MSci Exercise and Sport Sciences

UCAS code C606
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer A*AA–AAA; IB: 38–36; BTEC: D*DD–DDD
Discipline Sport and Health Sciences
Location St Luke's (Exeter)


The four-year MSci Exercise and Sport Sciences programme mirrors the BSc Exercise and Sport Science programme during the first three years, but also includes an additional fourth year during which you will be able to intensively pursue research interests you have developed during your first three years on the programme. During this final year, you will undertake a dissertation while receiving postgraduate-level instruction on research methodologies, analytical techniques, and ways of sharing your results with the wider scientific community. This will culminate in the production of a research paper suitable for publication in academic journals, and attendance of a scientific conference. These opportunities are specifically designed to provide practical experience, promote confidence, and boost CV quality—all vital for improving your chances of employability after graduation.

The programme is delivered by world-class academics and is designed to provide you with a balanced understanding of both sport and exercise sciences across a range of sub-disciplines. During the degree you will develop your knowledge of physiology, biomechanics, and psychology. You will also develop a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying sport and exercise performance and participation.

The degree structure allows you to specialise in a particular area or to follow a broader-based programme. Modules are underpinned by the research excellence and applied expertise of our staff, allowing current cutting-edge material to be shared with you. Optional modules reflect the application of scientific knowledge in a variety of populations, such as athletes, children, and the general public.

Whatever path you wish to follow after graduation, we aim to support you so that you are best placed to succeed. We promote the development of employability skills through modules in leadership and business (run by the Business School), law for non-lawyers (delivered by the Law School), physical education, and employability/career development.

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying sport and exercise performance and health
  • Understand the variables involved in enhancing exercise or sports performance
  • Develop employability skills through modules in leadership and business, physical education, and employability/career development
  • Take the opportunity, in your third year of a four-year programme, to study abroad

Year 1
Focus on developing your foundational knowledge and skills within Exercise and Sport Sciences, including: anatomical knowledge; exercise and sport within a physiological context; exercise and sport related kinesiology and biomechanics; kinanthropometry; nutrition; and underlying theories of sport and exercise psychology.

Year 2
Continue to develop your knowledge of topics including: the body’s physiological response to exercise; angular kinematics and angular kinetics; statistical data analysis techniques required for a dissertation; and key psychological themes related to sport performance and skill acquisition.

Year 3
Put theory into practice. Subjects covered include: children and exercise; biomechanics of human movement; sports psychology; clinical exercise prescription; and physical activity and public health. The research dissertation, under the supervision of an academic tutor, will increase your ability for independent study and critical analysis.

Year 4
During this final year, you will undertake a dissertation while receiving postgraduate-level instruction on research methodologies, analytical techniques, and ways of sharing your results with the wider scientific community.

Programme variations

I chose the University of Exeter because it is known for having one of the best Sports Science research units in the UK, and I found the St Luke’s Campus had more spirit than any of the other universities I visited. Without a doubt I recommend this course at the University of Exeter to anyone wishing to study Sports Science. The module choices have great variety and allow students to follow a clear path with their specific interests catered for.

Ben, Exercise and Sport Sciences.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted, or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in stages 2 and 3 of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Stage 4

90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules

Compulsory modules

Code Title Credits
SHSM029U Dissertation 60
SHSM030U Research Methods and Analytical Procedures 15
SHSM031U Research Toolkit 15

Optional modules

Code Title Credits
SHSM005U Biomechanical Aspects of Lower Limb Injury 30
SHSM006U Laboratory Techniques in Physiology 30
SHSM014U Paediatric Exercise Health 30
SHSM022U Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases 30
SHSM023U Current Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology 30

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE A-levels: grade A in a science subject*.

IB: HL6 in a science subject*.

BTEC: Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require an A-level grade A in a science subject*.

GCSEs: GCSE English Language at grade C or 4, plus GCSE Maths at grade C or 4.

*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Sport Science; Statistics. 

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements.

