Postgraduate Course

MSc Sport and Exercise Science

MSc Sport and Exercise Science


The details
Sport and Exercise Science
October 2020
1 year
Colchester Campus

Train in the practical and theoretical elements of sport and exercise science. Explore the broad spectrum of areas that underpin health; sport and exercise. With our state-of-the-art facilities and science-based approach, you gain a solid understanding of the biology, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and psychology of sport.

You study a wide variety of topics including:

  • The analysis of movement
  • How extreme environments can affect human performance
  • Paediatric exercise science
  • Sport psychology

Our course allows you to gain practical hands-on experience in our specialist laboratory facilities, as well as learning the theoretical approaches. Our seminar based teaching gives students a platform to participate in small group discussions and share expertise and knowledge. You also have the opportunity to work with our Human Performance Unit which applies the latest science to analyse performance and help top athletes stay at the top of their game.

Students have flexibility to study additional modules from other disciplines to give you a deepened understanding of all of the aspects that contribute to sport and exercise science. Recognising the importance for the practical as well as theoretical, we offer the opportunity for students to choose to undertake a final dissertation research project or a work-based capstone project. Students undertaking a work-based learning project would complete a 6-8 week placement with an employer as part of their degree. This flexibility allows you to tailor your final project to suit your career aspirations.

This course is also available part time.

Why we're great.
  • We are ranked top 10 in the UK for sports science (Guardian University Guide 2020).
  • Use our five laboratories with the latest sports science equipment.
  • Have the opportunity to choose to undertake a final dissertation research project or a work-based capstone project.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

We offer a lively, friendly and supportive close-knit environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. As part of our vibrant sports science community you learn from and work alongside internationally recognised academic researchers.

Key academic staff for this course includes:

  • Dr Jo Barton, Director of the Green Exercise Research Group and leading the way in this specialised research area
  • Dr Matthew Taylor, leading expert in a wide variety of research interests from Exergaming to Ageing and Gait analysis
  • Dr Gavin Sandercock, explores geographical and social interactions with exercise

Specialist facilities

  • 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
  • Dedicated research facilities, from state of the art treadmills, to 12-camera biomechanics systems, to gas and blood analysis systems
  • Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories

Your future

The sports science, fitness, health and leisure sectors are booming and provide a variety of careers for sports and exercise science graduates. Typical career destinations include sports performance, sports management and sports development, health care, teaching, the health and fitness industry and academic research.

We have great industry links and work closely with the University’s Careers Services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall 2.2 in a subject relevant to Sport, Exercise, Psychology or Human Biology.

Your degree should contain modules in sport, psychology or human biology - such as biology, physiology, anatomy or genetics.

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 select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.


Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.

Further Research Methods in Sport, Exercise and Health

This module will focus on the fundamental assumptions underlying quantitative research, including; research design methods, sampling, and the validity and reliability of measurements in exercise science. Students will master the techniques needed to critically appraise published research and carry out a piece of original research.

View Further Research Methods in Sport, Exercise and Health on our Module Directory

Research Project

Students have a choice of choosing between a research project and a 8 - 12 week work based placement for the duration of the summer term. A research project will be an independent original research study or report, supervised by an academic staff member. A work based placement will vary according to the research needs of the placement provider. Projects could be used to generate creative solutions to work based issues, providing an opportunity to create new ways of thinking about certain areas of work or professional practice.

View Research Project on our Module Directory

Biomechanics of Locomotion

You will master the techniques needed to critically appraise published research and carry out a piece of original research. Topics include: the scientific method applied to exercise sciences; literature search techniques; research design; sampling; the organisation of a research project; research ethics; measurement techniques; the analysis of new and extant quantitative data sets; and the effective presentation of results and routes of dissemination.

View Biomechanics of Locomotion on our Module Directory

Physical Activity and Wellbeing

The module explores contemporary topics in health psychology and focuses on the link between research evidence and the application of Health Psychology to sport and exercise. You will gain an understanding of up-to-date research evidence across a number of topics including the relationship between exercise and esteem, using exercise as an intervention to ameliorate psychological illness, and the impact of end-of-career on the well-being of an individual.

View Physical Activity and Wellbeing on our Module Directory

Human Physiology at the Extreme

This module explores the medical and physiological challenges associated with human adaptation to and tolerance of extreme environments. Students will engage with historical and contemporary research in the field, with the aim of proposing novel solutions to problems in survival physiology, working at altitude and extended duration space flight.

View Human Physiology at the Extreme on our Module Directory

Developmental Issues in Sport and Exercise

In this module, students will compare physiological responses to exercise of children and adolescents, with those of adults, examining the effects of age, sex and maturation. Students will examine the role that physical activity and fitness can play in improving markers of health and wellbeing in young people; an increasingly important area of study due to recent evidence (from work at the University of Essex showing declines in children's fitness). This module will explain the immediate and possible future benefits of physical activity and exercise for the health and wellbeing of healthy children and young athletes.

View Developmental Issues in Sport and Exercise on our Module Directory

Literature Review

The module will develop skills in reviewing and critically appraising academic text. Students are required to write a literature review which should focus on a contemporary issue in sport and exercise science. The process involves searching for, obtaining and understanding the literature and the critical skills required to analyse and synthesise the material into a literature review.

View Literature Review on our Module Directory


  • Lectures and seminars
  • Small group laboratory sessions
  • Practical skills sessions


  • Our modules are assessed by a combination of exams, essays, verbal/visual presentations and written reviews

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


International fee


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you 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

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020


You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

Colchester Campus

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or 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 prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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