MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science
Would you like to further your career in sport, health and exercise science? Would you like to offer sports science support to professional teams? Or does working in the field of physical activity and exercise in your community drive your ambition? The MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science course will allow you to develop your theoretical understanding of the subject area, advance your measurement capabilities and ultimately help you specialise in your specific area of interest.
The course is positioned within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education and utilises our British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) approved laboratories at our Glyntaff Campus and our state-of-the-art strength and conditioning and performance analysis suites at our Sport Park. The course is delivered by a multidisciplinary team ensuring that you have a range of specialist experts in the field to facilitate your learning and professional development.
During the course, you will conduct supervised and independent research as part of your research project module. This allows you to make use of the facilities and staff expertise on offer, and further allows you to specialise in your area of interest. The University of South Wales was recently ranked joint 1st in the UK for the impact of its research in sport and exercise science, with 96% of our research being considered as world-leading or internationally excellent. This demonstrates the strong research culture within the department, and our students are encouraged to engage with this from the beginning of their studies.
The course also requires you to complete a work placement, which ensures that you do not only have the opportunity to graduate with an internationally recognised qualification, but you also have industry-relevant experience, which is essential for the modern graduate. A few examples of placements that our students have recently undertaken include The Football Association of Wales, Cardiff City FC Academy, University Hospital of Wales, technical demonstrating positions within higher education institutions, gyms and exercise referral schemes within local authorities.
The course consists of 4 specified modules that all students are required to complete. You are then required to choose 3 optional modules that allow you to specialise in your area of interest. Suggested ‘pathways’ are provided (Sport Science or Exercise and Health), but any combination of modules can be chosen to ensure that the course is tailored to your requirements. Details of each module can be found below:
This module is delivered by Dr Chris Marley and it aims to enhance your understanding of the relationship between exercise, physiological systems and human biochemistry, with a specific focus on what limits exercise performance. It will also allow you to develop an advanced understanding of a selection of technical skills in exercise physiology and competence in these skills.
This module is led by Melanie Tuckwell and it aims to enable students to demonstrate the skills necessary to produce a scholarly, in-depth, empirical research study, resource, or report. Within this module you can choose a supervisor from a range of academic staff to ensure you have the right expert to support you in the development and delivery of your project.
This module is led by Professor Brendan Cropley and Dr George Rose and it will develop your ability to design and statistically analyse experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental quantitative studies. It will allow you to appreciate the strengths and limitations of the different quantitative research designs used in sport, health and exercise science and synthesize knowledge and competencies gained during taught modules, to produce a scholarly, in-depth critical review and proposal for a research study.
Professional Work Based Development
This module provides an opportunity for students to observe and participate in work-based professional environments, including identifying a work problem for you to overcome, which will enhance your professional and vocational learning and inform your own everyday practice. As part of your studies you will critically reflect on your learning throughout the work placement. You will, together with the module team, identify an organisation or organisations that are relevant to your field of study and that will be able to provide 140 hours of work experience.
Strength and Conditioning (Sport Science Pathway)
This module is led by Richard Clarke and aims to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of concepts and theories regarding strength and conditioning. You will also have developed the ability to implement effective strength and conditioning programmes into a range of performance environments. The above have been closely linked to the professional standards required for accreditation by both the NSCA and the UKSCA.
Movement Analysis (Sport Science Pathway)
This module is led by Dr Morgan Williams and Ben Stanway. It aims to develop your awareness of the analysis of sports performance, with particular emphasis on technique analysis and notation analysis. The use of systematic observation techniques in the analysis of sports performance will also be considered.
Nutrition for Health and Performance (Sport Science or Exercise and Health Pathway)
This module is led by Dr George Rose and aims to provide students with the scientific basis of nutrition for performance. This has been designed to develop advanced skills essential for understanding the nutritional requirements of the human body in order to maximise exercise performance and promote health and wellbeing.
Physical Activity and Health (Exercise and Health Pathway)
This module is led by Dr Stuart Jarvis and aims to enhance your understanding of the relationship between physical activity and the prevention, treatment and management of chronic diseases. It has also been developed to consider the design and implementation of physical activity public health policy.
Epidemiology and Biostatistics for Public Health (Exercise and Health Pathway)
This module is led by Dr Joseph Sunday and aims to introduce students to both fundamental and advanced concepts in epidemiology and the application of these concepts within the study of public health.
The MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science is taught via small group workshops, seminars, lectures, video analysis, practical laboratory investigations and practicals; some of which will be student-led. All teaching material is supported by the latest research information, as well as national and local policy drivers. Interactive, e-learning platforms are used to support your learning throughout the course, as well as the excellent library facilities.
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.
A wide variety of applied, academic and vocational assessment is used on this modern and innovative MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science. You will be assessed by oral and poster presentations, laboratory write-ups and case studies, critical essays and in some modules, examinations. The assessments are continually updated to reflect contemporary policy and practice to provide graduates with the most up-to-date professional knowledge and experiences.
During the MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science course, you’ll have the opportunity to complete a professional work placement module, using the experience to further develop your vocational skills in a specific area of sport, health or exercise. We will work with you to secure the most relevant placement for your future career aspirations. 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.
On our Glyntaff campus, you will have access to our purpose-built BASES approved laboratories that are full of specialist equipment. These laboratories and some examples of the equipment they house are summarised below.
