BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science with Optional Sandwich Placement/ Study Abroad

About the course


This is a multifaceted degree concerned with the study and application of scientific aspects of sport and exercise with a student overall satisfaction rate of 89%. With this degree you gain an in-depth understanding of key aspects such as physiology, anatomy, psychology, biomechanics, sports performance, biochemistry, nutrition, strength and conditioning and biochemistry. You study the theoretical aspects of sport and exercise and apply your knowledge through practical classes and applied research. The emphasis is not only on understanding and improving individuals’ and/or teams’ sporting performance, but also on the role of exercise in health and well-being.

100% of UK full time first degree graduates are either in employment or further study within 6 months of graduating.

During your study you have many opportunities to work in our human performance laboratories, where you are able to apply your knowledge to assess and improve individual or team sport’s performance as well as gain an invaluable knowledge of the role exercise plays in improving health and well being. We also believe it is important that you gain skills during your studies, which you will require throughout life whether or not you stay in the area of sport and exercise science. These include analytical, written and verbal communication skills, giving you the ability to solve problems, collect, interpret and analyse data effectively and work as a team. 

First year

You will study modules in: anatomy and biomechanics, sport and exercise psychology, physiology, fitness training, nutrition, and strength and conditioning as well as applied laboratory practicals. You can also take additional qualifications such as the ACSM fitness instructor’s course.

Second year

Core modules include: exercise physiology and testing, sport and exercise psychology, biomechanics, applied nutrition, and research design.

Work placement/study abroad year

An optional placement year working in key sport science areas such as support for sports’ clubs, exercise physiology for health in hospitals and working with athletes. Although optional, it is likely to help you achieve a better class of degree, and improve your employability prospects when you graduate. Alternatively you can study abroad at one of our partner universities.

Final year

If you do not go on a work placement year, you can take a work experience module in your Final Year to support both your studies and your CV (Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks may be undertaken as part of this or the placement year). A major part of this year is a research project where you will develop an experimental design, recruit and test volunteers and produce a dissertation in an exciting range of areas from which to choose.

You can tailor your degree to suit your interests and strengths through having free choice of any of the taught modules offered. Areas of study include: exercise performance and health physiology, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition and ergogenic aids, advanced sports and exercise psychology and biomechanics.

Why choose this course?

Our excellent facilities ensure we can deliver a comprehensive programme of practical work to support lecture material. A focus on Personal Transferable Skills throughout the first and second year enables you to develop competence in a range of skill areas which will be of benefit professionally and personally and which are essential to success in a competitive employment market.

There are two dedicated sport science and therapy laboratories equipped with a range of treadmills, cycle ergometers and rowing machines. In addition, there is specialist physiology, biomechanical and biochemistry equipment, for example online gas analysers. Find out more about our facilities. You can also make use of the University’s £15 million Hertfordshire Sports Village at the de Havilland campus. 

Other additional opportunities include:

  • Guest lecturers: e.g. GSK, HSV, Felicity Aston (first woman to walk the Antarctic solo)
  • Work Experience: including local, national and international employers taking students for their work experience module in final year (e.g. football, rugby clubs, hospitals, other universities)
  • Opportunities to gain internationally recognised ACSM fitness training qualifications (with much of the material already embedded into the degree programme)
  • Opportunities for students to support applied testing and research in the labs

Find out more about our sports staff

Graduate Stories

Read GSK Senior Scientist Matt Furber's graduate story
Read PE Teacher Sasha Kelly's graduate story

Entry requirements...

2017 entry 

UCAS have introduced a new tariff for 2017 entry so the points being asked for are substantially different to previous years.

112 UCAS points 

to include at least one Science A level preferably Biology and/or PE (acceptable A levels: Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sports Science). BTEC Sport & Exercise Science or Applied Science (no other BTEC Diplomas are acceptable) or Access to Science with an average of merit at level 3.

IB - 112 points with a minimum of 2 HL subject at grade 4 or above including one Science subject (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core).

