Physical Activity, Exercise and Health MSc
MSc Physical Activity, Exercise and Health
Sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and high stress levels have led to an obesity and diabetes problem – and if you want to develop your existing qualifications and experience in personal health and exercise science to help improve public health, our MSc Physical Activity, Exercise and Health degree course is perfect for you.
This postgraduate qualification expands your skill and knowledge in the field, and also covers the clinical aspects of exercise, communicating with clients and the delivery of effective physical activity programmes – for patients with chronic diseases – to improve their quality of life.
And at a time when Clinical Exercise Specialists (CES) are in high demand, you'll graduate with the skills you need to pursue a career as a CES – or a related role – either in the NHS or the private sector.
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
- Use our specialist facilities, which include biomechanics, physiology, psychology and kinanthropometry labs, climatic chambers and an immersion pool
- Improve your communication skills, so that you can to talk to clients in a professional and approachable way
- Learn about the key issues in the field, including clinical physiology, exercise rehabilitation, and the psychology of exercise and physical activity
- Understand diagnostic techniques and learn how to deliver physical activity programmes which improve your clients' fitness and health
- Complete your own research project in the field of clinical exercise
- Be supported by academic staff who are conducting research in their chosen specialism
- Benefit from our strong links with the School of Health Sciences and the National Health Service
Careers and opportunities
On this course, you'll be able to work towards the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Clinical Exercise Specialist certification, and units aligned to Level Four National Occupational Standards for Health and Fitness.
The demand for qualified clinical exercise specialists is high, and the knowledge and skills you'll gain on this course will place you in a strong position to pursue a career in a variety of clinical settings, in both the public and private sector.
Career opportunities include:
- Health and wellbeing physiologist
- Clinical exercise physiologist
- Exercise referral coordinator
- PhD research
- GP exercise referral coordinator
- NHS trainee clinical scientist
- Health advisor
- Cardiopulmonary exercise testing research technician
- Mental health exercise instructor
- NHS physical activities adviser
- Private exercise physiologist
We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
What you'll study on this MSc Physical Activity, Exercise and Health degree course
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
You need to study units worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 units worth 30 credits and 1 unit worth 60 credits.
Core units on this course include:
- MSc research project
- Applied research methods
- Clinical physiology
- Exercise rehabilitation
- Psychology of exercise and physical activity
There are no optional units in this year.
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.
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 the clinical exercise industry.
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.
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
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
- workshop and practical sessions
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
You’ll get a timetable 4 weeks before the start of a teaching block.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed through:
- practical assessment
- research reports
- applied essays
- case studies
- project report
- poster presentation
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Qualifications or experience
- A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full time: £7,500 (subject to annual increase)
- Part time: £3,750 (subject to annual increase)
- Full time: £13,900 (subject to annual increase)
- Part time: £6,950 (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
Apply for this course using our online application form.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
- Subject area
- Sport Science