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Excellence in sport, see why! 01/03/2016

The University of Exeter has been named as The Times and The Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2016, in recognition of excellence in sports performance, education and research.

 The award acknowledges Exeter as the best in the country in academia and athletic achievement across a wide range of sports. It takes into account the University’s outstanding support for athletes, very high student satisfaction in sport-related programmes and world-leading research which enhances athletic performance at all levels.

Performance Sport

The University has invested significantly in its performance sport unit and the strength in depth across our sports has developed and grown. For example, our Men’s Rugby 3rd team (a full team of first year students) successfully defended the BUCS Trophy final against hefty opposition.  Performance coaching and delivery is centred on nine focus sports, although support is centred on 1st team squads, the benefits are presented in teams further down the club and BUCS league system. Core support in team coaching, strength & conditioning, physiotherapy, performance analysis and various lifestyle workshops have benefitted 2nd, 3rd and 4th team athletes and given the Exeter sporting clubs strength in depth that is unrivalled in the UK. 


The University of Exeter Sports Scholarship Scheme is one of the most prestigious in the UK, helping the best student athletes reach their full potential. The scheme provides a comprehensive support package and is tailored to suit the needs of each individual athlete. Many of our graduating scholars have progressed to a professional level in their chosen sport and represented their respective countries on the global stage. Sports Scholarships are available to the most outstanding student athletes who show evidence of achievement at national or international level, primarily awarded to those competing in our Focus Sports.

Focus sports:  Hockey, Cricket, Rugby, Lacrosse, Tennis, Rowing, Netball, Sailing and Golf.

Sports scholarships are awarded annually and tailored to the needs of the individual. They include a cash sum for sporting expenses up to £2,000 a year for exceptional athletes. A full package of support services and coaching equating to a cash equivalent upwards of £5,000 is also provided as part of each award. This investment is supported by a vibrant alumni community who recognise the value of sport and work closely with the sports team to support current students, with approximately 30 athletes being supported per annum.

AU & Intramural

Sport is not limited however, to elite students.  The University has 62% of its students regularly taking part in sport. University of Exeter sport caters for all their students’ sporting needs, we believe that sport is something that is embedded into student life and we facilitate this in many ways. With over 7,200 AU members across 50 sports clubs, there is something for everyone. Whether an international athlete or someone who is just trying a sport for the first time.

In the past academic year nearly 4,000 students took part in 8,682 intramural fixtures. Intramural is our recreational sporting opportunities, for anyone to come along and play in friendly informal competition fixtures.   Over 23 weeks, 384 teams took part in 9 sports.  This has grown tremendously over the last 5 years, since Intramural sport was launched in 2010/11; numbers have risen from 1500 students to the current 4,000, helping us to facilitate the best student experience possible.

‘This fantastic news recognises the success of our ethos of working alongside academically gifted students to help them achieve their full potential as student athletes. We aim to engage, empower and encourage staff and students to be physically active. From support for our elite performers to community outreach, we strive to create a culture that means people want to be involved. Our strengths in the three strands of performance, education and research mean everyone benefits from the very best in knowledge, support and innovation in sport.’

Alison Davidson, Director of Sport at the University of Exeter



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