School of Public Health and Community Medicine

The Power of Sport: An Introduction to Sport for Social Change (PHCM3009)


“Sport has the power to change the world... it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”  (Nelson Mandela, circa early 2000)

There is no doubt about the positive benefits of engaging in sports. The power of sports, however, goes well beyond the playing field, and individual benefit.  Sports traditionally are not appreciated for the vast extent of social good, and positive change  they can bring, in both developing and developed countries.

This course will introduce students to the exciting new and emerging field of sport for development and social change (S4D/SC), where the power of sport goes well beyond the traditional playing fields to address health and social challenges. Through an inspiring mix of case studies, resources and multi-media to see SD in action and guest experts, students will engage with the compelling power of this emerging field of sport for development and social change.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” (V Lombardi, circa 1960’s)

Credit points

This is a elective course in the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

Fully online.


There are no pre-requisite courses that need to be completed before undertaking this course.

Course aim

The aims of this course are to:

  • introduce and familiarize students with sport for development and social change ideology, theories and practices.
  • foster students’ understanding of the difference between sports development and sport for development and social change.
  • enable students take part in today's sport for social change movement in a front role.
Course Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • distinguish the difference between development of sport and sport for development and social change (S4D/SC);
  • describe how sport for development and social change (S4D/SC) can also contribute to the development of sport at local, national and international levels;
  • explain how health promotion, social science and development program theories relate to the sport for development and social change (S4D/SC) movement;
  • apply advocacy strategies to promote the sport for development and social change (S4D/SC) movement.
Learning and teaching rationale

The course offers students a combination of learning experiences, integrating both individual and group work throughout class time and assessment tasks. Students learn from lectures and readings, online engagement with key international networks and from each other in student-led tutorials. Students will engage in experiential learning through on-field experience, and special workshops with key experts from the field of S4DSC. 


Assessment Task 1 - Reading analysis: weekly participation in the Reading Game
Weighting: 15%
Length: Variable

Assessment Task 2 - Interview and analysis
Weighting: 30%
Length: 1000 words

Assessment Task 3 - Group project (conference presentation and peer assessment)
Weighting: 35%
Length: Variable

Assessment Task 4 - Final quiz
Weighting: 20%
Length: 20 questions

Readings and resources

The recommended text for this course is: Global Sport-for-Development: Critical Perspectives, Editors: Nico Schulenkorf, Daryl Adair, Palgrave Macmillan. This book is available as an eBook in the UNSW Library:

An additional reading list per course topic will be posted in Moodle in the relevant weeks. Relevant online websites will also be provided in Moodle.