Moray House School of Education and Sport

Our students

Our students come from a range of backgrounds and make up a vibrant community from across the world including the UK, Europe, Asia and Latin America. They range from young adults who have recently completed undergraduate degrees to professionals returning to study after years in the workforce.

Join us and you’ll be part of a vibrant community of staff and students from across the world, giving you access to the latest research expertise in the area and the opportunity for engaging discussion with staff and peers. 

Recent graduates shared their top tips and favourite parts of the MSc Physical Activity for Health in the following videos.


Student Testimonials

Student Profiles

Naomi Burn, Graduated in 2016

Why did you choose to study our MSc Physical Activity for Health?

After completing my undergraduate degree in Health Science in 2013 from Flinders University in Australia I worked as a research assistant and tutor for a few years. During this time I decided that I wanted to pursue an academic career, which would require a doctoral research degree. However, I did not feel I was ready to undertake a PhD at that time so I started to look for MSc courses in the area of physical activity and health.

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

For me, the best part of the course was being taught by world-leading experts in the field of physical activity and health. The tutorials were always interactive with group work or class discussions part of every class. We were encouraged to develop our own thoughts and opinions on important topics and we were never lectured at for hours and hours!

What specific skills did you develop?

The most important skill that I have taken away from the MSc is being able to critique literature and synthesise evidence. These have helped me to be able to form my own opinions based on available evidence. 

Why would you recommend the programme to others?

You will be meet people from all over the world who have different work and life experiences. The teaching staff come from a variety of backgrounds (e.g. physiology, psychology, and epidemiology), so you will be able to work in a variety of areas based on your interests and experience.

How did your experience at Edinburgh help you get where you are today?

I am currently undertaking a PhD in exercise science and health. If I had not completed an MSc in Physical Activity for health, I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to be able to undertake this research degree. During my MSc, I was encouraged and supported to undertake a dissertation project that was directly related to the field of research that I was interested in, which ultimately led to my PhD programme of work.

I will forever cherish the knowledge, skills, friendships, and memories made from the MSc Physical Activity for Health.

Kim Ludwig, Graduated 2016

I am from Germany and completed a BSc in Sports Science in Munich. Following my undergraduate studies, I moved to England and worked as a sports coach for an after-school club. Already during my BSc, I specialized in sports and health, so the MSc in Physical Activity and Health was my number 1 choice. After completing my Masters at Edinburgh University, I realized that I wanted to stay in academia and started a PhD in adolescent physical activity promotion at the University of the West of Scotland.

Why did you choose to study our MSc Physical Activity for Health?

I did a lot of research trying to find a programme that best matched my interests and aspirations for the future. The MSc in Physical Activity and Health fulfilled all my criteria and I was particularly intrigued by gaining knowledge around the psychology of physical activity, how physical activity changes across the lifespan, the implementation and evaluation of physical activity programs as well as the use of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of different health conditions. Edinburgh is also an absolutely fantastic city, which also helped make the decision to study here - and the time flew by!

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

The staff involved with this degree are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic about their work so this definitely contributed to me enjoying this degree so much.  I also really enjoyed the fact that we discussed so many different topics and lectures and tutorials were very relaxed and more like just having a conversation with each other than a teacher standing in the front presenting some content. The topicality of this degree also means that the evidence that we discussed was very recent and it’s great to have current examples of how it’s implemented into every day-to-day life right now.

What specific skills did you develop?

I definitely gained a lot of confidence in academic writing and reading scientific journal articles. Critically reviewing evidence and being creative in findings new ideas and ways to approach problems are definitely also skills that I’ve developed and already needed in my PhD. I believe I have also developed a really good knowledge base around the topic and am more efficient in my time management and when working independently – also skills I really need for my current studies.

Why would you recommend the programme to others?

The content of this programme is so current and relevant that I believe everyone (not just you as a student) should learn about these things! The discussed topics affect us all in one way or the other and the programme is a fantastic way to develop your knowledge base, gain great academic skills and find out which area of physical activity and health you maybe want to build a career in. After completing this degree, it also feels like I can genuinely make a difference and contribute to this area of work.

How did your experience at Edinburgh help you get where you are today?

I definitely gained crucial knowledge and skills that I am applying in my work but also just in every day-to-day life. I also made some good contacts with people in- and outside of Edinburgh University that helped me get involved in different research projects after finishing my degree. The degree also showed me what I want to do with my life in terms of a career. It was definitely the right decision for me and I enjoyed every minute of it!

After completing this degree, it feels like I can genuinely make a difference and contribute to this area of work.

Haiquan Wang, Graduated in 2017

学习方面 Aspects of Studying

一年里,你将会将学习到与此专业各种相关的课程,如研究活动与一些疾病的联系,身体活动的心理学, 实践中测量的操作的理论以及亲自动手的教学。 总的来说课程是比较全面从各方面理论,实操以及现实政策三方面开展进行的。通过学习后,在以后从事相关职业时不仅具备了相应的理论实操知识,还具备与相关实际政策联系的分析能力,真正做到学以致用。

In this one-year, you will study the theoretical curriculum like the psychology of Physical Activity and the practical curriculum like ABC, PA across the lifespan. Conclusively, you can not only get the theoretical knowledge but also have the opportunity to apply it into practice. For my perspective, the study process is really comprehensive and can be associated with a future career. 


With regard to the setting of courses, the pre-class slides and suggested literature will be uploaded; therefore, students can have enough time to prepare before each session. As well, some complimentary materials will be given in order to encourage us to develop the ideas that have been taught in class. In terms of teaching style, the lecturers are always trying to ask some interactive questions and encouraging students to raise questions. As I concern, the engagement of both lectures and students is one of the best experiences in the MSc study.

