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Sport and Leisure Studies

Sport and leisure is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing industries so the demand for exceptional leaders with expert knowledge and a passion for sport is mounting.

People who work in this industry are committed to improving the physical, social and mental well-being of others. At Waikato, our sport and leisure qualifications give you the tools to excel in this dynamic environment.

We equip our graduates with hands-on learning experiences, practical placements and partnerships that enable them to turn their interest into a career. Whether your passion lies in sport, education, health, recreation, fitness or leisure, our qualifications can be tailored to your interests.

Apply now or for further information, contact the Faculty of Education on 0800 832 242, or email

Career Opportunities

  • Applied Exercise Scientist
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Events or Sports Manager
  • Outdoor Education Instructor
  • Health, Physical Education or Dance Teacher
  • Researcher in Health, Sport and Human Movement
  • High Performance Manager

School subjects required

There are no specific subjects you need to study at secondary school to study Sport and Leisure Studies at Waikato.

Qualification Options

Our papers cover the many avenues of sport and leisure including sports, outdoor-adventure experiences, health-related fitness, performing arts, coaching, management, community recreation, teaching and aquatic activities.

Sport and Leisure Studies can also be taken as a second major or supporting subject within most undergraduate degrees

Specialisations can be opted into from second year and provide an opportunity to shape your qualification to suit your interests and needs. This involves choosing papers within, across and outside the three specialisations.

Applied Movement Sciences
Critically explore how the application of scientific principals can enhance health and well-being, fitness and performance. You'll find out about anatomy, biomechanics, exercise prescription, movement analysis, nutrition, physiology, psychology, strength conditioning. Apply known scientific principals to examine current practice, explore innovative strategies in the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of physical activity, exercise and sport. Develop skills in applied movement sciences and develop the knowledge necessary to thrive in a dynamic workplace across a range of movement contexts.

Movement Cultures
You'll understand the social and cultural aspects of consuming, producing and experiencing sport and leisure in contemporary and historical settings, as well as critically exploring movement in a range of settings, consider issues such as power, identity, gender, race, inclusion, equity and diversity. You will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary local and global trends. A BSpLS will open up a broad range of career paths, equipping you with problem solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, communication and reflective processing skills.

People Movement and Professional Practice
Develop an understanding of contemporary knowledge and skills related to teaching, coaching, leading, volunteering, and instructing in diverse movement contexts. Explore theory and practice in educational movement. Gain an understanding of the social and cultural significance of movement in community and educational settings. Develop critical thinking, planning, communication, reflective and contextually relevant skills necessary to contribute to and lead equitable movement opportunities for all members of their community.

Considering teaching?
If you are considering a career in teaching, you will need to choose your papers carefully to ensure you gain the skills necessary for working in schools. It is important to take papers that include an outdoors focus, a sociocultural focus and a biophysical focus.

Event management
Students in the Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies programme may also complete the Event Management Specialisation offered by the Waikato Management School.

Health communication
The health industry has significant opportunities for research and jobs. There is a need for health communication specialists. If you are interested in exploring health promotion and communication further there are Sport and Leisure Studies papers which align with papers offered by the Waikato Management School.

Hear from our students

Shem Rodger

PhD, Sport and Leisure Studies

It’s full circle for Shem Rodger, a current PhD student who is now working with Cycling NZ’s Junior athletes. Having already spent many years juggling study while racing and competing overseas as a cyclist, Shem is now at the coalface, working with Cycling NZ and High Performance Sport NZ as part of his PhD scholarship.

Shem’s latest undertaking has been working with the NZ Junior cycling squad, both as the assistant endurance coach and sports science researcher.

Results at this year’s UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Switzerland proved successful, with NZ topping the leaderboard - the best result the Kiwis had ever achieved in the competition. Not only was this an outstanding reflection on the athletes, but also the support staff who worked alongside them in the build up to their pinnacle event.

Shem says the unique experience of working alongside coaches and other key support staff is an important step in his desire to develop a career working as an applied sports scientist in a high performance sport organisation.

Read Shem's full story.


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