Physical Activity & Health BSc (Hons)



Become a professionally recognised practitioner changing lives for the better.

Overview

A 2012 study in the Lancet highlighted that inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for non-communicable, chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, types of cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes and accounts for over 3 million preventable deaths per year. This includes depressive symptoms and poor mental well-being. 

The NHS is overrun with these diseases, but in many cases they can be effectively prevented or managed through physical activity. Yet, in 2020, 54% of adults in Scotland were not achieving the minimum levels of physical activity, based on our government guidelines. Our degree has been developed to teach our students how physical activity and exercise can do this.

There is the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of this course.

We have developed this multidisciplinary degree in line with the professional standards set out by CIMSPA and it delivers exactly what employers are looking for. We will help you develop your scientific understanding and practical skills for a successful career in the health and fitness industry or postgraduate study.

100% of graduates were in work or further study 15 months after graduation in the latest review (HESA 2019/20).

girl running on a treadmill with an oxygen mask on her face, and a sport scientist monitoring her vo2max

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as full-time)

Duration:

6 years

Start date:

Sep

Placement:

Yes

Study Abroad:

Yes

Course details

Our Physical Activity and Health course has been developed with you in mind. It will 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.

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. 

There is a strong emphasis on the practical application of theoretical knowledge and the course has six CIMSPA endorsed vocational standards embedded within it:

  • CIMSPA professional standard - gym instructor
  • CIMSPA professional standard – personal trainer
  • CIMSPA professional standard – working with people with long-term conditions
  • CIMSPA professional standard - health navigator
  • CIMSPA professional standard – safeguarding and protecting children
  • CIMSPA professional standard – safeguarding adults and adults at risk
These are traditionally known as level 2 gym instructor, level 3 personal trainer and exercise referral. Therefore, as well as a science degree that focuses on physical activity and health, students are provided with all the knowledge, skills and behaviours to meet minimum deployment standards in the health and fitness industry.

You'll also gain independent study habits, academic and employability skills and volunteer opportunities that will develop your understanding and skills in the area of physical activity and health.

Compulsory cost

All students are required to gain the CIMSPA level 2 Gym Instructor to undertake placements as part of this course in Year 3. There is an additional cost for this, currently offered at a subsidised rate of £300 if the student takes the qualification through Edinburgh Napier’s own short course. (This subsidy does not apply if you choose to take the certificate through an external provider.) Direct entrants/mature students entering at any level who already have the level 2 Gym Instructor, or CIMSPA Gym Instructor Professional Standard, will need to provide an officially recognised certificate as proof of pre-qualification. (The level of qualification needs to fully meet the CIMSPA professional standard.)

  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    Lectures, applied practical laboratory sessions, tutorials, independent study.

  • note and pen

    Assessments

    Formative and summative assessment play a very prominent role in the programme, as do practical assessments. Regular individual and group presentation of projects are conducted to tutors, peers and, where appropriate, external bodies.

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    Work placement

    At the time of writing we are developing many more new opportunities, but current examples are Edinburgh Leisure, Health All Round, Macmillan Cancer Support – e.g. Move More Programme.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

  • study abroad

    Study abroad

    German Sport University, Cologne, and institutions in the USA.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

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    Facilities

    We have excellent laboratory facilities in which you'll use a range of equipment. Facilities include exercise physiology, biomechanics, conditioning and multimedia laboratories, plus an environmental chamber, in addition we have an excellent gym facility. You'll carry out a range of practical procedures and use equipment involved in gym based exercise, and in the laboratory exercise physiology, biomechanics, exercise and health psychology, sport and exercise nutrition and exercise testing and prescription.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Anatomy and Physiology in Sport and 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
  • Volunteering and Employability
  • Skill Acquisition

Year 3

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

Year 4

  • Intermediate Exercise Psychology
  • Sociology of Medicine illness & Health
  • Scientific Communication: Dissertation and Statistics
  • Growth Maturation and Exercise

Year 5

  • Physical Activity & Inactivity in Health & Disease
  • Health, Lifestyle and Exercise Behaviour
  • Work Based Learning in Sport and Exercise Science
  • Scientific Research Project – proposal stage

Year 6

  • Exercise Testing & Prescription  
  • Behavioural Change
  • Disease Scientific Research Project

RECOGNISED BY

Disclaimer

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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Physical Activity and Health?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and 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.