从课程的考核方式来看,与国内有些不同,大多数不再是笔试而变成了写论文与演讲结合的考核模式。每门课的考核老师都会提供详细的要求,此外,前一届同学在这门课的表现也会提供, 这是为了更好地告诉我们上一届有哪些做的好的与不足, 由此给予我们在自己写时一些建议。 每门课出成绩后会有相应评语给出,自己可以由此消化哪里有需要改进,同时你也可以要求和老师一对一见面讨论你的论文。(关于每一科的作业准则,往届评价和课前提供幻灯片这两个方面,似乎只有我们这个专业有, 因此对于刚来学习时还不了解英国的考核方式的我来说,这两个方面真的给予我很大的帮助)

With regard to the assessment of courses, I would say it is slightly different from that in China. Unlike the dominant form of exams in China, assessments here are mostly by writing essays and giving presentations. However, the lecturers of our program will normally provide us with specifications and cohort feedback of each course. Consequently, students can have a clear idea of what is expected of us. Moreover, specific personal feedback will also be given to you and thereby we can conclude the shortcoming and strength within own essay. It is also available for us to arrange a personal meeting with the lecturer to discuss your essay. (As I have known, it seems that the specifications, cohort feedback and pre-class slides are only available in this programme, which I found really useful as I had no experience with the British education system or assessment).

除了平常的教学课程之外, 我们专业还有特别的阅读讨论课程和每周三的例会。在阅读讨论课上,大家会就一篇专业领域内已发表文章各抒己见,由此大家可以分析总结出优缺点并在自己的写作过程中取之精华去其糟粕。这个活动还有一个重要的意义就在于鼓励大家进行批判性思考,这也是英国大学的一个核心思想。 周三的例会有时学生是可以参加的,有时会有老师报告一下自己的项目研究,我的感受就是由此可以了解一些正在进行的相关项目研究与外界接轨,由此避免闭门造车。其次,你可以学习老师的演讲风格及回答问题方法进行模仿,因为演讲也是我们课程考核的一个重要组成部分。

Apart from the curriculum, we also have several journal club sessions and PAHRC meeting every Wednesday. In the journal club, students get the opportunity to discuss published papers. Specifically, students can share ideas and develop critical thinking when writing their own essays. The Wednesday meeting is also sometimes available for students; there will sometimes have researchers who come to give a presentation. As I concern, I can get two benefits from it. Firstly, you can get an idea of the latest study in reality and also relate it to your knowledge. Secondly, I can also learn the presentation skills from the session since the presentation is also an important component of our assessment.

最后关于毕业论文,我想说导师很负责任,在你进行论文的过程中会给予指导与帮助。(相比于我本科而言,最后论文导师平均一个人负责三个学生,因此老师指导机会更多也更了解你的论文方向. 我们专业一个特点就是有老师给出一些论文方向以供同学参考,其中很多题目都很有意思而且可以与外面机构组织合作,一方面很能与实际结合,另一方面也锻炼了与专业相关组织合作的能力。

Last is regarding the dissertation, the supervisors are really responsible for each student and offering a lot of help and instructions. (Compare to my undergraduate, the supervisors here are averagely directing three students which means you can have more chances to discuss your topic with them) Moreover, the supervisors of our program provide us with some interesting topics for our dissertation. Meanwhile, some of the topics are really associated with outside institutions. Therefore, it is really a good experience for students to work with some authorities. Again, it is indeed applying the knowledge in practice.

The tutorials were always interactive with group work or class discussions part of every class.

Photograph of three of our student graduates on Graduation Day

Kieran Turner, Graduated in 2015

I completed a BSc in Sport Science at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, before also working there in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science as a research assistant for just over a year. I have a strong interest in population health, health policy and how political landscape can influence health, and I’d like to be able to link these topics together in the future, whether this is in a research setting, or in a more policy or practical based environment. I’m also looking to submit a PhD proposal to investigate further the health benefits of active travel, which would be leading on from the dissertation I completed for the MSc. 

Why did you choose to study our MSc Physical Activity for Health?

I knew after completing my BSc in Sports Science that I had a strong interest in broader population health as well as exercise, and the MSc in Physical Activity for Health was the ideal course in bringing the two topics together. The University of Edinburgh is obviously world-renowned and to have an opportunity to study here was a no-brainer. I knew Edinburgh was a great city, so there was little hesitation. This was an easy decision to make, and looking back, a great one. 

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

The teaching was excellent and the staff are all very passionate about what they do. The opportunity to take elective classes in the School of Health and in the School of Social and Political Science also really helped with enhancing and enriching the experience. The emphasis on physical activity as a research area within public health is fresh and relatively recent, so it was exciting to be involved in the area, especially as it was the first year the programme had been run.

What specific skills did you develop?

Emphasis is certainly placed on good quality research, and the teaching, therefore, involved a lot of critiquing research papers. I’ve definitely gained a greater appreciation of how important integrity and bias are in influencing the quality of research. Being required to think and write more critically was definitely something that was emphasised, and this has helped hugely in work I have been doing since graduating.

Why would you recommend the programme to others?

This is definitely an area of health that is of huge importance. It’s a relatively new and very exciting research area, and one where taking this MSc could really help you make a difference! The department is very welcoming and teaching, support, and enthusiasm from staff made it a very enjoyable year.

How did your experience at Edinburgh help you get where you are today?

The working relationships I have developed with staff and students whilst carrying out the MSc have helped provide me with a research assistant post with the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre and the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy.

The staff involved with this degree are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic about their work.