You are here

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

Open Days

Meet your lecturers, find out more about the course and view academic and social facilities at an open day.

Waterfront (14) 0
UCAS code: 
C600
Institution code: 
S82
Location: 
Ipswich

Duration: 

Three years full-time.

Five years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

104 UCAS tariff points (or above), BCC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

Introduction

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science is the scientific study of human responses and adaptations to physical activity, exercise and sport. It includes the study of physiology (including nutrition), biomechanics and psychology. And then strength and conditioning can be considered a ‘fourth pillar’, in that it combines the three other subject disciplines and considers how we apply our knowledge to improve the strength and conditioning of people ranging from clinical patient groups to elite athletes. In broad terms, it is possible to split each of those specialist areas of study into two main themes: (1) sports performance, and (2) exercise, physical activity, health and wellbeing. This degree is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). In the NCSA’s Council on Accreditation of Strength and Conditioning Education words, accreditation “means your programme adheres to the highest standards of excellence”. 

 

By studying with us, you benefit from our enviable industry connections with elite sport and exercise science companies such as STATSports and Qualisys. We are a global university partner of both brands. We have outstanding specialist facilities in our Human Performance Laboratories and Performance Analysis Suite, where you can develop employment-ready practical skills, and apply the knowledge you learn on the degree.  

Throughout your degree we support you as an individual, to make sure you make the right choices for your learning and eventual graduate career. Since our state-of-the-art facilities mirror the settings found in the best professional environments, you leave our university with valuable skills demanded by both elite sport performance science, and healthcare science employers. Some of our recent graduates have secured work for specialist, high-profile organisations, thanks to the expertise attained during their studies. These include Arsenal FC, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and elite sport science support roles in the USA.

You could be one of our students who work on real industry research projects, on the final year Dissertation module, which will further enhance your employability prospects.

Sport and Exercise student, Jasmin Taylor, has been featured on ITV Anglia following a successful Telemark season and her second World Championship bronze medal. Watch Jaz talk about her experience as both a student and a Telemark skier below. 

Find out more about a PhD in Sport and Exercise Science

Follow us on Twitter @UOS_SportSci

Course modules

The degree is designed to help you develop the scientific knowledge and practical skills required to work in professional sport performance science, or clinical exercise science. 

We use a wide variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods. The aim is to challenge you with a variety of experiences in a supportive environment, which will enable you to develop into a very employable graduate. These will include exercise laboratory and field test work, case studies of athlete and clinical patient scenarios, and original sport and exercise research using groups of athlete / patient participants.  You will be assessed using a diverse mixture of practical skill observations, presentations, essays, exams and your own original research articles. Many of the assessments replicate scenarios you would experience when working as a professional sport performance, or clinical exercise scientist.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Physiology

To understand why exercise can benefit both health and physical performance, one must first understand how the body responds to exercise. Sport and exercise scientists of many professional disciplines are often required to investigate cell, tissue, organ and system physiology, drawing rational and objective conclusions from a variety of tests, measurements and data. Where you eventually apply this knowledge can be incredibly varied, ranging from laboratory research of molecular or cell physiology, clinical settings of cardiac or respiratory physiology, strength and conditioning of athletes, or analyzing data for talent identification and team sport performance analysis. Therefore, it is not only necessary to understand how a person’s physiology responds and adapts to exercise, but to also understand how we make valid and reliable measurements of performance, as these provide the foundation of sport and exercise physiology practice. 

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology

Psychological variables contribute to people's engagement in sport, exercise, and physical activity, their enjoyment in these contexts, and their success in achieving their individual goals by performing these tasks. It is therefore not surprising that sport and exercise psychology (SEP) is an equal partner compared to other disciplines in sport sciences.  

 

In this module, students learn to identify SEP as a scientific field and familiarize themselves with SEP as a potential future work specialization. Since this is an introductory module, students will learn to understand how sports and exercise experiences can be analysed from a psychological point of view, which important variable clusters are examined in SEP and how these clusters are largely related to one another.  

 

Two sets of variables that students will study in more detail are motivational and emotional concepts. Both types of concepts are important to understand why, and to what end people practice sport, exercise, and physical activity, and how enjoyable these tasks are for them. 

