BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

Top in Wales for assessment satisfaction Guardian League Table 2022

Our British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accredited Sport and Exercise Science degree has a high employability rate and offers many varied career options for graduates, from teaching and coaching to strength and conditioning and research.

You will learn about the physiological, biomechanical and psychological factors that govern elite performance, as well as the effect exercise has on human health and disease. During your studies, you will also develop industry relevant practical skills that are needed to work as a sport and exercise scientist, so you can expect to spend much of your study time in our state-of-the-art physiology, nutrition and biomechanics laboratories.

By choosing this sport science course, you will also get the unique opportunity to work in our environmental chamber, where you will assess the effect that extreme conditions (warm, cold and high-altitude) have on athletic performance and how the body adapts to cope with these environments.

You can work towards Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) qualifications in fitness instructing, personal training and exercise referral, which will enhance your employability. These qualifications, which are offered free to our students, meet the health and fitness industry’s standards and are highly valued by employers.

Sport Science is rated top in Wales for Teaching Quality and Student Experience (Times Good University Guide 2022)

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A

Our BASES accredited sport and exercise science degree provides an opportunity to study a wide range of topics including human anatomy, exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology, biomechanics, environmental physiology, strength and conditioning, physical activity and health, fitness assessment and sports nutrition. Students can also gain REPs qualifications within their first year of study, at no additional charge.

Year One: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Exercise Physiology I - 20 credits
This module aims to familiarise the student with the language of anatomy and to specifically establish their knowledge and understanding of human musculo-skeletal anatomy, as an underpinning subject of exercise physiology and biomechanics.

Nutrition for Health and Exercise - 20 credits
This module introduces students to the importance of diet for a healthy lifestyle, methods by which diets can be analysed and the principles of metabolism.

Exercise Prescription - 20 credits
This module will equip students with the knowledge and practical skills to plan, prepare, instruct and evaluate gym-based exercise programmes for a variety of different healthy populations. Completion of this module largely contributes to the award of the REP’s Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications.

Measurement and Evaluation of Human Performance - 20 credits
This module aims to introduce the student to the areas of measurement, data retrieval, analysis and interpretation, health and fitness assessment, and exercise prescription.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology - 20 credits
The module will introduce the following key areas of sport psychology such as: personality and individual differences; stress, anxiety and performance; group dynamics and team cohesion; motivation and goal setting; psychology of motor learning and control; self confidence in sport; concentration and attentional focus; exercise psychology.

Introduction to Sports Coaching - 20 credits
This module aims to provide the student with the fundamental knowledge and skills to deliver safe and effective sports coaching sessions.

Year Two: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Exercise Physiology II - 20 credits
This module aims to introduce the student to the function, regulation and integration of the main physiological systems during sport and exercise and to many of the key concepts encountered in exercise physiology. In addition, this module aims to provide the student with further experience of laboratory exercise testing and core laboratory skills.

Sports Nutrition - 20 credits
This module aims to provide the student with an appreciation of how nutritional interventions influence sport and exercise performance, especially the use and purported benefits of selected dietary manipulations. It will also consider the side-effects and possible detrimental consequences of nutritional interventions with reference to current ethical and practical guidelines on usage.

Sports Injuries and Biomechanics - 20 credits
The aims of this module are to introduce the student to the principles of physics that are necessary for the study and understanding of biomechanics in the context of sport and exercise, and to enable the students to solve simple biomechanical problems concerning linear motion of rigid bodies and fluid mechanics. The student will also investigate mechanical failures in biomaterials that lead to sports injuries.

Exercise for Special Populations - 20 credits
This module will provide the student with an understanding of the physiological and medical issues associated with access to physical activity among special populations. The student will learn to design and evaluate appropriate exercise programmes that are suitable for individual needs among a diverse range of special population groups.

Research Methods - 20 credits
This will build on the student’s understanding of research methods and broaden and deepen your appreciation of the range of approaches to research using research for both qualitative and quantitative methods. It will also provide an opportunity for students’ to develop a research proposal in preparation for their Year 3 Dissertation module.

