Sport, health, and physical education

Make change and improve the health of communities by choosing a career in the growing worlds of sport, health and physical education.

A career in sport, health or physical education is dynamic, diverse and rewarding. By working these fields you have the chance help people and communities to become the best version of themselves through educating and promoting the benefits of health and wellness.

The Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education will delve into various aspects of the field, balancing theory with practice in order to give you an all-inclusive understanding of the discipline and prepare you for a range of careers.

We aren’t just looking to move you into a static career, but we will equip you will the skills and knowledge to become an innovator and change-maker in the field.

Depending on the pathway you choose to take, not only will you be studying courses in the Faculty of Education and Social Work but you will have the opportunity to study exercise science and population health through the Faculty of Science and Dance through the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries – ultimately giving you a holistic understanding of field.  

Sport, health and physical education outlook

The fields of sport, health and physical education provide up to $3 billion of economic value to New Zealand per year, but most importantly it is an industry where you can make a positive difference to the health of individuals and communities.

The number of jobs in these fields are increasing, with disciplines including coaching, teaching, sports science, community health and event management growing in scale.

As a graduate from the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education, you’ll be equipped with a solid understanding of the latest research, ideas and practices in health and physical education.

Choosing from five specialised pathways, you’ll also learn the needs of groups such as children, Maori and Pacific communities, and develop skills including leadership, coaching/teaching, health advocacy and community engagement.

Specialised pathways:

  • Sport leadership and coaching
  • Health education and promotion
  • Sport science (taught in conjunction with the Department of Exercise Sciences)
  • Health and physical education
  • Dance (taught in conjunction with the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries)

Becoming a registered teacher

If you are interested in a career you can add on a one-year teaching qualification after completing your BSportHPE degree, including:

Health education and promotion

The health education and promotion pathway develops your knowledge of population health and provides the skills to improve and manage community well-being.

Select from courses that will enable you to develop an in-depth knowledge of contemporary health issues in Aoteoroa New Zealand, including mental health, sexual health, alcohol, drugs and obesity.

Job options:

  • Health promotion
  • Community health education
  • Youth work
  • Education/Health policy analysis
  • Social entrepreneurship

Sport coaching and leadership

The sport coaching and leadership pathway develops the skills needed to deliver sport and recreation activities in diverse community settings.

You will examine and apply effective coaching practices and principles, explore the role of media in sport, and developing an understanding of how children, youth and adults in Aotearoa New Zealand engage with sport, recreation and physical activity.

Job options:

  • Professional coaching, administration and management
  • Community sport and physical activity coordination
  • Partnerships and engagement coordination
  • Sports programme development and coordination in schools
  • Sport event coordination

Sport science

The sport science pathway advances your knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, sports and exercise injuries, recovery and rehabilitation.

You will develop an understanding of how the body moves, how it responds to physical activity (and inactivity), how fitness can be tested and developed, and the connections between physical activity and health.

Job options:

  • Community sport/physical activity facilitation
  • Corporate health and wellbeing advising
  • Physical activity coordination
  • Group fitness leadership
  • Research

Health and physical education

The health and physical education pathway develops your knowledge of physical education, health education, sports, outdoor education, aquatics and games.

You will gain an understanding of pedagogy, curriculum and programme implementation in primary and secondary school contexts and will critically examine a range of contemporary issues in the fields of sport, health and physical education.

Job options:

  • Health and physical education teaching*
  • Kaiwhakahaere working with Kōhanga / Puna Reo
  • Education consultancy for national and regional sporting organisations
  • Community physical activity coordination
  • Professional development


The dance pathway will grow your understanding of movement, dance improvisation, and choreography. It combines both theoretical and practical classes in order to be able to analyse dance theories and practices, including those that shape teaching and learning of dance in diverse community and school settings.

You will also create choreography to be shared through film and/or live performances and help coordinate large-scale events such as Polyfest, Te Matatini or Street Dance.

Job options:

  • Community dance teaching
  • Dance education
  • Disability dance
  • Choreography

Career opportunities

Stay up-to-date on relevant career opportunities for sport, health and physical education graduates.

*To teach in primary or secondary schools, an additional teaching qualification is required. See which teaching degree should I study?