Undergraduate School

Sport and Exercise Sciences

C601 BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences
C609 MBiol, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences (Integrated Masters)

This course offers:

  • the chance to study in a faculty ranked 4th in the UK for research in biological sciences by the leading scientific journal 'Nature' based on the number of staff producing research that was "world leading or internationally excellent"
  • specialist facilities include biomechanics & motor control laboratories, exercise physiology lab, psychology lab and access to outdoor centres in Lake District & Yorkshire Dales

What is Sport and Exercise Sciences?

Student participating in practical session Sport and Exercise Sciences is the scientific study of how the body and mind cope with, handle and learn from the stresses of performance in sport and exercise.

We also offer Sports Science with Physiology which has an extra emphasis on physiology.

Sports science

...is about the performance of individuals and teams in competitive situations or extreme conditions. It largely concentrates on elite activity and on the application of science to help athletes to maximise performance

Exercise science

...utilises the same core scientific disciplines but applies these to broader range populations with a focus on health and disease, fitness and rehabilitation

They address such questions such as:

  • How do injuries occur?
  • Is it possible to improve performance?
  • How does the body react in an extreme environment?

Core disciplines:

Exercise physiology

Exercise physiologists study how body systems function during exercise and how they respond to long-term exercise training. This includes the study of physiological variables such as those related to: metabolism; respiration; body composition; muscle function; the nervous, pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and nutrition. These may then be used to investigate physiological responses to training and help athletes maximise their physiological potential, or to provide insight into the causes of cardio-respiratory disease and its prevention, for example.

Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the application of the principles of Newtonian mechanics to the study and understanding of human movement and the muscular and skeletal systems. The optimum performance of any athlete is constrained by these principles, just as all injury results from the mechanical failure of one or more biological tissues. Topics studied in this discipline include: the physics of motion; mechanical principles involved in skilled sporting performance; mechanics of sports injury and rehabilitation and the techniques of biomechanical analysis of performance. As well as helping athletes and coaches understand what makes particular techniques work to improve performance, there are strong links between the study of biomechanics and the engineering of sports equipment both to improve performance and reduce injury risk and to the work undertaken by physiotherapists and orthopaedic medicine specialists seeking to understand conditions such as osteo- arthritis and cerebral palsy.

Motor control

Motor control is the study of the mechanisms that enable human movements to be produced and controlled and how movement skills are learned. Motor Control scientists ask questions about what needs to be controlled when we perform skilled tasks, how we learn to do this, and how we are able to co-ordinate the vast range of both simple and complex movements that are involved in this performance. This can be applied to helping our understanding of an athletes ability to develop the appropriately high level of skill necessary for a winning performance in their sport but also is necessary in the design of rehabilitation routines to help, for example, patients recover function following stroke or spinal cord injury.

Sport and exercise psychology

Sport and exercise psychology is concerned with the thoughts, feelings and emotions of individuals and how these influence human behaviour in sport and exercise settings. Topics include: psychological health and well-being; anxiety; motivation; group processes; social influences; psychological skills training; personality and adherence to training or rehabilitation programmes. The psychology of an athlete is fundamental to their ability to perform optimally in any given environment and to the development of effective coach-athlete relationships. But, psychology also plays a fundamental role in the understanding of pathological behaviour such as exercise addiction and eating disorders.

Why study Sport and Exercise Sciences?

Sport and Exercise Sciences are hugely topical and relevant in the modern world:

Biomechanics

  • They provide a methodical and systematic approach for coaches, athletes and teams seeking to improve performance at all levels of participation.
  • A knowledge of sports science and the ability to use this knowledge will play an important part in achieving success at the London Olympics in 2012.
  • Physical activity is extremely important to the health of the nation; knowing what activity to promote and how to encourage safe participation requires an understanding of the scientific basis for these activities.
  • Scientific literacy is becoming increasingly essential for an understanding of the many technological and ethical questions posed by contemporary society. The sport and exercise sciences not only address some of these directly, but are an ideal vehicle to develop and exercise a broad range of scientific and critical thinking skills.
  • Studying sport and exercise is an exciting way to develop an understanding of biological sciences and the interaction of the individual with the environment. A good scientific education acts as a springboard to future career options, whether within sport and exercise or other graduate professions.


