Physical Activity, Nutrition and Behaviour Change MSc

About the course

Your interest in how physical activity, nutrition, health psychology, and professional communication skills can help promote health and treat various clinical conditions could lead you to a multitude of career options.

In addition to developing a firm understanding of the links between physical activity, nutrition and health, this course offers invaluable opportunities to further career prospects during placement and research project units – including the development of practical skills and links with NHS organisations, researchers and clinicians in high-interest areas such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cancer.

With relevant experience, we will also support you in registering as an Associate Nutritionist or converting to full registration as a Nutritionist/Public Health Nutritionist.

Intermediate qualifications available:

  • Postgraduate certificate – 60 credits at Masters level
  • Postgraduate diploma – 120 credits at Masters level

  • Apply Via - DIRECT ENTRY
  • Course Level - Postgraduate
  • Campus Location - Bedford Campus
  • Start Dates - Oct
  • Duration - 1 Year
  • Attendance - Full-time
  • Download Course Specifications

Why choose this course?

  • Study in a supportive and innovative environment, on a course covering a unique combination of topics designed to integrate with current public health policy
  • Explore potential career opportunities in Public Health and/or Health Promotion and Education with this MSc that will also allow you to apply for membership of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education
  • Develop high-level professional standards; understanding your ethical, moral and legal responsibilities as well as acquiring the practical competencies, the ability to apply scientific knowledge to public health settings, and the research skills that will help you access careers in public health, the health and fitness industry or academia
  • Gain the opportunity to practise your skills on work placement, or if already in post or accredited, the opportunity to specialise and develop your expertise in physical activity and nutrition
  • Benefit from access to a wide range of careers in Public Health, Health Promotion and Education, roles in charities whose aims are to improve the nation’s health and/or continue to further research-based study on MSc by research, MPhil or PhD programmes.

Unit Information - What Will I Learn?

Course Units

  • Exercise And Nutrition For Clinical Populations (SPO010-6) Compulsory
  • Metabolic Health (SPO007-6) Compulsory
  • Physical Activity, Nutrition And Behaviour Change Dissertation (SPO042-6) Compulsory
  • Professional Skills For Health Care Providers (SPO061-6) Compulsory
  • Behavioural Science and Public Health (SPO060-6) Compulsory
  • Research Methods (SPO005-6) Compulsory
  • Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing And Interpretation (SPO015-6) Optional
  • Exercise Testing And Diagnosis (SPO014-6) Optional
  • Laboratory Skills (SPE002-6) Optional
  • Placement (Long) (SPO039-6) Optional
  • Placement (Short) (SPO009-6) Optional

How will I be assessed?

The assessments of this course aim to enhance your learning experience rather than simply provide academic benchmarks. The assessments will be carried out using: oral presentations, case study reports, critical reviews of literature, individual reports, practical assessments, a portfolio of experience, end of unit examinations and laboratory reports.

The assessment methods relate closely to the learning outcomes of the course and individual units, while allowing you scope for creativity in fulfilling them. For example, 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.

  • Written assessments – dissertation, projects, reports, lab reports (approx. 85%)
  • Exams and tests (5%)

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree at Honours level, or equivalent.

To apply for a place on a postgraduate course (MA/MSc/MBA) at the University of Bedfordshire you should have a good first degree and the required English language qualification

Find out more about specific entry requirements for your country

To apply for a postgraduate degree (MA/MSc/MBA/LLM) at the University of Bedfordshire you should have a good honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in an appropriate subject from a recognised university or HE institution.

We will also consider candidates with other relevant qualifications or appropriate work experience.

You also need to have the required English language qualification

Contact your country’s International Admissions Team for more information.


Applicants should have a 2:2 Honours degree in a related discipline such as: biological science, sport and exercise science, psychology/ health psychology or health science based from a recognised higher education institution.

How will this course enhance my career prospects?

Opportunities for career development within the health sector and health and fitness sector have been expanding in recent years. In the light of an increasing recognition of the importance of physical activity and nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease within government health reports there are significant opportunities for graduates with an MSc in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Behaviour Change within Primary Care, for example. See below for a list of examples of relevant posts:

  • Commissioning and Development Manager Physical Activity
  • Community Physical Activity Worker
  • Fit4Life Co-ordinator
  • Health Improvement Practitioner (e.g. Obesity/Physical Activity or other e.g. mental health, cardiovascular disease, the elderly)
  • Health Improvement Specialist
  • Healthy Lifestyle Programme Manager (Developing Healthy Communities)
  • Obesity Programme Manager
  • Specialist Stop Smoking Advisor
  • Public Health Manager
  • Healthy Schools Specialists
  • Exercise Referral Specialists

For those who wish to pursue a career in Public Health and/or Health Promotion and Education this course provides a foundation of knowledge that will be useful in acquiring the competencies though the Faculty of Public Health (Department of Health) required to join the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR.) This is a register which provides the regulation of public health specialists with a background in areas such as social science, medicine, nursing, health promotion, pharmacy, psychology and dentistry. Completion of this MSc in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Behaviour Change will also allow you the opportunity to apply as a member of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education.

If you wish to pursue a career in nutrition the content of this course would contribute to a portfolio for submission to the Association for Nutrition to become an accredited Nutritionist.

