BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Heriot-Watt's BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science combines cutting-edge teaching with world-leading sports performance facilities at Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre.


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BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science combines theory and applied learning to create an inherently interesting and broadly defined university degree. Our industry links and cross-disciplinary learning ensures our teaching is relevant in the real world, and you’ll experience what it is like to be a sport and exercise scientist working in practice.  

You’ll gain knowledge in all the three core areas of sport and exercise science including physiology, psychology, and biomechanics. You’ll learn to apply this knowledge and gain experience across a variety of professional settings including strength and conditioning, nutrition, data analysis and research, understanding the impact of exercise and sport, and sport and exercise science on our daily lives.  

By studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, you’ll explore evidence-based strategies for promoting health and preventing lifestyle-related diseases and the impact this has on a variety of different populations. Throughout your studies, you’ll develop practical skills as well as the ability to plan, conduct, critically analyse, and interpret results of practical work in the field and laboratory. 

As well as developing expertise in sport and exercise science, our programme builds sought after soft skills, such as problem-solving, communication skills, and practical technology skills. You’ll also understand the role of sport and exercise scientists in professional fields including performance sport, exercise prescription, adherence, research, and public health.  

This industry-focused degree will ensure you have the understanding, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities required to undertake a wide range of careers within sport and exercise science or other employment sectors. 

Our Expertise 

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active Sport and Exercise academic staff from the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences which sits within the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS); with this supported by the experienced practitioners from the Oriam Performance Team, bringing in expertise from working with leading athletes from across Scotland. 

EGIS is one of the United Kingdom’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. Our teams work closely and have links with industry, and practitioners are regularly invited as guest lecturers in most courses and advise on student research projects.

Your learning environment  

Our BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science programme is taught though a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, projects, placements, and laboratory and field practicals, allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your teaching staff, academics, and peers. You’ll be assessed by a combination of examination and coursework.  

During your studies, you’ll benefit from and have access to our specialist facilities and equipment as well as facilities within Oriam: Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre. Oriam is a leading centre of sporting excellence, research collaboration, and community engagement. It supports athletes, coaches, researchers, and students in their pursuit of greatness in sports performance and provides a platform for innovation and development in the field of sports science. 

Outside of the classroom, you can get involved with the Student Union, participating in student groups and societies as well as the Sports Union offering you over 30 sports clubs ranging from traditional football and rugby to mountaineering and ultimate frisbee. Sports clubs offer you the opportunity to grow in your sport, meet likeminded friends, and make use of the first-class facilities available to you. 

Customise your learning 

You’ll take eight mandatory courses in year one where you will be introduced to the principles of sport and exercise science, introductory biology, psychology, musculoskeletal anatomy, and physiology. You’ll also take a course designed to inspire awareness of the contribution of your discipline to tackling global challenges and its connection to other disciplines. You’ll work in teams, learn to cope with complexity, gain core study skills, and thrive on ambiguity.  

In year two, you’ll take seven mandatory courses to develop your fundamentals of sport and exercise biomechanics, and physiology and psychology, as well aiding your development as a professional in sport and exercise science. You’ll increase your experience of analysing sport and exercise science data and be introduced to concepts of metabolism in human nutrition. You can customise your learning by choosing one optional course in semester two. You can also gain a CIMSPA Endorsed qualification as a Personal Trainer, delivered in partnership with Oriam.  

Year three will see you enhance your applied sport and exercise biomechanics, physiology, and psychology skills and knowledge, taking seven mandatory courses and choosing one course from a list of options. You’ll also undertake a compulsory placement during one of your mandatory year three courses, with options to be based at Oriam, potentially with one of our various sporting partners such as  Scottish Rugby Union, the Scottish Football Association, Heart of Midlothian FC, and Scottish Squash

In year four, you’ll continue to increase your applied skills in the biomechanics, physiology and psychology of sport and exercise performance. Through this, you’ll be exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of sport and exercise science, working on real world problems that are facing athletes, practitioners, and professionals working in sport and exercise science. You’ll also start your journey as an independent researcher, allowing you to develop skills in research methods, ethics, and project management to complete your research project on a topic of interest to you. 


Based within Oriam, we work closely with industry, including partner organisations such as Scottish Rugby, the Scottish Football Association and Heart of Midlothian Football Club, to ensure our programme content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.  

Course content

This course structure is subject to change. 

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introductory Biology 1
  • Introduction to Psychology 1
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together A
  • Principles of Sport and Exercise Science

Semester 2

  • Introductory Biology 2
  • Introduction to Psychology 2
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together B
  • Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Physiology

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Fundamental Data Analytics for Sport and Exercise Science
  • Human Physiology
  • Metabolism in Human Nutrition
  • Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Science Psychology

Semester 2

  • Developing as a Professional in Sport and Exercise Science
  • Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Science Biomechanics
  • Fundamentals of Sport and Exercise Science Physiology
  • Optional course

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Applied Aspects of Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Physiology of Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Nutrition for Sport and Exercise Performance

Semester 2

  • Professional Practice in Sport and Exercise Science (30 credits)
  • Research Methods in Sport and Exercise Science
  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Applied Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Applied Physiology of Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Applied Psychology of Sport and Exercise Performance

Semester 2

  • Research Project for Sport and Exercise Science (30 credits)*
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sport and Exercise Performance
  • Project Dissemination
*Research Project for Sports and Exercise Science

This course provides you with the opportunity to undertake self-led independent study within your chosen area of sport and exercise science. The research project will give you the chance to demonstrate critical engagement within a chosen topic.

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Work and study

This is what our BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 75% are working
  • 10% are studying
  • 10% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £25000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £23500

Potential career paths

  • Sports, Natural or Social Scientist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • Coaching
  • Teaching
  • Exercise Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Health Promotion Specialist
  • Sports Management/Administration
  • Researcher/Academic

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (including a science subject, this can be psychology, sport science or physical education)
  • A-Levels BBC – ABB (including a science subject)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 27 points to include a science subject at Higher Level 5
  • BTEC DMM (in relevant subject)
  • HNC C in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including a science subject at B)
  • A-Levels BCC (including a science subject)

Additional information
Suitable science subjects are Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Human Biology, Psychology, Physical Education, Sport Science, Mathematics and Physics.

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Additional information

English language requirements

The minimum requirement for English language for all our undergraduate Biology courses is IELTS 6.0. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £24,048

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Sports scholarships

For elite athletes we offer a range of Scholarships as part of the Sport Scholarships Programme

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.