Sport and Exercise Sciences MSc - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This part-time course offers two pathways. One pathway focuses on how to help top athletes perform to the very best of their ability, with studies in applied physiology and/or applied biomechanics. The alternative pathway focuses on how to help the community improve general fitness through identifying risk factors and initiating exercise referral and other programmes.

Compared to undergraduate studies, there is more emphasis on self-directed lab work, data collection and analysis. You will develop advanced research skills and undertake a Masters Project, which represents a third of the course. The topic of the project will reflect your chosen pathway.

On both pathways there is a mix of academic rigour and vocational relevance, and you can choose to undertake a vocationally-based ‘Professional Skills and Practice’ module. By the end of the course you will have a portfolio of work and a record of practical and academic projects. This will give you a clear advantage when it comes to applying for jobs within the health and fitness industry.

This part-time course is spread over two years, which allows you to combine it with flexible paid work and other commitments. A full-time MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences is also available.

Course content

We offer two pathways:

1) Sport and Exercise Sciences
2) Sport and Exercise Sciences (Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing)  

1. Sport and Exercise Sciences

Core modules:

  • Measurement and Evaluation (20 Credits)
  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 Credits)
  • Applied Research Methods and Data Analysis (20 Credits)
  • Masters Project (60 Credits)

Designated core modules (you must choose one of the following, but you may choose the other as an option):

  • Applied Sport and Exercise Physiology (20 Credits)
  • Applied Biomechanics in Sport and Exercise (20 Credits)

Optional modules (choose at least one):

  • Strength and Conditioning in Practice (20 Credits)
  • Sports Injuries, Management and Rehabilitation (20 Credits)
  • Applied Weight Management (20 Credits)
  • Professional Skills and Practice (20 Credits)
  • Independent Learning Project (20 Credits)
  • Applied Public Health (20 Credits)
  • Brief Interventions (20 Credits)

2. Sport and Exercise Sciences (Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing)

Core modules: 

  • Measurement and Evaluation (20 Credits)
  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (20 Credits)
  • Applied Research Methods and Data Analysis (20 Credits)
  • Epidemiology for Public Health (20 Credits)
  • Masters Project (60 Credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Strength and Conditioning in Practice (20 Credits)
  • Sports Injuries, Management and Rehabilitation (20 Credits)
  • Applied Weight Management (20 Credits)
  • Applied Public Health (20 Credits)
  • Brief Interventions (20 Credits)
  • Professional Skills and Practice (20 Credits)
  • Independent Learning Project (20 Credits)
  • Global Issues in Health (20 Credits)
  • Sociological Perspectives in Health (20 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, problem-based learning seminars, web-based resources, small group discussions and debates. You will develop your practical skills with workshops and laboratory classes.

Assessment methods include essays, case studies, portfolios, oral presentations, scientific reports, practical exams, data analyses, critical reviews, poster presentations and a dissertation.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

We have invested in the latest software and equipment so that you have maximum scope to measure and improve performance. Our facilities will propel your learning in sport and exercise sciences. 

Biomechanics equipment

Our equipment can measure motion, muscle activity and forces on the body during high intensity sports and the activities of daily living. Equipment and techniques include the following:

  • 3D motion capture systems including Vicon® systems and Xsens® motion capture suits
  • 2D Dartfish® software to capture live action images for coaching feedback
  • Movement tracking tools such as Actigraph® and Catapult®
  • Delsys® Trigno electromyography equipment to see how the muscles of the body are working
  • Kistler® force platforms and Batak® reaction walls to analyse sporting performance
  • Novel® Pedar systems to analyse foot pressure

Exercise Physiology

Our laboratories include the most up-to-date equipment for assessing the physiology of human performance. You’ll get hands-on practical experience with the following:

  • Polar® Team2 heart rate monitoring system for assessing the heart rates of a full squad of team players in real time
  • Cortex® gas analysers to evaluate cardiovascular performance
  • Biochemical analysers from Randox®, Jenway® and Gonotec® to measure substances and enzymes within the body
  • Myotest® and Globus® equipment to profile your strength and power and develop specific training programmes
  • FusionSport® Smartspeed lightgates for assessing speed, agility and reaction times

Sports Medicine and Anatomy

Anatomy is taught by experienced staff in a specialist clinical lab using skeletons, anatomical models, 3D software, online material and human subjects. You will learn techniques for sports injury rehabilitation, including the use of sports massage and ultrasound equipment.

