"The course gives you a deep knowledge of the most common chronic and long-term conditions, and teaches you how to design suitable programmes to address them" — Tija Hubej, student
The only masters in the country to focus purely on how to prescribe safe and effective physical activity, exercise and sporting participation to those living with the 18 most common chronic diseases in the UK.
The health and fitness industry has witnessed an explosion in recent years as more and more people realise the importance of exercise. With this comes new challenges for professionals who must consider the wide range of long-term medical conditions which could impact their clients or patients.
Our postgraduate degree promotes cutting edge professional practice, giving students the opportunity to undertake leading research and acquire the latest knowledge of effective practice prescription for special populations, under the supervision of highly experienced experts.
The course has been designed specifically for qualified graduates and health and fitness professionals, so understands that you will bring experience and working knowledge with you. We help you put this into context and develop it. During the course you will learn how to justify your professional decisions with evidence-based practice, and develop your professional understanding and accountability.
You might already have a Level 3 GP referral qualification, a Level 4 individual condition qualification or a BSc degree, but this Level 7 degree takes that knowledge to the highest level. At the end of the degree you will have a comprehensive understanding of 18 of the most commonly presented conditions and how to manage them singly or as comorbidities through exercise prescription.
Our sports facilities are based at the nearby Alianz Park, the home of Saracens Rugby Club.
The MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations is designed to give sports scientists, health and fitness practitioners the expertise and qualifications to prescribe exercise regimes to the 18 most common special populations in the UK.
The course examines the baseline prescription for a healthy population, and specific approaches to: depression, eating disorders, obesity, pregnancy, elderly, remedial exercise, cognitive dysfunction (Alzheimers/Parkinsons), injury and inflammation, CVD, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, stroke/thrombosis and cancer.
Students will also consider epidemiology and lifestyle factors of special population conditions. You will also explore applied psychological models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).
The first three modules see you study the pathology of chronic diseases and the best practice in exercise prescription, developing an understanding of your professional practice and applying your newly acquired knowledge in a work-based project. In the following two modules you will study research methods and then undertake a research project on a topic that particularly interests you.
Full-time students will complete all five modules in one year.
Part-time students will complete the first three modules in their first year before undertaking the Research Methods and Dissertation modules in the second year.
This module focuses on the design, management and implementation of exercise programmes across all conditions, as well as common comorbidities including: contraindications and useful exercises.
It aims to provide the opportunity to develop knowledge, inquiry and work-based activities that improve and inform therapeutic areas of your own practice. You will explore both academic and practical applications of specialist knowledge and demonstrate the learning gained.
During this module you will explore the normal anatomy, physiology and pathological changes for each condition and how this relates to exercise prescription for special populations.
The module aims to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the abnormalities seen in function and provides the opportunity to study the general pathological mechanisms seen in diseases. This includes aspects of systemic disease with respect to aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pharmacology.
This module is designed to provide a critical overview of the main methods and approaches used for research at masters level, and to equip you to apply this knowledge in planning a research proposal. The module affords students opportunities to appraise the strengths and weaknesses of published work in their specialist area, or in health care in general.
You will learn in groups and will explore philosophical, ethical and methodological differences which underpin various approaches to knowledge generation that can inform health care work. Workshops allow you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation, consider its adequacy and limitations, and justify the approach taken.
Throughout the dissertation module you will be supported while undertaking research with a focus appropriate to your area of interest, potentially building upon the research proposal formulated in the Research Methods module.
The module creates a peer learning community for students, enabling you to provide guidance and critically support one another on matters of ethical application, research methods, data collection, analysis and writing-up in the research process in addition to that provided by your supervisor.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Prospective students may require an interview, either in person or via Skype/telephone.
Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit our Postgraduate application page for further information and to apply.
The course has been designed specifically for qualified health and fitness practitioners, providing a Level 7 degree which is the highest level of qualification in the industry.
Whether you are a personal trainer, physiotherapist, clinic rehabilitator, nurse, home visitor or other health professional; the MSc Sport Exercise and Special Populations equips you to be one of the highest qualified specialists in the field and enables you to help people achieve their fitness, health and lifestyle goals safely and effectively.
Students with an undergraduate degree in a relevant area who wish to continue their education before pursuing one of the above careers would find this masters valuable.
The degree is also suitable for individuals working in specialist clinical units such as stroke or heart units, or those with an interest in research at doctoral level, who need a thorough baseline knowledge and require research experience with special populations.
Tija Hubej, MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations (2014-16)
"After graduating from my undergraduate degree I started working as an exercise instructor, but I quickly realised that my clients were not like the perfect models I had studied – they were real people suffering from different kinds of conditions and If I really want to help them I needed to know more.
"Applying for the MSc was one of the best decisions in my life. The course provides you with a deep knowledge of the most common chronic and long-term conditions, and teaches you how to design suitable programmes to address them. You learn how to observe and evaluate, how to extract valid information and sharpen your critical eye. One of the most important things for me was that the course also teaches you how to be professional in your practice.
"The professors are absolutely amazing. They provided me with more support and guidance than I would have ever imagined. After every lecture I felt inspired and full of motivation for further work. The feedback was always clear and understandable, the assignments were cleverly designed and I could see the progression from week to week.
"The course is not easy and you really need to work hard. Your life is basically in the library and I have never read so many papers in my life, but it is worth every bit of it."
Find out about our wide range of postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
MSc Sport Exercise and Special Populations
This course is offered part time. The fees below refer to the 2017/18 academic year unless otherwise stated.
Full-time students: £8,500
Part-time per taught credit: £57
Part-time per dissertation: £29
Full-time students: £12,500
Part-time per taught credit: £84
Part-time per dissertation credit: £42
Find out about our flexible payment plans for UK/EU students, and how they can help you spread the cost of your course.