BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

The demand for highly-qualified sport scientists is high. Develop expertise in this area at Scotland's TOP Modern University for teaching satisfaction in Sports Science (The Guardian University Guide 2022).

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Award Title

BSc (Hons)



Programme Overview

The demand for highly qualified sport and exercise scientists is greater than ever – a consequence of the need to have practitioners equipped to work with elite athletes and teams, as well as those who can help prevent chronic diseases. This degree offers you the opportunity to achieve the expertise for these roles.

The role of the modern sport and exercise scientist continues to develop, with the promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle helping to prevent chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The scientific knowledge gained from this practical programme means you’ll be equipped to work with a wide range of populations, including athletes, young people, older people, and those suffering from, or at risk of developing, a number of disease states.

Teaching is reinforced by research, and there’s a strong emphasis on the links with industry. This includes opportunities for placements and internships. Practical sessions will be delivered in bespoke physiology and biomechanics laboratories.

Learn practical skillsets

We have three teaching on-campus laboratories:

  1. Strength and Conditioning Suite.
  2. Human Performance Laboratory.
  3. Biomechanics/Motion Analysis Laboratory.

Within these, you'll learn practical skillsets such as Olympic lifting and fitness programming, fitness tests that encompass different factors for performance and health, effects of the environment on performance, motion analysis and forces associated with movement.

This course is endorsed by The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Undergraduate Endorsement scheme, one of only two to achieve this in Scotland. It also scored an impressive 90% for Overall Student Satisfaction and 94% for Teaching Quality in the 2022 National Student Survey (NSS).

Undergraduate Open Days

Visit our Dundee campus and find your place at Abertay University.

Our 2023 undergraduate Open Days will be held on ...

  • Saturday 30 September 2023

  • Saturday 4 November 2023

... and you're invited!

Click below to book your place. 


Your Journey Starts Here

You’ll have access to our Human Performance Laboratory, with running, rowing, fitness testing and weights machines. You’ll have numerous opportunities to meet the professional sportsmen and sportswomen who draw on the expertise of our lecturing staff within this facility.

The Elite Athletes Development Programme

There are some international-class athletes here at Abertay involved in a range of sports competing at senior and age grade national levels. We support these athletes in their quest for international success through the Elite Athletes Development Programme (EADP).

We are immensely proud to have helped some students reach their sporting goals and represent their country. Find out how to apply.

Elite Sport Rugby Action Shot - 3 players

About Your Modules

All modules shown are indicative and reflect course content for the current academic year. Modules are reviewed annually and may be subject to change. If you receive an offer to study with us we will send you a Programme document  that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme. Please see Terms and Conditions for more information.


Year 3 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

Theoretical and practical knowledge of the fundamentals of strength and conditioning. Learn some of the major underpinning physiological and biomechanical components of human performance, and scientifically justified periodised methods for training to achieve specific goals. 

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to Strength and Conditioning/Functional Screening: Introduction to key terminology/concepts of Strength and Conditioning and a fundamental understanding of basic functional athlete screening.
  • Introduction to Human Movement: An introduction to human anatomy and the mechanics of human force production (e.g., planes of movement, lever systems).
  • Introduction to Compound lifting: Introduction to the major compound exercises (e.g., Back/Front Squat, Dead−Lift, Bent−Over Row, Bench Press and an introduction to Weightlifting derivatives) with Key technical elements and coaching points associated with each lift.
  • Neuromuscular physiology: Neuromuscular physiology and fibre types.
  • Plyometric training: An introduction to the fundamental principles underpinning Plyometric Training (Stretch−Shortening −Cycle) and an understanding of the key technical coaching points.
  • Sports nutrition: Principles of periodised sports nutrition for S&C training programmes.

Brief description

The core physiological concepts that underpin performance. Gain knowledge of biochemical, cardiovascular and neuromuscular bases for performance and training the body for endurance, team and strength. Use both physiological and biomechanical equipment to explore and collect physiological data in relation to enhancing sports performance outcomes.

Indicative content:

  • Biochemistry of performance: The core concepts of energy production during sport and exercise, the metabolic processes and the rate limiting steps for performance and the metabolic adaptations to training.
  • Cardiovascular system and performance: Cardiac output and blood flow regulation and cardiovascular adaptation to training.
  • Neuromuscular system and performance: The contractile mechanism, motor unit activation, neuromuscular fatigue and strength, power and speed performance.
  • Doping and performance: The role of doping in elite sport and the physiological adaptations to doping.
  • Training for performance: Different training modalities to improve endurance and anaerobic power and strength. How to plan energy specific programmes.

Brief description

The principles of biomechanics and the concept of performance analysis within a sporting context. Using biomechanics to create evidence based intervention strategies to optimise performance.

