BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

If you’re interested in the science of sport, exercise and human performance, this distinctive and highly rated sport and exercise science degree is ideal. Through scientific investigation, you will learn which physiological, biomechanical and psychological factors govern elite performance. You will also consider the effect of exercise on human health, physical activity and disease. These evidence-based modules develop essential knowledge, as well as your core practical skills in the laboratory and in the field. These key scientific skills are a vital part of sport and exercise science, so you can expect to spend much of your study time in the physiology, nutrition and biomechanics laboratories.

A unique element of this sport and exercise science course is the chance to work in our environmental chamber, where you can assess effects of extreme conditions on human athletic performance. There will also be an opportunity for you to work towards REPs qualifications in personal fitness and gym instruction, which also means practical experience to enhance your employability. These qualifications meet the health and fitness industry’s standards and are highly valued by employers.


UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Glyntaff A

Our sport and exercise science degree provides an opportunity to study a wide range of modules, including human anatomy, exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology, biomechanics, environmental physiology, strength and conditioning, physical activity and health, fitness assessment, and sports nutrition. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory practical sessions.

Year One: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Measurement and Evaluation (20 credits)
This module aims to introduce the student to the areas of measurement, data retrieval, analysis and interpretation, health and fitness assessment, and exercise prescription.

Human Nutrition I (20 credits)
This module introduces students to the properties and roles of carbohydrates, proteins, fat; vitamins, minerals, and water. Consideration will be given to achieving optimum body weight in addition to health promotion. Digestion and absorption of foods at the macro level will be considered, paying attention to the GI tract. Dietary analysis and interpretation of a personal diet based on government guidelines (including RNI’s) will be detailed.

Exercise Physiology I (20 credits)
This module aims to familiarise the student with the language of anatomy and to specifically establish the students’ knowledge and understanding of human musculo-skeletal anatomy as an underpinning subject of exercise physiology and biomechanics.

Strength and Conditioning (20 credits)
This module will provide students with practical experience in the delivery of strength and conditioning sessions and short term training programmes aimed at enhancing performance in a wide range of physical fitness parameters. This will include strength, stability, mobility, power, speed, agility and endurance. This will be supported by a series of lead lectures during which the scientific theory underpinning these methods will be put forward. The module content will be designed to enable students to attain the required skills and knowledge associated with initial coach qualifications and awards from the NSCA and UKSCA.

Academic Research and Professional Skills (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to enable students to gain the fundamental social, interpersonal and academic building blocks for a vibrant and successful University experience. In addition the module aims to equip students with transferable professional skills that enable them to function in a professional environment.

Introduction to Sport Psychology (20 credits)
The module will introduce the following key areas of sport psychology such as: personality and individual differences; stress, anxiety and performance; group dynamics and team cohesion; motivation and goal setting; psychology of motor learning and control; self confidence in sport; concentration and attentional focus; exercise psychology.

Year Two: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Biomechanics (20 credits)
The aims of this module are to introduce the students to the principles of physics that are necessary for the study and understanding of biomechanics in the context of sport and exercise, and to enable the students to solve simple biomechanical problems concerning linear motion of rigid bodies and fluid mechanics.

Human Nutrition II (20 credits)
This module aims to enable students to understand the principles of metabolism and metabolic pathways. It will introduce students to medical conditions with a metabolic component such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also enables the students to understand the principles of dietary investigation and to be able to assess and evaluate the dietary intake of others.

Exercise Physiology II (20 credits)
This module aims to introduce the student to the function, regulation and integration of the main physiological systems during sport and exercise and to many of the key concepts encountered in exercise physiology. In addition this module aims to provide the student with further experience of laboratory exercise testing and core laboratory skills.

Fitness Assessment and Management (20 credits)
This module is designed to give an underpinning knowledge of fitness assessment and management for exercise and sport. You will be introduced to an in-depth knowledge of physical fitness training; theory & practical and the management and delivery of fitness across a range of populations. Fitness training principles will be examined and used to understand how exercise and sports performance may be enhanced when working with a range of individuals and groups. You will participate in a range of fitness training and assessment protocols, which will be used to develop an analytical and critical approach to fitness management. In addition, you will be able to develop appropriate fitness/training programmes to meet the needs of various exercising and sporting populations. Considerations of working in the fitness industry and building appropriate client relationships will also be covered.

