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BSc (Hons) Exercise Prescription and Public Health

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University buildings
UCAS code: 
C6L4
Institution code: 
S82
Location: 
Ipswich

Duration: 

Three years full-time.

Six years part-time.

Next entry is September 2022.

Typical Offer: 

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

Brand new Health and Wellbeing building, opening early 2022, with dedicated specialist facilities.

Introduction

Exercise prescription is a dynamic and rapidly evolving scientific discipline aimed at understanding how exercise can be used effectively to manage clinical conditions and improve human health. This degree utilises a multidisciplinary approach in order to provide you with knowledge of the science of exercise to prevent and manage disease, prolong life and promote human health. It covers three main areas: clinical exercise physiology, exercise referral, and public health and policy.

Through innovative and applied sessions, you will develop a range of practical and analytical skills relevant to a career in exercise prescription and public health. Throughout your degree we support you as an individual, to make sure that you make the right choices for your learning and graduate career. Our aim is to help you progress to an employment-ready graduate. Since our state-of-the-art facilities mirror the settings found in professional environments, you will leave our University with valuable skills demanded by healthcare science employers.

Our facilities are used for clinical exercise science research with our NHS partners. The degree benefits from a close working relationship with industry experts and is taught by an international team of research-active academics. Both ensure that the course is relevant to your future employment, is contemporary and at the forefront of the discipline. 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.

Some of our recent graduates have secured work for specialist, high-profile organisations, thanks to the expertise attained during their studies. These include both Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts. The opportunities are vast.

Course modules

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 Public Health and Epidemiology

For any student embarking on studying public health as part of their studies, it is essential that they possess a thorough understanding of the scope of public health including the origins, principles and key concepts of public health. It is also vitally important that a student is able to identify and acknowledge the contribution that epidemiology makes to public health. Students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the value of epidemiology to public health and the scope of public health in the context of health behaviours such as physical activity on a population based level and subsequent health outcomes. 

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. 

Practical Skills for Exercise Testing and Prescription

A successful career in a sport 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. 

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.    

Exercise Prescription

The Chief Medical Officer UK guidelines for physical activity suggest that adults should be active for a minimum of 150 minutes per week, at a moderate intensity. Research evidence provides further support for the beneficial effects of physical activity on human health (or of the negative, and in some cases harmful, effects of sedentarism). However, it can be difficult to encourage individuals to pursue a physically active lifestyle, sometimes until health deterioration has occurred. Exercise prescription refers to the design and implementation of a specific plan of physical activities, designed to achieve health or fitness-related goals. The overarching aim of exercise prescription is to successfully integrate exercise principles and behavioral techniques, which motivate the patient or client to be compliant, thus achieving their goals.  

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. 

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 Exercise Prescription and Public Health

This module will provide an opportunity for the student to produce an individual, in-depth study that explores an aspect related to public health and/or exercise prescription in which they are particularly interested. 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 systematic literature review to further their understanding of the evidence base. This module will enable students to utilise practical, intellectual, and decision-making 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. 

Contemporary Issues in Public Health

This module provides students with a comprehensive appreciation of contemporary issues in public health including those issues related to physical inactivity from a national, international and global perspective. Contemporary issues in public health covers a wide range of issues and it is important that students understand the breadth, scale and complexity of these issues. Importantly, students need to have an awareness of the burden of disease both within countries and globally, in addition to the key factors and drivers including globalisation that have an impact on contemporary issues in public health. An awareness of relevant data sources for identifying contemporary issues in public health such as non-communicable diseases is also key for students. In order to attempt to address contemporary issues in public health, students also need to have an awareness of the existing evidence base on attempted solutions/actions that have been implemented. This module will focus on all these areas from a national, international and global perspective.    

Public Health Policy

It is fundamental that students possess a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of public health policy both in the UK and internationally. In addition, students need to develop an understanding of how policies in public health are developed including the utilisation of evidence and the role that policies play locally, nationally and internationally, whilst considering the range of factors that may influence public health policy more broadly. In this module, as well as public health policies on a range of issues, there will be a particular focus on public health policies related to physical activity. It is also important for students to explore ways in which they, and other stakeholders might influence the development of non-health sector policies, through application of Health Impact Assessment. This technique will be used as a means of assessing the potential health impacts of policies, plans and projects using available evidence.   