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Biomechanics

This module will provide students with a thorough understanding of the critical principles of sports and exercise biomechanics. Students will explore the core principles of mechanics and employ this knowledge in sports and exercise motion analysis. Students will investigate how the abstract principles of mechanics are used to quantify human motion. Furthermore, the module will introduce students to the many applications of biomechanics in sports and exercise, such as enhancing performance, developing sporting technique and sports equipment design.

Introduction to Strength and Conditioning

The Sport and Exercise Science domain is ever-increasing in both popularity and diversity with regards to specialist intervention. Key components in health, wellbeing and performance are now delivered through Strength and Conditioning professionals. Strength and Conditioning specialists require a diverse skill set to deliver practical solutions to help athletes and clients achieve their individual goals. As such not only do Strength and Conditioning coaches need to draw upon the three main pillars of Sport and Exercise Science (i.e. Physiology, Psychology and Biomechanics), but they also need to develop excellent ‘soft-skills’ (e.g. decision making, communication, empathy etc.). The aim of this module is to combine delivery of the fundamental theoretical knowledge with practical delivery experiences so that students can gain an understanding of ‘real-life’ scenarios. There will be strong links across other modules to affirm learning and challenge students to consider the applications of theory to practice. Topics will include the ability to perform basic needs analysis, ensure appropriate health and safety, deliver fundamental exercises (e.g. squat, bench press and deadlift) and consider training programme design, among others. 

Practical Skills for Exercise Testing and Prescription

A successful career in a sport and exercise sciences-based discipline requires the individual to demonstrate a range of core competencies, including the application of scientific knowledge and technical skills; an understanding of research; self-evaluation and professional development; communication; problem-solving and impact; management of self, others and practice; an understanding of the delivery environment, and professional relationships and behaviours. Being able to recognise and start to develop their abilities in these core competencies, will allow students to begin their trajectory towards becoming employable graduates. 

Science in Sport

All sports science students must possess a thorough understanding of the principles of scientific enquiry. The scientific method and logic, research and analysis techniques, questioning and communication, form the foundation of all science-based disciplines. It is also vitally important that a student identify and acknowledge ethical issues in scientific enquiry. Students must demonstrate an understanding of the value of critical thinking; a thorough comprehension of the scientific method and how it is applied to their disciplines, and potential graduate professions.

Sport and Exercise Physiology

A sound understanding of exercise physiology is essential to explain the reasons why exercise may be beneficial for health and sports performance. This module develops the fundamental human and exercise physiology knowledge gained during Level 4. In Sport and Exercise Physiology, content focuses on developments in research-derived evidence, detailing how molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and system levels of human physiology respond and adapt to sport and exercise stimuli. The ability to learn from contemporary research evidence is vitally important to those wanting to further advance specialist knowledge and apply research-informed practice in the field of exercise or sports physiology. 

Sport and Exercise Psychology

Psychological variables contribute to people's engagement in sport, exercise, and physical activity, their enjoyment in these contexts, and their success in achieving their individual goals by performing these tasks. It is therefore not surprising that sport and exercise psychology (SEP) is an equal partner compared to other disciplines in sport sciences. 

 

In this module, students learn how important aspects that define psychological experiences are related. This will help them better understand concepts related to performance and social behaviour, the impact coach leadership has on athletes, and self-regulation. Students will appreciate that psychological variables interact with one another in a dynamic network that, when combined with other physical and physiological variables, explains athletic experiences and performance.

Sport and Exercise Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the study of movement, which necessitates its practice as an applied science. The aim of this module is to further students’ theoretical knowledge of human motion analysis and apply this in an even more hands-on learning environment. Students will explore the practical aspects of kinetic and kinematic motion analyses, and consider how these techniques are used to define movement analysis in sports and exercise. Students will go on to explore other laboratory research techniques essential to the real-world study of biomechanics. This will also involve introductory considerations of the interaction between the exercise/sports performer, their equipment, and the environment. Students will explore the neural determinants of motor learning, how new movement patterns are developed and performed with greater efficiency to facilitate improved sporting performance. 

Strength and Conditioning

Strength and Conditioning specialists need to design and implement training programmes for a diverse range of exercise/sport participants. This necessitates that the specialist has an in-depth knowledge of a range of complex training modalities, which can be individually tailored to their clients’ short- and long-term training requirements. This module continues to develop the theoretical cornerstones of Strength and Conditioning (e.g. strength, power, speed, endurance, agility, etc.) and maintain learning through real-world exercise/sporting scenarios. Students will explore further training principles which add more advanced techniques to their foundation knowledge such as Olympic Weightlifting, Inertial (Flywheel) and Velocity Based Training, amongst others. Students will also explore the most modern techniques to assess and monitor internal and external training load in sport participants.  

