Exercise, Physical Activity and Health
BSc (Hons)

Industrial Placement
Part-time study available
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Exercise, Physical Activity and Health at Salford


Learn about the theory and practice of health and fitness and gain entry onto the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)


Overall satisfaction with this course was 96% (Source: NSS 2016)


Final year placement opportunity in a wide range of professional settings (referral schemes, private/public sectors, health clubs, community, clinical)

Course Summary

This course, which has been formally accredited by SkillsActive UK for entry on to the Register of Exercise Professionals, is designed to develop knowledge around the areas of exercise physiology, health psychology, policy and nutrition, to produce practical solutions to improve health through physical activity and exercise. You will become familiar with the factors that can affect the decision to exercise and how exercise programmes can be structured and implemented to enable an overall improvement in health. Whilst on this course, you will also have the opportunity to take gym instructor, personal trainer or exercise referral certification at no additional cost.

The ultimate aim of the course is to produce graduates who can work with a range of individuals in a variety of settings to improve health, fitness, wellness and quality of life.

Course Details

You will learn about the many factors that can affect the decision to exercise and how to overcome resistance to healthy lifestyle behaviours. You will be competent in the prescription of exercise for healthy adults and special population groups. You will understand how to produce a nutritional profile for general health and optimal performance, and you will develop an appreciation of physical activity innovation in practice.

Course Structure

Year 1

Explore innovation in the exercise and health industries and use a critical approach to assess the effectiveness of fitness-based products and services.
This provides a basic knowledge and understanding of the core human physiological systems which are fundamental to exercise, health, sport and movement.
This module provides you with the knowledge that underpins all forms of physical exercise and fitness development in order to design suitable, safe, well-structured exercise sessions.
Develop an understanding of psychological theory and processes underpinning health behaviour change.
The module aims to present a foundation knowledge which is fundamental to the study of energy metabolism and nutrition for human movement.
Differentiating between the concepts and roles associated with careers in the exercise, physical activity and sports industries.

Year 2

You will learn how to create effective, individualised exercise programmes based on an analysis of information gathered from fitness assessments, exercise counselling and goal setting.
You will examine the theoretical and practical aspects of the physiological response to exercise.
You will develop an understanding of the scientific principles that underpin the nutritional requirements for health and exercise.
You will explore a range of established exercise training techniques and how they might be applied, and consider their role in the development of an active lifestyle.
You will develop a broad understanding of research design and analysis, learning how to appraise evidence and plan your own research.
You will develop a critical understanding of health behaviour, exploring the barriers to exercise, and considering motivation, confidence, competence and self-efficacy.

Year 3

You will be expected to conduct an in-depth evidence-based study on a topic of your choosing.
You will identify a placement setting, and apply your academic skills and knowledge to practice.
You will learn the theoretical and practical skills associated with the measurement of fitness, the prescription of exercise and the process for delivering feedback to client groups.
You will work in a small group to design, develop and implement a 'real life' intervention and host it on the University campus. Your intervention should be designed to improve health status or increase exercise and/or physical activity levels.
You will learn about the normal and abnormal function of selected organ systems, the pharmacological management of disease and how to safely prescribe exercise for special population groups.
You will explore the behavioural basis for food choices and eating patterns, which will enable you to then address the implications of inadequate food consumption.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Access to HE 60 credits, 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Distinction level. The other 15 will be at level 2 and will be ungraded
GCSE 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above (Maths and English required)
UCAS tariff points 112 points, at least one A2 Science subject preferred (can include Psychology, Sociology, Sport, PE)
BTEC National Diploma DMM (to include Sport, Exercise, Health or Applied Science)
Foundation Degree Foundation Degree graduates will be considered for entry at Level 6 of the programme.
Scottish Highers 112 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 points
International Baccalaureate 29

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

The University offers two routes for entry under the scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. As this course is part of the School of Health Sciences you will only be considered under Entry Route 1.


English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 6.0) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

Due to the nature of the industry, we aim to recruit confident, hard-working, organised individuals who have a passion for exercise and activity. If you could see yourself working with a range of people in a range of different settings, this course is for you.


The curriculum has been designed by expert staff with national reputations and professional experience in the exercise, health and fitness industries. Teaching is delivered using a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Practical skill sessions
  • Case studies
  • Problem-based learning
  • On-line learning
  • Work experience
  • Laboratory classes

Students on the course also engage in self-directed study activities, group work and project team working. All students are allocated a personal tutor to ensure personal and academic development and achievement.


  • Coursework 20%
  • Presentations 20%
  • Practical 15%
  • Simulated interview scenarios 5%
  • Case studies 5%
  • Portfolio 10%
  • Report writing 10%
  • Written and practical exams 10%
  • Reflective writing 5%


Career Prospects

Graduates have gained work in exercise referral, health and physical activity improvement, corporate fitness, cardiac rehabilitation and personal training. Recent graduates from this course have gained employment with Salford Community Leisure, Manchester Primary Care Trust, Fitness First and BUPA Wellness. Following graduation, some students choose to undertake a postgraduate teaching qualification.

