Sport and Exercise Science BSc


Fact file - 2019 entry

BSc Hons Sport and Exercise Science
UCAS code
3 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
At least two from biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics; biology preferred. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. Five GCSEs at grade 7-4 (A-C) including English language and maths are also required

Please note we do not accept BTEC
IB score
34-36; 5/6 in biology and another science subject at Higher Level 
Course location
Medical School and University Park Campus 
Course places


Learn how to apply scientific principles of physiology, anatomy, biomechanics and psychology to sport and exercise science.
Read full overview

Highlights of sport and exercise science at Nottingham

  • Study in laboratories designed specifically for this course, based in our £40m David Ross Sports Village
  • Learn in a medical school environment, with access to a dissection suite and functional sports medicine facilities
  • Join a university which is a founding partner in the IOC accredited National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Experience multidisciplinary teaching from internationally recognised academics, in the Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences and Engineering
  • Choose a course with an emphasis on science and health, providing you with skills that open up a range of career options
  • Expand your studies through optional advanced study modules and completing a final-year research project in a topic of your choice

Ideal for those with an interest in sport and the biomedical sciences, this course will provide you with thorough scientific knowledge into why and how the body functions during and after sport and exercise.  

Yearly overviews

Year one

Introductory modules will cover the foundations of the science behind sport and exercise. You’ll look at human physiology, exploring how the human body functions from the cellular level to the whole organism. 

Alongside other life sciences students, you’ll examine the structure and function of molecules in cells as well as the role of genetics. 

Advanced mathematics prepares you for the future study of biomechanics. Topics including physiology, psychology and anatomy are studied while developing skills such as scientific writing, experimental design and data handling. 

Teaching will be a mixture of classroom-based sessions and laboratory practicals. As part of the Professional Development Portfolio, you’ll complete a first aid qualification. 

Year two

Study into the three main branches of sport and exercise science (physiology, biomechanics and psychology) is continued but in more depth. 

Human anatomy is looked at more closely, with modules covering the musculoskeletal system and the physiology of the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

You’ll gain an understanding of how the body responds to exercise and the impact of nutrition on exercise performance.

Work for the Professional Development Portfolio will progress, with the potential for you to undertake a coaching qualification and/or placements. 

Year three

In the final year, you will continue to specialise through core modules in the major disciplines of sport and exercise science. 

You will also undertake a final-year research project. This is an opportunity to consolidate your learning and showcase your skills. Working alongside a research group in the University, you’ll be supervised by a research-active academic. You’ll be expected to plan and carry out your own experiment as well as interpret the results in the context of previous published work. The final outcome will be a written dissertation. 

Advanced optional modules will also be available for you to choose from. This is a great opportunity to study a topic you already have a prior interest in or to try something new. 


Teaching and assessment 

Teaching methods

You will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module.

These may include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • field-based practical classes
  • small-groups
  • workshops
  • tutorials
  • placements

Assessment methods

Assessment varies on the module being studied, but is typically a combination of:

  • exams
  • essays
  • dissertations
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations 


All students will be required to complete a Personal Development Portfolio during their studies. This mandatory portfolio will include undertaking work placements within the University and UK, completing national coaching qualifications and a first aid course to obtain the relevant certificates.


Location and facilities

Depending on the module being studied, you may be based in the Faculty of Engineering on University Park Campus or the Medical School, which is embedded in the Queen’s Medical Centre. There is a footbridge linking the Medical School to University Park, providing easy access to facilities on both bases.

In the Medical School, we have an anatomy suite and functional sports medicine facilities so there is everything you will need to study a range of subjects. In addition, we have built new exercise physiology, psychology and human movement laboratories in the David Ross Sports Village which is also on University Park Campus. 

Find out more about the new David Ross Sports Village. 


Student support

All students have a personal tutor. Personal tutors are members of academic staff in the school who will:
  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback
  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters

At Nottingham we still offer small group tutorials. This ensures you have enough time to build a relationship with your tutor and benefit from their support. Your fellow tutees also provide peer support. 

Additionally, the school has a dedicated Welfare Officer and a Student Liaison Officer who are available to help you adapt to university life and provide advice on more complex issues.   

Peer mentoring

Starting university can be daunting. To help you settle into life at Nottingham, the school runs a peer mentoring scheme. You will be matched with a senior student who can introduce you to the social activities available and also support you while you adapt to university-level study. 


