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What is Sports Science?

Sports Science (and Exercise Science) is an academic subject that includes the scientific study of Physiology, Psychology, Motor Control/Learning, and Biomechanics. 

There is as much science in good sport and exercise sciences degrees as there is in good chemistry, biology or psychology degrees.

Sports science: multidisciplinary study of key sciences...

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Four main sciences are key to the study of sport science.  These are physiology, psychology, motor control/learning, and biomechanics and they are applied across the spectrum of sport involvement in most good degree courses.  By understanding how humans perform, sport and exercise scientists can design, monitor and evaluate training programmes to help athletes and coaches to reach their maximum potential.  Alternatively, they may study the physiological responses to exercise from a health perspective; the psychological benefits and barriers of exercise in sedentary people; the psychological skills used by Olympic champions; the movement patterns of a child learning to walk or the movement dynamics of a full-in double-back somersault in gymnastics.  Furthermore, many sport and exercise scientists specialise in learning how physical activity can help the prevention and treatment of major chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.

What is a good Sports Science course like?

Good sports science courses, and good sports scientists, consider all the constituent sciences as an integrated discipline.  For example, you would not only consider the biomechanical dynamics of a movement but the physiological and psychological requirements as well.  None of the disciplines can provide the best solution to a problem in isolation and most advanced sports teams have the full spectrum of sports scientists working together to support the team.

Research focus

An essential underlying component of a good sports science degree is its research skills content.  For example, it will include research philosophy, research design and methods, and computational statistics.  Courses throughout the UK vary in terms of the depth they cover in this area.  This directly affects the quality of the research projects that students have the opportunity to complete in their final years; their ability to interpret critically published work; as well as the quality of preparation that it provides for post-graduate studies. So, if you're choosing a degree programme in sport and exercise science, make sure that you will be taught by a strong research team (check their research profile REF2014).

Sports Science - continuing your studies...

Students can continue their studies beyond undergraduate level on an MSci programme, a taught Sports MSc programme, a Masters by research (MRes/MPhil) or a PhD at an increasing number of institutions around the UK.  The established Universities such as Bangor have been graduating undergraduates as well as postgraduates for over 30 years and offer all these degrees.  Some of the taught Masters courses include supervisory experience, currently a fundamental stage for gaining British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accreditation or are British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited depending on your chosen discipline.