Plus GCSE English language, mathematics and double science at grade 4 or above (or 2 single sciences) (Grade C or above under the old grading structure). A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each band is required for those for whom English is not their first language.

If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English and International Foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

A DBS check may be required to be undertaken during your degree course.

Professional Accreditations

BASES Accreditation

This is a nationally recognised achievement, whereby the standards of operation, physiological testing, and laboratory management are assessed in relation to recognised clinical criteria and quality control. This successful accreditation is proof of our staff demonstrating high standards in operation.


Our graduates progress to a wide range of careers which reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the degree programme.

Our graduates have gained employment with elite athletes, professional sports teams, health clubs and within the National Health Service. Also, in the leisure industry, military, fire service and as coaches. They have progressed to study for a Master’s degree, PhD or teacher training qualification.

Job titles of recent graduates include:

Community Rugby Coach, Sports Lecturer, Police Officer, NHS Trainee Cardiac Physiologist, Special Needs Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Fire Brigade Fitness Advisor, Health and Fitness Coach, IT Support Officer, Learning Support Assistant, PE Technician, Personal Trainer/Gym Instructor, Pharmaceutical Production Technician, Sport Science Support Officer, Lecturer in Sport Science in Further Education, Physiotherapy Assistant, Fitness Instructor, Recreation Assistant, Swimming Coach, Lifestyle Consultant, and Mental Health Physical Activity and Nutrition Advisor.

Examples of recent employers are the NHS, the English Institute of Sport, Lucozade Sport, and Mind.

Teaching methods

Our staff have high level of expertise and experience, with many of them accredited/chartered with professional organisations such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences - BASES, and the British Psychological Society - BPS.

BASES is a nationally recognised achievement, whereby the standards of operation, physiological testing, and laboratory management are assessed in relation to recognised clinical criteria and quality control. This successful accreditation is proof of our staff demonstrating high standards in operation.

Staff are also research and/or consultancy active ensuring that they remain at the forefront of developing their respective specialism and that our students are entwined in historical and contemporary debate and investigation.

Our students typically spend 8 hours a week in lectures, and 8 hours a week in practical laboratory sessions, workshops, or seminars. Practical work is an important and significant element of the Sports and Exercise Science degree, and the high levels of competence and independence demonstrated by our students in the laboratory enables them to become 'thinkers' and 'doers'.

Most modules are assessed by 50% coursework and 50% examination. The type of coursework is varied, depending on the module and includes essays, reports, practical write-ups, posters and seminar presentations.

Our laboratories boast an enviable range of performance testing equipment (e.g. Metalaysers for VO2 max testing; blood taking facilities and blood analysers to measure blood lactate and cholesterol; running treadmills; cycling and rowing ergometers; Dynamometers, Anthropometric equipment; weight-lifting equipment, and even an indoor putting green for psychological and biomechanical analysis).

Throughout your time at the University you work closely with a personal tutor in order to help develop academic, personal, and vocational skills. This work is supported by the University intranet (Studynet) which provides a location for lecture notes, study guides, assessment details, example exam papers, and discussion forums amongst other things.

You also have 24-hour access (during term-time) to two outstanding learning resources centres.

Part-time study

If you are studying part-time you will have 6 years to complete your course. You will complete 60 credits per year. The first four years are made up of compulsory modules but in further years there are optional modules. Your timetable will depend on which modules you pick.

Work Placement

Work Placement

In the third year you have the opportunity to spend a year working in industry or studying at one of our partner universities in North America or Europe. However you do not have to undertake a placement year, there will still be ample opportunities for you to gain work experience within the main programme of study. (Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks may be undertaken as part of this or the placement year)

Study abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in the Sandwich Year through the University's study abroad programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme. Find out more about Study abroad opportunities


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Foundations of Human Physiology

    Foundations of Human Physiology will provide students with an introduction to human physiology applied to sport and exercise. In particular, this module will involve fundamentals of structure, function and biochemistry from cellular, to tissue, organ, and organism levels. A basic understanding of muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems will be developed. There will some coverage of applied sporting topics of relevance to physiology, such as the principles of training and periodicity, and the design of training programmes. Practical work will used to provide additional insight into specific physiological systems. Practical work will include instruction in the use of physiological interfaces, transducers, and recording and analytical software, basic studies on the respiratory (spirometry and off-line techniques) and cardio-vascular system (ECG and blood pressure) and measurement of spinal reflexes and reaction times.