Entry Requirements

2013 entry requirements

Entry requirements will vary dependent upon which of the following pathways you choose:

2014 entry requirements

BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences - UCAS code C601

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA-ABB from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including a science subject OR both Psychology and PE in place of a science at A2. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We consider applications on an individual basis and an offer will depend on the information given on your UCAS form. Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF): We will consider applicants with either the Applied Science or Sport and Exercise Science Extended Diploma. Our typical offer in both cases is DDD. For students taking the BTEC Sport and Exercise Sciences Extended Diploma, we would also expect applicants to achieve Distinctions in 12 out of the 14 following units: Anatomy for Sport and Exercise, Sport and Exercise Physiology, Sport and Exercise Psychology, Research Methods for Sport and Exercise Science, Research Project in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Sports Biomechanics in Action, Exercise, Health and Lifestyle, Fitness Testing for Sport and Exercise, Analysis of Sports Performance, Sports Nutrition, Sports Injuries, Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology, Applied Sport and Exercise Physiology, Laboratory and Experimental Methods in Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Please note that we do not accept the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport (Performance and Excellence), Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness) or Sport (Outdoor Adventure) unless accompanied by at least one A2 qualification from Biology, Human Biology, Maths, Physics, Chemistry or Psychology. In this case distinctions would be required in the BTEC and A in the A2 level.

International Baccalaureate: 35-34 (with 18-16 at higher level) including 6 in a science and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB-AAABBB including an A in a higher level science and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3-D3/M2/M2 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences with Industrial Placement

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Industrial Placements

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences with Study Year Abroad

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Study Year Abroad

MBiol, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences (Integrated Masters) - UCAS code C609

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including a science subject OR both Psychology and Sports Science/PE in place of a science at A2. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

International Baccalaureate: 35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in a science and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB including an A in a higher level science and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

Duration of the course 3 Years Full Time (C601)
4 Years Full Time (C609)
An Industrial Placement or Study Year Abroad will add a year to the duration of the course
English language requirements If English is not your first language, please check our minimum English language requirements. 2014 brochure cover

See also

BSc Sports Science and Physiology

Admissions policy Download our Admissions Policy for 2014 entry. (PDF format). This includes information on the application process, our admissions intake and the selection process.

Admissions enquiries

Tel: 0113 343 4226
Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Admissions tutor

Dr Neil Messenger
Tel: 0113 343 5084
Email: n.messenger@leeds.ac.uk

Department

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School

Programme Leaders

Dr Shaunna Burke

Course brochure

Download a course brochure

BSc Course Structure

sports science imageIn the first and second year, lectures, practicals and tutorials are the most important forms of teaching. You will have lectures and tutorials each week, and regular laboratory sessions. In the final year, you will be able to choose your favourite topics to study under the guidance of leading experts; your research project will take up about one third of your time with the rest devoted to lectures and tutorials. Formal examinations are held twice a year, in January and May/June, to spread the assessment load.

Qualification Course Title Duration
BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences 3 years
BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences with industrial placement year 4 years
BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences with a study year abroad 4 years
MBiol, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences 4 years
MBiol, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences with industrial placement year 5 years
MBiol, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences with a study year abroad 5 years

Modules

All degree programmes are modular and offer wide choice.

Modules may be core (you have to take them), optional (you can choose from a list of alternatives) or elective (you have a free choice); the balance depends upon your year and programme of study. We offer a wide range of modules. Examples include:

Sport and Exercise Sciences Year 1

Foundations of Physiology

This is a double credit module and provides the foundation for all further study in physiology. It introduces students to each of the core body systems as well as providing a grounding in such topics as biochemistry and in molecular and cellular biology. As well as formal lectures the module makes innovative use of online learning support materials and assessments.

