University of Portsmouth: Clinical Exercise Science

InstitutionUniversity of Portsmouth View institution profile
Department Faculty of Science
Telephone 023 9284 5566
Study type Taught


Patients with long-term health conditions can improve their quality of life through safe and effective activity and fitness programmes. Our Clinical Exercise degree course, offered as an MSc, PgDip and PgCert, will teach you the skills required to create these sort of programmes, and prepare you for a career as a Clinical Exercise Specialist.

On this course, you'll learn to tackle poor dietary habits, high-stress, and sedentary living, through personalised exercise training. You'll apply your knowledge to help people with long-term conditions, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Professional accreditations
The programme provides an opportunity to work toward ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification and units aligned to National Occupation Standards for Health and Fitness.

The course is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) to provide Level 2 Fitness Instructing (gym-based exercise) and Level 3 Exercise Referral, which is the independent public register for qualified professionals and endorsed by PD: Approval.

Membership of a body such as REPs is a requirement of the UKactive Code of Practice and shows employers that you have the appropriate skills to do the job. These qualifications are stepping stones towards developing a career as a Clinical Exercise Scientist or Physiologist.

The programme provides an opportunity to get REPs recognised specialist exercise instructor qualifications and to get experience to work toward ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification.

You'll be able to get specialist qualifications including:

exercise referral
cardiac disease
chronic respiratory
falls prevention
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
Work in clinical settings and our specialist sport and exercise science laboratories
Develop your field skills, and learn how to devise personalised exercise training for people with different medical conditions
Learn to communicate with clients in a professional and approachable way
Work with clinicians, providing exercise in the management of long-term conditions

Careers and opportunities
When you graduate, you'll have the skills needed for a successful career in:

cardiac rehabilitation
pulmonary rehabilitation
exercise after cancer
exercise after stroke
exercise for falls prevention
You can also pursue a career as an exercise physiologist in multi-disciplinary teams, exercise entrepreneur or exercise service manager.

Some other routes our graduates have taken include:
Health and wellbeing physiologist
Bariatric exercise physiologist
NHS trainee clinical scientist
Health advisor
Clinical exercise physiologist
Exercise referral coordinator
Exercise therapist
PhD research
​What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
Full-time students will study 4 x 30 credit units, plus the 60-credit MSc project unit.
Part-time students will study 2 x 30 credit units each year and complete the 60 credit MSc project unit in the second year

You can also study each as a standalone short course. You can study the short courses individually and build up the credits towards either a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, or MSc. You can take up to 5 years to do this.

Teaching methods on this course include:
practical workshops
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
September to December – teaching block 1
January – assessment period 1
January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, on Thursdays, Fridays and very occasionally on Saturdays. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.


Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert

Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip

University of Portsmouth



We are the University of Portsmouth: progressive and proud of our city’s heritage. We stand out as a new kind of university, a breath of fresh air in the academic world.

Portsmouth is a place for people who want to make a difference. We’re intent on discovery and our excellent research makes an impact, not just in the UK, but on the world. With over 200 postgraduate degrees to choose from, The University is a place where you’ll be encouraged to find your niche, and be supported to go beyond what you thought possible ...

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