Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2018/2019

BSc (Hons) in Applied Sports Science

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by:
Final award: BSc (Hons)
Programme title: Applied Sports Science
UCAS code: C610
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: David Saunders
Date of production/revision: March 2012

External summary

Sport and exercise science is the application of scientific principles to the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of sport and exercise related behaviours. This is a very popular subject to study at university and is among the most commonly applied for science degree subjects in the UK.

The Applied Sport Science degree at Edinburgh is designed to allow students to develop the knowledge of the place, value and purpose of sport and exercise within society. Our degree is well established having been developed over many years; it continues to be one of the most sought after sport science programmes in the UK. Our programme combines academic and applied concepts, and covers all of the core sport science disciplines (biomechanics, psychology and physiology) throughout its four years. In addition a diverse range of option courses expands the scope of the course beyond sport to include exercise and health. While applied in nature this is also very much a science degree with a substantial content of research methods, independent research and practical work.

For anyone with an interest and involvement in sport Edinburgh is ideal, with facilities and societies catering for 24 of the 26 Olympic sporting disciplines.

Educational aims of programme

The main aim of the pathway is to provide an opportunity for students to complete a course of study leading to an award based on an academic but applied study of Sport Science. The programme aims are to provide students with the intellectual, practical and research skills that will enable them to ask relevant questions in sport science and utilize appropriate methods to answer those questions, to enable students to understand the principles and application of scientific methods in sport science, and finally, to enable students to apply their academic abilities within the wider community, thus engaging in lifelong learning. To this end students study appropriate discipline-based subjects that underpin sport, physical activity and exercise (such as biomechanics, physiology, sport psychology and motor learning), as well as the application of these principles to participation, performance and excellence in sport.

The social significance of sport with contemporary culture and the organisation, administration, structure, development and provision of sport and exercise in Scotland and the U.K. is also investigated, to allow students to understand the context in which Sport Science takes place. The first year of study reflects the broad study of sport detailed above, with following Levels increasing the amount of discipline-based and applied work until the final year in which students focus on research and investigation in Sport Science (including a major dissertation).

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

Graduates of this programme will have;

  • Understanding of the key disciplines (physiology, psychology, biomechanics and skill acquisition) relevant to sport, physical activity and exercise.
  • Understanding of the test and measurement procedures in all disciplines of sport and exercise sciences.
  • Understanding of  the research methods used within the sport and exercise sciences.
  • Understanding of the administration, structure, development and provision of sport and exercise in Scotland and the UK.
  • Understanding of the application of scientific study, issues and principles associated with participation, performance in sport, physical activity and exercise.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Graduates of this programme will be able to;

  • Understand the philosophy of scientific methods of enquiry in order to critically evaluate evidence and analyse research literature.
  • Search for, access, critically analyse, evaluate and synthesize information form literature in order to answer research questions in sport and exercise sciences.
  • Plan and execute research projects, involving data collection and analysis, which answer research questions in sport and exercise sciences.
  • Interpret data collected or reported in sport, physical activity and exercise studies.
  • Synthesize knowledge from various disciplines so as to understand the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of sport and exercise sciences.
  • Develop logical arguments surrounding issues within sport science, physical activity and exercise.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates of this programme will;

  • Be independent learners who can take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Be able to respond to unfamiliar problems by extrapolating their existing knowledge and understanding.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates of this programme will;      

  • Be able to communicate clearly using oral and written methods, including posters, presentations, essays, web pages, in order to critique, negotiate, create or communicate understanding.
  • Be able to use communication as a means for collaborating with and relating to others including staff, other students and research participants.
  • Be able to engage in critical discussion demonstrating listening skills, effective use of evidence and their own experiences to articulate points and defend their own assertions.
  • Be able to initiate communication with non-university agencies connected to sport and exercise.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates of this programme will;

  • Be able to plan and execute substantive research projects in sport and exercise sciences (including but not limited to the dissertation and mini-project).
  • Have developed their organisational, time management and decision-making skills.
  • Be able to work effectively in a team; overcoming and discussing problems and recognising the diversity of contributions different individuals can make to collaborative work.
  • Be able to transfer knowledge and ideas between different contexts within sport, exercise and health.
  • Be able to engage effectively with outside agencies to foster or develop research, consultancy or support initiatives.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Graduates of this programme will;

      • Be able to use the test, measurement and analysis tools appropriate to sport, physical activity and exercise, including for example laboratory or field tests.
      • Be able to design, deliver and analyse the effects of training interventions in sport, physical activity and exercise.
      • Be able to select and apply the appropriate statistical procedures to analyse empirical data.
      • Be able to present data and report research findings according to standard scientific conventions.

Programme structure and features

The first two years of the Applied Sport Science are arranged in half-courses to allow flexibility of choice and breadth of study. Currently, in each of the first two years students are required to complete six half-units, two of which are Sport Science, two are Sport in Social Context and two are optional choices. These choices may be within either the School of Education or other University Schools depending on the interest of the student and the ability to fit around the compulsory timetabled subjects.

In year three, students have to study two Sport Science half-courses, two Research Methods courses and one option (or two half) course. The options may be those offered from within the Applied Sport Science programme or may be Level 3 courses from other Schools (providing the necessary pre-requisites have been studied). The Honours school demands that the student specialise in Sport Science, choosing two half-courses from five in this area. The major project (dissertation) makes up one course, and the final third of the year is made up of two half-course options from within the programme.

One of the options available in the final year is a Research Attachment which, while not a professional placement, does allow students to work with different agencies in Sport Science, although the emphasis is firmly on an academic research project.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In Year 1 Lectures, Laboratories, Tutorials, Problem based learning activities, Peer group learning, One to one meetings with personal tutors.

In Year 2 Lectures, Laboratories, Tutorials, Problem based learning activities, Peer group learning, One to one meetings with personal tutors.

In Year 3 Lectures, Laboratories, Tutorials, Problem based learning activities, Peer group learning, Individual project work, One to one meetings with personal tutors and project work supervisors.

In Year 4 Lectures, Laboratories, Tutorials, Problem based learning activities, Peer group learning, Individual dissertation work, One to one meetings with personal tutors and project work supervisors.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 123770
Year 220800
Year 325750
Year 419810

Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for credit.

In Year 1 Class Tests, Laboratory Reports, Oral or Poster Presentations, Essays Written Examinations

In Year 2 Class Tests, Laboratory Reports, Oral or Poster Presentations, Online web pages, Essays Written Examinations

In Year 3 Class Tests, Laboratory Reports, Oral or Poster Presentations, Essays, Project Reports, Written Examinations

In Year 4 Class Tests, Laboratory Reports, Oral or Poster Presentations, Essays, Dissertation Report, Written Examinations

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 152345
Year 253047
Year 3301753
Year 440753

Career opportunities

Recent graduates have gone on to work for national sporting bodies, local authorities, health and fitness clubs, sport and leisure complexes and media companies. Some graduates also choose to continue studying for careers in teaching or research.

The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) publishes a

Guide to Careers in Sport and Exercise Sciences

Other items