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Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science

Level 7

Learn about the science of physical conditioning in UCOL’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.

UCOL Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science students run a V02 max test.
Quick info

Level: 7

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 3 years, full-time

19 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees:*
$7,013.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

UCOL's Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science aims to develop independent and confident individuals with specialised knowledge in the area of physical conditioning, related to both health and sport performance.

Learn how the body responds, adapts to, and recovers after exercise, how diet affects performance, and how health conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease can be managed under an exercise programme.

You will also learn how to test, train and motivate sports athletes and teams to reach peak performance. All of this will be passed on to you by our highly skilled and enthusiastic lecturers in your classrooms - UCOL’s two Exercise Physiology Testing Laboratories and fully equipped gym. 

Client interaction, via practical clinical experience, is a key component of UCOL's Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.

Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science students in Palmerston North have many opportunities to gain a practical understanding of their field. Here's the class of 2017 performing a power exercise:


A VO2 Max test determines your body's maximal consumption of oxygen and the efficiency of your muscles. Here are some first year Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science students performing the test.


First year Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science students undertake aerobic training at Manawatu Community Athletics Track so that they can write an aerobic training programme and assess others:


Third year Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science students undertake functional testing of elderly people at Metlife Care in Palmerston North:


 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of UCOL's Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science will:
  • possess a sound knowledge of scientific principles to enable safe application of clinical exercise and physical conditioning intervention strategies at all levels of human performance;
  • possess the ability to perform as an effective professional within the exercise industry;
  • be accountable for and critically evaluate their professional standards and activities;
  • be equipped for continued learning, intellectual development, critical analysis and creativity;
  • possess business and interpersonal skills necessary to advance their professional practice and standing;
  • demonstrate leadership skills and work effectively as members of a team;
  • possess the skills and knowledge to work as part of a medical and/or community team to provide assistance for people with special needs and/or musculoskeletal problems.

UCOL's Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science degree can open up an exciting array of job opportunities in the sports, exercise and health sectors in New Zealand and overseas. Take inspiration from UCOL Exercise and Sport Science Lecturer, Hayden Pritchard. Employment options include:

  • Personal training (REPs accredited)
  • Health education/promotion
  • Physical activity and nutrition advising
  • Health coordination
  • Exercise rehabilitation
  • Athletic training
  • Sports conditioning/training
  • Sports coordination
  • Sports analysis
  • Teaching (following one year at Teachers College)

 Course Information

Year one

Anatomy & Physiology (15 credits)
Develop a sound understanding of the anatomical structure and physiological functions of the human body systems, for later application to human movement.  

Physical Conditioning 1a (15 credits)
Develop an understanding of, and ability to put into practice, basic resistance and flexibility techniques and programmes used in muscular strength, muscular power, muscular endurance and flexibility training, and their clinical assessment. This course also aims to develop an understanding of skeletal muscle groups and the exercises designed to target them.

Sociocultural Foundations of Human Performance (15 credits)
An introduction to the historical, social and cultural foundations of human development and performance. Gain awareness of the relevance of physical fitness and human performance across the wider community. Learn about cultural diversity and identify the historical location of sports psychology and foundational social-psychological concepts relevant to human performance enrichment.

Skill Learning & Performance (15 credits)
Understand how motor skills are learned and performed, and apply this to the practical setting. In addition, this course also aims to develop an understanding of the influence of growth, maturation and aging on motor skills and skill learning.

Exercise Physiology (15 credits)
Gain an understanding of the physiological systems and mechanisms of the human body under rest and exercise conditions as they apply to human performance.

Physical Conditioning 1b (15 credits)
Develop an understanding of, and ability to, put into practice basic techniques and programmes used in power, speed, anaerobic, and aerobic energy systems training, general fitness training and their clinical assessment.  

Nutrition 1 (15 credits)
Develop a working understanding of the role of nutrition in human performance, including the sources and availability of food categories.

Biomechanics of Human Movement (15 credits)
Gain an understanding of, and the demonstrated ability to apply, the fundamental biomechanical concepts of human motion, as they relate to human performance.

Year two

Physical Conditioning 2a (15 credits)
Gain the necessary skills to screen clients, carry out and report the results of body composition, flexibility, and sub-maximal predictive tests.  Apply the principles of programme design and explain the physiological responses to training from follow-up evaluations. 

Nutritional Biochemistry (15 credits)
Develop an understanding of nutrient digestion absorption and co-ordinated utilisation in the body. Emphasis will be placed on the biochemical processes involved in each. In addition the course aims to develop the students’ knowledge of the metabolic in response to both training and overtraining, and their effect on substrate utilisation.

Athletic Training (15 credits) (Sports Trainer Practicum)
Understand the implications of sports injuries on human performance. Develop the knowledge and practical skills to be able to competently use pro-active and retro-active sports injury assessments and techniques with sports people during all phases of yearly training participation.

Psycho-social Aspects of Human Performance (15 credits)
Develop a critical understanding of psychosocial factors influencing human performance as they relate to sport and physical conditioning both in New Zealand and internationally. Develop knowledge of the psychological factors that influence an individual and identify strategies to enhance human performance. Also reflect upon the significance of physical activity as a social institution in contemporary society. 

Research Methods and Design 1 (15 credits)
Learn the research process and the role of research in advancing clinical health knowledge. Further examine the historical, physiological and ethical aspects of research and develop the skills for critical analysis of published material.  Develop an understanding of measurement in clinical and laboratory settings within the field of human performance and to statistically analyse and interpret data.