The University does not sponsor students to study on part-time programmes in the UK under the Student Visa route. International Applicants must therefore have other valid immigration leave to study on this programme.

Can you go straight into second year of university?

Advanced entry into Year 2 or Year 3 of this course is possible for students with suitable qualifications. See the individual year tabs for more information.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBBC including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics or PE or Psychology at Grade C. National 5 C in Maths (excluding Applications of Maths). Higher Applications of Maths can be accepted in lieu of National 5 Maths.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BCCC including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics or PE or Psychology at Grade C. National 5 C in Maths (excluding Applications of Maths)Higher Applications of Maths can be accepted in lieu of National 5 Maths.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies

A Level

  • BCC including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology or PE.
  • GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths.

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Grades H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology or PE.
  • Ordinary Level O4 in Maths.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades MMM (Merit, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.
  • GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths.

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3 plus A Level

  • Minimum grades DM (Distinction, Merit) in a related subject.
  • A Level grade C.
  • GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 27 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science (Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics or Psychology or PE) at minimum grade 5.
  • 4 points in SL Maths (excluding Maths Studies).

T Level 

  • Grade M
  • T Level must be completed in a Science subject or A Level Science may be required. Please contact ugadmissions@napier.ac.uk to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.
  • GCSE Grade C/4 in Maths.

Minimum Year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

  • BBC to include Biology

A Level

  • BBB to include Biology

HNC

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

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

HND Next Gen

  • Pass HND Next Gen Physical Activity and Health with grade Merit.

 

Minimum Year 3

HND

  • Pass in a related subject* with grade A in all SCQF level 8 Graded Units.

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

In addition, you must pass one of the below units from each section:


One of the following: 
Mechanics for Health and Fitness Professional (DW64 35)
Sports Mechanics (FX9L 35) (DD2T 35)
Human Anatomy, Physiology and Biomechanics in Sport (J2AP 34)

AND (one of the following):
Psychology of Sports Performance (FX9V 35) 
Psychology of Sports Coaching (FW61 34) 
Psychology of Sport and Exercise (J422 34)
Applied Psychology in Sport and Exercise Performance (J429 35)

 

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.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland *£305 *£tba
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland *£1,157 *£tba
Overseas and EU *£2,785 *£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*.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Compulsory cost

All students are required to gain the CIMSPA level 2 Gym Instructor to undertake placements as part of this course in Year 3. There is an additional cost for this, currently offered at a subsidised rate of £300 if the student takes the qualification through Edinburgh Napier’s own short course. (This subsidy does not apply if you choose to take the certificate through an external provider.) Direct entrants/mature students entering at any level who already have the level 2 Gym Instructor, or CIMSPA Gym Instructor Professional Standard, will need to provide an officially recognised certificate as proof of pre-qualification. (The level of qualification needs to fully meet the CIMSPA professional standard.)

Careers

People walking and cycling through the Meadows
  • This course could lead to a range of career and further postgraduate study options, including:
  • Physical Activity & Exercise Consultant
  • Health & Wellbeing Personal Trainer
  • Exercise Referral Scheme Practitioner
  • Behaviour Change Practitioner
  • Physical Activity Development Practitioner
  • Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Active Schools Coordinators
  • Clinical Exercise Specialist
  • In NHS, Nuffield, Edinburgh Leisure etc

 

AND:

  • Postgraduate courses for clinical exercise science, physiotherapy and other disciplines
  • Postgraduate courses for teaching/lecturing
  • Research degrees/research career
Person hooked up to a Heart monitor