Sport and Exercise Psychology - 20 credits (option)
To encourage and enhance critical understanding and ethical application of psychological theories, concepts and constructs within exercise and physical activity contexts. Topics covered will include theories of exercise and behaviour change; stress management techniques; performance enhancement; exercise and psychological well-being and group dynamics

Performance Analysis - 20 credits (optional)
This module aims to develop the students' knowledge of performance analysis as a tool within the coaching process, an understanding of measurement issues and information processing aspects of performance analysis, as well as their practical skills in order for them to design, test and utilise a computerised notation system

Extreme Environments – 20 credits (optional)
This exciting new module aims to provide the student with field-based experience of the human physiological responses to exercise in selected environmental conditions. These extreme conditions will be experienced in partnership with ‘Universitetet I Nordland’ in Bodo, Norway. You will measure physiological and cognitive responses to extreme cold whilst building snow caves, skiing and ice climbing. Flights and accommodation will be covered by the Faculty, but selected students will be expected to cover living expenses whilst there.

Sport Placement- 20 credits (optional) (requires satisfactory DBS check) 
Students will be provided with the opportunity to conduct their work-related experience within a number of key vocational areas related to the sports industry. These will include school sport, competition/event organisation, community club coaching and other community sport delivery. The intention of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the vocational skills of practical delivery required of individuals within the sports industry.

Year Three: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Dissertation - 40 credits
This will enable the student to design and conduct an independent study and to be able to critically evaluate scientific data and literature.

Applied Professional Practice - 40 credits (this is an alternative option for the Dissertation) (requires satisfactory DBS check) 
This module aims to provide the student with a platform upon which they can enhance the effectiveness of their workplace experience and develop their vocational skills.

Exercise Physiology III - 20 credits
This module will consider the relationship between exercise and selected areas of the cardiovascular system. It will also allow you to develop an understanding of specific measurements in cardiovascular physiology and become competent in the performance of these measurements.

Muscle Function and Biomechanics - 20 credits
The module will incorporate: Newton’s laws of motion with respect to angular kinematics and kinetics; the mechanics and energetics of walking and running; theory of linear elastic and visceoelastic materials (stress, strain, strength, extensibility, stiffness, and toughness). Furthermore, students will develop technical competence and analytical skills using Quintic Biomechanics software.

Environmental Physiology - 20 credits (optional)
This module will consider the physiological responses to a range of different environments (warm, cold, high-altitude and underwater) using our state-of-the-art environmental chamber and what effect these environments have on the body’s response to exercise and exercise performance.

Sports Massage and Rehabilitative Training - 20 credits (optional)
This module will allow the student to develop an array of massage techniques and understand how to appropriately record and effectively implement these skills when applying various treatment strategies.

Strength and Conditioning - 20 credits (optional)
This module is designed to prepare students for the accreditation of both the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCC) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS) in the USA. These accreditations are increasingly a pre-requisite for employment in the strength and conditioning industry.

Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology in Sport - 20 credits (optional)
This module will provide detailed and critical overview of factors that impact the delivery of applied sport and exercise psychology support. The module is specifically designed to give students an understanding of the processes involved in working as an applied sport psychologist. The module will explore current issues in applied practice whilst working with elite athletes and athletes at various stages of their development.


Our sport and exercise science degree is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory practicals in our excellent facilities at our Glyntaff campus. Independent learning is also encouraged.

The amount of time spent in formal teaching will vary each year of study due to differences in modules, laboratory sessions, work placements and dissertation/project work in your final year. The average lecture contact time per year is as follows:

  • Year One: 12 hours contact time (18 hours of independent study per week)
  • Year Two: 12-15 hours (24 hours independent study per week)
  • Year Three: 12 hours (24 hours independent study and 7-14 hours of placement per week – depending on module choices).

Much of the contact in years two and three, includes a great deal of time spent in laboratories so that you become proficient in administering exercise stress tests, measuring various health indices and physiological parameters in order to collect, interpret and analyse reliable data.

