Postgraduate study

Physical Activity for Health MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time, Part-time, Full-time Part Session

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Physical Activity for Health

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! 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.

Naomi Burn MSc Physical Activity for Health 2016

Insufficient physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for death worldwide. The levels of inactivity evident across the world, in both adults and adolescents, make physical inactivity a pandemic and a global public health issue.

The MSc Physical Activity for Health is designed to provide postgraduate level, academic training for both recent graduates from a range of disciplines (including sport and exercise sciences, health sciences, psychology, epidemiology, and physiology) and the existing national and international workforce in the area of physical activity and public health. The MSc is the only dedicated postgraduate programme in this area in Scotland, and is delivered by members of the internationally renowned Physical Activity for Health Research Centre.

The MSc Physical Activity for Health will equip you with the critical knowledge of, and the ability to critique, the current research evidence relating to the role of physical activity in improving and maintaining health. The degree will also provide you with specialist measurement and research skills to investigate issues in the field, and a broad range of transferable intellectual and study skills designed to foster your development as an independent learner.

Physical Activity for Health can be studied full-time or part-time and there are three possible exit levels: Certificate, Diploma, or Masters providing you the flexibility to study at a pace that suits you.

The programme combines compulsory and optional courses, which make use of traditional lectures, tutorials, seminars and some laboratory and field practicals. Assessment involves a combination of essays, reports, case studies, examinations, oral presentations and practical demonstrations.

Compulsory courses:

  • Assessment of Physical Activity and Body Composition
  • Physical Activity for Health
  • Physical Activity for Health Across the Lifespan
  • Psychology of Physical Activity
  • Research Process
  • Understanding Research Concepts

Optional courses:

Students will also choose 30 credits of optional courses selected from across the university. Our students take course related to Sport Management and Policy, Human Performance Science, Exercise Rehabilitation and Medicine, Psychology and Public Health. Example optional courses our students have taken in previous years include:

  • Sport, Society and International Development
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Preventive Dance Medicine
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Developing and Evaluating Complex Public Health Interventions

To complete the MSc programme, you will also produce an independently-researched dissertation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
PgCert (ICL)Up to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
PgCert4 MonthsFull-time Part SessionProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

There has been an increasing interest in the area of Physical Activity for Health. The skills you will develop in this programme will enhance your opportunities for employment in careers in many areas related to physical activity.

Recent graduates have taken up roles in:

  • Physical Activity and Sports Development
  • Health Promotion (for example, within workplaces and local authorities)
  • Health and Fitness Industry (for example, within gyms and sporting facilities)
  • Physical Activity and Health Consultancy
  • Research positions (for example, within academic and non-governmental organisations)
  • Teaching positions

Many of our graduates have chosen to extend their studies by undertaking a Doctoral degree following graduation. Following completion of their PhD, several have progressed into Lectureship positions or stayed within academia in funded Research Assistant roles.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as sport and exercise science, physical education, health sciences, psychology or physiology.

We may also consider your application if you have equivalent academic qualifications and significant professional training and experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert (ICL)Up to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert4 MonthsFull-time Part SessionTuition fees
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees
PgDip2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Graham Baker
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6034
  • Contact: pafh@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Graham Baker
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6034
  • Contact: pafh@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