BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science
Top in Wales for student satisfaction in Sports Science (Complete University Guide 2023)
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 CIMSPA 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)
Get a glimpse of what it's like to study at USW before you apply
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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 - Philippa Laugharne
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 - George Rose
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 - Thomas Owens
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 Chartered Institute Management and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications.
Measurement and Evaluation of Human Performance - 20 credits - Adnan Haq
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 - Lee Baldock
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 - Andrew Thomas
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 - Adnan Haq
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 - George Rose
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 - Philippa Laugharne
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.
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 - George Rose
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 - Lee Baldock
To encourage and enhance critical understanding and ethical application of psychological theories, concepts and constructs within exercise and physical activity contexts, such as theories of exercise and behaviour change; stress management techniques.
Rehabilitation of Sports and Exercise Injuries – 20 credits (option) -Kate Louise Williams
This module will develop a student’s knowledge and understanding of the early and intermediate rehabilitation of common musculoskeletal injuries and illness sustained in the sports and exercise environment, such as; tissue mechanics and stress-strain curves; exercise selection and prescription.
Sport Placement- 20 credits
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.
Year Three: Sport and Exercise Science Degree
Dissertation - 20 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 - Chris Emsley
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 - Philippa Laugharne
The module will incorporate: Newton’s laws of motion with respect to angular kinematics and kinetics; the mechanics and energetics of walking and running. Furthermore, students will develop technical competence and analytical skills using Quintic Biomechanics software.
Environmental Physiology - 20 credits
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.
Advanced Sport and Rehabilitation – 20 credits- Kate Louise Williams
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 - Morgan Williams
The module will provide students with the underpinning scientific knowledge required to deliver effective strength and conditioning programs.
Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology in Sport - 20 credits (optional) - Lee Baldock
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.
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. The University has a Contextual Admissions Policy, therefore, whilst most offers we make are at the top of the range, under the Policy we take certain aspects of an application into consideration and eligible UCAS applicants can receive a personalised offer or have results considered individually when you receive them. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy Statement.
Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here 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
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.
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 2022 - July 2023 Fees
Full-time UK: £9000
Full-time International: £14000
Part-time UK: £720 per 20 credits
August 2023 - July 2024 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: TBC
Part-time UK: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
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.
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.