BSc (Hons) Physical Activity and Health

Undergraduate, Part-time

Explore the techniques, skills required and programmes available to encourage physical activity for overall health and wellbeing for individuals, specific clinical populations and society.

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    6 years

  • Award:

    BSc (Hons)

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

If you have a passion for physical activity and health and the science underpinning how these topics can influence wellbeing and quality of life, then this course will provide you with both the knowledge and skills you need to pursue a career in an exercise and health-related area.

You'll develop in-depth knowledge and a range of techniques and skills including in exercise testing, prescription, physical activity and health in various clinical populations.

This will equip you with a skills to work in various works settings to improve health, wellbeing and physical activity with both the general public and clinical populations.

This is a part-time course which can be tailored to suit your needs.

sport and exerise

The BSc (Hons) Physical Activity and Health aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills to study and analyse the various aspects of physical activity/exercise and health in relation to different population groups, ensuring that you'll have both a firm theoretical and vocational grounding in the subjects that underpin the health and exercise industry.

To achieve this goal, this course has a strong emphasis on the practical application of theoretical knowledge. You'll gain the independent study habits, academic and employability skills and deliver volunteer opportunities that will develop your understanding and skills in the area of physical activity and health.

You'll learn about the impact of physical inactivity on health and disease and the methods for tackling health-related issues in non-exercise populations and the attached benefits.

We have excellent laboratory facilities in which you'll use a range of equipment. These include:
  • exercise physiology 
  • biomechanics 
  • conditioning and multimedia laboratories 
  • environmental chamber 
You'll carry out a range of practical procedures and use equipment involved in exercise physiology, biomechanics, exercise and health psychology, sport and exercise nutrition and exercise testing.

This is a part-time course generally lasting six years. With the support and guidance of our tutors you'll develop an individualised programme of study that best suits you. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and through independent study.

Our teaching team have a wealth of experience in exercise science, physical activity and health. Our approach is student-centered and supportive, with an emphasis on applied practical experience and the development of skills.

Some international exchange opportunities may exist. We have good links with German Sport University Cologne and some students have spent trimesters in universities in the United States.

The applied nature of this course encourages the development of skills that make you more employable such as communication, IT, problem solving, research and team working skills.

What you study

Year 1

  • Anatomy & Physiology in Sport & Exercise Science
  • Application of Science to Sport and Exercise
  • Foundations of Sport and Exercise Science
  • Sport, Exercise and Wellbeing

Year 2

  • Exercise Training
  • Sport & Health Nutrition
  • Skill Acquisition
  • Volunteering & Employability

Year 3

  • The Research Process in Sport & Exercise Science
  • Introduction to Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Introduction to Sport & Exercise Psychology

Year 4

  • Intermediate Exercise Physiology
  • Health Psychology
  • Scientific Communication: Dissertation and Statistics
  • Growth, Maturation & Exercise

Year 5

  • Health, Lifestyle and Exercise Behaviour
  • Behavioural Change
  • Work Based Learning
  • Scientific Research Project - Proposal

Year 6

  • Physical Activity & Inactivity in Health & Disease
  • Exercise Testing & Prescription
  • Scientific Research Project

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.

Around 40 per cent of our graduates move on to postgraduate study in subjects such as Exercise Physiology, Exercise/Sport Psychology, Health Promotion, Exercise/Sports Nutrition, Physiotherapy, Sports Performance and Enhancement and PE teacher training.

This course will help you develop a number of skills that will prepare you for positions both in exercise science and health as well as the wider jobs market, for example:

  • The NHS
  • Health and fitness industry
  • GP referral exercise consultant
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Schools activity coordinators
  • Physical activity and health promotion and improvement
  • Further education lecturing

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

Typical Entry Requirement

BBBB including Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology. Please note SQA Higher PE will be accepted in lieu of a Science if studied alongside SQA Higher Maths (Minimum Grade C required).

National 5 B in Maths (excluding Lifeskills), National 5 C in English & one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology at grade B. Please note SQA Higher PE will be accepted in lieu of a Science if studied alongside SQA Higher Maths (Minimum Grade C required).

National 5 B in Maths (excluding Lifeskills), National 5 C in English & one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology or PE.

GCSE Grade B/5/6 in Maths, GCSE Grade C/4 in English & a Science subject or Double Award Science at Grades CC/4 also required.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System
B1, B1, B3, B3 at Higher Level including Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology.
B3 at Ordinary Level in Maths, C2 in English & a Science subject.

New Grading System 
Grades H2, H2, H3, H3 at Higher Level to include Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.
Grade O3 at Ordinary Level in Maths and Grade O4 at Ordinary Level in English and a Science subject.


BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

GCSE Grade B/5/6 in Maths, GCSE Grade C/4 in English & a Science subject or Double Award Science at Grades CC/4 also required.

International Baccalaureate

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science^
at minimum grade 5.

5 points in SL Maths (excluding Maths Studies), 4 points in SL English & one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics


European Baccalaureate

70% with Grade 7 in three subjects including Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology.

Grade 6 in Maths, English and & one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 

^Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Psychology 

Minimum Year 2 


Pass in a related subject* with A in the graded unit.

*Sports Coaching with Development of Sport, Fitness, Health and Exercise, Sports & Exercise Science, Applied Sports Science, Applied Biological Science

Minimum Year 3


Pass in a related subject** with Grades AA at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units. Students with HND Sports Coaching & Development of Sport must pass the following units: Psychology of Sports Coaching and Psychology of Sports Performance. Students with an HND in Fitness, Health and Exercise must pass the following units: Mechanics for Health and Fitness Professionals and Psychology of Sports Coaching units.

**Sports Coaching with Development of Sport, Fitness, Health and Exercise, Sport & Exercise Science.

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 onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're 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.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Scotland/EU *£305 *£305
England Wales and Northern Ireland *£1,157 tba
Overseas £2,060 tba
Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

An opportunity to study with a hands on approach to the subject with an emphasis on real world situations whether working with elite athletes or non-exercisers.

Pete Laird

Programme Leader, School of Life, Sport & Social Sciences

Elite Athlete Bursary

Are you representing your sport at international level? This includes full, student and Under 19 representation. If so, you may be eligible for an annually reviewed bursary of £1000 per year for four years.