Research Methods (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to build on the students understanding of research methods that was gained from their level 4 module in Academic, Research and Professional Skills. Further to this it is intended to broaden and deepen the students’ appreciation of the range of approaches to research using research for both qualitative and quantitative methods. In addition the module seeks to provide the opportunity for students’ to develop a research proposal in preparation for their level 6 dissertation module.

Monitoring, Testing and Evaluation in Team Sports - Optional (20 credits)
The module aims to provide the student with: an introduction to contemporary issues and protocols used for athlete monitoring and testing in an applied environment; the opportunity to critically examine scientific literature and develop a conceptual framework via a needs analysis of a team sport of their choice; use underpinning scientific knowledge for assessment selection, evaluation and prescription; the ability to analyse data and to produce an athlete report of an assessment; and to gain practical experience of performing and conducting a range of assessments used within the team sport domain.

Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisition - Optional (20 credits)
The module will engage you in the study of key psychological variables on the acquisition of motor skills and their application in a performance context. These variables include motivation, arousal, activation and stress and anxiety. It also offers the opportunity to study psychological skills and strategies that can help performers optimise these variables. You will examine the theoretical and practical aspects of skill acquisition and learning that underpin the development of expertise in motor behaviour. In addition, you will engage in a series of learning laboratory sessions that involve collecting data to examine key aspects of the learning process; including: inferring learning through performance, demonstrations and observational learning, variability of practice, contextual interference and attention focus.

Year Three: Sport and Exercise Science Degree

Dissertation (40 credits)
This will enable you to design and conduct an independent study and to be able to critically evaluate scientific data and literature.

  • Muscle Function and Biomechanics (20 credits)
    The module will incorporate: Newton’s laws of motion with respect to angular kinematics and kinetics; the mechanics and energetics of walking and running; theory of linear elastic and visceoelastic solids (stress, strain, strength, extensibility, stiffness, and toughness); structure and mechanics of tendon, ligament and bone; the biomechanics of sports injuries and associated healing process. Furthermore, students will develop technical competence and analytical skills using Quintic Biomechanics software.
  • Exercise Physiology III (20 credits)
    This module will consider the relationship between exercise and selected areas of the cardiovascular system, and develop an understanding of selected measurements in cardiovascular physiology and competency in the performance of these measurements.

Optional modules

Strength and Conditioning - Optional (20 credits)
This module is designed to prepare students for the accreditation of both the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCC) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS) in the USA. These accreditations are increasingly a pre-requisite for employment in the strength and conditioning industry.

It is also designed to provide you with the underpinning knowledge required for effective strength and conditioning delivery and programming. The concepts of periodisation will be analysed and applied to a range of performance situations. You will be provided with hands-on instruction on scientifically based training methods and systems which address the strength and conditioning needs of sports performers. This will involve practical application workshops to enable students to plan and deliver effective strength and conditioning programmes in a range of settings.

Environmental Physiology - Optional (20 credits)
To provide an in-depth study of the human physiological responses to exercise in selected environmental conditions. More specifically: homeostasis mechanisms of body temperature regulation and the physiological responses to exercise in hot and cold environments; the acclimatisation of the human, and the consequences of the failure of the homeostasis mechanisms in these environments; the effects of acute and chronic exposure to altitude (and return to sea level) on human physiological function; the physiological responses to underwater diving with and without breathing apparatus and the body’s responses, and the health risks of head out and full immersion in cold water.

Physical Activity and Health - Optional (20 credits)
This module aims to: examine the pathophysiology and assessment of certain chronic diseases; to study the epidemiological association between physical activity/inactivity and the risk and prevalence of common hypokinetic diseases; and to critically examine the effect of physical activity as a treatment option of these diseases. It will also study the determinants of physical activity and various models of behaviour change and ways in which physical activity can be promoted; to examine various types of physical activity, including active transport, play, leisure-time physical activity and occupational activity, and their association with health and wellbeing. Finally it will examine national and international physical activity public health policy and guidance/recommendations for physical activity in various population groups.

Sports Nutrition - Optional (20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with an appreciation of how nutritional interventions influence sport and exercise performance, especially the use and purported benefits of selected dietary manipulations. To also consider the side-effects and possible detrimental consequences of nutritional interventions with reference to current ethical and practical guidelines on usage.

