Sport, Physical Activity and Health with optional placement year
BSc (Hons)

2021/22 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Sport


Magee campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2021


The physiological, behavioural, social, cultural and nutritional perspectives of health enhancing physical activity for the general population.


It is becoming increasingly recognised that physical activity and exercise have a positive influence on health and wellbeing and that the promotion of active and healthy lifestyles in the community has substantial social and economic benefits. This course has been designed in collaboration with the School of Sport and School of Nursing to produce highly educated professionals with the knowledge and skills to organise and provide for the policy, planning, development, management and delivery of sport, physical activity and health initiatives.

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course will be ‘refreshed’ and changes may be put in place.

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About this course


The serious public health problems associated with obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes are well publicised. Physical inactivity is a contributory factor to 17 chronic disease conditions and the World Health Organisation (WHO) figures have shown that a lack of regular activity results in 3.2 million deaths worldwide, making it the fourth leading cause of global mortality.

Regular physical activity and exercise result in a number of well-established physical, psychological and social health benefits. Despite this, physical activity levels in Northern Ireland and Great Britain remain low with less than 40% of the population currently meeting government guidelines with particular population groups undertaking dangerously low levels of daily physical activity.

This course aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of both the science underpinning and methods employed, to promote health enhancing sport and physical activity. You will undertake study in the physiological, behavioural, social, cultural and nutritional perspectives that impact upon sport, physical activity and health at individual and societal levels. Upon graduation you will possess a wide range of knowledge and skills that will enable you to work as a professional, bringing about an increase in people’s physical activity whilst reducing their sedentary behaviour.

The course offers small group teaching, hands-on experience in our dedicated Exercise Laboratory and a one-year work placement with the opportunity to obtain a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Please note the modular structure of the programme is subject to change.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Find out more about placement awards


You should be available to attend lectures, seminars and practical classes as timetabled, during weekdays.

The course runs over three years (four years with optional placement).

120 credit points per year – 60 credits in Semester I and 60 credits in Semester II.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Please note the modular structure of the programme is subject to change.

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    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Magee campus

Our vision is aligned to the strategic growth plan for the city and region.


Enjoy student life in one of Europe's most vibrant cities.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Sports Facilities

Our facilities in Magee cater for many sports ranging from archery to volleyball, and are open to students and members of the public all year round.

Find out more - information about sport  

Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student support  


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BT48 7JL

T: 028 7012 3456


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

Anatomy and Health-Related Physiology

Year: 1

This module provides students with a basic knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and physiology which will form the foundations for further study on the effects of exercise and physical activity on humans. It will be offered through a combination of web based learning, traditional lectures and tutorials. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination.

Health and Wellbeing in Modern Society

Year: 1

This module is for students undertaking the BSc (Hons) Physical Activity, Exercise and Health. It examines relevant topics to maintain a quality approach to current areas of health concern. This module will challenge the students to explore the concepts of health and wellbeing and the wider societal influences. It provides a springboard for discussion and reflection of current challenges associated with issues of wellbeing, health and physical activity. This module augments the study undertaken in other modules, in particular Introduction to Psychology and Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Wellbeing. This trio of modules will facilitate the synchronization of knowledge gained by the comprehension of health related issues. Assessment is by Coursework.

Sport and Society

Year: 1

The module introduces the students to the social sciences of sport and to the key skills required of a social scientist taking a more detached approach to how sports practice and society interrelate in different societies around the world.

Introduction to Coaching Practice

Year: 1

This module will introduce students to the best practice principles of coaching in relevant contexts. It will involve the application of basic theory into a practical context.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology

Year: 1

Through a series of lectures and tutor-led seminar sessions, students will understand the theoretical and practical importance of sport and exercise psychology to enhancing performance.

Introduction to Exercise and Physical Activity

Year: 1

This module provides students with a basic knowledge and understanding on the importance of exercise and physical activity in disease prevention as well as an awareness of how to prescribe, monitor and interpret appropriate interventions.

Year two

Sport, Physical Activity and Public Health

Year: 2

This theory-based learning module is designed to facilitate opportunities for students to examine sport and physical activity within the context of public health.

Research Methods and Statistics

Year: 2

This module is designed to introduce both the practical and conceptual understanding of research methodologies within sport, exercise and leisure research.

Clinical Exercise Physiology

Year: 2

This module will provide an overview to an exciting new area of exercise science, and will provide the student with an opportunity to further develop an understanding of the pathophysiology of the human body during conditions of exercise stress.

Principles of Exercise Physiology

Year: 2

The module provides students with a foundation of anatomy and physiology that is relevant to higher level study within physiology and other related interdisciplinary subjects within sport and exercise science. In addition, the module seeks to establish basic measurement, evaluation and writing skills that are pertinent to discipline.

Sport and Physical Activity: Theory to Practice

Year: 2

This work-based learning module is designed to facilitate opportunities for students to plan, deliver and evaluate a physical activity programme. It will require that the students reflect on their experience on a weekly basis through a reflective journal and design their own physical activity intervention

Applied Fundamentals of Movement Skills

Year: 2

Through a series of lectures, workshops and practical sessions, students will develop both the skills and understanding required to structure and deliver coaching sessions designed to develop FOM skills.