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Most modules we offer will include a range of learning experiences, such as:

  • Lectures: designed to introduce topics, provide a framework for further reading, and provide background material for extended work through laboratory and practical experiences.
  • Laboratory sessions: you will work in smaller groups with specialist equipment.
  • Seminars: you will work in smaller groups, where you can contribute through discussion, role play and short presentations.
  • Independent research and study: reading, researching, writing, practice assignments, projects and dissertation.
  • Study groups: involve work with other students allowing you to utilise the support and cooperation of fellow students as a resource.
  • Practical sessions: some learning and teaching sessions make use of the sports facilities in order to help you gain applied experience.
  • Dissertation: this will be conducted in an area related to your specialism and will take the form of an extended and original piece of independent research. You will present your dissertation at a third-year Sport Science dissertation conference.
  • Guest lectures: we frequently welcome visitors of international standing in the area of exercise and sport.

On average you’ll have 15 hours of teaching time per week with more at the beginning of the programme and less as you progress and take more responsibility for your own learning.

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching. For example, positive feedback from our students has led us to increase use of our learning environment, an easily navigable website where you can access detailed information about modules and utilise multimedia learning resources.


All modules are assessed, with second and third year modules contributing towards your final degree classification. Modules are assessed using a variety of methods including essays, exams, oral and written presentations, laboratory reports and a dissertation. We aim to strike a 50:50 balance between coursework and exams over the duration of the programmes.

Academic facilities

The St Luke’s Campus features several teaching and research laboratories and computer suites that have recently been extended and upgraded. The campus is home to the Medical School’s Life Sciences Resource Centre, as well as extensive learning spaces for seminars and tutorials. In Sport and Health Sciences, we have designated purpose-built laboratories for sport and exercise physiology, sports biomechanics, and health and performance psychology. Further significant investment has recently been made in new multi-million pound teaching, learning, and research facilities on the campus.

At the Streatham Campus, Biosciences has benefitted from a £25 million investment in facilities. The laboratories provide a well-equipped environment for undergraduate teaching. In Psychology, we have extensive specialist laboratories and specialist facilities for studies of cognitive and social psychology as well as well-equipped workshops and a state-of-the-art audio/visual recording suite.

Premier sporting facilities

Over the last decade the University has invested over £20 million in the creation of some of the highest quality training environments and resources for the development, coaching and playing of sport.
The Sports Park on the Streatham Campus boasts some of the most cutting-edge facilities in the UK including the Russell Seal Fitness Centre. This facility, which was opened in September 2013, boasts a 200-station gym and numerous exercise studios. Additional facilities at our Exeter campuses include:

  • Flood lit astro and 3G pitches
  • 20 outdoor grass pitches
  • Squash courts
  • Gyms with the latest fitness equipment and free-weight areas
  • Exercise studios
  • Indoor cricket centre
  • Indoor tennis centre with 10 indoor courts
  • Pro-tour standard golf practice green, bunker, putting green and driving nets
  • Sports halls
  • Swimming pools – indoor and outdoor
  • A fleet of boats at the Roadford RYA Sailing Centre
  • A new, well-equipped boathouse on the Exeter canal

I would like to thank all of the teaching and administrative staff for an amazing three years at St Luke's. I was chuffed to bits a couple of weeks ago when I found out I'd managed to get a First overall, then the cherry-on-the-icing-on-the-cake was being awarded a school's commendation. I can't tell you how happy this has made my parents and other family as well, so just a generally massive thank you for everything!

Thomas, Exercise and Sport Sciences graduate.


You will develop the key transferable skills valued by employers, such as problem-solving, decision-making, planning and organising, personal communication and leadership. Key vocational skills also enhance the employability of our students, such as advanced laboratory training for biomechanical and physiological testing.

Science graduates compete well in the graduate employment market as they offer strong analytical and problem-solving skills valued highly across all sectors.

Careers services

We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service, ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market. Our graduates compete very successfully in the employment market, with many employers targeting the University when recruiting new graduates. 

Supporting your career in Sport and Health Sciences

Each year Sport and Health Sciences students are able to access a huge range of opportunities when considering their future career options. Recent events include career insights with visiting alumni, career conversations with employers on campus, and mock interviews with visiting employers and alumni.