Tutorial and Practical Skills in Sport and Exercise Sciences

One of the main proposes of this double credit module is to help students bridge the gap between school level and university level learning. Using a wide variety of teaching and learning methods including; lecturers, seminars, tutorials and workshops, students develop their verbal and written communication skills through group and individual activities, engage in scientific debate and criticism and practice a range of transferable laboratory and IT skills. As part of this module students are expected to take a minimum of 25 hours worth of experience outside of the course: these can include the completion of sports governing body coaching awards, volunteering or short work placements.

Introduction to Biomechanics

Students study modules in each of the core sports science disciplines in their first year: in this module the focus is on the mechanics of human movement. Our approach recognises the varying scientific and mathematical backgrounds of students entering the BSc Sport and Exercise Science degree schemes and is designed to ensure that all students receive grounding in the fundamental concepts of the mechanical study of sport and exercise on which the more advanced modules in mechanics and biomechanics are based. The objective of the module is to develop students understanding of and ability to conceptualise human motion clearly and unambiguously in a sports or exercise context. This will be developed through the analysis of the Newton's Laws of Motion and their implications to human physical activity, including an exploration of force and its concepts, including: gravity, friction and impact of momentum, work and energy. In addition to formal lectures, teaching is undertaken in small group tutorials and laboratory practicals and specially developed online workshops using the University's Virtual Learning Environment.

Cardio-respiratory Physiology and Exercise

Building on the material covered in the foundations of physiology module, this unit begins to focus on the application of physiology to the study of human physical activity and in particular the control and function of the heart and respiration. Topics covered include the factors responsible for controlling blood pressure and flow of blood to tissues and the ventilation of the lungs, respiration and the control of these processes. Throughout an emphasis will be placed on how and why the systems and their control are important for exercise.

Sport and Exercise Sciences Year 2

Working as a Sport and Exercise Scientist: Professional and Research Skills

This double credit module is designed to help students develop the skills required of a professional sport and exercise scientist from data handling and interpretation and the statistical analysis of experimental data to the consideration of ethical issues in sports science practice. Students are also encouraged to start the process of thinking about their career options and are given guidance and practice in CV writing and the completing of job applications through to interview practice and client handling. As with the first year tutorial and skills module, students are expected to undertake additional experience through the development of their coaching skills, volunteering or short work placements. This is an ideal opportunity for those wishing to complete a PGCE after graduation to obtain the classroom experience increasingly required for acceptance on these courses.

Social Processes in Sport and exercise

This module includes: group processes, cohesion, collective efficacy, leadership, behaviour modification, social influence, socialisation, talent development, and gender issues in sport and exercise. Practical work will include developing and delivering a theory-based team-building intervention as well as a lab-report centred around group dynamics.

Motor Control: Rehabilitation.

In this double credit module students will develop their understanding of the prominent theories of motor control and learning guide research and practice by exploring the key variables that influence the learning, retention and transfer of movement skills. Topics covered will include: stages of learning, theories of learning, the dynamical systems approach to learning, the role of feedback and the distribution, variability and principles of practice.

Exercise Physiology in Sport, Health and Disease

Based on the solid grounding in both pure and applied exercise physiology obtained in the first year, students, through this double module, now embark on the detailed investigation of the physiology of sport and exercise and in particular the biochemical processes comprising aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and how this is related to performance and of the regulation of the cardiovascular, ventilation and the acid based systems. Topics covered include: maximal oxygen uptake, excess/post-exercise oxygen consumption and the lactate threshold; the physiological responses to both acute and chronic exercise in the endurance and anaerobic performer; nutritional requirements for performance or health and physiological adaptations to activity and inactivity for performance or health.

Sport and Exercise Sciences Year 3

Inter-disciplinary Issues in Sport and Exercise Science

Many of the previous modules studied on this course necessarily focus on an individual discipline within the sport and exercise sciences. This double module is designed to allow students to reflect on the relationship between these disciplines and on the implications of these relationships for the their practical application. Following a series of key note lectures by researchers from each of the core disciplines and smaller group tutorials, students undertake two major literature based projects: one investigating the interdisciplinary nature of sports injury and second exploring the importance of the need for an awareness of the other disciplines within sports science when undertaking and interpreting the result of experiments in a single discipline.

