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Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Sciences
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

CAO points:
Course code:
4 Years
* Indicates that not all applicants who scored these points were offered places.
† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
Course leader:
Tom Comyns
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 202896

Tel: 00 353 61 202015
Queries: www.ul.ie/admissions-askus


Why Study Sport and Exercise Sciences at UL?

This programme will give you an in- depth knowledge and understanding of the key elements of sport, exercise, health and physical activity from the perspective of the sciences. Throughout the programme, you will study the science behind safe participation and effective performance in physical activity and sport.

The application of science plays a major role in the preparation of the modern sports performer. The effects of training methods on the physiological systems of the body for improving strength, speed, endurance, skill and how to perform under stress are constantly being investigated and improved upon by sport scientists.

The application of science however is not reserved for elite performers. It is well recognised that lack of exercise or physical activity plays a major role in many diseases that affect us e.g. cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers. In addition to improving performers, sport and exercise scientists are also engaged in examining the effects of various types of exercise programmes and activities on health and also on the treatment and prevention of disease by means of physical activity. They are also concerned with the psychological bene ts of exercise and with how to motivate people to exercise frequently and regularly.

The Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Sciences is a four-year programme which includes an eight- month period of work experience (Cooperative Education) in relevant work placements during the third year.

The first year of the course provides a transition and immersion into the Sport and Exercise Sciences. You will undertake broad modules under the themes of “What makes an Olympic Champion?”, “Why is exercise good for health?” and “What are the determinants of human performance?”. These themes are explored under each of the core disciplines within Sport and Exercise Science including physiology, anatomy, psychology, biomechanics and coaching science and provide a foundation for these and other disciplines such as mathematics and physics which enable deeper understanding in years 2, 3 and 4.

Laboratory experience is an integral part of each of these core areas of study where you will test concepts and theories and acquire laboratory and research skills. In the first two years, you will study and experience selected sports and modes of exercise and training.

Here, you will have an opportunity to improve personal performance and prepare for coaching awards and certification. In second year an elective subject is selected and you will take two modules in either Law or Computer Science. You will undertake a project in your final year on a topic related to an aspect of sport and exercise science.


Year 1 - Semester 1 Semester 2
Coaching Science & Performance 1 Exercise & Fitness
Functional Anatomy Introduction to Biomechanics for Sport & Exercise
Human Physiological Systems for Sport & Exercise Science Scientific Perspectives of Sport & Exercise Psychology
Sport & Exercise Sciences: Transition Sport & Exercise Sciences: Immersion
Science Maths 1 Introduction to Information Technology
Physics for General Science 1 Introductory Biochemistry
 Year 2 - Semester 3 Semester 4
Coaching Science & Performance 2 Coaching Science & Performance 3
Quantitative Biomechanical Analysis Sports Injuries
Physiology Muscle in Movement Support Systems to Muscle Contraction
Science Maths 3 Psychology of Movement: Development from Infancy to Adolescence
Choose 1: Choose 1:
Principles of Law Sport and Law
Business Information Systems Business Information Technology 1
Broadening Modules Broadening Modules
Year 3 - Semester 5 Semester 6
Quantitative Biomechanical Analysis Cooperative Education 1
Nutrition, Exercise Metabolism & Sports Performace Cooperative Education 2
Perception & Cognition in Action  
Fundamental Concepts of Human Research & their Application  
Year 4 - Semester 7 Semester 8
Human Performance Evaluation SES Project B
Advanced Biomechanical Analysis Novel Methods in Biomechanics
Exercise & Health Clinical Applications of Exercise
Applied Sport Psychology Exercise Psychology
SES Project A  


Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation Maths is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

In addition, applicants must hold an O3/ H7 grade in any one of the following:  Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Physics with Chemistry, Physical Education, Agricultural Science, Biology and Physical Education. While a high level of sports performance and achievement is not required, it is essential that you should like science, along with sport, exercise and physical activity.

