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My experience studying at Leeds Beckett

Hi, I’m Tom, a final year Sports and Exercise Science student at Leeds Beckett University. I’ve also played professional rugby for 12 years. I played for Hull F.C before moving to Leeds Rhinos in 2014 where I’ve won two Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups.

If you want to know more about starting university as a mature student and what part-time study is like, then please read on.

Published on 07 Aug 2020
Image of sport students walking

My experience

I chose Leeds Beckett University because of the close partnership it has with Leeds Rhinos as well as being a highly regarded university for sports. Some of my proudest sporting moments have been winning the Challenge Cup final in 2015 where I scored five tries and won the Lance Todd Trophy for my man of the match display. Also, making my debut for England.

My favourite part of the course has been how varied it is. I’m more of a practical learner and the course is suited to that style of learning. We had the chance to use a lot of equipment that I would have never used otherwise. I would 100% recommend the course to anyone who is interested and looking into it.

Leeds is also a great city because of the variety of things it can offer, from the restaurants to nightlife and shopping. Then there’s the sporting heritage in the city which I’m proud to be part of. There’s football, rugby and many other sports on offer.

Work/study/life balance

Balancing my work and studies was probably the hardest thing to get right. During the time that I was completing my degree, my wife has had three children which alongside playing rugby, didn’t leave much time spare time for my studies.

Some days I had to change training or finish early in order to make exams or important lectures. After training I would get home to sort the kids out, and then when they were in bed, I’d try to get in a couple hours of studying per night. This was sometimes difficult to do after a long day. I tried to break down my tasks and do things little and often to keep up to everything, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to cram everything in at the last minute, as I didn’t have the time. 


The university has been great. I wouldn’t have been able to complete the course without their support. I was able to work my seminars and lectures around my other commitments and if something changed last minute, which happens quite often in sport, the tutors were always there to offer support and catch me up on any work that I missed.

In the first few years there were very few lecture recordings online, but the module leaders would make the effort to get them recorded and sent to me which was a massive help. Towards the end of my degree, most of the work was put online which made it much easier and just meant I didn’t have to chase them up.

I recommend Leeds Beckett

If you’re interested and willing to put the effort in, then Leeds Beckett is a very rewarding place to study. It’s not an easy journey studying part time but all the effort is worth it in the end. It’ll be a proud moment for me and my family when I do get to walk across the stage to receive my graduation certificate.

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