The sport and exercise science course is delivered over an academic year for 24 weeks from September to May. You will study six 20 credit modules in year one and two. In the final year you will study one 40 credit module (dissertation) and four 20 credit modules.The course tends to be delivered over four days, with Wednesdays specifically ‘free’ for BUCS University Sport competitions.

Your studies will be underpinned by the latest research undertaken by the University’s Sport, Health and Exercise Science Research Group which collaborates locally, nationally and internationally with partners from industry and academia to provide world-leading knowledge and impact. For you, this means you will be taught by academics who are at the forefront of their specialist field.


You will be assessed using a range of methods that include: written assignments, examinations, presentations, scientific lab reports and practical laboratory testing and analysis of data.


This sport and exercise science course is endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), which means that the academic knowledge and practical laboratory elements meet standards and requirements for the sport and exercise science and health and fitness industries. Our course is also endorsed by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), which allows us to award industry relevant qualifications (fitness instructing, personal training and exercise referral) to our students, free of charge.


Purposeful work-based learning opportunities are a chance to develop and practise your skills and knowledge in a range of work-related environments.

Our Centre of Employability, Enterprise and Leadership in Sport (CEELS) has partnerships with over 50 sports organisations who offer work placements, enabling you to gain first-hand experience of working in the sports industry – an essential requirement for anyone wanting to gain employment in sport.


We have purpose-built laboratories full of specialist equipment. This includes an underwater weighing system and whole-body MRI to measure whole and regional body fat and muscle. We also have a normobaric environmental chamber that tests subjects in different conditions, often at the extremes of endurance. There are five teaching laboratories, where you’ll study under the guidance of our academic staff and conduct your own experimental work. You’ll also have access to the biomechanics lab to measure the internal and external forces involved in performing sporting actions.

At USW Sport Park, just a few miles from the Glyntaff Campus, we have a brand-new specially designed sporting performance facility that focuses on rugby and football coaching. It includes a specialist centre for strength and conditioning with 12 lifting platforms, providing a high-performance environment for aspiring athletes. Our full-size indoor 3G pitch is built to the Fifa Pro standard and World Rugby 22 standard. It will guarantee training all year round for our rugby, football and coaching students.

You’ll also find a notational analysis suite and over 30 acres of playing fields, including five floodlit pitches. We have a sand-dressed ‘astroturf’ pitch, as well as a full-size FIFA approved 3G pitch. In addition to these all-weather pitches, there are six grass football pitches, three grass rugby pitches, and a large changing pavilion. Our facilities are regularly used by international professional teams, such as the Wales national football team and Cardiff City Football Club, as well as the touring New Zealand, South Africa and Australia rugby squads.

Featured Lecturer:
Professor Damian Bailey

Professor Damian Bailey


Professor Bailey's research investigates how free radicals control oxygen delivery to the human brain across the clinical spectrum of human health and disease. His research has attracted widespread media interest, international awards and he is recognised with fellowships from the Royal Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, American College of Sports Medicine and The Physiological Society. He is currently chair of the Life Sciences Working Group of the European Space Agency a role which will lead Europe’s best scientists to guide and inform future space-related biomedical research with the long-term focus on deep spaceflight.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.nsiders all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Please note that whilst applicants are not required to obtain a satisfactory DBS Check for entry to year one, there are optional work placement modules in year two and year three that will require a DBS Check.

Typical A-Level Offer

BBC - CCC to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 112 - 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BB - CC at A Level to include one A Level in Science, Mathematics, Physical Education or Psychology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 112 - 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

 Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including a score of 5 in a Science subject, Mathematics, or Psychology at higher level, and 5 or above in English at standard level

(Score must be equivalent to 112 - 96 UCAS tariff points).


Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma in Sport/Science with a minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 


International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13800 

  • Part-time UK:  £700 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International:  £14000 

  • Part-time UK: TBC

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

Graduates with a sport and exercise science degree can pursue careers in coaching, health science, clinical science, strength and conditioning, performance analysis, sports development and coaching in schools and the community, fitness assessment, performance coaching, or leisure management. Many students also progress to postgraduate study and research opportunities.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.