MSc Human and Applied Physiology - University of Portsmouth
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Human and Applied Physiology

full time1yrs

part time2yr

Undertake a fascinating journey into human body systems

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course will allow you to graduate with a postgraduate degree in the subject-specific discipline of physiology. It will give you the opportunity to study physiological responses to exercise in both healthy and clinical populations, in response to extreme environments, and to examine the role of exercise as a treatment adjunct.  

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Obtain laboratory-based skills, as well as the ability to communicate with clients in a professional and approachable style.
  • Gain experience of conducting research/physiological testing in simulated environmental conditions of heat, cold, humidity and/or hypoxia.
  • Obtain knowledge and experience of how exercise can be used in the management and treatment of various diseases.

What opportunities might it lead to?

The programme will provide knowledge, skills and experience required to undertake work as a physiologist or specialised technician. Some specific examples are listed below.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued on allied courses:

  • Health and wellbeing physiologist
  • Health advisor
  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist
  • Exercise Referral Coordinator 
  • Personal Trainer
  • PhD research
  • Technician


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Structure & Teaching

The programme will be offered in full-time (12 months) and part-Time (24 months) study modes, with the academic year running from September to September. The course includes 120 credits of taught units and a 60 credit research project. With the exception of the Humans in Extreme Environments unit, the taught units are delivered on a Thursday during term time. The Humans in Extreme Environments unit is delivered in a two-week block during term time.

Core units include:

  • Applied Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Research Project (60 credits)
  • Humans in Extreme Environments (30 credits)

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Applied Sports Physiology (30 credits)
  • Exercise Rehabilitation (30 credits)
  • Clinical Physiology (30 credits)

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.

Teaching and Assessment

The delivery format for the course is based around seminar, practical, workshop and to a lesser extent, lectures. Sessions will be predominantly delivered by DSES staff with knowledge and research expertise in the areas studied.

How are you assessed?

Assessments include client/patient-focused practical and written assessments as well as some more traditional report writing assessments:

  • Practical assessments
  • Laboratory reports
  • Client reports
  • Case studies
  • Project report

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Facilities & Features

Sport and Exercise Physiology Laboratories

Sport and Exercise Physiology Laboratories in Spinnaker Building featuring treadmills, cycling, rowing and arm ergometers, and a range of physiological monitoring equipment including, expired gas analysis, blood, urine and sweat analysis, body composition assessment, lung function assessment, and measurement of blood pressure.

Extreme Environments Laboratory

Extreme Environments Laboratory in Spinnaker Building featuring three climatic chambers for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude, an immersion pool, and a swimming flume. A range of physiological monitoring equipment including 12 lead ECG, Q sweat analysis system, radiant heat lamps, skin and deep body temperature measurement and infra-red thermography can be used in these facilities.

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 may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

For any placement activities, you will be required to meet the cost of travel. These costs will be dependent on the type of placement and may range from £50 - £1,000 to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence.

For optional programmes of field work, costs may range from £50 - £1,000 dependent on the type of fieldwork being undertaken.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career Prospects

The skills-sets developed will permit students to enter a range of career pathways, examples of which are listed below. The course will provide essential underpinning knowledge for those who may wish to pursue professional training to possess qualifications to provide exercise in clinical populations e.g. cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation etc. The course will also permit students to gain experience of physiological responses in ‘normal’ conditions as well as extreme environments. This is particularly relevant for those students who wish to pursue employment by providers such as the Ministry of Defence (in particular Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), English Institute of Sport and UK Sport.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • PhD researcher leading to employment as a professional scientist
  • Health and wellbeing physiologist
  • Health advisor
  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist
  • Exercise Referral Coordinator 
  • Personal Trainer

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

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Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

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Fees and Funding

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