Other opportunities exist within organisations or charities with objectives to improve the health of the nation requiring research expertise and knowledge / experience of health promotion and lifestyle factors, for example:

  • Project Officer, British Heart Foundation
  • Project Officer, Nutrition Society
  • Research Posts

There is also potential for career (and enhanced career) development within Education, Higher Education and Research Institutes:

  • Lecturer
  • Research Assistant,
  • Research Fellow
  • Teacher

Also, for those health professionals / graduates already in post or accredited, the MSc in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Behaviour Change offers opportunities to specialise in the fields of physical activity and nutrition and develop expertise with the health promotion context. Such professionals may include:

  • Dieticians
  • Nutritionists
  • Health Psychologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Nurses
  • Graduates in related areas e.g. Sport and Exercise Science, Sport and Physical Education, Health Psychology, Exercise and Health, Biological Sciences, and professions named above (e.g. Nutrition, Physiotherapy and Nursing)

Completion of this course also prepares students to undertake further postgraduate research qualifications e.g. MPhil/PhD. Important research skills are developed and reinforced during the `Research Methods unit and the `Dissertation unit in particular.

Consultancy there is also potential for graduates to be involved in consultancy-related activities relating to the course fields and in relation to their individual specialist focus. Such activity may be in relation to the health sector, business sector and/or the health, fitness and leisure industry.

This course is designed to address the considerable demand for multi-skilled individuals with relevant knowledge to tackle the growing burden of obesity and chronic disease. The course focuses on both nutrition and physical activity, offering a unique and congruent combination of topics that allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of research, policy and practice relevant to the promotion of lifestyle changes.
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Go Global

Whether you want to learn a new language, build networks, simply have the travel bug, or want to develop new skills and life experiences, our Go Global programme offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons, enhance your CV, and gain a truly international experience, all at the same time as studying towards your undergraduate degree. The Go Global programme is open to students from the UK and EU.

Travel to exciting destinations, including:

  • China
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • New York
  • Malaysia and Singapore

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Go Europe

Our International students meanwhile, can make the most of trips to a series of exciting European destinations. From France and Belgium, to Holland and Germany, there are plenty of places to visit, network and broaden your knowledge of the global market place, by seeing and experiencing it for yourself, first-hand.

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Fees and funding

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2018/19 is £6,990 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.

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

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2018/19 is £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.

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

Extra Costs

Find out more about additional costs while studying at Bedfordshire. Click here.


Physical Education and Sports Science Centre

Sports Hall

The sports hall is an integral space in the School of Sport Science and Physical Activity, complementing discipline leading Sport and Exercise Science and modern biological analysis laboratories, all co-located on the Bedford campus.

The sports hall is a major teaching facility for the University's Sport and Physical Education degree courses which have trained physical educators in the UK for over a century.

Together with its associated facilities it provides our trainee teachers and coaches with a superb environment in which to coach and teach pupils from local primary schools who are also benefiting from this new facility.

The sports hall is proud to host all Bedfordshire Bulls students' sports matches as well as national standard sporting events including British University College Sports championships – one of the few indoor sporting venues in the county to host prestigious tournaments all year round.

The facility also plays host to a number of University promoted Get into Sport activities which are open to all University students and staff.

Specialist labs

Our specialist labs give students a fantastic environment to develop their research skills and expertise, where a student can explore the biology of an elite athlete who could be performing simultaneously within the sports hall.

Few Sport Science courses in the country offer students such unique discipline leading research experience and skills, alongside intimate access to world leading researchers within their field. Students are regularly offered the opportunity to be involved within discipline defining Sport, Health and Exercise Science research

Our state-of-the-art laboratories are purpose built for research and teaching in the fields of exercise and nutrition science. This includes specialised equipment and facilities for assessing human health risk and delivering exercise and diet interventions for health promotion.

This includes:

  • Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for assessing bone density and body fat content
  • BodPod and underwater weighing tank for body composition assessment
  • Environmental chamber that controls temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels in the air
  • Wet lab for assessing metabolic and hormone markers in blood

Our £8m Physical Education and Sport Science Centre was used to train athletes in the 2012 Olympics.

Theatre and dance studio facilities

  • 280 seat theatre
  • 80 studio theatre
  • Four fully-sprung dance studios
  • Dance studios equipped with ballet bars, mirrors, audio playback, internet and projection
  • Large dressing rooms with en suite showers
  • A scenery workshop reserved solely for student productions
  • Large 6m by 12m white Cyclorama screen for projection and lighting
  • State of the art HD projectors
  • Full backstage comms system with audio and video relay
  • Extensive lantern stock including Led fixtures, strobes and moving lights
  • State-of-the-art, industry-standard lighting and sound consoles
  • Built in media desk and roll-down screen

Gateway Building

Opened in January 2015 the Gateway is an impressive building featuring high-quality teaching spaces, informal learning spaces, and lecture theatres (including a Harvard style lecture theatre); as well as a new student services centre.


Campus Centre

Campus Centre featuring a 280-seat professional theatre, dance studios, a fairtrade café and social space for students.

Accommodation at Bedford

For on-campus student accommodation choose from luxury living at Liberty Park's modern en-suite study bedrooms or the Student Village which offers standard rooms with shared bathroom facilities, and en-suite rooms with a private shower. All have fully-equipped kitchens. Our rooms are on-campus and have easy access to the town centre and train station.

Subjects studied at Bedford campus

  • Primary Education
  • Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education
  • Education Studies
  • Physical Education and Sport Studies
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • Tourism and Leisure
  • Accounting and Business Management
  • Performing Arts and Dance
  • Social Work

Bedford town location

The Bedford campus is a 20-minute walk from the town centre. The University offers a free bus service for staff and students that runs between Bedford town centre and the campus.

Directions to Bedford campus

Bedford offers excellent transport links to the rest of the UK as it sits between the M1 and the A1. The town connects by train to Luton (20 minutes) and London (40 minutes).

How to Apply

UK students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form.

EU students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form

International students applying for a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form or via our representatives in your home country. You can also apply online

Find out more about how to apply as an International student