Health Promotion

Health promotion is an important part of public health. It is fundamental that students have an awareness of the approaches, strategies, methods, underpinning theories/models in health promotion and the various settings where health promotion can be applied in order to improve health and wellbeing. For students with an interest in physical activity and its promotion for health, it is important to appreciate a number of approaches in health promotion, one of which is behavior change, and to develop an understanding of planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions.

Research Methods and Statistics

Graduates of the sports sciences need to understand how research, experimentation and numerical analysis of data drive their professions forward. This module prepares students for further study and employment by providing an understanding of what science is and how it works, and of the importance of inferential statistical analysis of scientific data. It also prepares students for the Dissertation modules in later years of study. This module will develop students’ working knowledge of the principles of scientific research, the planning and design of experiments and various methodologies, and the interpretation and application of statistical techniques. Students will refine skills for literature searching, and the preparation of papers for publication and/or oral presentation to the scientific, sports and general public communities. 

Dissertation for Sport and Exercise Science

The Dissertation will provide an opportunity for individuals to develop an area of scientific interest arising from their sport and exercise science discipline. It will enable students to further develop skills learnt throughout the programme such as enquiry-based learning, problem solving, critical thinking, and reflection. Students will engage with the principles of primary research and/or literature review to further their understanding of the evidence base. This module will enable students to utilise intellectual, decision-making, and possibly practical skills in novel situations, and provide a mechanism by which students can demonstrate autonomy and self-direction, whilst undertaking a real problem-solving approach to a research topic. The focus of the Dissertation will be a research-based study, which will either be original research (including data collection and hypothesis testing) or a review of the scientific literature. 

Physical Conditioning for Elite Athletes and Team Sports (Optional)

Achieving success in sport requires athletes to be conditioned to cope with the rigours of training and competition. Strength and conditioning specialists need to prepare athletes to compete in peak condition, which is a complex task, and so it is vitally important that they understand relevant physiology to enable effective design and implementation of testing, training and recovery programmes. This module will develop sport and exercise physiology, and strength and conditioning content that we have learned at earlier levels of study. We need to explore why we respond and adapt to training stimuli, at a slightly deeper level including advanced physiology, and importantly learn how to apply that knowledge so we can better support athletes in a variety of sports.  

 

Therefore, we will need to review how we can test/monitor our athlete/player performance, and when we should test/monitor them. In order to design effective training programmes we must understand the time-course of a number of physiological adaptations, as performance will only improve if the training stimuli is able to produce the adaptations that enable performance to improve. We do this by revisiting the fundamental principles of frequency, intensity, time and type, and ensure they are utilized in a way that evidence tells us should lead to improvement for the specific performance requirements of the athlete’s/player’s sport. And finally, we need to review how we avoid ‘overtraining’ athletes/players, by making sure that training load is managed, and recovery is as well planned for as the exercise training sessions.  

Clinical Exercise Physiology (Optional)

Physical inactivity and its associated lifestyle diseases is a global concern. Physical inactivity can lead to a myriad of health problems including pulmonary, cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal disorders and diseases.  Research shows that exercise can help to prevent many conditions and ameliorate the effects of certain disorders and diseases. Furthermore, exercise referral programmes may also be used for rehabilitation purposes following serious health events (e.g. post-operative and myocardial infarction patients). This module will explore topics within applied clinical exercise physiology and exercise referral, requiring the student to critically appraise contemporary research evidence.

Applied Sport Psychology (Optional)

Every athlete is required to excel in an environment that will challenge both their physical and mental resilience. Indeed, an athlete’s psychological state has the potential to help or hinder their final attainment. Mental preparation has many positive implications for sports performance and numerous psychological interventions can be implemented within these environments to create a real and meaningful mental advantage. This module allows students to critically explore the application of these interventions, utilising the most recent theoretical models.

Clinical and Performance Biomechanics (Optional)

n both clinical exercise therapy and sports performance science, biomechanics plays a central role in optimising human motion, reducing the risk of injury, and maximising the effectiveness of intervention strategies. Sport and exercise biomechanists must be able to identify pathomechanical gait features and/or important kinematic technique factors, and consider their clinical and practical significance. To this end, the biomechanist must not only synthesize and interpret data from a movement analysis, but offer insight into possible corrective strategies to restore function, reduce the rate of physical deterioration, or improve sporting performance. This module will also evaluate the application of ergonomic aids and consider their use within areas of strength and conditioning.