Physical Conditioning 2b (15 credits)
Enhance your knowledge and ability to apply the principles of conditioning for optimising sport performance. Gain an in-depth understanding of the physiology of speed, flexibility, muscular power and energy system training. Develop the ability to both periodise training programmes and monitor athletes’ training loads and progression.

Nutrition for Human Performance (15 credits)
Develop the demonstrated ability to evaluate and apply nutritional principles and practices for the enhancement of sport performance, general fitness and weight loss.

Physical Conditioning Practicum 1 (15 credits) (70 hours work placement training)
Develop clinical skills in exercise testing, exercise prescription, client instruction and monitoring, observation and feedback. Also develop your knowledge and practical skills in advanced exercise techniques and core stability.

Year three

Research Methods and Design 2 (15 credits)
Develop critiquing skills in order to differentiate between rigorous and non-rigorous health research and its contribution to the advancement of health knowledge; to carry out an independent literature enquiry within an identified area; and demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding in that area consistent with degree level.

Physical Conditioning 3 (30 credits)
Advance the your understanding and skills of clinical assessment and conditioning for sport with a focus on the physical and nutritional requirements for optimal performance. Design a comprehensive “periodised” conditioning and nutritional programme for sport as well as develop an assessment for its evaluation. You'll be involved in running a number of conditioning sessions and observing and filming sport performances.

Physical Conditioning Practicum 2 (15 credits) (30 hours industry placement)
Advance your skills and knowledge and apply them in a clinical workplace setting in the area of human performance. Also learn basic business management and marketing principles necessary for a successful small business operation.

Exercise Considerations for Special Populations (30 credits)
Gain the clinical knowledge of the special consideration required in the prescription of programmes for special population groups and people with special needs.  Aspects of clinical testing techniques, physical activity, nutrition education and promotion methods will be studied. 

Physical Conditioning Practicum 3 (15 credits) (100 hours industry placement)
An opportunity for the advancement and application of your skills and knowledge in a clinical workplace setting in the area of human performance.  Put all the skills learned within the programme together in the professional practice setting at a level befitting a physical conditioning professional.

Musculoskeletal Exercise Rehabilitation (15 credits)
Gain advanced knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive musculoskeletal reconditioning programmes and to clinically assess progress within the programmes.

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Learning Facilities

Two Exercise Physiology Testing Laboratories and fully equipped gym.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

Applicants under 20 years of age:

Applicants under the age of 20 years must have University Entrance

OR equivalent academic achievement

OR on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

OR provisional enrolment, which is defined by NZQA as being Discretionary Entrance and includes the following clauses:

Discretionary enrolment may be granted to those applicants under the age of 20 who:
  • Are New Zealand or Australian citizens and permanent residents under 20 years of age
  • Must have a minimum of 14 credits in an approved subject at Level 2 towards NCEA
  • Must also have met the literacy and numeracy standards required for University Entrance
Applicants over 20 years of age:
A person having reached the age of 20 years by the first day of the programme in the year for which admission is sought, is not required to hold the above entry qualifications. 
First Aid 
Students must hold a current Comprehensive First Aid Certificate, or have gained that certificate prior to the second half of the first year.

Background checks
Students must declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed; and
Authorise UCOL to undertake a background check on the applicant with the Police Licensing and Vetting Agency. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment; the decision is at the discretion of the Head of School.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants:

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).  UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre

Applicants under 20 years of age: Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

Application must be made prior to 1 December in the year preceding that in which you wish to commence studies.

 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science comprises 360 credits.

To optimise your chance of success, applicants without evidence of Science or Mathematics achievement will be encouraged to complete the Short Course in Introduction to Human Science, Level 2. You will be counselled about the demands of the programme and the option of studying at Certificate level to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the Degree.

Work experience
During your studies you'll be required to undertake 70 hours of placement training and 130 hours of industry placement. 

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Recognition of Prior Learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science as follows. Text books can be purchased from textbooksRus.co.nz:

Year one required text books

Anatomy and Physiology
Marieb, E & Hoehn,K. (2015). Human anatomy and physiology (10th) Value Pack. Pearson Education. - $144.00

Exercise Physiology
Katch, F L Katch V L and McArdle, W D. Exercise Physiology:nutrition, energy and human performance (8th ed). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. - $161.00

Skill Learning and Performance
Schmidt, R.A., & Lee T D.( 2014). Motor learning and performance: from principles to application (5th ed). Champaign. IL: Human Kinetics. - $130.00

Physical Conditioning 1A, HP122 Physical Conditioning 1B
NSCA (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning  (4th ed). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. - $159.00

Biomechanics of Human Movement
Hall, S.J.  (2014). Basic Biomechanics (7h ed). McGraw-Hill.  - $155.00

Year two required text books

Physical Conditioning 2A & Physical Conditioning Practicum 1
ACSM (2017). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (10th ed). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. - $71.00        
Nutritional Biochemmistry
Katch, F L Katch V L and McArdle, W D. Exercise Physiology:nutrition, energy and human performance (8th ed). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. - $161.00 
Prentice, W (2014). Principles of athletic training: a competency-based approach (15th ed). McGraw-Hill. - $219.00 

Physical Conditioning 2B
NSCA (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (4th ed). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. - $159.00 

Year three required text books

Physical Conditioning Practicum 2 & 3, Exercise Consideration for Special Populations
ACSM (2013). ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual (4th ed). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Wolters Kluwer Health. - $55.00 

ACSM (2017). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (10th ed). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. - $71.00 


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.