Movement Analysis: a Multidisciplinary Approach

This module brings together the disciplines of biomechanics and motor control to investigate the experimental and clinical techniques used to objectively assess human movement. The techniques used to measure motion including; video analysis, 3-dimensional motion tracking, force platforms and in-shoe pressure measurement devices will be investigated from a theoretical standpoint and through lab-based practice. How the data resulting from these measurements is used in practice will then be discussed through the use of contemporary clinical and research examples in both biomechanics and motor control.

Mechanics of Sport and Performance

Through their application to core sporting activities - running, jumping, throwing and striking - the biomechanical principles learnt in Year 1 and Year 2 are applied to the investigation of current research themes in the study of sports performance. A core theme through this module is the importance of modelling in various forms to assist in the objective and systematic analysis of complex human activity.

Sport Medicine, Health and Nutrition

This module explores the role of medicine and nutrition while examining the health benefits of exercise. Students will gain a critical understanding of sports medicine and the nutritional and practical dietary needs for those involved in sport and for maintenance of health. Topics covered include: the importance of exercise as prevention for cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic psychiatric diseases; the management of sporting injuries on and off the field of play; the principles and practice of rehabilitation; sports medicine provision; the role of nutrition in enhancing performance and nutrition and its relationship to health and rehabilitation.

Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Research Projects

foot- heat imageFinal year students choose an individual project from a wide range of topics to suit their interests and career aspirations. The project is an original laboratory, literature or computer-based study, supervised by an academic member of staff. These projects are an important way for students to learn about independent scientific research and develop important skills for future employment.

Recent examples include:

Foundations of Physiology

This is a double credit module and provides the foundation for all further study in physiology. It introduces students to each of the core body systems as well as providing a grounding in such topics as biochemistry and in molecular and cellular biology. As well as formal lectures the module makes innovative use of online learning support materials and assessments.

Tutorial and Practical Skills in Sport and Exercise Sciences

One of the main proposes of this double credit module is to help students bridge the gap between school level and university level learning. Using a wide variety of teaching and learning methods including; lecturers, seminars, tutorials and workshops, students develop their verbal and written communication skills through group and individual activities, engage in scientific debate and criticism and practice a range of transferable laboratory and IT skills. As part of this module students are expected to take a minimum of 25 hours worth of experience outside of the course: these can include the completion of sports governing body coaching awards, volunteering or short work placements.

Introduction to Biomechanics

Students study modules in each of the core sports science disciplines in their first year: in this module the focus is on the mechanics of human movement. Our approach recognises the varying scientific and mathematical backgrounds of students entering the BSc Sport and Exercise Science degree schemes and is designed to ensure that all students receive grounding in the fundamental concepts of the mechanical study of sport and exercise on which the more advanced modules in mechanics and biomechanics are based. The objective of the module is to develop students understanding of and ability to conceptualise human motion clearly and unambiguously in a sports or exercise context. This will be developed through the analysis of the Newton's Laws of Motion and their implications to human physical activity, including an exploration of force and its concepts, including: gravity, friction and impact of momentum, work and energy. In addition to formal lectures, teaching is undertaken in small group tutorials and laboratory practicals and specially developed online workshops using the University's Virtual Learning Environment.

Cardio-respiratory Physiology and Exercise

Building on the material covered in the foundations of physiology module, this unit begins to focus on the application of physiology to the study of human physical activity and in particular the control and function of the heart and respiration. Topics covered include the factors responsible for controlling blood pressure and flow of blood to tissues and the ventilation of the lungs, respiration and the control of these processes. Throughout an emphasis will be placed on how and why the systems and their control are important for exercise.

Some of our students have been fortunate enough to get their final year research project data published in a scientific journal.

MBiol Course Structure

To find out more about how the MBiol differs from the BSc programme, download our PDF guide to MBiol degrees.

Visit the Studying with us pages to find out more about studying in the Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School.

Please be aware that course details do change from time to time. ...