Sport at Nottingham

Alongside our reputation for academic excellence, the University of Nottingham also has a strong tradition of sporting success across a wide number of sports. The University has finished in the BUCS top 10 for the last 15 years. For the 2016/17 season, we finished 4th. 

See our sport website for further details about the sporting facilities available off campus.

Visit the David Ross Sports Village website to see what we can offer you on campus, including details on the sports scholarship scheme. 


Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our mature students' website.

International applicants

We welcome applications from international applicants. The University’s International Office can provide advice and support throughout your application and preparation for coming to the UK.

Please see the entry requirements tab for English language requirements.

If you are unable to attend an open day, we can meet you in your country at one of our overseas events or arrange an individual visit to the University. Find out more on the  International Office website


Entry requirements

A levels: AAB including at least two from biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics; biology preferred. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. A level in PE or Sports Science is acceptable as a third subject.

Please note we do not accept A level General Studies.

GCSEs: Five GCSEs at grade 7-4 (A-C), including English language and maths. Understand how we show GCSE grades

University of Nottingham foundation programme: Passing of the Science Foundation Programme (CFG0) following the Biological Sciences pathway with a mean of 60% in Foundation Biological Sciences (C10FY3) and Chemistry (C10FCL) modules.

IB: 34-36; 5/6 in biology and another science subject at Higher Level

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element).

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

To progress to BSc Sport and Exercise Science, you will need to follow the biological sciences pathway with a 60% pass in both Foundation Biological Sciences and Foundation Year Chemistry. 

Alternative qualifications

For mature students: Access to Science path that should include 45 credits at level 3 (with 15 credits from chemistry and 15 from biology) with added stipulation of 40 credits at distinction level.

Applicants should also have GCSEs in English and Maths (min Grade 4 or C).

BTEC qualification

Please note we do not accept the BTEC qualification for this course.

Flexible admissions policy 

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Human Physiology
In this module you will gain an introduction to the major physiological systems (e.g. cardiovascular, nervous and musculo-skeletal) mainly from the perspective of the human, including some aspects of drug action. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.
Genes, Molecules and Cells
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.
Advanced Mathematics for Sport and Exercise Science
This module provides a mathematical foundation for understanding and characterising movement of both the body and sports equipment such as balls.  It will cover forces and moments around joints, acceleration and inertia, and linear and rotational motion.  The module provides a stepping-stone from GCSE Mathematics to the kinematic analysis of motion introduced in the second year.
Core Skills in Sport and Exercise Science

This module will provide the opportunity to study the fundamental principles in:

  • Exercise Physiology - including basic cardio-respiratory and muscle responses to exercise, nutritional requirements of exercise, and the basic anatomy of the heart and lungs)
  • Psychology – including fundamentals of individual and population group processes in sport and exercise
  • Functional Anatomy - focussing on the integration of the anatomy of bones, joints, muscle, ligaments and tendons with the biomechanics of human movement.

This module also focusses on developing core skills required by sport and exercise scientists in scientific writing, experimental design, data handling and analysis, and scientific presentations. 


Typical year two modules

Functional Anatomy of the Musculoskeletal System and Applied Sports Medicine 
This module will focus on specific muscles and muscle groups in the upper and lower limbs and relate this to function. The related osteology and important structures such as ligaments and tendons will be studied. There will also be the opportunity to study imaging modalities such as ultrasound. This knowledge will be integrated with fundamental aspects of prevention and treatment of sport- and exercise-related musculoskeletal injury and relevant medical conditions.  
Sports and Exercise Biomechanics 
Motion of the body is extremely complex in sporting activities. This module develops skills in measuring the motion and performance of the body using cutting-edge motion analysis equipment.  Examples will be used to illustrate the applications of these techniques in assessing and understanding motion, characterising style and technique and monitoring injury.
Applied Sports Psychology 
This module will cover psychological approaches to maximising training adaptations and enhancing performance in humans. It will also focus on psychological and behavioural risk factors and treatment interventions for optimal rehabilitation from injuries.
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology  
This module will explain how the heart and lungs operate within an integrated system to sustain blood pressure, and maintain essential blood supply to peripheral organs. The reaction of peripheral organs to this constantly changing blood supply, and the effects on cardiovascular function will be outlined. These concepts will then enable students to understand the effects of acute exercise on this system, and the effects of training. This knowledge will be integrated with the fundamental aspects of the anatomy of the human cardiovascular and respiratory system.
Environmental Physiology
This module expands on previous modules in muscle, cardiovascular and respiratory physiology to understand how the human body reacts, and potentially adapts to, environmental stress. A series of examples including extreme cold, heat, altitude, water immersion, and microgravity will be explored.
Muscle Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism in Exercise 
This module is designed to enable you to develop a strong understanding of how the human body responds acutely to exercise and adapts to chronic physical training, with particular emphasis on skeletal muscle. It will also focus on the interaction between nutrition and energy metabolism and the impact of nutrition on exercise performance. This knowledge will be integrated with the fundamental aspects of the anatomy of the human gastrointestinal system.

