BSc (Hons) Exercise and Fitness Management - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Exercise and Fitness Management

UCAS codeC602

Full Time3yrs

Part Time6yr

Vocational training for the health and fitness industry

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This academic degree will provide you with the key scientific underpinning in exercise and fitness combined with the practical vocational qualifications to enter directly into the health and fitness industry. If you are interested in understanding the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology and want to develop the specialist management knowledge required for careers within this area, then this is the course for you.

The combination of scientific rigour and practical experience ensures that you develop a wide range of knowledge and skills in preparation for a variety of graduate level careers in the exercise and fitness industry.

In the Guardian University Guide 2018 our Sports Science courses are ranked number one in England.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Choose to take a careers based unit or industry placement year, enabling you to gain work experience in an area related to exercise, fitness and health management
  • Benefit from a flexible curriculum which covers important issues within the areas of exercise, health and physical activity participation
  • Organise and market events in the local community such as the Great South Run
  • Gain training and experience from industry experts working in a public health and fitness centre (as a part of the embedded vocational qualifications) and expert staff who are accredited by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

What opportunities might it lead to?

Exercise and health are a rapidly expanding global industry, with levels of public physical activity and exercise participation being ongoing within the political agenda. For this reason, health and exercise professionals are in increasing demand. With sound industry-relevant academic knowledge and vocational qualifications as well as the ability to communicate in a professional and approachable style, this course will aid your chosen career. This course provides you with a high quality, UK leading student experience, aimed at maximising your graduate level career prospects.

Additionally, the course is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) to provide Level 2 Fitness Instructing (Gym-based exercise), Level 3 Personal Training and Level 3 Exercise Referral, which is the independent public register for qualified professionals and endorsed by PD:Approval. Membership of a body such as REPs is a requirement of the UKactive Code of Practice and assures employers that you have the appropriate skills to do the job.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • NHS Health professionals
  • Personal Trainer
  • Health and fitness training/advising/promotion
  • Teaching and education
  • Event management


Teamo Franco BSc (Hons), Exercise and Fitness Management student

A unique aspect of my course that I haven’t seen offered by any other university is the ability to gain industry-relevant qualifications such as the fitness instructor and personal training award.

Teamo Franco BSc (Hons), Exercise and Fitness Management student


Sports Science

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Looking at the theory then putting it into practice
  • The challenging yet supportive environment in which to study
  • Use of some of the best facilities in the country that are not just for research purposes

Browse all courses in Sports Science

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

The course aims to promote an understanding of the inter-disciplinary nature of exercise and fitness via both theoretical and practical applications. In the first year you are taught a variety of core subjects in the main disciplines of exercise, fitness and management.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • Sports Business Principles
  • Sports Events Organisation
  • Introduction to Fitness Training and Assessment
  • Introduction to Kinesiology and Biomechanics
  • Research Methods 1

You will also have the option to undertake the REPs Level 2 Gym Instructor vocational qualification.

Year two

As you progress through the course you will also study units that include vocational qualifications embedded into them such as first aid and personal training.

Core units in this year include:

  • Innovation and Enterprise in Sport
  • Foundations of Sports Nutrition
  • Advanced Fitness Training and Assessment
  • Research Methods 2

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Sports Event Management
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • The Science of Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Tools of Biomechanical Analysis

You will also have the option to undertake the REPs Level 3 Personal Trainer vocational qualification.

Year three*

In your final year, one of the main focuses will be on your final year project. You will also have a selection of optional units based on preparing you for professional roles within the health and fitness arena.

Core units in this year include:

  • Project
  • Physical Activity Prescription and Promotion
  • Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Applied Biomechanics
  • Paediatric Exercise and Health
  • Physiological Approaches to Training and Assessment
  • Applied Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Professional Development

You will also have the option to undertake the REPs Level 3 Exercise Referrals vocational qualification.

*Units such as Sports Event Organisation, Advanced Fitness Training and Assessment and Professional Development may have additional essential requirements including enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks and statutory health/fitness checks.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


The structure of the degree programme reflects our strong link between research and teaching as well as our student centred approach. Our blended teaching aims to cater to all student learning styles. Our teaching approaches include lectures, seminars, laboratory work, tutorials and work in field settings. These approaches also develop your personal and transferable skills such as teamwork, decision making, communication and time management skills. We ensure an enjoyable and interactive environment, in addition to valuable tutorial support throughout your degree.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 26% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 74% studying independently and 2% on work placement
  • Year two students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 79% studying independently and 2% on work placement
  • Year three students: 13% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 87% studying independently and 0% on work placement


A variety of assessment types (written exams, essays and client reports, individual or group presentations, practical exercises, business reports) are used to reflect the different learning styles utilised within the course. Assessment feedback is strongly embedded into this process with regular opportunities to use feedback for subsequent assessments.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 40% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
  • Year two students: 17% by written exams, 32% by practical exams and 51% by coursework
  • Year three students: 12% by written exams, 30% by practical exams and 58% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Chris Mills
Exercise and Fitness Management

My course is dedicated to providing you with the key scientific underpinning in exercise and fitness as well as the practical vocational qualifications to enter directly into the health and fitness industry. The embedded Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) qualifications ensure you maximise your chances of gaining employment in this job sector.

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Facilities & Features

Learning Environments

You will benefit from plenty of indoor space for practical activities. Along with our many specialist labs, dedicated seminar spaces and interview rooms, the Department is located next to the University’s Nuffield Sports Centre and very near to the University’s St Paul’s Sports Centre. These two centres offer many facilities including sports halls, a 100-station gym, squash courts and fitness studios, all located at the heart of the University.

UP for Sport

Share your sporting skills through our UP for Sport scheme. Take on a volunteer coaching opportunity in the local community to boost your CV and gain formal qualifications. You will also have opportunities to attend education visits to local health and fitness providers.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider


The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included with your course fee, but you will be required to pay for meals and other subsistence costs. These costs will be in the region of £50 - £1000.

For optional programmes of fieldwork, costs will be in the region of £50 - £1000.

For the optional placement unit, or sandwich year you will be required to meet the cost of travel for your placement. These costs will be in the region of £50 - £1000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence. This will be dependent on the type of placement/field trip being chosen.

Each year, if you wish to take the optional professional qualification, you will be required to make a contribution of £250 to the total cost.


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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

On completing your studies, you can expect to find successful graduate level careers in the health and fitness industries, as personal trainers, event managers or gym managers. The business skills you will develop on this course will also enable you to consider a wider range of career options, for example from event management consultancies services with local authorities to the setting up of your own business in the health sector. Alternatively, postgraduate options in exercise or management courses are also an available option.

Roles you can go on to include:

  • NHS Health professionals
  • Personal Trainer
  • Health and fitness training/advising/promotion
  • event management consultant
  • local authority sports coordinator

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

We ensure that employability skills, work-related learning and educational visits are fully integrated within the course and embedded into many of the units.

The key units linked to the REPs qualifications (and the National Occupational Standards for Exercise and Fitness) are intended to be as vocational as possible, providing training in a similar environment to that experienced in the health and fitness industry. We also have a specialised Employability group aimed at assisting you to gain appropriate work-based experience.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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