We expect that our students will have a strong understanding of either human nutrition or sport and exercise science. The first semester requires that you enrol in either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module, depending on your background. For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in human nutrition you will usually take the Exercise Physiology module. This format enables you to progress to advanced-level classes, where comprehensive knowledge of both human nutrition and exercise physiology is essential.
Semester one emphasises theoretical and research issues. The second semester then encourages application of the theoretical underpinnings in applied settings (field and laboratory settings).
Finally, in the Research Project, which completes the MSc award, you use both your theoretical and applied experience from the taught section of the course to complete a substantial piece of independent research.
To complete an MSc, you need to obtain 180 level 7 credits. The PGDip is awarded to students who obtain 120 level 7 credits by successfully
completing either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module, and all the remaining modules except the Research Project.
Human Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) provides a comprehensive overview of the different nutrients required by humans throughout the life cycle and their sources in food in the UK and worldwide. It also critically evaluates methods used to assess nutrient intake at an individual and population level. The relationship between lifestyle and body composition will also be covered.
Exercise Physiology (20 level 7 credits) examines the fundamental concepts in exercise physiology. Content includes acute and chronic adaptations to exercise, biochemistry and function of skeletal muscle, principles of exercise training, physiology of special populations (eg children, women, elderly and elite athletes) and immune function. Teaching methods include seminars and laboratory sessions.
Sport and Exercise Nutrition in Practice (20 level 7 credits) draws upon expert experience from individuals who are involved in providing nutritional support for people who participate in sport and exercise. Where appropriate, the module will use the expertise of guest lecturers in addition to the core teaching team. Strategies that focus on selected techniques known to enhance healthy dietary strategies will be covered. Finally, the use of case studies and practical experience will link the theoretical and applied aspects of the course to provide you with the skills necessary to meet the challenges faced by contemporary sport and exercise nutritionists.
Research Methods (20 level 7 credits) provides a foundation and training in fundamental research methods, from literature searching, experimental planning and design to data analysis and presentation. Assessment is by coursework only.
Nutrition, Physical Activity and Health (20 level 7 credits) examines the relationships between nutrition, physical activity and health outcomes in humans. In particular, the influence of diet and physical activity on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity will be considered along with counselling and goal-setting for diet, nutrition and exercise.
Applied Practice in Sport, Exercise and Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) provides you with opportunities to reflect on your professional practice and to consider the legal and ethical boundaries when working in sport and exercise nutrition settings. You will also gain training to assist in working with clients with special needs (eg young or elderly populations, disabled athletes, vegetarian athletes) or who come from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds that do not otherwise fit the 'standard' model of sport and exercise nutrition.
Laboratory Techniques in Sport and Exercise Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) consists of a practical component using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques including portable calorimetry, densitometry, haematology and urine analysis. This module includes comprehensive testing on both invited athletes and classmates. In addition to the practical element, a main focus of the module is placed on data interpretation and presentation to aid report writing for scientific publications and also athlete and coach feedback. Enrolment on the module also entitles you to complementary registration for the highly sought after International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) Level 1 qualification (on completion of the required additional practical and theoretical components).
Research Project (60 level 7 credits) consists of an intensive period of research into a selected topic in sport and exercise nutrition. You will work closely with an appointed supervisor to establish a project topic and identify an appropriate intervention. The research project will be primarily assessed by dissertation submission. Past projects have included fluid and energy delivery from sports drinks during cycling and rowing, accuracy of calorie expenditure estimates of popular sports equipment and effects from ingestion of alcohol, protein, carbohydrate, fat and ergogenic aids including sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, dietary nitrate and creatine. Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules may vary from that shown here.
Teaching and learning
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, with each module requiring approximately 36 hours of staff contact time and 200 hours of total student input in each 12-week semester.
Our teaching and learning focus on this MSc is to encourage you to develop the necessary skills to understand and communicate advanced theoretical and research-based knowledge of nutrition to people who participate in sport and exercise. Learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics associated with applied sport and exercise nutrition and include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, practical exercises, laboratory sessions and project work. The research project will be supervised on a one-to-one basis.
Your performance in each module is usually assessed by evaluation of the quality of written or design work, and verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project case work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations, and practical exercises.
- BASES-accredited Human Performance Laboratory.
- Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit.
- Functional Food Centre.
- Specialist equipment including near-infrared spectroscopy, Qualysis motion capture system, online breath-by-breath analysis technologies and a BodPod.
We encourage you to attend relevant industry and academic conferences to further your subject knowledge and take advantage of networking opportunities. When possible, we provide financial support for students to attend conferences (subject to availability). Where financial support is unavailable, you will need to self-fund conference attendance.
Each year, the academic staff who are responsible for teaching or supervising MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition students are invited to nominate students for the following awards:
Powerbar Prize for Outstanding Professional Commitment in Sport and Exercise Nutrition
This prize is awarded to the student who demonstrated high levels of commitment to the practice of sport and exercise nutrition whilst studying at Oxford Brookes.
Human Kinetics Prize for Outstanding Research in Sport and Exercise Nutrition
This prize is awarded to the student who submits the best research project as judged by the project supervisors and assessors, with input from the external examiner.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes