2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

BSc Sports and Exercise Science

Now In Clearing
BSc Sports and Exercise Science

Overview

The details
Sports and Exercise Science
C600
October 2020
Full-time
3 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. 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.

In short, sports and exercise science will give you a new and exciting perspective on the world of sport, exercise, health and physical fitness.

As part of our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences you’ll have an exciting opportunity to join a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. We bring together internationally recognised research, share knowledge, and enhance placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates. We are ranked top 10 in the UK for sports science (Guardian University Guide 2020).

Why we're great.
  • You gain in-depth knowledge by using our cutting-edge advanced research equipment.
  • You work with elite athletes and gain experience in our renowned Human Performance Unit.
  • We are ranked top 10 in the UK for sports science (Guardian University Guide 2020).
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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.

For students who commence their course in 2020, if you spend a full year abroad you’ll pay no tuition fees to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university either.

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

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.

Specialist facilities

Our specialist facilities include our brand new £12 million Sports Centre, physiotherapy labs, six specialist sport & 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

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.

”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

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2020 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

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.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Professional Skills and Development 1

Ask difficult questions, and develop the skills needed to answer them. This module provides key initial preparation for academic study of and later careers in science-based sport, exercise and health professions. This module aims to develop profession-oriented and academic skills across four focuses. (i) Learning practical skills such as exercise testing, blood sampling, and professional communication (some of the professional competencies expected of sport and exercise scientists, sports coaches and sports therapists); (ii) Learning how to read, write and critically analyse research literature to find gaps in scientific understanding and create new knowledge; (iii) Research aspects of design, data collection, the statistical analysis of data, and the interpretation and presentation of research findings; (iv) Creating an employability portfolio of documents.

View Professional Skills and Development 1 on our Module Directory

Biomechanics

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 Biomechanics on our Module Directory

Principles of Nutrition and Metabolism

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

Sport and Exercise Psychology

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? The aim of this module is to introduce students to the fundamental principles underpinning the psychology of sport and exercise. The content of the lectures traces the historical development of the discipline culminating in its establishment as an independent field of academic study.

View Sport and Exercise Psychology on our Module Directory

Anatomy and Physiology

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 Anatomy and Physiology on our Module Directory

Introduction to Sports and Exercise Science

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

Professional Skills and Development 2

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 and Development 2 on our Module Directory

Exercise Physiology (optional)

How do our bodies respond and adapt to an exercise bout and prolonged training? You will review the structure and function of the muscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, assessing how they respond to physical strain, and how they contribute to the limitations of human performance. You also consider how the nervous and endocrine systems adapt and help to control the responses to acute exercise and training.

View Exercise Physiology (optional) on our Module Directory

Applied Movement Science (optional)

Optimal performance in sports and health requires two things: the ability to optimize performance without compromising injury risk. This module will provide you with a very practical toolbox towards designing the appropriate exercise programs for your clients. This module will cover topics ranging from the biomechanical basis of optimizing core stability for health and performance, neuromuscular adaptations to pain and injuries, neuromuscular basis for exercise selection, overuse and acute injury mechanisms, to understanding the mechanical limits of athletic behaviours. In a practical, you will collect your own data and perform scientific experiments to understand and characterise the effect of footwear in the context of injury prevention. Lessons will be a mixture of lectures and hands-on session, where students get taught on how to instruct the optimal performance of different exercises to ensure maximum benefit to health and function.

View Applied Movement Science (optional) on our Module Directory

Sport and Performance Psychology (optional)

This module will advance students’ understanding of the psychology of sport and exercise. The content of the lectures builds upon the knowledge gained in the first year module by exploring in more depth the theoretical explanations of psychological phenomena in sport and performance contexts. It explores a diverse literature which includes issues about psychological skills, developing interventions, research methodology, and social and cognitive factors related to performance and well-being.

View Sport and Performance Psychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Metabolism in Exercise (optional)

This module focuses on the provision of energy for muscular work and the regulation of biochemical processes that result in catabolism or anabolism dependent on the overriding metabolic. Students will further explore specific components of performance related to oxygen uptake, MAOD and fatigue. To broaden the topic from year 1 work, students will examine hormonal influences on performance and the effect of exercise on the immune system.

View Metabolism in Exercise (optional) on our Module Directory

Training Techniques and Assessment of Athletes (optional)

Students will learn about the theoretical and practical values and limitations inherent in assessing fitness, and of the methods and outcomes of training to enhance components of fitness. Student will learn how to perform reliable fitness tests, how to interpret their results and develop an understanding of the limitations of test methods. We will also review the rationale for, and the design and management of, training programmes to develop different components of fitness that are tailored to produce sport- and health-specific outcomes.

View Training Techniques and Assessment of Athletes (optional) on our Module Directory

Health and Active Lifestyle (optional)

Physical activity is very important to wellbeing and health. We will discuss why not everyone is meeting the minimum recommendations for physical activity and then critically examine why interventions or initiatives to increase physical activity are successful. Behaviour change theories and techniques will be explored which may increase physical activity in the individual and  community. The module will culminate in  you producing an intervention to increase physical activity in the community and present in a Dragon Den style.  Classes will include debates, open tutorials and some standard lectures.

View Health and Active Lifestyle (optional) on our Module Directory

Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition (optional)

After natural talent and adequate training, the role of the diet is crucial for athletic success. Whether optimising training adaptations, enhancing performance or altering body composition, correct dietary intake is essential for achieving these goals. This module will explore macronutrient requirements for athletes across a variety of performance types (endurance, strength, power) with particular reference to evidence-based guidelines and published literature. Furthermore, the role of ergogenic aids in enhancing performance and supporting athlete health will be discussed. The module will take the theoretical underpinnings relating to ergogenic aids and apply these in a laboratory environment, offering a hands-on opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of certain supplements. The programme will develop understanding in applied dietary strategies to advance the athletes' performance, whilst appreciate the nuance’s with translating scientific, evidence-based literature into real-life food intake. The module will afford opportunities to engage with cutting-edge scientific literature, whilst consider the key issues in designing, implementing and analysing performance nutrition research. A variety of key skills and knowledge will be developed throughout the module, including the advancement of scientific knowledge, understanding and use of research, problem solving, understanding the delivery environment and communication. The module will include a number of approaches to learning, including lectures, laboratory practical’s group work and self-directed learning.

View Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition (optional) on our Module Directory

Issues in Sport and Exercise Science

Examine contemporary issues in the science of sport and exercise, and their implications on the health and performance of individuals, groups, or society. You have the opportunity to examine selected issues in depth from a range of options, engage with cutting-edge research, develop informed opinions on the topics, and to present information in different formats.

View Issues in Sport and Exercise Science on our Module Directory

Research Project

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

Applied and Environmental Sports Science

Investigate the effects of extreme conditions on the human body. You explore physiological responses to altitude and acceleration, spaceflight and microgravity, intense gaseous and marine pressures, extremes of hot and cold. You also gain understanding of the effects of starvation, dehydration and air pollution on human survival and performance.

View Applied and Environmental Sports Science on our Module Directory

Movement Analysis

This module will focus on gait analysis. This module covers what is ‘normal’ gait and this provides the underpinning for when we move onto pathological gait. You will study gait using kinematics and kinetics and we will spend our time interpreting what the data mean. To aid this you will take part in 2 labs -  one using the force plate and one using the 3D motion capture system. The data from these will be used in assignments.

View Movement Analysis on our Module Directory

Applied Sports Psychology

This module will develop your skills to perform a thorough needs analysis of sports, individuals, and/or teams, investigate psychological strategies that are used to enhance performance, and examine how to develop interventions based on the current research literature. You will also explore the role of technology to enhance the delivery of sport psychology services. The module builds on Year 1 and 2 Sport and Performance Psychology modules and will focus on the application of scientific principles to enhance athletic performance.

View Applied Sports Psychology on our Module Directory

Physical Activity, Nutrition and Cardio-Metabolic Disease

The incidence of obesity and associated conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes is rising. Students will critically examine the current evidence for physical activity and dietary approaches being effective in the management of cardio-metabolic disease. There will also be opportunities to formulate physical activity and nutritional programmes based on case study information, and to practice supporting patients (role play) to make appropriate lifestyle changes. This module will be of interest to students who wish to pursue a career in public health or the fitness or personal training industry, and those who wish to undertake postgraduate study or research in the field of exercise, nutrition and health.

View Physical Activity, Nutrition and Cardio-Metabolic Disease on our Module Directory

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

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/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,860

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

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.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Saturday, October 24, 2020

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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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.

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