You will also examine balance and stability using our Biodex® stability and balance trainer and assess strength imbalances using our sophisticated Biodex® dynamometer. You can investigate how new techniques such as thermal imaging are being used in injury assessment with Flir® IR cameras.

Fitness and Conditioning Suite

In our lab you'll find fitness and conditioning equipment that would be the envy of most modern gyms. From a wide range of cardiovascular equipment to machine and Olympic weights, you will receive hands-on teaching in a professional environment.

University Library Services 

The University library has thousands of relevant books, e-books and journal articles, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We subscribe to useful resources such as SPORTDiscus, which provides journal articles, book chapters and summaries about sport, fitness and related disciplines.

Sciences Complex

This course is based in the Sciences Complex at our City Campus, which has benefited from multi-million pound investments. The IT facilities are excellent and, across the University, there are hundreds of workstations as well as wireless internet access. If you have any computer problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

Sports facilities

Students at Sunderland have easy access to some of the best facilities in the region. These include:

  • 50m Olympic size swimming pool
  • 95m artificial ski slope
  • Climbing wall with some of the best route setters in the UK 
  • Football training pitches at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light
  • Marine Activities Centre for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and powerboating
  • LTA indoor tennis centre with 13 indoor and outdoor courts
  • Floodlit athletics tracks


Our City Campus features a state-of-the-art facility called CitySpace. It features:

  • Sports hall (suitable for hosting large-scale events)
  • Fitness suite/gym
  • Injury prevention and support suite
  • Fitness classes
  • Climbing wall


Darwin Building

Sciences Complex, City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

The University recognises the value of professional experience. Prospective students with appropriate professional experience may claim exemption for up to 50% of the taught elements through Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Tuition fees for part-time postgraduate students are £225 per 10 Credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to International students. If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Employment & careers

Potential employers of graduates from this course include national sports associations, sports and leisure companies, recreation services, local authorities, health bodies including the NHS, schools and colleges. Job roles include the following (some require further training):

  • Sports and exercise scientist
  • Performance Analyst
  • Sports coach/instructor
  • Manager of health promotion initiatives
  • Manager of cardiac rehabilitation and exercise referral
  • Fitness centre manager
  • Personal trainer/specialist fitness instructorLecturer

Recent Sunderland graduates are now working within the fitness industry, sports development and in Further Education colleges.

A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Personal Tutor at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Further support is provided by our technicians who help you make the most of the University’s equipment and software.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

"The ethos at the heart of Sports Science courses is to create a pathway to quality employment."

Morc Coulson

Morc Coulson - Academic

Senior Lecturer

"The ethos at the heart of the sports science courses at Sunderland is to create a pathway to quality employment for students.

"In order to do this, we have worked closely with employers to ensure our graduates leave with the qualifications and experience that the industry is looking for.

"Thanks to millions of pounds worth of recent investment, we have some of the best sports science facilities in the country, attracting students from around the world.

"We value ourselves highly as a team in preparing students for the employer route and jobs market, delivering much more than a degree qualification to students.

"All of our teaching staff have worked in the sports sector before moving into lecturing which we believe gives us an edge in really giving our students the inside knowledge they will need in the workplace.

"Our students go on to achieve great things. Sunderland graduate Michael Oliver has just become the youngest referee in the English Premier League, while former student Graham Guthrie has gone on to oversee food in schools at Sunderland City Council."

Apply for this course

To apply for this course, download the Course application form (.pdf). Information on how to complete the form and where to send it can be found on the form. Alternatively, apply online using the link/s below.

Contact Sunderland

For more information, contact the Programme Leader:

Dr Saeed Fayaz
Tel: 0191 515 2608

For more general information, contact:

The Recruitment Team
Tel: 0191 515 2731

Programme Starts  
Monday 19th October 2015 Apply now

The details

Course Name Sport and Exercise Sciences
Classification MSc
Course Mode Part-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 2 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 19 October 2015
UK/EU Fee £225 per 10 credits
Intl Fee £Unavailable

Entry requirements

2:2 honours degree or above

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Programme Starts  
Monday 19 October 2015 Apply now