Clinical Exercise Physiology

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. 

Nutrition for Health and Sport Performance

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.  

Career opportunities

There are career opportunities in fields including exercise referral (linked with General Practice medicine) and various branches of clinical exercise physiology in the NHS and private healthcare. For some of these employment opportunities, you will need to undertake additional vocational qualifications such as a L2 Fitness Instructor/L3 Personal Trainer and L3 Exercise Referral. If you wanted to specialise in a specific role (e.g., as a cardiac rehabilitation instructor), you would also need to complete a L4 vocational qualification in Cardiac Rehabilitation. If you would like more information about this, please contact a member of the course team. Your expertise in public health policy will also create opportunities in local and national government agencies/departments. And there are hugely varied graduate career options that demand the data analysis and statistics knowledge and skills you will develop through the course, if you wish to consider a very broad set of graduate career opportunities. 

Graduates have gained employment at the prestigious Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals as Clinical and Exercise Physiologists, and Allied Health Professionals as Exercise Rehabilitation Specialists. Some of our graduates have also pursued teaching careers.

Fees and finance

2021 fees and finance information will be uploaded shortly 

2022-23*

  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Infozone for further information)
  • Full-time International tuition fee:  £14,000 p.a

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 your course that you will need to budget for. 

* 2022-23 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Staff

Dr Jane Black is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology, in the School of Health and Sports Sciences.  Jane is also the Course Leader for the BSc (Hons) Exercise Prescription and Public Health degree.  Jane is passionate about the role that exercise can play in...

Dr Gavin Devereux is an Associate Dean of the School of Health and Sports Sciences, with responsibility for research.  Gavin is also Head of Sport and Performance, which includes degrees in the subject areas of sport and exercise sciences, physiotherapy, public health, and dance. ...

Dr Christopher Owens is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health in the School of Health and Sports Sciences at the University of Suffolk. Christopher has a wealth of experience in teaching public health and has held previous permanent academic positions in public health at the University...

Dr. Alexander T Latinjak is an Associate Professor at the University of Suffolk. In his youth, Alexander was a high-level tennis player who travelled the world pursuing a sports career. At the turn of the millennium he settled in Barcelona to study psychology at the University of B...

Aaron Tietjen is a lecturer in sports and exercise biomechanics in the school of health and sports science. Aaron joined the UOS sports science team in 2015. During this time, he has been course leader for two degree courses, provided biomechanics support for numerous sports a...

Adam is a former student who joined the staff at the University of Suffolk in 2016 after graduating with a first class degree in Sport & Exercise Science. During his studies Adam also worked for the Ipswich Town FC academy as a Performance Analyst. In his role as Sports Sciences...

Mark is an accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach with a wealth of experience working within professional football. Having held roles at Norwich City, Southampton, Arsenal and Huddersfield Town Football Clubs, as well as working for the Football Association (National Teams), Mar...

Marco is an Associate Professor with an international reputation who plays a very active role as a supervisor in the PhD programme in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Suffolk.  He is an Associate Editor of The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (USA), as...

Facilities and Resources

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

You will enjoy full use of cardiopulmonary exercise apparatus (used to assess cardiac, metabolic and respiratory function of patients), specialist cardiovascular apparatus such as electrocardiograms (used to assess cardiovascular function in patients), isokinetic dynamometers and electromyography (used to assess joint and muscle function in patients), electroencephalograms and other neurological, biofeedback and neurophysiological apparatus (used to assess psychological function in patients).

We pride ourselves on giving you access to all our specialist equipment; you get to personally use everything in our Human Performance Laboratory during your studies (not just watch us demonstrate it). This ‘hands-on’ approach ensures that you are confident and competent using the specialist equipment required to be successful in healthcare science roles.

 

View the below video to find out more about our brand new Health and Wellbeing building, opening early 2022.