Indicative content:

  • Performance analysis: Identify what performance analysis is, observe performance analysis against existing models, apply and assess the efficacy of the different types of performance analysis.
  • Biomechanical concepts associated with performance: Evaluate biomechanical concepts in relation to their application within a sporting/performance concept. Discuss biomechanical factors that contribute to performance or used to optimise performance.
  • Development of intermediate laboratory skills: Develop intermediate laboratory skills in collection of biomechanical data including, 3D assessment of movement, kinetics using force platforms (ground reaction forces and stability).
  • Data processing and analysis: How to effectively process and analyse biomechanical data generated using biomechanical laboratory equipment.

Brief description

The theoretical and knowledge of sports psychology and aspects of applied sports psychology in the sport and performance context.

Indicative content:

  • Sports psychology context and practice: Role(s) of the sports psychologists; contexts and different perspectives on the work of a sports psychologist.
  • Planning and developing interventions: The needs analysis process; empowerment; ownership and motivation; assessment of efficacy.
  • Psychological skills training: Theory and research of goal setting, relaxation, energisation, imagery, positive self-talk, pre-performance and performance routines. Performance enhancement contexts; injury prevention and rehabilitation contexts.

Brief description

Develop your ideas about research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health, to better understand and appreciate published research and design your own research project.

Indicative content:

  • The research process: The steps associated with planning and conducting a research process.
  • Formulating and refining research questions: How research ideas are questions are generated and refined.
  • Research methodologies: Various research methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative and mixed−methods). Develop an appreciation of diverse approaches to research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Ethical issues: The key ethical issues associated with research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Practical skill development: Develop your practical research skills in your chosen discipline area.

Year 3 Option Modules

You must study and pass one option module of your choosing.  You must do a Work Placement module in either Year 3 or Year 4.

Brief description

The principles of assessment and exercise programming. Examine acute and chronic outcomes of training to improve health and undertake several physiological/fitness tests. Learn how to use the fitness tests results to plan, implement and evaluate individualised and safe evidence-based exercise programmes that will help clients achieve their health goals.

Indicative content:

  • Basic principles of assessment and programming
  • Health screening and pre-exercise evaluation
  • Exercise programming for health
  • Acute responses and chronic adaptations to exercise
  • Programming and adaptations for special populations
  • Assessing body composition
  • Assessing muscle strength, endurance and flexibility testing
  • Assessing functional fitness - Assessing cardiorespiratory endurance

Brief description

Contemporary issues in sport and exercise, particularly those you are likely to encounter and have to navigate in future employment.

Indicative content:

  • Social theory: Key aspects of social theory that can be/have been used to explain phenomena in sport and exercise.
  • Inequality and discrimination: The main sources of inequality and discrimination in sport and exercise (e.g., gender, social class, ethnicity, LGBTI).
  • Sport and politics: How various political systems/ ideologies and governing bodies use sport/athletes as a vehicle for social control.
  • Ethics and sport: Moral and ethical issues in sport and exercise (e.g., child protection). Sport and exercise cultures provide a unique environment for moral and ethical issues.

Year 4 Core Modules

You must study and pass all three core modules

Brief description

Undertake an independent research project in an area of sport, health or physical activity. 

Indicative content:

  • Research project topics: Select your research project topic with staff guidance. You are allocated a supervisory tutor within the Division.
  • Supervisory sessions: These 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.

Brief description

Additional concepts, methods and techniques used in biomechanics. Conside the interdisciplinary nature of sport biomechanics and injury prevention, for example the physiology of fatigue and its application to biomechanical measures.

Indicative content:

  • Clinical Biomechanics: Gait analysis – changes throughout the lifespan, effects of different footwear (including different cushioning systems and materials), effects of certain diseases and disabilities (including development of prostheses). Injury risk and prevention, including those through impacts, chronic and acute injuries and how these can be linked to health and safety issues.
  • Sport and Exercise Biomechanics: Injury risk, prevention and performance – use of biomechanical aids (including ankle bracing and taping) and their effects on injury incidence and performance. Integrative biomechanical assessment, which will focus on the utilisation and application of biomechanical laboratory skills developed in the third year module.

Brief description

The core physiological concepts that underpin exercise performance. The external environment and gender and their impacts on performance and training the body for endurance, team and strength.

Indicative content:

  • Fatigue: The concept of fatigue and how it regulates performance via central and peripheral regulators.
  • Exercise in different temperatures: Systems adaptation − how the different physiological systems adapt to different temperatures.
  • Exercise with different levels of oxygen availability: Systems adaptation − how the different physiological systems adapt to hypoxia and hyperbaria.
  • Overtraining or under-recovery: The role of recovery in ensuring optimal performance.
  • Sex responses: The physiological responses and training adaptations in males and females.

Year 4 Option Modules

You must study and pass two option modules, one from Group [A] and one from Group [B]. If you didn’t take the Work Placement module in year 3, you must take the Career Placement module in Group [A].

Brief description

Pursue a topic of interest, different from any other work either submitted or proposed relevant to your selected pathway. Manage your own learning and set agreed objectives.

Indicative content:

  • General: Content will depend on individual learning outcomes agreed.

Brief description

One of the most important aspects of sport is the people involved, whether they are taking part, coaching, administering, volunteering or involved in some other capacity. The Sport Duty of Care Review raised questions about whether the wellbeing and welfare of people are being put at the centre of what sport does and delivers. Examine relevant and contemporary topics related to duty of care in sport. 