Exercise Physiology Laboratory: A range of treadmills and ergometers, multiple methods of assessing aerobic (online metabolic carts and Douglas bags) and anaerobic (Wingate systems & jump mats) performance, blood sampling equipment (venepuncture and cannulation) and biochemical analysis (glucose, lipid, lactate, haematocrit, haemoglobin) as well as tools to assess respiratory (vitalograph and peak flow meters) and cardiovascular (electrocardiogram, pulsewave analysis, heart rate/blood pressure monitors) function/health.
Body Composition Laboratory: An underwater weighing system, bioelectrical impedance analysis and skin-fold callipers to measure whole and regional body fat and muscle.
Biomechanics Laboratory: A force platform, isokinetic dynamometer, 1.5m gait analysis platform and Quintic high speed camera, as well as corresponding video analysis software.
Environmental Physiology Laboratory: A normobaric environmental chamber measuring 16 square meters that can be used to simulate any climate from across the globe (eg. high-altitude, ambient temperature and humidity) and equipment to assess muscle/cerebral oxygenation (near-infrared spectroscopy) and blood vessel function/health (duplex and transcranial Doppler ultrasound).
At our USW Sport Park, just a few miles from the Glyntaff Campus, we have a specially designed sporting performance facility. 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 students. We are the only university in England and Wales to offer this facility. 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. This confirms the high quality of our pitches and the versatility of our equipment.
Dr Christopher Marley, is a senior lecturer in exercise physiology and the course leader. He is also a member of the Neurovascular Research Laboratory at the University of South Wales and panel member of The Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport. His research broadly focuses on factors that influence oxygen delivery to the brain and in turn cognitive function. He is particularly interested in better understanding the physiological mechanisms that explain the neuroprotective benefits of exercise, as well as the long-term neurological consequences of head injury within sport. He was recently awarded a University of South Wales Strategic Research and Impact Fund grant to progress his research. Dr Marley is a professional member of The Physiological Society and regularly showcases his latest work from the laboratory at their annual conference.
George Rose: is an exercise scientist who’s research explores the link between preoperative cardiorespiratory fitness and postoperative survival in patients undergoing major surgery. In collaboration with University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, Department of Anaesthetics, his research has helped optimise the identification of patients at high risk of postoperative complications and mortality, which supports patient care provision decision processes.
Dr Morgan Williams is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach. He is a member of the Queensland University of Technology Hamstring Injury Group and actively externally involved in development and trialling of the Nordbord Hamstring and ForceFrame Strength Testing Devices. His award winning research has been used to provide an evidence-based framework to inform diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of HSI (as well as other common lower extremity muscle injuries in sport) and has transformed HSI prevention and rehabilitation in multiple sports worldwide.
Ben Stanway is a lecturer in performance analysis. His experience includes working for the Rugby Football Union as a squad selection analyst for specific teams within the rugby union premiership. He was also part of the research team which informed the six nations board on the experimental law variations and what impact this has had on the game.
Dr Stuart Jarvis is a lecturer in sport. His research interests include fundamental and functional movement skills in children, as well as health-related physical fitness and activity of children and adolescent youths.
Richard Clarke is an accredited strength and conditioning coach who previously worked with Gloucester Rugby Club and The Bristol Academy of Sport before transitioning into teaching in higher education.
Melanie Tuckwell is a lecturer, coach, teacher and mentor. She is a highly experienced and qualified coach and coach educator and has also played International Netball at all levels. She has coached Wales and several U21 teams to World Championships across the world. In August 2015 she was the Technical Advisor for the Welsh Netball team at the Netball World Cup in Australia, where Wales finished their highest placing 7th since 1991. She has been the Assistant Coach to the Celtic Dragons Netball Superleague team and Assistant Coach to the Welsh National netball team. Mel has an interest in Coaching and in particular Coach Burnout and Coach Mentoring.
Dr Joseph Sunday is a senior lecturer in Public Health. He contributes to both the MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Science and MSc Public Health courses.
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.
Usually an Honours degree at class 2:2 or above in a relevant science subject such as Sports Science, Biomedical Science or Physiotherapy, although experience can sometimes be taken into account.
Equivalent international qualifications are acceptable. Those without such qualifications will be considered on an individual basis and a wide range of prior professional experience may be considered
The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.
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 2023 - July 2024 Fees
Full-time UK: £9500
Full-time International: £15100
Part-time UK: £1055 per 20 credits
August 2024 - July 2025 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: £16000
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.
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
USW Postgraduate 20% Alumni Discount 2023/24
The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales* graduates starting a taught/online*** MA,MSc, LLM,MBA or DBA course from September 2023 (this includes students starting a course in January/February 2024). T's and Cs apply. Click here for more details and eligibility criteria: USW Postgraduate Alumni Discount 2023/24
A higher level degree such as an MSc, MPhil or PhD is becoming increasingly essential if you want to pursue a professional and/or academic career in sport and exercise science or physical activity/nutrition related to public health. Future employment opportunities include areas such as academia, professional sports clubs, the public/private health sector, sport national governing bodies, fitness industry, as well as supporting those of you already in employment such as teachers, community sport and health officers, as well as physical activity and fitness leaders.
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.