Why study sport and exercise science in the UK?


The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) bases logois the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK. BASES mission is to drive excellence in sport and exercise sciences through the promotion of evidence-based practice and the development and enhancement of professional and ethical standards.

What is sport and exercise science?

Sport and exercise science is the application of scientific principles to the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of sport and exercise related behaviours. It is fast becoming one of the most popular subjects to study in the UK at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Sport and exercise science aims to answer questions such as:

  • How does the human body respond to exercise?
  • How can professional athletes maximise potential?
  • What are the health benefits of regular activity?
  • How do psychological factors influence sport and exercise performance?




Studying sport and exercise science

Over 60 higher education institutions in the UK offer sport and/or exercise science undergraduate degree programmes. Many of these universities also offer a range of postgraduate (e.g. Masters) programmes, enabling students to specialise in particular aspects of sport and exercise science, such as clinical exercise science, strength and conditioning or performance analysis.

Most undergraduate sport and exercise science degrees will be structured around the three core elements of sport and exercise science: biomechanics, physiology and psychology. A graduate in sport and exercise science would be expected to have a broad knowledge base covering all three of these aspects and how they interact in both performance and health-related contexts.

The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) runs the degree endorsement scheme for the sport and exercise science sector. The BASES Undergraduate Endorsement Scheme (BUES) provides quality assurance to students and employers by endorsing sport and exercise science courses that provide undergraduates with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies that are essential to succeed in the profession.

Career opportunities

If you are you interested in human movement, sports performance, physical activity and health, then a career in sport and exercise sciences might be for you. The career opportunities available to sport and exercise scientists in the UK are expanding all the time and this growth appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Most sports now recognise sports science as an integral part of their development and success. Most athletes consider the application of sports science as part of everyday training and competition. In relation to exercise science, many UK hospitals and National Health Service (NHS) trusts are now appointing specialists with exercise qualifications to work in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation and health promotion.




Why study sport and exercise science in the UK?

The UK is a highly desirable destination for studying sport and exercise science for both UK nationals and overseas students. UK universities are consistently ranked amongst the highest in the world, with a reputation for world-class research and state-of-the-art facilities. Most higher education institutions offering sport and exercise science courses have modern physiology laboratories enabling hands-on learning and many have close links to employers in the sport and exercise science sector, giving students invaluable work experience at football clubs, performance sport institutes and the NHS.

The UK offers great career opportunities to graduates of sport and exercise science degrees, with world-leading sporting institutes (English Institute of Sport, SportScotland Institute of Sport, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland’s High Performance Centre), professional sports clubs and a growing healthcare sector increasingly seeing the value in the skill-sets that can be offered by sport and exercise science graduates.

Studying a BASES endorsed sport and exercise science degree in the UK is also the first step to obtaining BASES Accreditation, widely recognised as the benchmark professional standard in the sport and exercise sciences field, which can significantly enhance graduates’ career opportunities both in the UK and around the world.

Tom Holden
BASES Executive Director