Nutrition for Health and Sport Performance (Optional)

Good nutrition should ensure we consume the best range of foods to aid our health and sport performance. This module will focus on the demands of exercise training and competition, in both general population and elite sport settings. Well-designed nutrition strategies can help individuals achieve their health improvement goals, and aid performance and recovery to support the demands of training and competition for athletes. 

 

Good nutrition supports physiological adaptations that are induced by well-designed training programmes. Therefore, the physiology of exercise conditioning and nutrition are inseparable, whether that be for general health or sport performance. And good sport performance is impossible without good fundamental health. Poor nutrition will very likely not allow for positive training adaptations to take place. The challenges in implementing an effective nutrition strategy in both general population and elite sport settings are immense, but it is a vitally important aspect of health and performance, so we must ensure we use good evidence-based practice when possible.  

Psychosocial Performance Analysis (Optional)

Psychological variables contribute to people's engagement in sport, exercise, and physical activity, their enjoyment in these contexts, and their success in achieving their individual goals by performing these tasks. It is therefore not surprising that sport and exercise psychology (SEP) is an equal partner compared to other disciplines in sport sciences.  

 

In this module, students learn to analyse sports contexts and practices from a psychological point of view. They will learn to use different tools like interviews, questionnaires, and observations. Students will learn where to find information, how materials are adapted to different contexts, how information is collected, how data is analysed, and how results are presented. In addition, students will learn to analyse psychological challenges in sport exercises and develop basic procedures to adapt these challenges and facilitate the strengthening of psychological skills. 

Career opportunities

Our graduates have moved on to fantastic careers. Currently, in elite sport science, we have graduates working in Premier League football and elite sport science providers in the United States of America. In clinical exercise science our graduates work for the prestigious Papworth and Addenbrookes hospitals as clinical and exercise physiologists, and in the allied health professions as exercise rehabilitation specialists. Some of our graduates have successful teaching careers, in physical education, biology, chemistry and physics. Your exposure to world-leading sport and exercise science facilities will ensure you and your CV are ready for a range of exciting careers.

Student profiles

Since graduating from the University of Suffolk in 2011, Sam has been something of a globetrotter, working in New Zealand and the USA. During his studies he gained essential experience at Ipswich Town FC Academy. ...

Marnie graduated from the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science degree at the University of Suffolk in 2017, and very quickly secured a role as a physiologist at the world-famous Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire (the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital). ...

Ipswich based Telemark skier, Jasmin Taylor, is tipped to be one of the country’s most successful winter sports athletes ever. She studies Sport and Exericse Science part time. “In the summer, I live in Ipswich and use the time to catch up on my studies and fitness train. In th...

Fees and finance

2021-22   

  • Full-time Tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • Part-time Tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credit module (Please contact the Infozone for further information).
  • International Tuition fee: £12,150 p.a. (plus a Lab fee of £1,575) 

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements

Staff

Course Leader BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology

Lecturer In Strength & Conditioning

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Science

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics; Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science

Director of Sport Sciences and Coaching

Senior Lecturer in Sport Performance Analysis

Lecturer in Sport Performance Analysis

Sport Science Technician

Facilities and Resources

Our students enjoy brilliant access to world-leading research and professional practice equipment. These are based in our modern Human Performance Laboratory, based right on the waterfront in the James Hehir Building.

As well as being a global university partner for both STATSports and Qualisys, for sports global positioning systems and human motion capture technologies, you will enjoy full use of cardiopulmonary exercise apparatus (used to assess cardiac and metabolic function of athletes and patients), isokinetic dynamometers and electromyography (used to assess joint and muscle function in athletes and patients), electroencephalograms and other neurological, biofeedback and neurophysiological apparatus (used to assess a variety of psychological functions in athletes and patients).

There are many other types of specialist equipment, and we pride ourselves on giving you access to all of our specialist equipment. You get to personally use everything in our Human Performance Laboratory during your studies (not just watch us demonstrate it). You will learn by doing!

Sport Science - STATsports 3.jpeg

Sport Science - STATsports 3

Benefit from our partnership with STATSports – the world's leading player tracking and analysis provider in elite sports.