Clinical Exercise Science
Promoting health and fitness through science
Why take this course?
There are increasing rates of ill-health resulting from sedentary living, poor dietary habits and high stress lifestyles. The duties performed by a Clinical Exercise Specialist (CES) are linked closely to treating patients living with a long term condition in which exercise has been shown to provide therapeutic benefit. Specifically, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, stroke, cancer and musculoskeletal limitations remain important health concerns that have all been shown to benefit from regular safe exercise.
Therefore, this innovative course is designed to offer you an interdisciplinary approach to exercise in clinical settings and vocational qualifications and experiences that will enable you to apply theory to practice. The integration of theory and practice within this course will enable you to critically analyse, adapt and modify existing approaches to develop safe and effective physical activity programmes to optimise the health-related fitness of clients.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Obtain lab-based and field skills, as well as the ability to communicate with clients in a professional and approachable style.
- Gain Register of Exercise Professionals endorsed vocational qualifications in clinical exercise, including exercise referral, cardiac disease, chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, cancer and falls prevention which are essential requirements should you wish to pursue a career as a clinical specialist exercise instructor.
- Work with clinicians providing exercise in the management of a range of long term conditions
What opportunities might it lead to?
The programme provides an opportunity to work toward ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification and units aligned to National Occupation Standards for Health and Fitness.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- Health and wellbeing physiologist
- Bariatric exercise physiologist
- NHS trainee clinical scientist
- Health advisor
- Clinical Exercise Physiologist
- Exercise Referral Coordinator
- Exercise Therapist
- PhD Research
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- 2017 entry requirements
- A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants are subject to interview. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance. In addition, applicants are required to have completed or be in the process of acquiring an industry-approved exercise referral qualification (this can be provided by the University of Portsmouth prior to commencing the course). Professional experience and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
Full time: £4,270
Part time: Year 1 - £2,135, Year 2 - £2,135*
Full time: £8,400
Part time: Year 1 - £4,200, Year 2 - £4,200*
* Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- Department of Sport and Exercise Science
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
The modular programme is offered in two formats: Full-time (12 months) and Part-time (24 months). The course includes 120 credits of taught units and it is also possible to study parts of this course for CPD purposes, such as a single credit-bearing unit (30 credits), a postgraduate certificate (PG Cert; 60 credits) or progress to the full MSc. The units contain vocational elements relevant for providing personalised exercise training for a range of medical conditions, including classroom, exercise laboratory and placement learning.
Teaching will take place on Thursdays, Fridays and some Saturdays so attendance on selected weekends is necessary for the vocational training associated with some of the units. Placements take place in areas such as Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth and Chichester and are scheduled according to placement provider requirements during the week. Each unit is generally taught over a three week block, however cardiac rehabilitation requires a longer study period.
Options to choose include 120 credits from:
- Exercise for Cardiac Rehabilitation (30 credits)
- Exercise for Chronic Respiratory Diseases (30 credits)
- Exercise for Cancer Care (30 credits)
- Exercise and Fitness after Stroke (30 credits)
- Exercise for Falls Prevention (30 credits)
- Paediatric Exercise Science and Medicine (30 credits)
Teaching and Assessment
The delivery format for the course is largely based around seminar, practical, workshop and placement learning to integrate theory into practical sessions. Teaching sessions will include vocational training, seminar and exercise laboratory work, led by leading practitioners in the area of clinical exercise. You will be provided with a personal tutor to assist with academic and pastoral issues.
How are you assessed?
The course has a problem-based learning approach and you will be assessed in a variety of ways with a focus on self-reflection and initiative and problem-based assignments. Here’s how we assess you:
- Vocational training (MCQ and case study)
- Practical assessment
- Applied essays
- Case studies
This is a unique postgraduate course for the UK and worldwide. It provides a postgraduate qualification along with a range of vocational training opportunities for exercise and health practitioners wishing to improve the quality of life for individuals living with long term conditions. The course is delivered in an interactive format, including small group learning, clinical exercise testing, placement learning and inclusive of additional industry-recognised certifications to generate work-ready graduates. The course is flexible and is designed for full time and part time study. The course is taught and assessed by UK experts in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, exercise after cancer and falls prevention and is taught during the week and requiring some study at weekends.
Facilities & Features
We are one of the leading departments offering sports science-based programmes in the UK according to the National Student Survey (NSS), the Times Good University Guide, the Independent University Guide, and the Guardian University Guide league tables. You will learn in a several different environments including our biomechanics, physiology, psychology and kinanthropometry labs, home to some of the country’s finest facilities, including:
- 3 climatic chambers for manipulating temperature, humidity and altitude
- an immersion pool
- a swimming flume
- an automated tracking system
- visual 3D software
You will also 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.
Our academic staff have a close affiliation with sport and are research active within their chosen specialism. We have three main research areas which include biomechanics, physiology and psychology, with BASES accredited and BPS chartered members of each area possessing prolific research profiles. Here are the areas of our current research:
- Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science (co-ordinator: Dr Jim House)
- Breast Health (co-ordinator: Dr Joanna Scurr)
- Human Performance and Health (co-ordinator: Dr Jo Corbett)
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 associated costs. These costs might include the cost of travelling from home to placement as far as Winchester each week and could be in the region of £100.
Careers & Opportunities
The Schools/Departments delivering the course have strong links with National Health Service partners in the Wessex region and professional training providers in exercise, such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the Register of Exercise Professionals. Graduates of this course possess qualifications to provide exercise in cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise after cancer, exercise after stroke or exercise for falls prevention provided by leading vocational clinical exercise training providers. Having such a skills-set is important for being employable as an exercise physiologist in diverse multi-disciplinary teams, whilst also presenting the opportunity to work as an exercise entrepreneur as your own exercise service manager.
Roles our graduates have taken on include
- Exercise referral coordinator
- NHS trainee clinical scientist
- Health advisor
- Cardiopulmonary exercise physiologist
- Health and wellbeing physiologist
- Bariatric exercise physiologist
- NHS physical activities advisor
- Private exercise physiologist
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.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished. If you would like to meet or speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange this for you.
We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon.
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.