  • Foundations of Exercise Training and Testing

    This module will develop the key theoretical and practical skills essential for sport and exercise scientists. The module centres around the conceptual exploration of responses and adaptations to aerobic exercise, as well as activities involving strength, speed, flexibility and power. The module also introduces students to the basic principles of energy systems and metabolic pathways pertinent to exercise training. Through the awareness of key concepts of training principles, this module additionally aims to develop an understanding of the basic design of training programmes in line with expected physiological adaptations. It also aims to develop essential practical skills in undertaking a basic fitness assessment, including heart rate, blood pressure, body composition and submaximal exercise evaluation.

  • Foundations of Nutrition

    This module introduces students to basic components of human nutrition, with applications to sport, health and exercise. The module involves the study of human digestion and absorption, including aspects of endocrine control of metabolism. There is also an introduction to essential themes underlying dietary macro- and micro-nutrients, and explores basic applications of nutrition pertinent to dietary assessment and problem-based learning scenarios.

  • Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology

    The module introduces students to the field of sport and exercise psychology by defining the nature and scope of the field as well as identifying the fundamental principles that underpin cognition, emotion and behaviour in sport, exercise and physical activity settings. The module will cover some of the core topics and underlying theories relevant to sport psychology: e.g. arousal, stress and anxiety, confidence, and motivation. Also, the module will cover some of the core topics and underlying theories relevant to exercise psychology: e.g. exercise determinants and barriers, mental health, and models of exercise behaviour change. The module will also introduce reflective practice, counselling skills, and processes relating to professional practice.

  • Foundations of Anatomy and Biomechanics

    The module provides an introduction to human anatomy and biomechanics, relating to structures, properties and functions of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscle, in relation to the mechanical principles which govern human movement. The axial and appendicular skeleton will be studied in regard to joint type and associated movements, while the skeletal muscle system will be investigated in terms of the origins and insertions of selected muscles and the movement they produce. Human movement will be studied in terms of the basic variables and units associated with concepts in both linear and angular kinematics and kinetics, including calculations and quantification of human movement.


Year 2

Core Modules

  • Applied Testing and Training in Sport and Exercise

    This module builds on previous study within the course and involves an examination of the exercise physiology assessment processes and conditioning practices with reference to relevant supporting theory and literature. It aims to develop applied knowledge and experience of testing in different environments through the undertaking a series of assessments which will improve the students theoretical understanding and practical application of testing and training the performer. This module is designed to introduce the Level 5 sport and exercise science student to a range of relevant themes that can supplement other knowledge from the course and inform the exercise professional when working with a client.

  • Applied Nutrition for Health and Physical Activity

    This module follows on from theoretical and practical aspects of human nutrition introduced at level 4, with a focus on how nutrition can be beneficial for health and aspects of physical activity. The module involves a deeper exploration of the physiological processes of human digestion, absorption and metabolism, with reference to the macro-nutrients in particular. Additionally, implications of hormonal and enzymatic regulation of metabolic pathways under different conditions will be explored. The module also aims to introduce topics pertinent to the scientific evaluation of the beneficial effects of nutrition on human health and physical activity. Students undertaking this module will also develop key skills pertinent to case study evaluation, reflective practice and nutritional programme implementation.