Year three

Diploma in Professional Practice (International) (DPP/DPPI)

Year: 3

This module is optional

Structured work experience helps students to appreciate the discipline and demands of the workplace and consolidate knowledge and skills acquired during the first two years of the course. The work placement also provides the opportunity for the development of personal attributes to enhance a student's employability.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS)

Year: 3

This module is optional

In this module, students may undertake a study programme in a university abroad to develop their academic, professional, cultural awareness, global mobility, personal capabilities and future employability.

Year four

Living with Long term Health Conditions

Year: 4

This level 6 module is an optional module for students undertaking BSc (Hons) Physical Activity, Exercise and Health. The aim is to assist them in recognising the needs of people with long term illness to enable them to live fulfilling lives from diagnosis to end of life across all parts of service delivery. The module will challenge the student to explore strategies to facilitate participation in physical activity and exercise among those individuals with a long-term health condition.

Physical Activity, Exercise and Health

Year: 4

Society is faced with an inexorable rise in chronic disease development, often linked to lifestyle factors such as poor diet and physical inactivity. This module equips students with a critical understanding of the role of exercise in the prevention of such diseases, by exploring the underlying physiological mechanisms, and the importance of health promotion in target populations.

Physical Activity and Psychological Well-Being

Year: 4

This module examines the influence of psychological factors in understanding the link between physical activity and public health across different settings and populations. It provides a critical understanding of the development of scientific consensus to date and identifies areas in need of further research.

Research Project: Physical Activity, Exercise and Health

Year: 4

This module will provide knowledge, practical opportunities and research skills in the undertaking of an independent piece of research in physical activity exercise and health.

Applied Sport Psychology and Contemporary Issues

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module provides students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of theory, research and practice in the field of applied sport psychology. Students will develop an understanding of the sport psychology consultancy process and ethical principles and guidelines relevant to working in the field. This module takes students beyond understanding what is done in 'Applied Sport Psychology' to understanding how sport psychology service is delivered.

Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module considers the relationship between nutrition and exercise performance. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body and how appropriate nutritional practices can be effective for exercise performance and overall health and wellbeing.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

Grades BBC to include grade B in one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Maths, PE, Physics, Psychology, Sports Studies, Double Award Science, Life and Health Science

Applied General Qualifications

Overall BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) award profile DDD in a Science or Sports related discipline.

Overall BTEC National Extended Diploma (RQF) award profile DMM in a Science or Sports related discipline.

Irish Leaving Certificate

112 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of 4 subjects at Higher Level and 1 at Ordinary Level, including one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physical Education or Physics at H2 plus English and Maths at O4/H6 or above

Scottish Highers

BBCCC to include a Grade B in one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, Psychology, Sports Studies or Double Award Applied Science.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCD to include one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, Psychology, Sports Studies or Double Award Applied Science.

International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate (Diploma) with a minimum 25 points with 12 points at the higher level.

Also higher or subsidiary level in Mathematics, English and a Science subject at Grade 4 or above.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Access Course (120 credits) with an overall mark of 63%, to include 63% in one Level 3 science module plus NICATs Maths (25 credits) or Maths 1 & 2.


GCSE Profile to include Grade C or 4 and above in English, Maths and a Science subject

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

A satisfactory AccessNI criminal record check will be required.

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

HND (120 credits): Overall Merit to include 45 Level 5 credits at Distinction

HNC (120 credits): Overall Distinction to include 75 level 4 credits at Distinction

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

Nepal flagAdditional information for students from Nepal


Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:


For entry to undergraduate courses:

The minimum requirement is School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI and XII) with overall 60% (GPA 2.8) to include a minimum of 5 subjects

GCSE Maths requirement- Secondary Education Certificate (Grade X) Mathematics

Equivalent to a Grade C- Grade C+

Equivalent to Grade B- Grade B

Proficiency Certificate with an overall average of 50%
Diploma from Tribhuvan University.

View more information for students from Nepal  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

The course has been developed in response to industry needs and professional bodies have had considerable input into its content and delivery. The main objective would be working to bring about an increase in people’s physical activity, reduce their sedentary behaviour and thus working towards improving health status. The course will also help to develop a wide range of knowledge and transferable skills that will enable you to work as a professional in your chosen career and is particularly unique in that there are a range of modules from different disciplines (Sport, Psychology, Health, Sociology).

Career opportunities can be in a wide variety of areas, such as: health promotion, physical activity coordination, workplace health and fitness, exercise referral, health-based intervention design and delivery, postgraduate research, community projects and teaching. On completion of the course, it will be possible to pursue accreditation with the British Psychological Society through a post graduate conversion course in psychology. Students may also pursue a career in teaching through a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, or advance to further study within the University or elsewhere.

Work placement / study abroad

The course offers an optional one-year work placement with the opportunity to obtain a Diploma in Professional Practice.


Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Fees and funding

In this section

Additional mandatory costs

AccessNI criminal record check: currently £33

Students are required to purchase 2 items (t-shirt and zip top) from suppliers, Under Armour. Normally around £50

If you wish to purchase the full kit the cost is around £175.


If you would like to contact us


International Admissions Office


For more information visit

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School of Sport


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