There are career opportunities in a wide variety of areas including health and exercise promotion (including sports development), personal training, workplace health and fitness, exercise referral, health-based intervention design and delivery, postgraduate research and project work, community food work, cardiac rehabilitation and teaching.

On successful completion of the course students have moved into the following professional roles:

  • Advanced Personal Trainer, Virgin Active
  • Exercise Referral Manager, Salford PCT
  • Community Food and Nutrition Worker, St Helens Council
  • Workplace Health Consultant, BUPA Wellness.

Alumni Profile

Dawn Mitchell, Principal Active Lifestyles Manager – Salford Community Leisure

"I wanted to pursue a career in the exercise and health industry and this degree seemed ideal. I believe that the opportunity to combine theory with practice certainly helped me to achieve my first job, even prior to graduation, as an Exercise Referral Worker (cardiac rehabilitation) in central Manchester. I am now working as a Principal Active Lifestyles Manager for Salford Community Leisure. My role is to lead a range of projects and manage a large team of staff with a remit for improving and developing physical activity levels and increasing participation in sport."

Ben Andrews, graduated July 2015, Employed as a Health Trainer for Unlimited Potential supporting Salford residents to make positive life changes.

"Whilst working as a Health Trainer I am developing my own service, Empower Health, with the focus on supporting Salford’s disabled population to engage in more physical and exercise based activities to generate immediate health and wellbeing outcomes, with the long-term impact of decreasing the prevalence of long term conditions within this demographic. I also do some PT work at a local community centre and have recently been employed as an Activity co-ordinator for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

My career aspirations when I first started the course were to begin a project that I am in the ‘start up’ phase of now. I started university as a means to an end; I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t have the skills, knowledge or experience to do so. In year 1 we were given an assignment for the Practitioners Skills Development module, this gave us the opportunity to set a goal, then set aims and objectives to achieve this. My goal was to become a Health Trainer which I achieved in year 2, gaining this role allowed me the freedom and flexibility to be able to work in a capacity which acted as research for Empower Health.

The EPAH tutors are a really good team and have supported me throughout my time at University and beyond, having good tutors has played a big part in my success in and out of University.

I would advise others who are thinking of studying this course to volunteer in a broad field of work so you can try different things and get a feel for what you want to do, use the lecturer's assistance as much as you can, they’re there for support and in most cases are happy to do so. I achieved a 1st degree but without the support offered by lecturers there’d be no chance of me gaining that high a classification.

One thing that enabled me academically was to get a basic assignment structure going using the marking guidelines and start working on it that day, even if it’s just the title, chip away at it and by the time the few weeks before deadline day come around, other people are just starting and you can relax and tidy it up to boost your grade!

Everything works out in the end, apply yourself and don’t stress. If can see a good opportunity take it, don’t let the pressures involved stop you from doing something you want to do."

Links with Industry

The course team are actively involved in research and undertake project work in collaboration with industry partners. The following are examples of partners and projects:

  • Wigan Primary Care Trust – free swimming evaluation
  • Greater Manchester Obesity Group – strategic development of weight management services
  • Tameside Sport Development - evaluation of interventions
  • Manchester Velodrome - active travel and cycling
  • North West Health and Physical Activity Forum - representation on the steering group
  • Salford Swimming – nutritional support
  • Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport – exercise for disabled people
  • NIKE – fitness testing in football
  • Federation of International Lacrosse – fitness testing

Placement Opportunities

The optional placement module offers students a unique opportunity to become involved in these projects. Students who have completed this module have found it invaluable to their learning experience.

Further Study

Fees and Funding

Fees for entry in 2017-18 will be published as soon as possible.

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Part-timeYour annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying
Full-time International£13,300

Students may incur other expenses during placements. An optional cost may be incurred to undertake a First Aid qualification should the student wish to do so and for a uniform whilst on placement (the cost of a uniform should be approximately £60). Costs are approximated based on the  current academic year. 

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.



Human performance laboratory

Our world-class human performance laboratory is one of the best equipped in the country and contains almost every type of physiological, performance analysis and biomechanical testing equipment, including a 30-metre sprint track with in-built force platforms, motion capture systems, blood and gas analysis equipment and speed guns.

We also have a separate physiological testing laboratory and fully equipped strength and conditioning suite, which includes and isokinetic dynamometer and portable force platforms.

Performance Lab

We also have extensive equipment in our Exercise and Physiology Laboratory including:

  • Portable and static online gas analysis systems for breath-by- breath cardiopulmonary exercise testing, including VO2 max tests.
  • A Lode Cycle Ergometer to provide isokinetic testing conditions within cycling.
  • An Analox G37 Multi-Assay Blood Analyser to study blood lactate concentration. We also have a range of field based Lactate Pro analysers, which have been used to test professional athletes as part of our partnerships.


The University is also home to three gait labs, which, together with the human performance lab, are used to conduct ground-breaking research by the Centre for Health Sciences Research that underpins your learning.