MSc Clinical Exercise Science

Postgraduate, Full-Time

This unique practical and applied course will develop specialised knowledge of clinical exercise science using an evidence-based approach to enhance your career prospects.

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    1 year

  • Award:


  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

This novel programme is designed for those wishing to gain and develop expert knowledge in the science of exercise assessment and prescription and learn applied techniques which will enable you to develop a career in clinical exercise science, academic research, teaching and other science based professions. The evidence demonstrating that physical activity reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes highlights the need for clinical exercise practitioners with high level knowledge of physical activity and health who can work within community and healthcare settings.

This programme offers a well-balanced blend between practice and theory. The course is multi-disciplinary in nature covering aspects of exercise physiology, exercise and health psychology as well as clinical skills.

During your studies you will develop an advanced understanding of the research evidence in the context of clinical exercise science. You will learn to apply theoretical concepts and professional skills in practical situations likely to be encountered by a clinical exercise scientist. You will employ advanced investigative, analytical and practical techniques to advance knowledge in clinical exercise science. You will present evidence based clinical exercise prescription appropriate for a range of pathologies and in seemingly healthy populations and be able to effectively communicate (evidence and treatment goals) with a variety of populations.

You will gain enhanced knowledge and learn skills in clinical exercise science to increase employability in an academic or applied setting. 

This is a one year full-time MSc course (180 credits) and is split up into three trimesters. Although there are also opportunities to complete a PgDip (120 credits) or a PgCert (60 credits). Alternatively you may wish to complete specific module/modules as part of your own continuous professional development.

Subjects include:

Trimester 1:

  • Exercise, wellbeing and psychological health (20 credits)
  • Exercise Physiology & Health (20 credits)
  • Research Methods in Sport and Exercise Science (20 credits)

Trimester 2 (option of 3 out of 4):

  • Physical Activity and Cardio-metabolic Conditions (20 credits)
  • Physical Activity and Cancer Survivorship (20 credits)
  • Physical Activity for Neurological Conditions (20 credits)
  • Independent Study (20 credits)

Trimester 3:

  • Research Project (60 credits)

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Within the taught option modules, you may have the option of gaining accredited Level 4 occupational qualifications. For example you may choose to sit the Skills Active Validated Level 4 Cancer and Exercise examinations following on from successful completion of the Physical Activity and Cancer Survivorship module in trimester 2 (please note there will be an additional cost to sit the examinations).

On successful completion of this programme you will have the knowledge, understanding and skills to gain postgraduate-level employment within the NHS, private healthcare sector, third sector, local government and leisure services. You will be equipped to deliver high level exercise testing, assessment and prescription for health impaired individuals and groups both individually as an autonomous practitioner; or within multi-disciplinary teams in clinical or community settings. This programme will prepare you for occupations such as a:

  • GP exercise referral coordinator
  • trainee clinical scientist
  • health advisor
  • exercise science research technician
  • health and wellbeing physiologist
  • physical activities adviser
  • private exercise physiologist

You may also to progress to a research degree up to PhD level. Alternatively you may wish to complete specific module/modules as part of your continuous professional development.

A Bachelor (Honours) degree at 2:2 or above. We look for candidates who have a background in Physical Activity & Health, Sport and Exercise Science, Physiotherapy or other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) qualifications.

We may also consider other qualifications/experience which demonstrate through our recognition of prior learning process that you have appropriate knowledge and skills at SCQF level 10.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol on our nursing courses.

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Everybody can move more

We work with cancer survivors to encourage them to get active and stay active. Our Associate Professor Anna Campbell MBE applies the results of her research to the real world. Anna works with Macmillan to provide exercise classes specifically for cancer survivors throughout Scotland.

After hearing she had been awarded an MBE, Anna explains her research and the importance of staying active after a cancer diagnosis.