  • Exercise Physiology

    Cardiovascular aspects of exercise, blood pressure and haemodynamic response at rest and exercise, exercise and cardiovascular disease. Respiratory aspects of exercise: haemoglobin and respiratory variables, acid balance and asthma. Basic laboratory testing in athletes and metabolic responses to training. The endocrine system during exercise, exercise-induced endocrine secretions/catecholamine response. Endocrinology-fluid balance. The immune system and exercise. Fatigue and exhaustion; de-training and the human body. The effect of exercise in different environmental conditions and on different populations such as ageing; energy supply and systems.

  • Applied Biomechanics

    Application of the mechanical principles involved in human movement during sport and exercise will be studied. This includes the role of biomechanics in relation to human gait analysis, objects in flight, aetiology of sporting injury and design of sporting equipment. Practical experience will be gained in how to record and analyse human movement using video and electromyography capture and analysis.

  • Research Design

    In this module students will explore the principles and methods that underpin scientific research in sport and exercise science and sports therapy. The module will enable students to comprehend, critique, and effectively utilise existing scientific research in their studies and professional practice, either as sport and exercise scientists or sport therapists. The knowledge gained will also provide a foundation upon which to design and develop an appropriate research proposal in order to successfully complete the final year project.

  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology

    This module is designed to further develop understanding of the psychology of sport, exercise and physical activity behaviour. In the sport psychology component of the module students will be taught the underlying principles of multi-dimensional anxiety and performance, reversal theory, catastrophe theory, psychological skills training, including goal-setting, imagery, self-talk and relaxation. The exercise and health component of the module will focus on the application of theoretical models of behaviour change to exercise motivation and adherence in a health context. In addition, the usefulness of different behavioural change strategies to promote exercise participation and adherence in various population groups will be addressed.


Year 3

Core Modules


  • Sandwich Placement - Sport

    The sandwich placement will provide students with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in the taught years of the degree in a work-based situation. The establishment will appoint a work-place supervisor, and the student will also have a University supervisor. During the placement the student will return to the University to a one day Symposium which all placement students attend. During this day they should present a poster about their placement and attend talks on future employment.

  • Year Abroad: Sport

    Learning and teaching methods may include taught courses, a research project, field studies or a mixture of these components. The Year Abroad will be for two academic semesters or their equivalent. The students will therefore follow a programme negotiated by the Associate Head of Department or nominee and an equivalent representative of the host institution. Prior to commencement of the Year Abroad, the student, the programme officers from the University of Hertfordshire and from the host institution will agree a learning agreement and mode of attendance.

Year 4

Core Modules

  • Applied Independent Research Project

    The Applied Independent Research Project module allows students to design and undertake an individual research study relevant to an area of personal interest and choice. The module follows on from Research Design at Level 5, where students will have undertaken basic planning and preparation for their own research project. In some cases, students will have undertaken the ethical application process ahead of Level 6, although all students will be required to submit an ethics application early into the module. The module allows students to apply and develop their knowledge and skills pertinent to a research area of choice, which encourages independent responsibility to develop a research methodology, undertake data collection and analyse the findings. The module also aims to allow students to develop skills pertinent to critical thinking and interpretation/presentation of underlying data collected.


  • Advanced Biomechanics

    An integrated approach to biomechanical analysis of human movement during sport and exercise practices will be studied. Analysis methods studied will involve advanced techniques incorporating kinetic and kinematics data, including inverse dynamics, dynamical systems theory and stiffness. Students will also study current special topics as well as developing and evaluating research questions within the field of sport and exercise biomechanics.

  • Exercise and Health Promotion

    Exercise and the disease state: the role of exercise both as a prophylactic and causative factor in various cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic diseases. More specifically, topics such as coronary heart disease, haemostasis, dyslipidemia, sudden cardiac death, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. Furthermore, the effect of rehabilitation, regular exercise and increased activity will be addressed with particular emphasis on the above related disease. The role of activity and exercise in the promoting health in diverse groups and conditions such as the elderly and mental health will be covered. Furthermore, practical classes will consider evaluation and monitoring of disease states and risks. In addition, the implementation of exercise prescription in the general population will be examined in the context of health initiatives.

