About the course
Are Olympic athletes born or made? Can exercise be bad for your health? What is the secret behind the world’s fastest sprinter? Studying sports and exercise science will help you to understand the biology, physiology, biomechanics and psychology of sport, exercise and physical activity.
With a science-based approach, studying sports and exercise science at Essex will help you to understand the biology, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and psychology of sport, exercise and physical activity.
You study topics including:
- How and why different energy systems are deployed at different exercise intensities
- How the principles of mechanics determine the flight of a javelin
- How mind and body interact to influence performance
- How exercise can reduce the risk of getting cancer
- How the body responds and adapts to exercise
Practical work in your first two years provides you with the professional and scientific skills you need to conduct your own research project in your final year, and to make the transition to postgraduate study or on to a fulfilling career in a range of industries, especially sport, health and education.
In short, sports and exercise science will give you a new and exciting perspective on the world of sport, exercise, health and physical fitness.
From 2017/18, this course will move into our new School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. This will not change the content of the course but provides an exciting opportunity to join a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. This will allow us to bring together our internationally recognised research, share knowledge, and enhance placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.
”From my first lecture I was made to feel welcome in the department. I particularly enjoyed my paid, work-based placement at the University’s applied Human Performance Unit where I was able to gain applied experience working with a variety of athletes under the supervision of experienced sports scientists."
Jay Collison, BSc Sports and Exercise Science, 2014
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you extending your education through providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad in an English-speaking country or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. Recent destinations include:
- Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
- Queensland University of Technology
- University of Mount Union
- La Trobe University
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation. This is usually focussed around your course, and enables you to learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.
Organisations our students have recently been placed with include GlaxoSmithKline, Proctor & Gamble, Aquaterra, Astrazeneca, Genzyme, Reckitt Benckiser, Thermofisher, and Isogenica.
Our expert staff
As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.
Our research covers a wide spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Key academic staff for this course include Dr Valerie Gladwell, who is researching green exercise and the autonomic nervous system in exercise bouts, Dr Paul Freeman, who works on social support in sports, and Dr Gavin Sandercock, who works on geographical and social interactions with exercise.
The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.
Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Biological Sciences, including:
- Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
- Conduct your final-year research alongside academics and PhD students in shared labs
- Gain valuable experience working with elite athletes in our Human Performance Unit
- State-of-the-art research facilities, from state of the art treadmills, to 7-camera biomechanics systems, to gas and blood analysis systems
- Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories
The sport, fitness, health and leisure sectors are booming and provide a variety of careers for sports and exercise science graduates.
Typical career destinations include healthcare, teaching, and the health and fitness industries or postgraduate study. Our courses develop your skills in numeracy, information technology, communication and time management, which are important to all employers.
Our recent graduates have taken up a wide range of roles, including:
- Senior fitness instruction and personal training
- Coaches and performance analysts for football clubs including Southend United, West Ham United, Dag and Redbridge, and Derby County, and for rugby clubs including Colchester RFC
- Health and safety executive for HM Inspector of Health and Safety
- Essex netball development officer for England Netball
- Girls’ and women’s football development officer for a local council
- Health improvement facilitator for a primary care trust
Other graduates now work in the fields of sports performance, sports management and sports development, health care, teaching, and the health and fitness industry. Many also undertake further postgraduate study.
We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
A-levels: BCC, including B in one science subject or Mathematics (PE and Psychology count as science A-levels)
GCSE: Mathematics and Science C
If you do not meet the GCSE Science requirement but you have A-level Science or equivalent, please contact Undergraduate Admissions for advice before applying
BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM (in relevant subjects).
IB: 28 points, including Higher Level Science or Mathematics grade 5, and Standard Level Mathematics and Science grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Standard Level Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.
Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.
Applicant Days and interviews
Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.
Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.
If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you plan a visit to the University.
Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.