Typical year three modules

Research Methods and Statistics 
This module will equip students with a variety of research methods relevant to their upcoming research project. The importance of correct study design will be emphasised, as well as the ethical considerations when conducting human experiments. Data and statistical analysis techniques appropriate to sport and exercise research will be explained, as well as their importance when deciding on study design.
Applied Exercise and Health Psychology 
This module will focus on psychological and behavioural approaches to promoting physical activity at individual and population group level.
Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism in Health and Disease

This module will enable students to develop a strong understanding of metabolism in the promotion and maintenance of human health, including aspects of muscle, heart, liver and adipose tissue metabolism. It will also cover the role of diet in the development, prevention and treatment of disease.

Clinical Biomechanics 
This module expands on your understanding of skeletal tissue mechanics and physiology to identify the mechanisms of common sports injuries explaining injury thresholds and how these are determined.  The concept of injury criteria will be introduced and used to illustrate how sports equipment and rule changes can be optimised to minimise the risk of injury.
Project and Dissertation 
This is a year-long level three module. You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic in anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, or psychology with close supervision from an academic member of staff. Each project will involve collection of experimental data, their analysis and interpretation in the context of previous published work, and the completion of a written dissertation.

Optional modules (four from the list below are required) 

Biology of Ageing
The success of modern medicine has resulted in significant increases in the average human lifespan. This module will focus on the mechanistic basis of human ageing and progression to chronic age-related disease and will consider the role and potential for exercise and pharmacological interventions in offsetting age related decline.
Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sport 
This module will cover contemporary issues related to use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and the monitoring and ethical issues that surround this practice.
Cardiovascular Control in Health and Disease
This module will explain how the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are affected by common diseases, such as atherosclerosis, COPD and heart failure, and how exercise is central to the quality of life of these patients. The module will examine the mechanisms underlying prevention of such diseases via increased physical activity, as well as the effect of exercise in managing disease.
Psychological and Behavioural Barriers to Exercise
This module focuses on understanding barriers to and facilitators of participation in physical activity, and developing effective interventions to address those factors.
Rehabilitation from Sports Injuries
In this module, you will study about current strategies used to prevent, evaluate and treat acute and chronic sport-related injuries, and return to normal function.  
Physical Activity and Health
This module considers the emerging associations between sedentariness and physical inactivity and the development of chronic, non-communicable diseases. It will also consider the impact of increased physical activity on human health. 
Head Trauma in Sports and Rehabilitation from Brain Injury 
In this module you will be introduced to different types of head injuries associated with sports participation and their clinical management. You will also learn about current rehabilitation strategies following head trauma (including stroke). 

Extracurricular activities

Professional Development Portfolio (mandatory for all students)
All students will be required to complete a Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) during their three year study in Nottingham. This mandatory portfolio will include successful completion of a first aid course in year one, undertaking short-term work placements within the University and UK, and obtaining national sport coaching qualifications of their choice.


As a graduate, you’ll have obtained a broad range of skills valued by employers in a variety of sectors. In addition to the scientific knowledge gained, you’ll have transferable skills in communication, presentation and problem-solving. 

Typically, graduates will find employment in:

  • professional sports bodies and organisations
  • sports and leisure centres
  • sports and health industry
  • pharmaceutical industry
  • education sector
  • public health sector
  • UK institutes of sport
  • food and drink industry
  • exercise testing laboratories

Due to our enhanced scientific content, you will also be in a good position to undertake further study such as an MSc or PhD in human health and disease and a number of allied topics. Graduate entry medicine is an additional option.  

Career support and advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our  Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students. 


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

Sport scholarship scheme

Our range of sports scholarships are aimed at providing an unrivalled level of support to the brightest and best talents in the sporting world.

As well as a reputation for academic excellence, we have a history of sporting success and are passionate about supporting promising athletes during their time at Nottingham. Please check the sport website for further details, including eligibility criteria. 


Related courses

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How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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