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The Global Impact of Sport

Exploring the relationship between sport, heritage, and culture, in Scotland and beyond

It is impossible to understand Scotland without acknowledging the place and impact of sport.

Sport is a significant part of Scottish cultural heritage. It helps to link the Scottish diaspora from Scotland to Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, to name but a few places. It is also impossible to fully understand global affairs without an informed practical insight into how sport is increasingly being used as a cost-effective social tool involved in addressing many of the world’s social and humanitarian issues. It is part of the social, cultural, economic and political fabric of many countries that makes it a potent force for good and bad. It has been a catalyst in starting wars, promoting peace and international reconciliation, enabling health. 

The Global Impact of Sport is built around two broad themes:

Sport, Heritage and Scottish Culture examines the contribution that Scotland has made to different worlds of sport. It takes the learner on a critical journey from St Andrew’s and the home of golf, to the National Football Museum and the oldest international fixture in the world, to unique sports settings in the borders, the western isles and the Highlands, to Braemar and the Royal Highland Games but also where Scottish sporting culture, icons and émigré’s have travelled and why.

Sport and Global Affairs identifies and analyses the way in which sport is being used today by the United Nations, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and trans-national NGO’S as a cost-effective social tool that can contribute to global challenges of health, justice, conflict resolution, social inclusion, education for all, sustainability and international development.

You will learn about social interventions through sport such as PeacePlayers International, Soccer Across Borders, and The Mighty Girls Programme. You will gain a unique insight into what works, what isn’t working, successes and failures.

Sport itself is a global phenomenon. Governments around the world commit public resources to sport. Every four years countries and cities commit to hard and soft legacies from hosting the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, or other major sporting events. From the bleachers to the boardroom, to the senate or cabinet, sport increasingly matters in today’s world. This course helps you to understand why this is the case.  

Who should take this course?

This course will appeal to anyone with an interest in Scottish heritage, society and culture. It will also provide interesting insight for those who have an interest in global affairs and the part that sport can play in addressing world problems and issues, and those who want to visit some of Scotland's great sporting settings and institutions, architecture, museums and Scottish sports Halls of Fame.

Course Format

The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, tutorials, and academic excursions.

You will have the opportunity to experience sporting events and developments through trips to the National Football Museum, a Highland Games, a shinty match, and the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

You will also be able to expand your knowledge with digital resources including podcasts.


  • One briefing paper (60%)
  • One SWOT analysis group presentation (Pass/Fail)
  • One evidence-based blog (40%)

Course Organisers

Professor Grant Jarvie is Head of Edinburgh University's Academy of Sport. He will bring to the course real life examples and experiences of how sport has been a force for good and bad in different parts of the world.

Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan is a Gaelic scholar, the voice of sport on national television and radio and sports historian and author.

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Develop a critical understanding of sports history, heritage and global affairs
  • Exercise autonomy and initiative to gather evidence about Scottish sporting history, heritage and/or sport and global affairs
  • Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts, issues and evidence of Scottish sport and/or sporting heritage and/or sport as a social tool used in international development
  • Develop a knowledge and understanding of some contemporary global issues and the nature of sports interventions tackling such issues
  • Use a range of research skills to plan and execute advice and briefings on aspects of sport, heritage and global affairs
  • Exercise responsibility and accountability to facilitate collaborative group work with others

The fee for this course is £2,581. 

This fee includes:

  • Tuition fees for the four-week course
  • Course materials and equipment
  • Academic trips and excursions
  • Social programme 

Additional fees may apply for visa applications. These are not included in your course fee.

The course fee does not include accommodation. To find out more about available accommodation options on our Accommodation page.

As part of your application process, you will be required to pay a £250 deposit. The deposit payment will be redeemable against your course fee. After a 14 day cooling off period, the deposit is non-refundable. You will receive information on how to pay your deposit during your application process.