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Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition

PGDip or MSc

Key facts


Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: MSc: 12 months, PGDip: 8 months

Part time: MSc: 24 months, PGDip: 20 months

Department

Department of Sports, Health Sciences and Social Work

Accreditation(s)

Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register

  • Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register

Overview


Our MSc/PGDip in Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition is designed for students who want to work with a range of people to improve their health, fitness or sporting performance. We encourage applications from graduates with a background in sport and exercise science or human nutrition. 

Nutrition has profound effects on both human health and athletic performance. So we have based this course on the latest scientific research and contemporary practice. 

Our staff come from a wide range of sporting and nutrition backgrounds. They conduct first-class research and bring it to the classroom and some are actively involved in coaching. 

To provide you with subject specialist knowledge we also invite guest speakers from:

  • industry
  • other universities
  • research organisations.

Our research groups and consultancies have strong links with Oxfordshire hospitals, elite athletes and food organisations. This gives you opportunities to conduct internal and external research projects. As well as develop potential career opportunities.

Student monitoring athlete with specialist equipment

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

To successfully complete this postgraduate course, you are usually expected to have (or be about to attain) at least a first or upper second class honours degree in a related scientific subject from a recognised institution of higher education.

Applicants with a lower second class award may be accepted if they can provide a transcript to show that they performed near to the upper second class level. If you do not have these academic qualifications, you could still be offered a place on this course if you can show evidence of the potential to succeed based on professional and/or related experiences.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£7,490

Home/EU part time
£3,820

International full time
£14,880

Home/EU full time
£7,500

Home/EU part time
£3,750

International full time
£15,400

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£7,490

Home/EU part time
£3,820

International full time
£14,880

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£7,500

Home/EU part time
£3,750

International full time
£15,400

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

When possible, we provide financial support for you to attend conferences (subject to availability). Where financial support is unavailable, you will need to pay to attend the conferences.

Learning and assessment


We expect that you will have a strong understanding of either human nutrition or sport and exercise science.

In the first semester, depending on your background you will take either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module. This enables you to progress to advanced-level classes.

Semester one emphasises theoretical and research issues. 

In Semester two you will apply the theoretical underpinnings in applied settings (field and laboratory settings).

For your research project (MSc only), you will complete a substantial piece of independent research. This will incorporate your theoretical and applied knowledge from the taught section of the course. 

For an MSc award you need to gain 180 level 7 credits.

For a PGDip you need to gain 120 level 7 credits. This involves successfully completing either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module and all the remaining modules. You do not need to complete the Research Project.

Students cooking in the nutrition kitchen

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip award your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Human Nutrition (20 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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 credits)

This module 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).

Final project

Compulsory modules

Research Project (60 credits)

This 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 our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You will learn using a variety of methods. These reflect the wide variety of topics associated with applied sport and exercise nutrition, including:

  • lectures
  • directed reading
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • practical exercises 
  • laboratory sessions
  • project work.

You will develop the skills to understand and communicate advanced theoretical and research-based knowledge of nutrition to people who participate in sport and exercise. 

Each module requires 200 hours of student input in each twelve week semester. There are approximately 36 hours of staff contact time. 

Field trips

We encourage you to attend relevant industry and academic conferences. This will help to further your subject knowledge and take advantage of networking opportunities.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Your performance in each module is assessed by:

  • evaluation of your written or design work
  • verbal presentations.

We use a range of assessment methods, including:

  • essays
  • seminar papers
  • formal written examinations
  • in-class tests
  • project case work
  • design and verbal presentations
  • workshops
  • simulations
  • practical exercises.

Research


Our research areas and clusters include:

  • immediate physiological and psychophysical exercise performed at different intensities
  • effects of restricted fluid intake in people with MS on temperature control, energy levels, balance and cognitive and physical performance
  • feasibility of supporting people with long-term neurological conditions to exercise in the community
  • exploring exercise responses in children with physical disabilities with plans to explore delivery of community exercise and sports programmes
  • exploring novel exercise delivery techniques for people who find it hard to move, including the use of mental imagery
  • effect of fluid and carbohydrate intake on rowing skill and performance
  • relationship between levels of physical activity and blood levels of neuroactive proteins induced by exercise
  • effect of green tea on competitive cycling performance
  • effective nutritional strategies for enhancing post-exercise rehydration.
Student conducting research in the sports lab

After you graduate


Career prospects

Many sports are becoming increasingly professional in their approach to training and nutrition. For example, many sports clubs now employ full-time nutrition consultants. Career prospects outside sport are also exciting.

The NHS offers an increasing number of opportunities for students with specialist training in exercise nutrition to support GP referral schemes and other healthy living programmes. The growing awareness of health within society, coupled with misconceptions of the relationship between physical activity, nutrition and health has led to an increasing demand for graduates who can deliver evidence-based solutions and advice at all levels.

Research or teaching within further or higher education also provide potential career opportunities.

Our graduates progress to a diverse range of careers including exercise and lifestyle consultants based within hospitals and private practice. Various graduates have secured full time and part time work with professional sports teams as well as the Institutes of Sport in the UK.

Some of our graduates have also gone on to work in major international companies such as GlaxoSmithKline or are employed as industry consultants, dieticians and nutrition counsellors. Graduates have also successfully gained funded PhD positions.

Our Staff


Peter Wright

My research has developed in the past from elite training and space medicine to chronic diseases (CHF, COPD, diabetes, cancer, and depression), occupational medicine, gerontology, tissue perfusion during exercise and more lately adult neurogenesis (neuroscience) and military medicine.

Read more about Peter

Programme Changes: 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 page.