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

Applicants are required to undertake the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) test. There is one sitting of the test annually. Further details, including test date and test centres, are available from msap-ie.acer.edu.au


Careers open to you with a degree in SES include;

  • Sports Scientist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Biomechanist
  • Nutritionist
  • Sports Physiologist
  • Strength & Conditioning
  • Sports Coach/Instructor
  • Health Promotion Officer

The following are some of the areas that graduates have gone to:

  • Sport science advisors
  • Performance Analysts
  • Fitness coordinators, sport development officers and sport administrators with organisations like the Sport Ireland, IRFU, GAA, FAI, Swim Ireland and Basketball Ireland
  • Health Promotion and Research Officers with the Health Service Sports media/journalism including print and television
  • Consultants in sport performance, health and fitness, nutrition
  • Biomedical science, biomedical engineering, ergonomics, medical physics
  • Lecturing and researching in the areas of sport, exercise science, health science and other related fields
  • Research and marketing with sport and exercise manufacturing industry, e.g. equipment, food, drink, clothing, footwear
  • Others are working very successfully outside sport. Employers recognise that having obtained a good degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences, graduates have skills and abilities that can be applied in other fields after undergoing appropriate training.


  • National Governing Bodies of Sport
  • HHigh-PerformanceUnits
  • Irish Institute of Sport
  • Coaching Ireland
  • Elite Sport e.g. Premier League Football, European and Super 14 Rugby
  • Senior Intercounty and Development GAA Squads
  • Statsports Technologies
  • Fitness Training Centre
  • Gyms
  • Freelance instructor
  • University of Limerick Sports Arena
  • Hurricane Rugby Wellington New Zealand
  • Connacht Rugby
  • High Performance Centre UL
  • GAA Clubs
  • British Judo Association
  • Rehabilitation Centre

Follow-On Study

Related postgraduate courses might include Taught MSc degrees in areas like;

  • Sports Performance
  • Sports & Exercise Psychology
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Strength & Conditioning
  • Nutrition/Dietetics
  • Coaching
  • Physiotherapy
  • Clinical Therapies
  • Professional Masters in Education - Physical Education

Research training in areas such as exercise physiology, genetics and exercise, diabetes and exercise, osteoporosis, muscle repair, growth factors, biomechanics and psychology of physical activity at UL and at other universities in Ireland, UK, Australia, Canada and USA.


Want to find out more about possible careers with this degree? Click Here

Student Profile

Aimee McInerney
This is a challenging degree. You will gain extensive knowledge in areas such as elite performance, coaching strategies and exercise prescription. For me, the most enjoyable aspect is the practical elements offered throughout each year.

For my co-op placement, I went to the PEAK Centre for Human Performance in Ottawa, Canada. I worked with several clients and trained them to reach their speci c goals. I had to test them, provide consultations, design monthly strength and conditioning programmes and offer a personal training service over three months. My clients included a marathon runner, iron man competitor, and swimmer. It was an amazing experience to work with sports people at both elite and recreational level. Also, the chance to explore a different country was amazing. Canada was one of the best experiences of my life.

What are the mature student entry requirements for entry to the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences? How many places are there for mature students?

For details on the application and assessment processes for mature students, please see the Admissions Office webpage or contact the Admissions Office directly - www.ul.ie/admissions-askus or Phone: 061-202015).

Information on how mature applications are assessed are also available in Section 7 of the Mature Student Handbook.

The number of mature students taken each year varies pending on the quality and number of applications; it can range from 8 - 12.

If I have completed a PLC course in health/sport related subjects can I get exemptions to pursue the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences?

There are no exemptions for PLC programmes.

What is the level of Maths and Physics on the course?


Once you have the minimum requirement (at leaving cert B3 in ordinary or D3 in higher) you will be able to handle the maths modules. There is also a Maths Learning centre where you can get extra tuition for free.


There is quite a number of students who come to the Sport and Exercise Sciences programme without Physics in their leaving cert and they manage very well. Again, there is a Science Learning centre which provides free tuition.

Does the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences offer a foundation for health and nutritional study with sport and exercise?

Yes there is a focus on nutrition for sport a specific module is dedicated to this, also it is a key strand which runs throughout the programme.

Is there any sport scholarship programmes set up to assist students with points?

All scholarships are listed here: https://www.ul.ie/courses/about-ul/scholarships

Entry to Physical Education

Can a graduate of the BSc in Sports and Exercise Science (LM-089) gain entry to the Professional Masters of Education - Physical Education Teaching?

After the degree it is possible to do a Professional Masters of Education - Physical Education Teaching at UL to become a Physical Education Teacher; however, a number of challenges exist. The only programme in Ireland that has gained Teaching Council approval as a preparatory course for the Professional Masters of Education - Physical Education Teaching is IT Tralee. The Sport and Exercise Science courses do not contain the content knowledge, applied and theoretical, to teach physical education across both the junior and the senior cycle in schools. Since the Professional Masters of Education is strictly a pedagogy course it assumes/requires that students come in with this knowledge.

You apply to both the Teaching Council in Athlone (part of the Department of Education) and UL to gain entry to the Professional Diploma. UL will hold interviews regarding suitability and the Teaching Council will identify practical areas such as dance, gymnastics and aquatics. These can be made up at UL or at other institutions such as UCC. However, these can only be offered if the student has been offered a place on the course. With the new Teaching Council guidelines this requires students to make up the missing modules the year prior to starting the course and with the Professional Diploma now 2-years it will take students 3 years in total to be certified to teach physical education.

Can I go on to study physiotherapy after studying the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences? Where would I have to pursue this and how many years would it take it after you have this course done?

It is important to note that MSc courses in physiotherapy are specially designed for graduates in other disciplines. Admission to these courses is not automatic. In addition to getting a good honours degree, candidates must usually pass an interview.

Entry to Physiotherapy training and sports rehabilitation with two years taught MSc programmes at universities in the UK is possible. e.g. the University of Edinburgh, University of Middlesbrough, University of Southampton, University of Salford, King's College London, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Brighton, Robert Gordon Univ., Aberdeen.

Do I have to take up a sport if I am studying Sport and Exercise Sciences?

No, you would not have to take up a sport. In two of the sport performance modules, you do study and learn about a sport (e.g. athletics, Gaelic football, hurling/camogie, rugby, and hockey) and in some cases there is an opportunity to get a certificate but you do not have to take up a sport. Many of the students do play sports (some at the highest levels) but some do not. A main criterion for the degree programme is that you like or have an interest in sport and/or exercise and that you also have a liking for science. You do not have to be outstanding in either sport or science but you must not dislike either.

The core science subjects that are studied in the programme are Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics and Psychology. Physics and Maths are preparation for these. A feature of the programme is the number of laboratory sessions, hands-on experience and project work that you get which greatly helps understanding and applications.

International students

General Information, Applying to UL, Eligibility/Entry Requirements, Application Process, Admissions and Accommodation can be found at this web address:


What are my career options after completing the course?

The degree programme in sport and exercise sciences prepares students for careers in a wide variety of areas in sport, exercise and health and also other related areas. Careers range from involvement in sport at elite level to sport and exercise for health and from high-level research to practical work in the field.

A number of graduates hold key positions in the national governing bodies of sport, the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Institute of Sport. Sport and Exercise Sciences graduates also have the skills and knowledge to enter taught MSc programmes to become specifically trained in areas such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, teaching, biomedical science, biomedical engineering and information technology.

Many of our graduates enter postgraduate research and have careers as researchers and lecturers at third level institutions. Many have their own consultancy businesses. Others are using the skills and knowledge gained in the programme to work very successfully outside the sport & exercise science field.

Below are some examples of what our graduates are doing.

Quotes from some SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCES graduates:

With a sport and exercise science degree from UL there are so many different options out there. The world is your oyster and the degree provides a good first stepping stone to lots of career options as is evident by the breadth of jobs we are all doing now. Also, these options do not necessarily mean you have to do an MSc or PhD.

Denise Linnane, SES graduate, 1997 - Occupational Physiologist

Having experienced a number of university courses to date and spoken with a number of people who teach at other universities, it is clear that the sport and exercise science undergraduate course at UL is of great quality. Not only did we cover a great number of topics in our undergraduate course, but we also developed many skills in independent study projects. I can honestly say that the students I now teach at university would not enjoy such responsibility or maintain such high standards.

