Sport and Exercise Sciences: An Applied Degree Programme – Dr Tom Comyns

The Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick run a four year BSc course in the area of Sport and Exercise Sciences. The programme is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the key elements of sport, exercise, health and physical activity from the perspectives of the sciences. Throughout the programme, students will study the science behind safe participation and effective performance in physical activity and sport. The main areas of study include physiology, psychology, biomechanics and coaching science. The programme does not solely focus on the elite performer. Focus is also placed on the benefits of exercise and physical activity for the physical and mental health and well-being of all participants.

A central element of our degree programme in Sport and Exercise Sciences is on the application of key theoretical knowledge to the practical environment. There is a constant focus on the translation of knowledge throughout the degree programme. In particular there are four coaching science and performance modules during year 1 and 2 of the programme where the students gain hands-on coaching experience in a wide variety of settings. Our modules in biomechanics, physiology and psychology all involve laboratory sessions where the students engage in applied practical activities that translate and elaborate on the theory covered in the lectures.

In year 1 our BSc students complete two innovative 9 credit modules called ‘Transition’ and ‘Immersion’. Both modules aim to introduce students to the application of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding activity in sport and exercise contexts through the provision of examples of human performance and endeavour. These modules provide an introduction to sports biomechanics, exercise and health fitness, physiology and psychology. They explore a multi-disciplinary approach to thematic issues within the scope of exercise, biomechanics, physiology and psychology. An example of these thematic issues is ‘how do we train an Olympic athlete?’

During year 3 and 4 of the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences programme students complete a 6 to 9 month work placement where they are exposed to the real-life translation of theory into practice. This is a significant experience for the students regarding the application of their knowledge in Sport and Exercise Sciences. In the final year of this degree students are engaging in numerous projects where their ability to translate and apply knowledge into practice is developed and assessed. Students also have the opportunity to select modules and areas of Sport and Exercise Sciences that are of interest to them in year 4.

In conclusion our Sport and Exercise Sciences degree programme targets and develops students’ ability to apply and translate knowledge. At all times our teaching staff aim and strive to develop the students’ problem-solving and critical analysis skills with a keen focus on enhancing their knowledge application capabilities.

Dr Tom Comyns is Senior Lecturer in Human Movement Sciences and Course Director for the BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences programme in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick.  Tom’s research interests are in the area of Strength and Conditioning primarily.  He is currently undertaking research in the area of rugby injury surveillance, monitoring of training, strength and power diagnostics.  Contact Dr Comyns via email at or follow him on Twitter

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