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Why choose the School of Sport Science and Physical Activity

Our partnership with Luton Town Football Club offers excellent career development opportunities and work experience for students studying on sports-related courses

We’re in the top 10 for Graduate outcomes in the Guardian University Guide, 2024 because our courses get you a degree-level job

Our students say our courses, teaching and support are a winning combination, that’s why we are 38th out of 122 for Sport in the Guardian League Subject area 2024

Our Sports Science courses ranked 3rd for Graduate Prospects in the Complete University Guide, 2024

Gain professional qualifications alongside your degree

BASES accreditation on several courses

About the course

This innovative course brings together the fields of behaviour change and health, opening up a multitude of career options where you can apply your knowledge and skills to help promote health, modify behaviour and engender real change.

Designed to integrate with current public health policy, this Master’s gives you a firm understanding of the systematic application of behaviour change theory and methods to design, implement and evaluate interventions that are impactful on health. It offers invaluable opportunities to further your career prospects through placement and research project units including developing your practical skills and links with NHS organisations, researchers and clinicians in high-interest areas such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, old age, stroke and cancer. Your behaviour change skills are also developed through placement opportunities in our community clinic, which supports local community special populations, using physical activity to improve function.

Intermediate qualifications available:

  • Postgraduate certificate – 60 credits at Master's level
  • Postgraduate diploma – 120 credits at Master's level

Why choose this course?

  • Develop high-level professional standards; a firm understanding of your ethical, moral and legal responsibilities; and the communication skills you need to work within multidisciplinary teams and with service users in clinical settings
  • The course equips you with the ability to critically appraise theories, methods and evidence for understanding behaviour and behaviour change in health
  • It trains you in the design, implementation and evaluation of behaviour change interventions
  • Study in a supportive and innovative environment with state-of-the-art facilities including BASES-accredited sport and exercise science laboratories and a community exercise clinic
  • Practise your skills on work placement or, if already in post or accredited, the opportunity to specialise and develop your expertise in behaviour change
  • Be taught by world experts including Professor Angel Chater, an international expert in the area of behaviour change and health, and Director of the University of Bedfordshire's Institute for Sport and Physical Activity (ISPAR)

If you would like more information, please contact:

Professor Angel Chater at

Dr Iain Fletcher at

What will you study?

Behaviour Change And Health Placement

The purpose of this unit is to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to apply for and undertaking of a work-based placement in a behaviour change and health organisation. The unit will facilitate your awareness of the application processes and employability skills required during a postgraduate level work placement. In addition, this unit will promote the development of appropriate verbal and written communications skills with external organisations and/or potential employers. It is assumed that you will secure your own post-graduate level work placement and complete the required hours during the undertaking of this unit.

The unit aims to:

  • Develop your deep and systematic understanding of the job/placement application process, including your ability to critically evaluate job advertisements, presenting yourself in an appropriate manner for a postgraduate level work placement.
  • Promote the development of appropriate verbal and written communications skills suitable for discussion with placement organisations and/or potential employers.
  • Allow students to develop skills of reflective practice and critical evaluation.
  • Enhance awareness of the vocational opportunities available to students in the behaviour change and health discipline and the associated desirable skills.
  • Allow students to work autonomously within a professional placement environment, within both individual and team scenarios.

This unit will contribute a minimum of 60 hours of practice based learning.

Research Methods

The purpose of this unit is to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to examine and conduct different types of research typically found in the broad area of sport and exercise science. The unit will facilitate your ability to understand published research in your chosen field and thus will underpin the study of other units on your course. In addition, this unit will provide you with practical experiences that will help you with the design and data analysis aspects of your own research including your MSc dissertation. It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of the research process and quantitative analyses as a result of completing undergraduate research design/methods.
Using current and relevant research, this unit aims to…
1. Develop your advanced knowledge and understanding of the research process including the utility, strengths and limitations of different types of designs and statistical analyses
2. Develop your advanced skills and confidence for selecting and conducting common statistical analyses and interpreting the output.
3. Facilitate your ability to read, understand and critically evaluate published research in your chosen field.
4. Equip you with the knowledge and skills to collect and analyse data for your own research projects

Metabolic Health

 The key aims of this unit are:

·    To develop an advanced understanding of how physical activity and nutrition contribute to the aetiology, prevention and treatment of adverse metabolic health conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

·    To gain an awareness of the complex interrelationships between obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors.

·    To develop the practical skills to assess a range of measures related to physical activity, nutrition and metabolic health, and a critical understanding of the use of these methods.

·    To formulate appropriate evidence-based recommendations for exercise prescription and nutritional advice for metabolic health in relation to the particular client / patient group needs and the environmental setting e.g. clinical versus community-based.