Indicative content:

  • Safeguarding: What more could be done to strengthen sport’s position in relation to the protection of young people and adults at all levels of sport.
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Specific aspects of duty of care with relevance to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Injuries: How the likelihood of injury can be lessened and whether improvements can be made to how sporting injuries are treated in the short and long term.
  • Career transitions: The support people receive as they transition through the sport system, including entering and leaving top-level sport.
  • Mental health: Issues relating to the prevention, identification and management of mental health issues in sportspeople.
  • Education: How sportspeople can be supported to help them balance education with their sporting activities.
  • Representation of the participant’s voice: How the views of sportspeople are considered in decisions affecting them in sport.

Brief description

Explore more advanced training methods and theory, with an emphasis on developing long-term training programmes across a diverse range of sports. Units of assessments will be closely aligned with the UKSCA assessment framework.

Indicative content:

  • Olympic Lifting: A progression from the content covered in SPS305, practical competency and technical knowledge of the Clean and Jerk/ Snatch exercises and their variations.
  • Recovery Exercise: The mechanisms involved in fatigue and recovery during and after exercise.
  • Assessment of Strength and Power: Issues in strength and power assessment, specific laboratory based and field based protocols, designing testing batteries.
  • Speed, Agility and Plyometric exercise: Follow on from material covered in SPS305, with emphasis on advanced programme design and interpretation of the scientific literature.
  • Performance Analysis: Identifying main physiological and biomechanical requirements of various sports and designing appropriate conditioning interventions.
  • Practical Applications: Methods of dealing with a range of practical scenarios in strength and conditioning.
  • Interpretation and Dissemination of Information: How to interpret scientific data and articles and be able to disseminate findings to a range of populations (e.g coaches, athletes).

Brief description

Build on the foundational theoretical knowledge of sport and exercise psychology and address advanced and contemporary topics for a more in−depth and current perspective of theory and research in the field.

Indicative content:

  • Motivation and emotion: e.g. self−determination, stress appraisals and coping, burnout, mind-sets.
  • Cognitive sport psychology: e.g. attentional processes, reinvestment theory.
  • Sport, exercise psychology and health: e.g. exercise dependence and addiction; psychology and injury; PA, sedentary behaviours and psychosocial health.
  • Social sport and exercise psychology: e.g. the physical self, communication, coach-athlete relationship.

How the Course Works

Learning and Assessment 

Learning consists of a mixture of lectures, practical laboratory classes, seminars/tutorials and independent study.

The practical laboratory classes offer you 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 assessment is by coursework-related submissions, such as lab reports, essays, oral and poster presentations, portfolios, reflective logs and practical tests. 

Exams form only a small percentage (approximately 15%) of the overall assessment.



The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Undergraduate Programme Endorsement Scheme is awarded to courses that meet criteria covering the necessary foundation of sport and exercise science knowledge, technical skills and professional development competencies required to succeed in the profession. This is one of two courses in Scotland to be awarded this accreditation.

Entry Requirements

Please note: All new entrants are required to undertake a criminal records check (PVG) at the point of entry to the programme.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses. You should look for those courses suitable for entry onto our BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise.

Republic of Ireland applicants, click on the UK tabs and scroll down to find your Entry Requirements.

See information about studying and applying to Abertay for International students.

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.

QualificationGrade RequirementsEssential Subjects
Advanced entry is available to applicants with a suitable HND. Please refer to the Entry from College page.--
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Support for Ukrainian students

We're keen to offer help to Ukrainian students who may wish to transfer from their existing institution in Ukraine or to register with us as new students for intake in September. There will be no tuition fees charged for the duration of the degree programme, as those with refugee status are treated as ‘Home/Scottish’ students and will also have access to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland bursary and student loans. Our Recruitment Team can help guide applicants.


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.

Fees and funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you depends on factors such as your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. 

More information

Find out about grants, bursaries, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs in our undergraduate fees and funding section.



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 RUK Scholarship: Science and Social Science

A scholarship for prospective undergraduate Science and Social Science 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.

Abertay International Scholarship

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


Graduates from this programme are well equipped to obtain employment across a wide range of vocations, including sport and exercise science practitioners in community and professional sports organisations, as well as other public and private, non-sport organisations.

This programme will also help develop a range of transferable skills that 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. A number of our graduates on completion of this programme, have progressed to careers in teaching and physiotherapy.

Two males using sports equipment

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.

Abertay 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.

Male running on a running machine whilst wearing breathing apparatus

Get inspired

Meet some of our Sports and Exercise Science graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

A photo of Paul Brand in Manchester United kit holding a trophy

Paul Brand

Paul is currently Head of Performance Analysis at Manchester United Football Club.

Find out more

A picture of Debbi McCullock in her Spartans coaching outfit.

Debbi McCulloch

Debbi is Deputy CEO at Spartans Football Academy.

Find out more


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)).

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