Physical Activity and Health

Experience first-rate academic support and hands-on learning as part of Abertay's Physical Activity and Health degree.

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Award Title

BSc (Hons)



Why study BSc (Hons) Physical Activity and Health?

Benefit from first-rate academic support and turn your passion for sports and science into a degree that equips you with the knowledge and skills required to understand the impact of physical activity and health at an individual and community level.

Physical Activity and Health is one of the specialist routes within the sports portfolio at Abertay – this means you’ll make your choice of specialism at the end of stage two of the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme.   

This degree draws on the core disciplines of physiology, psychology, sociology and public health theory, allowing you to facilitate health promotion interventions – a crucial part of improving the wellbeing of the population.

You’ll go on to study more specific physical activity and health modules, covering areas such as public health policy and health promotion, as well as exercise prescriptions for general and specialist populations.

You’ll have access to our Human Performance Laboratory, with running, rowing, fitness testing and weights machines. You’ll also have opportunities to meet with a range of charitable health and social care organisations who regularly draw on the expertise of our lecturing staff within this facility.

Abertay is widely regarded as THE place to come for high quality teaching. But don't take our word for it:

  • Sunday Times UK University of the Year 2020 for Teaching Quality.
  • Guardian University Guide 2020 Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction with TeachingCourse and Feedback.
  • National Student Survey 2020 Top 10 UK Universities for Student Satisfaction.

Virtual Open Day October 31 2020

We aim to immerse you in student life here at Abertay and give you a true feel for our courses and our amazing academic community.

Open Days are busy, fun and full-on. And Virtual Open Days online are new to all of us, so we will make sure you know what to expect, and how you can prepare for the event.

It's a day full of talks and videos about student life. Find out all about Abertay at our virtual Open Day on 31 October 2020.



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Entry Requirements

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Years 1 or 2 Entry to year 1 or 2 of this programme is through the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme, which will allow you to progress to this programme at the end of Year 2.

Qualification Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
HND - Our Entry from College pages list approved HND courses

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Your Journey Starts Here

All teaching on this programme is underpinned by research, and there’s a strong emphasis on links with industry, including opportunities for placements and internships. This gives you the chance to work and network within various sports industries and work towards achieving awards.

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Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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Entry Requirements by Country

Discover whether you're eligible for entry and learn more about the country-specific qualifications you need to study at Abertay.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

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About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined below, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules. 

Key Modules (2019/20)

Health Related Fitness Assessment and Programming (SPS314)

The physiological adaptations to exercise from a health related viewpoint. Learn about acute and chronic outcomes of training to improve health and how to assess these outcomes using physiological tests. How to use the results of testing data to schedule exercise programmes. Module content: Acute and chronic adaptation to training; Cellular physiology; Training for heath; Testing for change.

Public Health and Physical Activity (SPS302)

The health benefits of physical activity and its potential function in disease prevention and treatment and its role in promoting and maintaining public health. Module content: Relationship between physical activity and health; Epidemiology of physical activity; Variations in health status; Determinants of participation in physical activity; Physical activity recommendations; Place and emphasis of physical activity in health policy; Role of physical activity in promoting physical and mental.

Physiology of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (SPS311)

The aetiology, physiology and pathophysiology of obesity and the principal non-communicable diseases. Learn how these affect the human body and how these conditions impact upon lifestyle and lifespan. Module content: Pathophysiology of Obesity; Pathophysiology of Type II Diabetes; Pathophysiology of Cardiovascular; Pathophysiology of Cancer.

Physical Activity and Health Promotion (SPS309)

The complexities of health promotion and the potential for participation in physical activity to both alleviate and exacerbate contemporary health issues. Module content: Defining Health; Complexity of health promotion in contemporary Society; Physical activity, its determinants and importance for health promotion; Critical Engagement with the Obesity ‘Epidemic’; Health promotion, physical activity and the environment.

Research Methods (SPS312)

Develop ideas about research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health, to better understand and appreciate published research and carry out a research project in your final year of study. Module content: The research process; Formulating and refining research questions; Research methodologies; Ethical issues; Practical skill development.

Sport Research Project (SPS400)

Undertake an independent research project in a subject area that reflects your award title. Module content: Research project topics - Students select their research project topics with staff. Each student is allocated a supervisory tutor within the Division; Supervisory sessions - Supervisory sessions will cover the identification of a research question; necessary elements of research design; the approach needed to prepare for and complete the research project; a range of appropriate research methods; appropriate statistical analyses; the structure of the research report; the interpretation of the research results; possible or probable conclusions; and the writing of the report.

How the Course Works


Learning and Assessment

All teaching on this programme is underpinned by research, and there’s a strong emphasis on links with industry, including opportunities for placements and internships. This gives you the chance to work and network within various exercise and health industries and work towards achieving awards.

You’ll learn through a mixture of lectures, practical laboratory classes, seminars/tutorials and independent study.

The practical lab classes offer the chance to learn relevant scientific techniques first hand, and provide an opportunity to engage in research by designing experiments and collecting and analysing data.

The assessment strategy is aimed at developing a variety of skills that are valued by employers. The vast majority of the assessment is by innovative, coursework-related submissions, such as lab reports, essays, oral and poster presentations, portfolios, reflective logs and practical tests.

Exams form only a small percentage of the overall assessment. This is approximately 15%.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BSc (Honours) Physical Activity and Health

Programme Fees

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year. Fees are normally funded through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for eligible students.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

International Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 


We offer a range of scholarships to help support your studies with us.

As well as Abertay scholarships for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and international students, there are a range of corporate and philanthropic scholarships available. Some are course specific, many are not. There are some listed below or you can visit the Undergraduate scholarship pages.

Abertay International Scholarship

This is an award of up to £12,000 for prospective international undergraduate students.

Abertay rUK Scholarship

This is a £9,200 award for prospective undergraduate students applying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £1,000 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.


Graduates from this programme are well equipped to obtain employment in roles such as active schools and physical activity coordinators, health promotion workers in a community setting, and lifestyle analysts in gyms.

This programme will also help develop valuable transferable skills, which will prepare you to take on a variety of professional challenges across diverse working environments.

In addition, you’ll have acquired the necessary knowledge and expertise to pursue postgraduate studies in a related area.

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Industry Links

You’ll have the opportunity to develop links with various sports industries and work towards achieving awards through this. Work placements that are embedded in the curriculum are an integral part of this process.

Our staff have strong research links and many are members of professional societies. There are good links between Division of Sport and Exercise Science staff and industry, and many staff are also current practitioners.

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Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

Get inspired

Meet some of our Physical Activity and Health graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

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Alison Chapman

Alison works with pupils with autism at the New England Centre for Children in Abu Dhabi.

Find out more

A photo of Michael King training

Dr Michael King

Michael worked for the Scottish Football Association before getting his position at Motherwell Football Club.

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A picture of Louise Johnstone smiling.

Louise Johnstone

Personal trainer Louise took part in The Principals Award and the Abertay Mentoring Programme.

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Programme Leader - Physical Activity and Health

Dr Joel Borges Pinto Ferreira Da Rocha

Dr Joel Borges Pinto Ferreira Da Rocha

School of Applied Sciences | Lecturer

View profile

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