Recent graduates

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Sport and Health Sciences undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Accenture
  • Achieve Lifestyle
  • Allianz
  • Ascend Performance Limited
  • Baring Asset Management
  • Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club
  • British Armed Forces
  • Smart Medical Clinic
  • Citynet Insurance Broker Ltd
  • Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP
  • Exeter Chiefs
  • Glanbia Performance Nutrition
  • Hawk-Eye Innovations
  • KPMG
  • National Probation Service
  • Newcastle United Football Club
  • NHS
  • Nuffield Health
  • Royal Yachting Association
  • Willis Towers Watson
  • Wiltshire Cricket Ltd.

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Barristers Clerk
  • British Sailing Athlete
  • Business Consultant
  • Cardiac Physiologist
  • Clinical Exercise Specialist
  • Football coach
  • Graduate Brand and Customer Manager
  • Gym Fitness Instructor
  • Performance Analyst
  • Physiologist Physiotherapy Technical Instructor
  • Professional Athlete
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Business Development Manager
  • Self-employed Personal Trainer
  • Student Performance Tennis Coach
  • Trainee Accountant
  • Trainee PE Teacher
  • Trainee Professional Golfer

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Sport and Health Sciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MPhil Sport and Health Sciences
  • MRes Exercise Science
  • MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • MSc Applied Performance Analysis in Sport
  • MSc by Research Sport and Health Science
  • MSc Clinical Science (Cardiac Science)
  • MSc Human Reproduction
  • MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • MSc in Finance
  • MSc in Sports Biomechanics
  • MSc International Management
  • MSc Marketing
  • MSc Musculoskeletal Ageing and Health
  • MSc Strength and Conditioning
  • PGCE Physical Education
  • PGCE Mathematics Secondary
  • PhD Sport Science

The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow after graduation, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.

I loved the University from the first time I visited; being able to study at a top rated University and the guarantee of a highly rated degree really appealed to me as well as being close to our National Training base in Weymouth, Dorset. The Sports Scholarship programme was another attraction and I am really lucky to have received a scholarship for each of the four years I was studying at Exeter. The campus itself is really unique and both the St Luke's and Streatham campuses are really beautiful places to be.

I have always been interested in sport and knew that I wanted to go into Olympic sailing and so Sport Science was an obvious choice for me. After finishing my undergraduate BSc Exercise and Sports Science at Exeter I was really interested in the health side of what we had studied and the MSc Sports Medicine allowed me to further understand some of the mechanisms that we were introduced to further.

The lecturers on my course were really approachable and because so much of their work is focused around research, we always knew that what we were being taught was really up to date and relevant in the field of Sport Science.
I am now a full time sailor campaigning for the Rio 2016 Olympics. I sail the Nacra 17 with my helm, Ben Saxton, and we are part of the British Sailing Team funded by UK Sport.

After my career in sailing I would really like to study medicine with the view to going into general practice. I see myself starting this career when I’m about 30, which would still give me a full length career in medicine.

Hannah, Exercise and Sports Science and MSc Sports Medicine graduate.

After completing my undergraduate degree at the School of Sport and Health Sciences, I chose to do a Masters there also because of its worldwide reputation in children’s exercise physiology and health at the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC). I knew that the staff would support me through the course and help me with anything I needed.

After attending a St Luke’s Careers Day and talking to guest speaker Jon Pitts, I was offered a job at Motive8 Health and Fitness. Working in the schools department, I carried out research with staff at St Luke’s on physical activity levels during PE lessons in primary schools. Then I progressed to department manager, with the aim to improve the quality of sport and health provision offered in schools. After a year at Motive8, I moved to Wales and became coordinator of the ‘5 for life’ project at Newport Local Health Board. Under the Going for Gold scheme, the project targets children and families through school, community learning and festivals to promote healthy living. This job offers a range of experiences from working on partnership with public health agencies, organising community events as well as delivering healthy workshops to children in schools.

I have to give full praise to the support that Sport and Health Sciences staff provide. The University of Exeter offers so much, from community action to sports and the various societies, and its reputation enhances job prospects.

Emma, Exercise and Sport Sciences, and MSc Paediatric Exercise Physiology graduate

Contact us

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360 tour of Sports and Health Sciences

Explore our new sports and health facilities in 360 degrees, including our visuomotor, surgical training and nutritional physiology laboratories. View full size.