Examine the roles that science and technology play in modern sport and develop an understanding of the scientific concepts that underpin many Olympic events. Earn a Science: Sport, The Science Behind The Medals degree at The Open University UK.  


This online Science: Sport, The Science Behind The Medals course from The Open University UK investigates a variety of sporting phenomena associated with the Olympic Games – including track and field, swimming, diving, and cycling – and the scientific concepts that athletes need to understand if they are to compete at this elite level. Science: sport, the science behind the medals is one of a series of 100-hour flexible online courses introducing fascinating topics in science. It allows you to learn about this topic just for interest and enables you to try out a new area of study before you commit yourself to further study. You can register and begin this course at any time and will have at least 6 months to complete it.

This is a non-credit bearing version of the now discontinued Sport: the science behind the medals.

By the end of the course you’ll have developed a greater awareness of the role of science and technology in sport, and a greater understanding of the fundamental scientific concepts that underpin many Olympic events. You’ll also develop a range of study skills associated with finding, interpreting and communicating scientific information. You will develop graphical skills that enable you to plot and interpret scientific data and a special emphasis is placed on developing skills related to finding, evaluating and summarising scientific information on the internet.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date A student can apply at any time for this programme, there is no deadline.
  • Programme intensity Full-time
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
  • More information Go to the programme website

Programme Structure

A central theme of the course is the concept of force, which is one of the most fundamental factors that affect sporting action. You will learn about the force of gravity, how this affects the motion of athletes in jumping and diving events, and how it affects the motion of balls in sports such as tennis and volleyball. You will learn about the basic nature of air and water, and how this leads to drag forces due to air and water resistance in swimming and diving. 

You will learn about frictional forces, and the effect that these forces have on performance in track sprinting and speed skating. Finally, you will see how the way that athletes move during sport and their overall performance depends not on any individual force but on the combination of many different forces.

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

The course does not assume any previous scientific background or any specific sporting knowledge and teaches the ideas and skills needed as and when they are required. All you need is an interest in the relationship between sport and science and the motivation to understand more of the science, and particularly the physics, behind a range of different sports.

Mathematically you need only to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers. 

Tuition Fee

  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of  .
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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