BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Sport and Exercise Science

UCAS codeC600

Full Time3yrs

Part Time6yr

Scientific rigour and practical experience

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Sport and exercise science plays an important role in today’s society, benefitting those at a recreational and elite sporting level, as well as the general population.

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 industry, professional sport, health and education.

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 sport, exercise and health
  • Benefit from a flexible curriculum which covers important issues within the areas of sport, exercise and physical activity
  • Use specialist facilities, including one of the largest swimming flumes in the country
  • Work with expert staff who are research active, accredited by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists, British Psychological Society and Health and Care Professions Council

What opportunities might it lead to?

Sport, exercise and health are a rapidly expanding global industry, with levels of public physical activity, health and fitness being a focus on the political agenda. For this reason, sport and exercise scientists are in increasing demand. As one of the first courses in the UK to be endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), the leading sport science organisation in the country, 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) 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
  • Industry research and design innovation
  • Health and fitness training/advising/promotion
  • Teaching and education
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Sport Science Support (UK Sport, EIS, professional clubs)


Emma Burnett, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student

The lab classes enhance what you have already learnt during lectures.

Emma Burnett, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science 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

In the first year you cover a variety of core subjects in the main disciplines of sport and exercise science. You will also have the chance to gain vocational experience, and obtain National Governing Bodies and First Aid qualifications throughout the course.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Coaching Principles
  • Introduction to Kinesiology and Biomechanics
  • Introduction to Fitness Training and Assessment
  • Research Methods 1

Year two

As the degree progresses, you will be given greater opportunities to choose what you are most interested in studying. Begin to specialise in areas you may wish to work in after your degree.

Core units in this year include:

  • Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  • Tools of Biomechanical Analysis
  • Research Methods 2
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Foundations of Sports Nutrition
  • Psychology of Coaching and Learning
  • The Science of Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Applied Coaching Practice

Year three

Start your major project investigating a subject area of your choice. By now you will have detailed understanding of ethical issues, and have learnt how to carry out research and the various methods of data analysis, interpretation and presentation. Continue to tailor your studies to your chosen field.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Professional Practice in Sports Psychology
  • Physiological Approaches to Training and Assessment
  • Environmental and Occupational Physiology
  • Physical Activity Prescription and Promotion
  • Advanced Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Applied Biomechanics
  • Professional Practice in Coaching and Learning
  • Professional Development
  • Paediatric Exercise and Health
  • Sports Nutrition

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

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: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 81% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 17% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 83% studying independently and 0% 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 lab reports, individual or group presentations, practical exercises) 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: 55% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 38% by coursework
  • Year two students: 42% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
  • Year three students: 8% by written exams, 33% by practical exams and 59% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Chris Mills
Sport and Exercise Science

This degree will provide you with an excellent opportunity to investigate and understand human performance in the context of sport, exercise and health, and the work environments. Our research expertise and specialist testing equipment help to inform our teaching, ensuring you are always at the forefront of knowledge developments in sports science.

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Facilities & Features


You will learn in several different environments including our biomechanics and physiology labs. These house some of the country’s finest facilities, such as:

  • 3 climatic chambers for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude
  • an immersion pool
  • a swimming flume
  • 2 automated motion capture systems

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.

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

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

For the optional placement unit or sandwich year, you will be expected 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.


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.

In your final 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?

You can expect to find a career in many specific areas such as teaching, coaching, sport science support, and the health and fitness sectors. The NHS, the military and the police force have all been destinations for some of our graduates.

The course also provides a sound platform for more general employment opportunities, as well as further postgraduate study.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • PE teacher
  • fitness instructor
  • NVQ coordinator
  • sports development officer
  • sports and exercise scientist
  • sports therapist and physiotherapist
  • cardiac rehabilitation technician

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

There are many opportunities for students to gain work experience in a relevant field.

Past internships have been hosted by:

  • England Badminton
  • England Volleyball
  • Hampshire County Cricket
  • Hampshire Football Association
  • Parkwood Leisure
  • Portsmouth Football Club
  • Southampton Football Club
  • Sport Hampshire and IOW
  • Surrey Ladies Golf

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.

University of Portsmouth
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