Advanced Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisition - Optional (20 credits)
In this module you will examine the impact of key psychological variables on performance in sport. These variables include motivation, and stress and anxiety. The module will offer students the opportunity to study psychological skills and strategies that can help coaches, teachers, and performers optimise these variables. The module will also engage students in the advanced study of the theoretical and practical aspects of skill acquisition drawn together within the framework of Decision Training. Students will study key aspects of Decision Training that underpin the development and maintenance of expertise in skilled motor behaviour, with a focus on the measurement of visual search strategies using a mobile eye tracker. You will engage in a series of workshops and lectures designed to stimulate analysis and discussion of the issues under investigation.

Work Based Learning - Optional (20 credits)
The module is designed to provide a platform upon which the learner can enhance the effectiveness of the workplace experience and reflect on these experiences. For their chosen professional activity the student will be expected to develop independent learning based on experience in the workplace. The intention of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their vocational skills of project management and delivery required of individuals within the sports industry.


Our sport and exercise science degree is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory practicals in our excellent facilities at our Glyntaff campus. Independent learning is also encouraged. The amount of time spent in formal teaching will vary each year of study due to differences in modules, laboratory sessions, work placements and dissertation/project work in your final year. The average lecture contact time per year is as follows:

  • Year 1: 12 hours contact time (18 hours of independent study per week)
  • Year 2: 12-15 hours (24 hours independent study per week)
  • Year 3: 12 hours (24 hours independent study and 7-14 hours of placement per week – depending on module choices).

Much of the contact in years two and three, includes a great deal of time spent in laboratories so that you become proficient in administering exercise stress tests, measuring various health indices and physiological parameters in order to collect, interpret and analyse reliable data.

The sport and exercise science course is delivered over an academic year for 24 weeks from September to May. You will study six 20 credit modules in year one and two. In the final year you will study one 40 credit module (dissertation) + four 20 credit modules.The course tends to be delivered over four days, with Wednesday’s specifically ‘free’ for BUCS University Sport competitions.


You will be assessed using a range of methods that include: written assignments, examinations, presentations, scientific lab reports and practical laboratory testing and analysis of data.


This sport and exercise science course is endorsed by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), which means that the academic knowledge and practical laboratory elements meet standards and requirements for the sport and exercise science and health and fitness industries.


Purposeful work-based learning opportunities are a chance to develop and practise your skills and knowledge in a range of work-related environments. Our Centre of Employability, Enterprise and Leadership in Sport (CEELS) demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our students are employable upon graduation. We have partnerships with over 50 sports organisations who offer work placements, enabling you to gain first-hand experience of working in the sports industry – an essential requirement for anyone wanting to gain employment in sport.


As part of your sport and exercise science degree, you will be based at our Glyntaff campus has specialist exercise physiology laboratories including:

  • Multiple CV exercise testing stations (arm cranks, cycle and rowing ergometers, treadmills)
  • On-line CPX gas analysis
  • Haematology lab, lung function and spirometry
  • Biomechanics lab which contains the following specialist equipment:Humac Norm Isokinetic dynamometer; Woodway Curve treadmill, Quintic HS cameras and associated software, CODA motion, and Kistler Force platform.
  • Environmental Chamber – the only one of its kind in South Wales.
  • Body composition lab –which contains our hydrodensitometry tank, BIA and Dexa scanner.
  • Skills lab – which contains BATAK, stabilometer and eye tracking equipment.

At USW Sport Park, just a few miles from the Glyntaff Campus, we have a notational analysis suite, an impressive strength and conditioning room and over 30 acres of playing fields, including five floodlit pitches, a new artificial training pitch and 3G rubber crumb floodlit football pitch.


Pip Laugharne, course leader


The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a Science subject or PE and to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include a Science subject or PE but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include one Science, Mathematics or Psychology at Higher Level(this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances Other: You will also need an enhanced DBS check.

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 
  • Part-time UK and EU:  £620  per 20 credits.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International:  £12300 
  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Graduates with a sport and exercise science degree can pursue careers in coaching, health science, clinical science, strength and conditioning, performance analysis, sports development and coaching in schools and the community, fitness assessment, performance coaching, or leisure management. Many students also progress to postgraduate study and research opportunities.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.