  • Sport and Performance Nutrition

    Sport and Performance Nutrition integrates the fields of applied biochemistry, exercise physiology, nutrition for performance and ergogenic aids. This module covers specific nutritional issues relevant to sport including dietary strategies for training, competition (both for the elite and recreational athlete) as well as the importance of nutrition and ergogenic aids specific to enhancing sport and exercise performance which will be demonstrated through practicals, workshops and lectures reviewing current literature. Students will also be provided with an opportunity to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the current supporting theories relevant to sports nutrition and other ergogenic aids. In part, this will be achieved through practical testing of these theories under laboratory controlled conditions.

  • Advanced Testing and Training in Sport and Exercise

    This advanced module aims to integrate students’ knowledge and raise critical awareness of exercise physiology, fitness testing and conditioning practices through an applied field based teaching and learning experience. Building on Applied Testing and Training, students will develop specific client coaching skills and correction of technical aspects associated with strength and conditioning procedures. Students will gain experience of working with differing technologies and develop understanding of precision of measurement associated with data collection from physiological monitoring. The final year module will lead students towards performing at UK industry strength and conditioning industry standards.

  • Work Experience in Sport and Exercise Science

    This module aims to provide opportunities for the student to transfer academic and vocational learning into a work-related setting, and vice versa to bring work-place skills and issues into the academic and vocational learning environment. Thus, the module will help to develop good evidence based working practices, and enhance associated knowledge and skills, with a view to improving both student employability and critical reflective practice.

  • Adaptive and Performance Physiology

    Aspects of advanced respiratory exercise physiology: oxygen uptake kinetics, exercise-induced arterial hypoxaemia, occurrence, and possible mechanisms. Related aspects of cardio-vascular physiology, including cardiac drift, and blood pressure regulation. Physiological methods for adaptive change, adaptive proteins and mechanisms of effect, with an emphasis on the functionality of the interactions of molecular biological, cellular and biochemical mechanisms. The physical characteristics and physiological responses to a range of environmental situations including hyperbaric conditions (as in diving), hypobaric and hypoxic conditions (as at high altitude), high and low temperatures, low gravity, and high G forces. Space and aviation physiology. The use of adaptive mechanisms as training strategy for athletic performance. Body rhythm and chronobiology, and influences on athletic performance. Limitations of performance, genetic and ethnic influences on performance. Human ageing and the master athlete, the young athlete, the female athlete, the disabled athlete. Biochemical aspects of detraining. Drugs in sport: physiological mechanisms, detrimental effects.

  • Advanced Exercise Psychology

    This module is designed to facilitate students in developing an advanced critical understanding of theory, and issues, underpinning exercise psychology introduced at levels four and five. The module has an applied focus whereby students will examine how to apply such theory to exercise and health performance. Students will address a number of topics that focus upon physical and mental well-being, and links with physical activity. Appropriate theory and literature will be used to explore potential mechanisms of change.

  • Advanced Sport Psychology

    This module is designed to facilitate students to develop an advanced critical understanding of theories of sport psychology introduced at level five. In addition, the module has a strong applied element whereby students are made aware of how to effectively deliver such theories so that athletic performance is improved. There is a particular emphasis in this module on the importance of managing the athlete/sport psychologist interaction effectively. Students will cover a number of areas, including framework for consultancy, models of applied sport psychology, athlete assessment, implementation and evaluation of psychological skills programmes and working with young athletes.

Fees & funding

Fees 2017

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,250 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1155 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

International Students

Full time: £11,850 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1395 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

View detailed information about tuition fees

Additional course-related costs

There may be some additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. These costs or charges may be compulsory (ie you have to pay them if you are studying this course) or they may be optional (ie you don’t have to pay them, but they may help you get the most out of your course).

Any such costs or charges will be outlined in the About your course factsheet that can be found on the course Overview page.

Additional course costs

You will be expected to purchase navy tracksuit bottoms, a white polo shirt and navy shorts before starting the course. These can be University of Hertfordshire branded, bought from us before induction, but do not have to be.

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)