Clinical exercise student using immersion pool
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
Up to 1 year full-time, Up to 2 years part-time
Start Date
October 2020


Patients with long-term health conditions can improve their quality of life through safe and effective activity and fitness programmes. Our Clinical Exercise degree course, offered as an MSc, PgDip and PgCert, will teach you the skills required to create these sort of programmes, and prepare you for a career as a Clinical Exercise Specialist.

On this course, you'll learn to tackle poor dietary habits, high-stress, and sedentary living, through personalised exercise training. You'll apply your knowledge to help people with long-term conditions, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

With skills and experience, you'll be set for a career providing fitness and exercise training in clinical settings.

Entry requirements​

MSc/PgCert/PgDip Clinical Exercise Science entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. In addition, applicants are required to have completed or be in the process of acquiring an industry-approved exercise referral qualification, such as the University of Portsmouth's Exercise Referral Course, which can be provided prior to commencing the course. Professional experience and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Selection process
  • Applicants are subject to interview.
  • All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Work in clinical settings and our specialist sport and exercise science laboratories
  • Develop your field skills, and learn how to devise personalised exercise training for people with different medical conditions
  • Learn to communicate with clients in a professional and approachable way
  • Work with clinicians, providing exercise in the management of long-term conditions

Clinical Exercise Science is the only course of its kind in the UK. As a result of studying at Portsmouth, I have been able to gain a specialist exercise referral instructor qualification, and developed an understanding of my role as an exercise professional.

Daniel Ghosh, MSc Clinical Exercise Science

Careers and opportunities

What can you do with a Clinical Exercise Science qualification?

When you graduate, you'll have the skills needed for a successful career in:

  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • exercise after cancer
  • exercise after stroke
  • exercise for falls prevention

You can also pursue a career as an exercise physiologist in multi-disciplinary teams, exercise entrepreneur or exercise service manager.

What jobs can you do with a Clinical Exercise Science qualification?

Some other routes our graduates have taken include:

  • Health and wellbeing physiologist
  • Bariatric exercise physiologist
  • NHS trainee clinical scientist
  • Health advisor
  • Clinical exercise physiologist
  • Exercise referral coordinator
  • Exercise therapist
  • PhD research

What you'll study on this MSc/PgDip/PgCert Clinical Exercise Science course

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

Full-time students will study 4 x 30 credit units, plus the 60-credit MSc project unit.

Part-time students will study 2 x 30 credit units each year and complete the 60 credit MSc project unit in the second year

You can also study each as a standalone short course. You can study the short courses individually and build up the credits towards either a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, or MSc. You can take up to 5 years to do this.

Due to changing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to make changes to courses to ensure your safety and to ensure compliance with Government guidelines. We'll provide you with as much notice as possible of any such changes. Your course leader will inform you of these. Changes may include things such as modules being taught in teaching block 2 instead of teaching block 1 and teaching activities occurring in smaller group sizes.


Core modules in this year include:

  • MSc Project (MSc only)

Options to choose from in this year include:

MSc and PgDip students will choose 4 modules from the above list. PgCert students will choose 2.

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.

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in a clinical exercise role.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • seminars
  • practical workshops
  • placements

How you'll spend your time

The course is organised into modular teaching blocks.

Teaching block 1 includes:

  • Exercise for Chronic Respiratory Diseases (scheduled for the first 8 weeks of teaching block 1)
  • Exercise and Fitness Training after Stroke (scheduled for the final three weeks of teaching block 1)

Teaching block 2 includes the following 3 modules taught one after the other:

  • Exercise for Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Exercise for Cancer Care
  • Exercise for Falls Prevention

Teaching takes place on Thursdays and Fridays, with some attendance on Saturdays. Placements take place for half a day to one full day per week during the course of each module.

 PgCert applicants will chose 2 modules to study and PgDip/MSc applicants will choose 4 modules.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • Vocational training (MCQ and case study)
  • Practical assessment
  • Applied essays
  • Case studies
  • Project report
  • Poster presentation

Feedback is provided both before and after assignments.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
  • Full-time: £7,800
  • Part-time: £3,900 a year (subject to annual increase)
International students
  • Full-time: £14,300
  • Part-time: £7,150 a year (subject to annual increase)


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
  • Full-time: £6,000
  • Part-time: £3,000 a year (subject to annual increase)
International students
  • Full-time: £9,530
  • Part-time: £4,770 a year (subject to annual increase)


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
  • Part-time: £3,000 (subject to annual increase)
International students
  • Part-time: £4,770 (subject to annual increase)


If you want to apply for this course, please contact us.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, 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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