... If in doubt, please contact us to verify course content and availability. Whilst the University endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the date of publication it does not accept liability for any inaccuracies. The University reserves the right to change or cancel its courses or services at any time without liability even after students have registered at the University. The University's contract with its students does not confer third party benefits for the purposes of Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

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Teaching and Assessment

Natalie in sports hallOur approach to teaching and learning is based around developing your knowledge and skills, and training you to be independent and to think critically. This means that you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials with additional time allocated to private study, project work and laboratory practicals, the balance of which will vary through your course and as you become more confident and experienced. At Leeds you will learn in many different ways:

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

A typical week:

  • in year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour laboratory practical and additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
  • in year two includes approximately six hours of formal lectures and eight to ten hours hours of laboratory practicals plus seminars, tutorials and private study.
  • the final year requires a greater degree of independent study, and you will undertake a research project.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods including:

  • multiple-choice testing
  • practical work
  • data handling and problem-solving exercises
  • group work
  • discussion groups (physical and online)
  • computer-based simulation
  • essays
  • posters
  • oral presentations

Current assessment details for each individual module can be accessed via the programme catalogue.

Careers

Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike. Our Sport and Exercise Sciences programmes foster the development of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers throughout the world.

"Choosing Leeds University to study sports science was the right choice for me as the course content is interesting and challenging, the staff are friendly, approachable and always willing to help and last but not least the city is a great place to live. Also, with the Faculty’s multidisciplinary approach to studying allowing for the development of many skills, the job opportunities after graduation are endless."

Victoria Eccles, BSc Sports Science graduate, 2008.

Sport Sciences Careers

sports science image

View scientific careers

Career choices include sport and exercise science research, lecturing and teaching in higher and further education, fitness testing/instructing, coaching, health and lifestyle consultancy within the leisure industry, careers with national governing bodies, and local authorities.

View non-scientific professions

In the outdoor leisure industry, equipment product design, accountancy, finance, patent work and journalism.

View further study

Many graduates embark on further study e.g. PhD, MSc, PGCE.

Careers Support

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops especially for biological sciences students. We also organise an annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information. Browse the careers fair photo gallery.

University Careers Service

Our on-campus Careers Centre is one of the largest in the country, with experienced advisers and strong relationships with graduate recruiters. The Careers Centre will help you to find out how to develop your employability right from the start and provide support after you graduate. Find out what the Careers Centre has to offer.

Gaining work experience

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive job market and Leeds offers many opportunities to gain experience and develop skills valuable to employers, including our industrial placement and year abroad schemes, laboratory placement schemes, and volunteering via Leeds for Life.

Industrial Advisory Board

Our Industrial Advisory Board gives employers the chance to input directly into programme and module content. This ensures that our programmes include appropriate training and skills so that our students and graduates are desirable to a broad range of graduate employers.

Join a global network of Leeds graduates

A remarkable variety of opportunities result from our relationships with our graduates, including access to the Leeds Graduate Careers Network.

Recent graduate jobs include:
Recent graduate employers include:
  • Brand Marketing Assistant
  • Business Development Manager
  • Cardiac Physiologist
  • Club and Coach Development Officer
  • Fitness Consultant
  • Occupational Training Programme
  • PE Teacher
  • Physiotherapist
  • Research Assistant
  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • British Cycling
  • Burhill Estates
  • Contract Interior Systems Ltd
  • Moet Hennessy
  • NHS
  • University of Leeds

sports science imageRead about more BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates...

Careers resources

For more information on our approach to graduate employability, please see: www.leeds.ac.uk/employability

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Students' Experiences

Kendal Barrett Brown

Kendal Barrett Brown"The course drew me in - as it has a great reputation and I wanted to study the best degree possible at a leading university. Leeds is renowned for research and that really interested me."

 


Laura Sugar

Laura SugarLaura is a Sports Scholar and plays hockey for Wales at Senior International level.

"I felt that the course suited my skills well and would be enjoyable as well as challenging throughout my 3 years. It also has a great reputation."


See more student profiles.

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