The School of Life Sciences offers 3 Sport and Exercise-related
undergraduate programmes, each available as either single or
• Sports Science
• Sport and Exercise Science
• Exercise, Nutrition and Health
Although these courses are related through the study of exercise, their emphases
and objectives are very different. Consequently, the types of students they attract
and the careers towards which they lead also vary. In the simplest analysis, Sports
Science is concerned with the application of a systematic scientific approach to the
optimisation of sports performance, while Exercise, Nutrition and Health looks at the
effects that lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise have upon our health. In
between these two extremes lies Sport and Exercise Science, aimed at those
people for whom both of the above areas are of interest.
Sport is an extremely important aspect of life in today’s society. Increasingly large
proportions of the population either participate in sport or follow it in the media.
There is a massive industry underpinning this global phenomenon and there is an
increasing need for professionals with an informed view of many aspects of sport.
Sports Scientists are among these key people. Through the application of the
scientific method to sport, the Sports Scientist systematically studies the ways in
which sporting performance can be improved so that individual athletes and teams
can achieve their full potential.
Sports Science is multi-disciplinary and involves the study of subjects such as
physiology, anatomy, biomechanics and psychology; knowledge of which can help
to identify weaknesses in an athlete’s profile. They then adopt valid methods that
can be used to turn weaknesses into strengths. It is through this systematic
scientific approach that Sports
Scientists, together with coaches,
can help athletes to perform the
exceptional physical feats that
enthral us all. The ideals of sport
are increasingly advocated and
supported by government and the
private sector alike and with the
2012 Olympics just around the
corner, opportunities for Sports
Science graduates have never
Sport and Exercise Science
There is a growing acceptance that exercise, whether in the pursuit of sport or
health, is good for both the individual and for society as a whole. Sport is
participated in or followed by an increasingly large proportion of the population, but
despite this popular interest in sport, the majority are still sedentary and risk poor
health as a consequence. Sport and Exercise Scientists are among the key people
with an informed view of both the performance- and the health-related aspects of
exercise. In recent years, government has become pro-active in the promotion of
active lifestyles for the young, the old, the healthy and the less well. Consequently,
there are increasing job opportunities in this sector of the market and this has led to
increased interest in exercise-related courses in this country.
Exercise, Nutrition and Health
The wide-ranging benefits of regular exercise and good nutrition upon our health are
only now becoming fully recognised. One of the government's top health priorities is
to reduce the number of people suffering from diseases such as diabetes, coronary
heart disease and cancer. A cost-effective and practical way to achieve this is to
encourage people to be more physically active and adopt healthy diets. Although
the UK lags behind other countries in this regard, the National Health Service and
other health agencies are now looking into how we can change people's habits so
they eat healthily and take more exercise. Exercise, Nutrition and Health is rapidly
emerging as an important area of study which combines these subject areas in
order to produce graduates who can facilitate these ideals. In the current
environment, such graduates will be presented with new and challenging career
What do the courses cover?
In your first year, there is a common
programme across all 3 subject areas within
which you will lay the foundation for advanced
modules later in your degree by studying
subjects such as anatomy, exercise
physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, nutrition
and statistics. In Stage II of your degree (years
2 and 3), your choice of modules will differ,
dependent upon which programme of study
you have chosen. Within each, you can select
modules that really reflect your interests and
future aspirations. Whichever modules you
choose, the aim is to make the material
interesting, up to date and relevant to the real
The Stage II Sports Science programme gives you a choice from modules such
as Sports Performance: Physiology and Assessment, Advanced Laboratory
Techniques in the Sport and Exercise Sciences, Human Activity in Extreme
Environments, Sports Injuries and First Aid, Sports Nutrition or Ethical, Legal and
Professional Practice Issues in Coaching.
The Stage II Exercise, Nutrition and Health programme allows you to choose from
modules such as Physical Activity and Health, Health Promotion, Applied Human
Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, Energy Regulation and Obesity or Exercise Prescription.
