Undergraduate Course

BSc Sports and Exercise Science

(Including Placement Year)

BSc Sports and Exercise Science

Overview

The details
Sports and Exercise Science (Including Placement Year)
C606
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus

How can athletes optimise their training and performance? How can individuals and communities improve their physical activity, health and well-being? Our inter-disciplinary team of scientists and practitioners will help you understand the role of physiology, psychology, biomechanics and nutrition in sports and exercise science.

Our BSc Sports and Exercise Science course will give you a new and exciting perspective on the world of sport, exercise, health and physical fitness.





Your study topics include:

  • How and why different energy systems are deployed at different exercise intensities
  • Biomechanical principles behind acute and chronic sporting injuries, and how these can be applied to prevent injuries
  • The role of ergogenic aids in improving athletic performance
  • How physical activity and nutrition can reduce the risk of cardio-metabolic disease
  • The design and implementation of psychological skills training programmes

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.

As part of our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences (SRES) you'll have an exciting opportunity to join a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. We bring together research, share knowledge, and enhance placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.

Why we're great.
  • 92% of our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023).
  • We're 27th in the UK for Sports Science in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • We are ranked 23rd in the UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, REF 2021).

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

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 West Ham United Football Club, Colchester United Football Club, Colchester Rugby Club and Royal Hospital School.

If you cannot see this video, you can watch it on our Vimeo channel within your browser.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

We offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. We are 23rd in UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021) - 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 recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Our specialist facilities include the Sport Arena, physiotherapy labs, six specialist sport and physiology labs, two dedicated sports therapy training labs, and an on-campus sports therapy clinic.

  • Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
  • 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

Human Performance Unit

The Human Performance Unit (HPU) has been used by professional athletes and sports persons from a range of disciplines, including Team GB athletes participating in the London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and players from our local Colchester United Football Club.

The HPU supports student teaching and research across all degree types. Our undergraduates in sports therapy, sports performance and coaching, and sports and exercise science use the HPU for some of their modules, with both beginners and professional sports persons recruited to take part. This gives students experience in managing the practical physiological tests, as well helping them develop soft skills such as communication and teamwork.

Additionally the HPU supports a range of placement activities. Our Masters students can take a 12-week placement, while undergraduates have the option to use the HPU during our optional Placement Year. Along with continuing the work with individual athletes, students who have a placement year as part of their course also assist with sports science workshops held at the HPU for local schools. These workshops are tailored to the National Curriculum for PE, and give our students experience of working with teachers and young people.

Find out more about the services the HPU offers.

Your future

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 our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Sport scholarships

Our Performance Sport Scholarship programme has been created for talented athletes playing at regional, national or international level, and offers a range of benefits. We want students competing in our focus sports (basketball, volleyball, tennis and football), as well as other team sports and individual athletes, to contribute to our performance sport programme. Our scholarships can include fee discounts of up to 100%, offered to athletes who demonstrate sporting excellence. Athletes who are awarded the scholarship may also receive a host of other benefits, including free kit, access to state-of-the-art facilities, performance coaching, the option to live in our Athlete Village (accommodation fees may vary) and a support package valued up to £1,500. These benefits are designed to help athletes focus on their training, and development, and to enable them to reach their full potential alongside their studies.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • GCSE: Mathematics C/4.
  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels and a minimum grade C in a science subject or Mathematics. PE and Psychology are acceptable as science A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent including C in one science subject or Mathematics. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554. Either must include 5 in a Higher level science subject or Mathematics. Our GCSE Maths requirement can be met with either: 4 in Standard level Maths; 3 in Higher level Maths; or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.
  • A-level Science or equivalent: If you have or are studying other level 3/A-level equivalent subjects in areas related to science or maths we may be able to consider you if you do not meet the requirements outlined above.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Professional Skills and Development 1
(30 CREDITS)

The aim of this module is to develop your academic, scientific and professional abilities relevant to the study of and professions related to sport, rehabilitation and exercise sciences. There are four key focuses of this module: professional skills; research design and ethics; data analysis, presentation and interpretation; and employability.

View Professional Skills and Development 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Introduction to Sports and Exercise Science
(15 CREDITS)

Understanding performance in sport requires knowledge of the basic scientific principles of chemistry, biology and physics, alongside a foundation of maths. This module will help develop understanding of the human body at both cellular and gross level. Students will consider performance can be influenced by exercise training and how these changes can be assessed. As this is a broad based module, we will also explore population health, basic nutrition and recovery. Students will apply theoretical knowledge to real sporting examples including training and fitness testing. 