Paul McCarthy, SES graduate 2000.

Now Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology, Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University I wanted to pursue a career in sport and exercise science. The degree offered by UL appealed to me because it teaches a broad range of skills resulting in many possible career opportunities not only in sport science but also in health and nutrition.

Eoin Doyle, SES graduate, 2007.

Consultant biomechanist I really enjoyed studying sport and exercise sciences at UL. Not only did I find it an ideal place for learning, but the work experience placement gave me a great opportunity to further explore the area which I wanted to pursue. Speaking from my own experience, any graduate, after 4 years of studying this course, is equipped with a huge variety skills and knowledge that can be applied to countless health related or sport and exercise settings.

Joseph McGinley, SES graduate 2010. Munster Rugby Academy Strength Conditioning Coach and Fitness Advisor.

Advice from SES graduates to school goers considering choosing Sport and Exercise Sciences

Try and find out the various career paths that a degree in sport and exercise sciences can offer. Focus on your core sciences if you can. Keep trying to apply this knowledge if you can i.e. ask the what ifs!!

Brian Cunniffe, SES graduate, 2003. Sport Scientist for the British & Irish Lions rugby team tour to Australia, 2013. Formerly senior sport scientist with the British Olympic Association; now with the English Institute of Sport

The degree is an excellent basic science degree and offers a wealth of different career opportunities. I was particularly interested in biomechanics and its clinical/medical application and chose a career in biomedical engineering and clinical research

Olive O'Driscoll (SES graduate, 1999) Technical Project Manager, Medical Engineering Design and Innovation Centre, Cork Institute of Technology).

It is a thoroughly enjoyable science degree that equips you with a multi-disciplinary skill set in the sports and exercise arena. Whether you are interested in elite sport or exercise for clinical populations there is much to be gained. Do not listen to those who say there are no jobs. There are plenty for those who work hard. It has the perfect blend of theoretical and practical activities

Peter Francis SES graduate, 2009, Lecturer in Sport Science at St Mark and St John University College, Plymouth

Go in with an open mind. The undergraduate degree provides a very good grounding and base knowledge in 3 varied disciplines (physiology, biomechanics and psychology), which prepares you to specialise in one area with further study. If you are unsure of what exact career path you want to follow but know you want to work in a health/exercise environment with a varied population the Sport and Exercise Science degree opens options for future career paths

Aine Lyng (SES graduate 2010) Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Oxford University Hospitals NHS.

Remember that Sport and Exercise Science is first and foremost a degree in science. So while it is important to be interested in sport and physical activity, you will also need to have a good head for the sciences, be creative and innovative, and enjoy working as part of a team

Toni Rossiter (SES graduate, 2002) Performance Physiologist, Irish Institute of Sport.

Examples of Careers

  • Irish Institute of Sport: Head of Performance Support Services; Performance Analyst; Performance Physiologist
  • Irish Sports Council: Head of Education and Research in Anti-doping Unit; Head of Sport Partnerships; Local Co-ordinators of the Sports Partnerships around the country)
  • Coaching Ireland [Formerly National Coaching and Training Centre (NCTC)]: coach education staff and coach education development staff
  • GAA: National Games Development manager, Nat. Education officer., Regional development officers
  • IRFU: Heads of Fitness for Irish senior male squad (6 Nations Champions) and Irish women's squad Grand slam winners and semi-finalists in World Cup); IRFU Academy Strength and Conditioning Coordinator; a number of graduates hold key positions with both the academies and the senior squads of Munster, Leinster and Connaught Rugby
  • Development officers or fitness coaches/co-ordinators, education managers with the FAI, Basketball Ireland, Swim Ireland, Badminton Union of Ireland, Pitch & Putt Union of Ireland, Triathlon Ireland
  • Also abroad e.g. Senior Sport Scientist with British Olympic Association;
    • Sport Scientist with British & Irish Lions tour to Australia 2013 and now
    • with the English Institute of Sport as researcher and consultant
  • UK Athletics (Head of strength & conditioning), West Coast Eagles (Australia),
  • Collingwood FC (Australia), Cardiff City FC (performance analyst);