·    To be aware of the relevance of evidence-based physical activity and nutritional recommendations to local and national public health issues and policies, and the challenges associated with implementing these recommendations in real-life settings and with specific NHS target populations groups e.g. the elderly and children.

This unit is supported by staff research in the area of nutrition and its effects on health parameters, housed within the research institute ISPAR.  A number of peer reviewed journal publications in this area have been produced by unit staff.  In addition the School of SSPA has a number of clinics specialising in exercise and lifestyle management in a range of clinical populations including diabetes 

Behavioural Science And Public Health

This unit introduces you to the discipline of public health and demonstrates the role that behavioural science can play in relation to behaviour change for the promotion of health and prevention of disease and illness.

 Drawing on staff research, this unit will provide you with a critical insight into developing and evaluating the role of theoretically driven and scientifically developed interventions in the remit of facilitating positive health behaviour change.  Moreover, you will acquire a critical appreciation of public health policies, methodologies and epidemiological concepts.

Professional Skills For Health Care Providers

How can theories and principles from behavioural science be applied in practice?

This unit aims to bring alive the academic knowledge base of behavioural science, health psychology and behaviour change to the application of theory to research and practice. Based on the foundations of staff expertise in applied practice this unit aims to provide students with a portfolio of professional skills focusing on two core aspects; (1) communication strategies in healthcare (2) research synthesis. This unit provides students an excellent grounding of the professional skills required within health care research and practice.

Sport And Physical Activity Masters Dissertation

The dissertation unit is designed to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a substantial research project on a topic of interest appropriate for your Master’s course.

The research project enables you to further analyse the issues covered through the course and to develop the theories, models and skills explored during in the taught units. It is by far the largest single piece of work undertaken during your Master’s programme and is seen as the clearest expression your ability to study at Master’s level. It is primarily an independent project supported by the advice of a faculty member.

The unit aims to provide you with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate both conceptual and practical research skills and gives you experience of the research process first-hand

This unit is closely linked to the work you have done in stage 1 of your course. In the Research Methods unit, you began your dissertation preparation. In  semester 2 you started on your ethical approval and literature review with your allocated supervisor so that you are well prepared to submit your first assessment by the beginning of semester 3.

Exercise And Nutrition Prescription

Exercise and nutrition prescription in clinical populations includes a variety of additional variables that are not factors for healthy adults.
This unit aims to:

1. Explore how a variety of disease states can benefit from a structured exercise programme and nutritional interventions
2. Examine the interrelationship between a variety of drugs and their consequences on exercise tolerance and measurements taken during exercise
3. Develop students understanding of how a structured exercise and nutritional programme should be informed by the pathophysiology of underlying diseases.
4. Assess the benefits and limitations of an exercise programme in clinical populations.

Practical content on this unit working in the Community Exercise Clinic will contribute to practice based learning hours as required for a professional clinical exercise physiologist.

How will you be assessed?

The assessments of this course aim to enhance the learning experience rather than simply provide academic benchmarks. The assessments will be carried out using several methods including oral presentations case study reports critical reviews of literature individual reports practical assessments a portfolio of experience end of unit examinations laboratory reports and practical demonstrations. The assessment methods used relate closely to the learning outcomes of the course and individual units while allowing students scope for creativity in fulfilling them e.g. by self-selection of case study examples to present within a written report within a particular health context. Assessments will in many cases be vocationally `sensitive' and designed to promote awareness of contextual health policies and to promote engagement with real-life community or clinically-based physical activity and/or nutritionally based research or interventions.


This MSc is affiliated to the Research Centre for Health, Wellbeing and Behaviour Change within the Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR), and the Bedfordshire hub of the Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Behavioural and Social Science, both led by Professor Angel Chater. Students will be supported to secure placement and research opportunities in areas that match their career aspirations. Graduates will be equipped to work in a variety of settings with career prospects in public health; the NHS; governmental departments; the charity sector; sport, physical activity, fitness and health industries; education; and academic research.

You may also choose to continue to further research-based study with an MSc by research or MPhil/PhD.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £10,000 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

International 2024/25

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £15,600

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

Fees for this course


The fee for this MSc for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £18,500.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

Scholarship Available

The University of Bedfordshire is proud of its alumni and is delighted to offer a tuition fee discount for those who choose to continue or return to the University for on campus Postgraduate level studies.

We offer a 20% discount on full and part-time Masters courses to those who were successful in completing an Honours Degree with the University of Bedfordshire, DMU’s Bedford campus or the University of Luton.


The international fee for this MSc for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £31,000

For more information, please see international fees, or contact

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

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