View Introduction to Sports and Exercise Science on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Fundamentals of Human Movement
(15 CREDITS)

This module will help you to understand the physical and mechanical principles that determine how we, and the objects with which we interact during exercise and in sporting events, move. You will learn the meaning of concepts such as force, mass, speed, velocity, acceleration, momentum and we will explore how they enable us to describe and understand movement in sport and exercise.

View Fundamentals of Human Movement on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Sport and Exercise Psychology
(15 CREDITS)

Is it all in the mind? The margin between victory and defeat is thin, but can an athlete’s psychology really give them an edge? Why do some people find exercise difficult and other find exercise essential? Understanding how involvement in sport, exercise and physical activity affects a person's health and wellbeing is important in creating better interventions. The aim of this module is to introduce you to the fundamental principles underpinning the psychology of sport and exercise.

View Sport and Exercise Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Principles of Nutrition and Metabolism
(15 CREDITS)

Students will gain a basic knowledge of nutrition and metabolism underpinning Sports Science. On completion of the module, students will be able to describe the flow of nutrient intake and energy production supporting not only training and performance but optimal health. This module will give students a firm foundation from which to study exercise physiology and the specific nutritional requirements of athletes including legal and illegal substances, in later modules.

View Principles of Nutrition and Metabolism on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Introduction to Exercise Physiology
(15 CREDITS)

This module will provide you with knowledge on the fundamental concepts of human anatomy and physiology which underpins the biological sciences. You will gain knowledge of the mechanisms associated with the control and regulation of the major systems of the body. The content will give you a foundation for more advanced study of Exercise Physiology or Applied Biomedicine. Furthermore, this module explore the individual systems involved in maintaining our bodies’ internal environments – respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary and immune. Examine how each system’s organ structures inform function, how they work together as a whole, and the ways they maintain homeostasis under the stresses of exercise and disease.

View Introduction to Exercise Physiology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Anatomy and Physiology for Sport
(15 CREDITS)

The aim of this module is to provide you with knowledge on the fundamental concepts of human anatomy and physiology which underpin the biological sciences. The module will provide you with a sound knowledge of the mechanisms associated with the control and regulation of the major systems of the body. This module will enable you to complete an accredited Certificate in Fitness Instruction (GYM) and is at level 2 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework.

View Anatomy and Physiology for Sport on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Professional Skills 2
(15 CREDITS)

Your biggest competition to date: the graduate job market. This module gives you a crucial head-start, ensuring you can both practically apply and effectively communicate your skills to the real-world and future employers.<br><br>During the Sports Science summer school you will identify and consequently investigate a chosen research question, working as part of a team to process, evaluate and analyse data. You will also have chance to prepare for life beyond graduation, developing a written strategy for optimising your employability, updating your skills e-portfolio and CV, and examining the job application process in detail.

View Professional Skills 2 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Research Methods in Sport and Exercise
(15 CREDITS)

This module will build upon your knowledge and skills to understand, appraise and plan research in sport and exercise. You will develop your understanding of different methodologies, research designs, and data analytical techniques, including their strengths, limitations and applications. You will develop your skills in using library and online resources for scientific research, and your ability to critically appraise published work and how it can be used to inform applied practice in sport and exercise. You will also gain practical experience in participating in research, planning your own study, and analysing and interpreting data. Overall, the module will equip you with knowledge and skills required for your final year research project.

View Research Methods in Sport and Exercise on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Optional module(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Optional module(s) from list
(45 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Optional module(s) from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Placement Year
(120 CREDITS)

Gain experience as a practicing sports therapist. You will spend one year on a supervised clinical placement, practicing elements of the profession which you have previously studied and have been successfully assessed in.

View Placement Year on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Research Project
(45 CREDITS)

In this module you will conduct an individual scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree specialisation. You will either use the skills you have developed to identify a suitable research question and design an experimental approach to obtain data addressing this question, or use your research skills to better understand an existing project/ dataset. This module evaluates your analysis, presentation, understanding and interpretation of these data in a suitable scientific paper format report along with your critical writing skills. Your oral presentation skills and response to questions, the planning and management of your project work and your employability skills will also be part of the assessment.

View Research Project on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(45 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Practical work in your first two years
  • Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
  • Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely
  • Undergraduate students in the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each module every week.

Assessment

  • Degrees are awarded on the results of your written examinations together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework
  • Contribute towards real-world research projects in your final year of study

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£20,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 17 August 2024 - Colchester Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

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.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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