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What is the BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science?

The BSc (Hons) in Health and Exercise Science is a full-time, four-year, honours degree course of study that can be chosen within the Exercise Sciences Common Entry Route. The BSc (Hons) in Health and Exercise Science combines the disciplines of exercise science and physical activity.  The Health and Exercise Science programme will give graduates the knowledge and skills needed to assist the general population, distinct population groups and those with health problems as they engage in physical activity and structured exercise programmes.

The programme is built on a broad-based exercise science education in physiology, biomechanics, psychology, nutrition, physical activity, strength and conditioning and exercise programming.

At the end of the programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Evaluate physiological function, fitness, physical activity and well-being in a range of population groups including aged individuals and those with health problems
  • Develop and lead exercise programmes for these specialist groups
  • Apply psychological and behavioural change techniques to promote programme adherence and increase physical activity
  • Devise, implement and evaluate initiatives to increase physical activity and participation, targeting a variety of population groups in a variety of settings
  • Assist in distinguishing fact from fiction with reference to the fitness research literature

Programme features


  • Department staff have extensive experience providing health enhancing physical activity support to both local and international organisations. This includes
  • Developing programmes to integrate exercise into the treatment of several health conditions including heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and into the treatment of mental illness
  • Co-writing Ireland’s National Physical Activity strategy
  • Providing leadership on Ireland’s Physical Activity Research Collaboration (IPARC)
  • Providing consultancy services to the World Health Organisation’s Health Enhancing Physical Activity Europe group
  • Serving on the Board of Directors in several Local Sports Partnerships in Ireland
  • Working with county councils to develop programmes and policies to increase cycling for transport in Irish towns


Laboratories and apparatus available for practical classes and research projects include 3 human performance laboratories, dance studios, a high-performance gym, access to a DEXA and bio-electrical impedance body composition analysers and ActivPal physical activity motion sensors.  A number of classes are delivered in the teaching and laboratory facilities of the SETU ARENA.


A 300-hour work placement offers supervised experience in a fitness, special needs or physical activity promotion environment. The Department has an extensive network of placement opportunities that include:

  • Health and Exercise specialists with community-based chronic illness rehabilitation programmes.
  • Physical Activity Officers for people with a disability, older adults or in community settings.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation in regional hospitals.
  • Sports Development Officers with Local Sports Partnerships to promote participation in physical activity.
  • Personal Trainers in community and private enterprises.
  • Health and Exercise Specialists in workplaces, charities and sporting NGBs.

Research and Project Work

Students in the programme have an opportunity to experience the full research process culminating in the completion of a dissertation in the final year of the programme.  Students will benefit from exposure to the health, physical activity and exercise related PhD research ongoing in the Department including:

  • Developing and evaluating tailored exercise interventions for;
    • men with prostate cancer
    • people with respiratory disease
    • frail older adults
    • cancer survivors
    • people with heart disease

Monitoring the impact of recent Olympic Games on physical activity in the general population

  • Measuring the impact of measures to increase walking and cycling in Irish towns
  • Designing and implementing dance interventions for women recovering from breast cancer
  • Measuring the impact of schools-based programmes on children’s attitudes to and participation in physical activity 
  • Measuring the impact of COVID 19 on recreational walking on Ireland’s network of walking trails
  • Measuring the impact of high intensity interval exercise on cardiovascular health and immune cell function


Several REPS Ireland accreditations are built into this programme. After successfully completing year 2, students will be eligible for the Fitness Instruction, Group Fitness Instruction and Personal Training accreditations.  Health and Exercise students are also eligible for the Exercise for Health Specialist accreditation at the end of their programme.

Year 1

Semester 1 Semester 2
Fitness and Movement Sport & Exercise Biomechanics 1
Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology Introduction to Exercise Psychology
Promoting Physical Activity Biochemistry & Cell Physiology
Research & Learning Strength & Conditioning
Human Physiology Data & Measurement
Introduction to Sport Psychology Business for the Exercise Professional

Year 2

Semester 3 Semester 4
Teaching for the Exercise Professional Exercise Physiology
Exercise Prescription for Program Design 1 Research Methods & Statistics
Nutrition 1 Nutrition 2
Motivational Interviewing Group Fitness Instruction
Physical Activity Interventions Exercise Prescription for Program Design 2
Sport Psychology & Skill Acquisition Positive Psychology

Year 3

Semester 5 Semester 6
Applied Sport and Exercise Physiology Adapted Physical Activity
Child and Youth Physical Activity Exercise Psychology in Practice
Pathophysiology of Disease Exercise as Medicine 1
Physical Activity Assessment & Evaluation Major Project in Health and Exercise Science 1
Weight Management Physical Activity, Sport & Development
Choose 1
*Sports Medicine
*Nutrition for the Life Cycle

Year 4

Semester 7 Semester 8
Work Placement in Health and Exercise Science Active Ageing
Advanced Sport & Exercise Physiology
Exercise as Medicine 2
Major Project in Health and Exercise Science 2
Professional Practice and Social Media

Leaving Cert: Minimum entry requirements for the BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science:

2 subjects: H5
4 subjects: O6/H7
English or Irish: O6/H7
Mathematics: O6/H7

How to apply for the BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science on the CAO:

The entry route for this programme is from BSc (Hons) in Exercise Sciences (Common Entry). Applicants who select degree option SE902 ESH (Health and Exercise Science) are guaranteed a place in that programme, subject to meeting the entry requirements and points. Applicants who are undecided about their degree option should choose SE902 GEN.

At the end of semester 3, students must confirm their degree option and may change their selection up to that date.

Advanced and Equivalent Entry for the BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science:

Graduates of the course may work in the following roles

  • Exercise for Health Specialists
  • Sports Inclusion Development Officers
  • Adapted Physical Activity Specialists
  • Physical Activity Promotion Officer
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Personal Trainers
  • Sports Development Officers 
  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Weight Management Consultants
  • Active Schools Co-ordinators
  • Active Travel Officers

Follow-on study for BSc (Hons) in Health and Exercise Science graduates

Graduates of this course can also continue to further postgraduate study in Physical Activity for Health, Clinical Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy, Sports Science, Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology (SETU), Strength and Conditioning (SETU) and Nutrition

Opportunities also exist in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science to undertake research postgraduate degrees to doctoral level in Physical Activity Promotion and Clinical Exercise Programming.

Career Opportunities for BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science graduates:

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Opportunities exist within the Department of Sport and Exercise Science for post graduate study through either taught Masters programmes or research degrees at Masters and Doctoral level.


Stream Leader

Dr Barry Lambe

Lecturer in Health and Exercise Science -

Email: [email protected]