The Stage II Sport and Exercise Science programme gives you additional choice
by taking key modules from both of the above areas, thus providing a more diverse
range of subject material covering the areas of sport as well as those of nutrition
The majority of modules are underpinned by lectures and supported by practical
classes; indeed, practical and applied study is an important facet of the programme.
Uniquely for degrees of this type, field-work can feature in your programme of study;
for many students, the Tour du Mont Blanc which is included in the Alpine Fieldwork
module is the highlight of their course, providing an invaluable insight into the
practical application of their subject knowledge.
Many courses of this type adopt a research-based
model of degree and thus insist that those seeking
honours undertake a research project in their 3rd year.
Our Sport and Exercise programmes, whilst providing
students with the option to undertake an honours level
research project, do not make it compulsory for
honours. Instead you may replace the project with honours-level modules, which
provide the opportunity to apply your knowledge. In these modules, you prescribe
exercise training programmes for clients, be they athletes, normal sedentary
individuals or people with a clinical condition; the client you are advising, of course,
will depend upon which course you are studying. This applied model of degree
provides honours graduates with real-life skills that will suit many employers.
Are these courses for me?
Irrespective of which course you choose, you are likely to be the sort of person who
loves sport or physical activity, and is interested in health issues. Furthermore, you
will be interested in discovering much more about these activities.
Your interest in sport or exercise will raise questions to which you will be motivated
to find answers. Questions that a budding Sports Scientist might ask include:
• How can an international rugby full-back put on weight and increase his
running speed at the same time?
• How can an aspiring
lightweight rower increase
her power output and also
• What are the problems
associated with prolonged
exercise in a mountainous
On the other hand, if you are
thinking about applying for the
Exercise, Nutrition and Health
programme, you may well be
interested in finding answers
to questions such as:
• How big a problem are the diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle,
such as heart disease and diabetes, and who is most at risk of developing
• How does regular exercise prevent disease, and how much and what type of
exercise is best?
• Why is obesity becoming an epidemic problem in the UK and what strategies
can be adopted in order to reduce it?
A Sport and Exercise Scientist, of course, may be interested in the answers to any
or all of these questions. Whatever your perspective, these questions all have
superficial answers, which probably won’t satisfied you. You will want to gain a
deeper understanding of the human body, how it is affected by training, exercise
and diet, and how you can apply this knowledge to help yourself or others.
What is special about Sport and Exercise Science at Brookes?
Oxford Brookes University, with its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary study and
flexible course structure, is the ideal place to study Sport or Exercise Science. Our
modular system allows you to draw on expertise in a number of relevant subject
areas, to offer you a challenging, wide-ranging and up-to-date programme of study.
You can opt for single or joint honours study, both of which offer considerable
flexibility. The versatility of the modular course at
Brookes allows joint honours students to combine
Sport/Exercise Science with a host of other subjects
from Anthropology to Tourism.
Whatever blend of subjects your programme of study
contains, you are likely to either be the sort of person
who likes to work in a laboratory or research-based
environment, or somebody who likes to apply what
they have learnt in a more direct way. We offer
avenues for both types of people, and in either case,
we believe in the value of learning through doing, so
the application of your knowledge will feature strongly in your programme of study.
For many students, the Alpine Fieldwork module is the highlight of their studies. It is
geared towards students discovering something about their physical abilities and
limitations, and the importance of safety and teamwork in a potentially hostile
environment. Academically, it has a strong interdisciplinary focus and students find
it provides an invaluable application of the theory learnt in lectures. Throughout your
course there is constant emphasis upon transferable skills development (e.g.,
writing, presentation, numerical and problem-solving skills), of interest to potential
employers, culminating in your final year honours level modules where you will be
expected to present well researched work in a public forum. At Brookes, we
promote the development of these important skills through an online Personal
Development Plan where you can record your skills profile for inclusion in your C.V.
Finally, we have a motivated staff team with a well-earned reputation among
students for being approachable, friendly and supportive.
What kind of students are we looking for?
