stud manager
  • trainee equine veterinary nurse
  • traveling groom
  • yard groom.

You could be working for companies such as:

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

Some students may also wish to continue their studies at MSc or PhD level.

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 and Sports Science / Physical Education.

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 this 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 statement

Be 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