• You will probably have a broad range of
academic interests and have studied a
varied mix of subjects at school. You may
have found it difficult to decide what to
study at A-level, but will probably have
chosen at least one science subject.
• You are likely to enjoy exercise and/or sport
and you may practice a favourite sport
• You probably prefer studies that involve
• You may be interested in finding out about
factors influencing sports performance.
• You may be interested in finding out about
human health and what contributes to it.
• You may wish to become a coach or top class sports performer trying to
discover how Sport and Exercise Science can aid performance.
• You are likely to be open-minded and analytical, willing to work at things that
interest you, and able to see connections between ideas.
What academic background do I need?
You will typically have some background in science at A-level, but as this is a broad-
based subject, any science subject is acceptable. We would also expect you to
have a GCSE Maths at Grade C or an equivalent qualification.
If you have no scientific background at A-level, we may still accept you onto the
course if you have good non-science A-levels and a science background at GCSE
level. We welcome applications from mature students who may not meet our
general entry requirements, but who have appropriate experience.
What will I gain from the course?
Although the emphasis will change, dependent upon which programme of study you
have chosen, your course will give you
a broad range of knowledge and skills
which will equip you to pursue further
study or a career in many areas of the
• You will gain a broad knowledge
and understanding of the human
body and how it works.
• You will gain a sound
understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of exercise.
• You will understand the components of performance required for a range of
• You will develop a sound knowledge of the health benefits of regular exercise.
• You will become skilled in a range of up to date laboratory procedures for the
assessment and measurement of fitness and you will learn how to prescribe
exercise programmes, whether to improve health or sports performance.
• Laboratory-based practical classes will allow you to develop team working and
communication skills, co-operating with others in data collection using human
• You will develop your analytical skills by considering experimental data and in
class discussion of experimental results.
• In your third year, by choosing an independent project or dissertation, you can
learn how to plan, organise, conduct and present a scientific argument.
Alternatively, if you choose an applied module at honours level, in addition to
the organisational skills listed above, you will gain the ability to consult with
clients, prescribe appropriate exercise and provide evidence-based advice.
You will also gain from the Brookes style of learning, where we expect you to be
responsible for your own learning. You will gain many of the transferable skills
sought by employers, including:
• self-management: the ability to organise your own time;
• teamwork: you will learn how
to work effectively with
others on group projects and
• written and verbal
communication: you will
learn how to present your
ideas in the form of essays,
conference-style posters and
• problem-solving: you will be
able to analyse problems
and undertake research on
• Information Technology (IT):
you will become familiar with
basic IT skills and use
electronic, internet and library resources.
What will my career prospects be?
Employment prospects for graduates
in Sport/Exercise Science are diverse
and expanding, offering a wide range
of career opportunities from teaching
and coaching to Sport/Exercise
Science support and administration,
through business and management
to research. Many Exercise Science
graduates will find employment within
the National Health Service, which supports exercise referral schemes in which
exercise professionals join primary care teams in
delivering health care. This means you could find
yourself working in a team alongside physiotherapists
and occupational therapists. You will also be able to
work in health promotion within local authorities and
other agencies involved in giving advice about the
benefits of exercise.
Sports Science graduates, on the other hand, will be
more suited to finding work with laboratories that provide scientific support to
individual athletes and teams. Increasingly, organisations and the media require
graduates with good literary skills and the scientific knowledge to disseminate
information about exercise, health
or sport, opening up a range of
exciting employment prospects in
these areas. Whichever path they
choose, graduates of the Sport or
Exercise Sciences from Brookes
will be attractive to employers for
their useful transferable skills.
Further information about the Sport and Exercise courses
More information about the courses can be found at:
Sport and Exercise Science
Exercise, Nutrition and Health
Contact us about your application, or to arrange a visit:
email@example.com (FAO Helen Cross)
Alternatively, talk to the course leader for all three programmes, Dr Roger
Ramsbottom, who may be contacted via Helen Cross on 01865 483600.