Taught course

Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Oxford Brookes University · Department of Sport and Health Sciences

Entry requirements

To successfully complete this postgraduate course, you are usually expected to have (or be about to attain) at least a first or upper second class honours degree in a related scientific subject from a recognised institution of higher education. Students with a lower second class award may be accepted if they can provide a transcript to show that they performed near to the upper second class level. If you do not have these academic qualifications, you could still be offered a place on this course if you can show evidence of the potential to succeed based on professional and/or related experiences.

Months of entry


Course content

Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Oxford Brookes focuses on the role of nutrition in the optimisation of health and physical performance. Nutrition has profound effects on both human health and athletic performance and this course is based on the latest scientific research and contemporary practice. It is designed to fulfil the needs of students who want to work with a range of populations to improve their health, fitness or sporting performance. Applications are encouraged from graduates who have a background in either sport and exercise science or human nutrition.

We expect that prospective students will have a strong understanding of either human nutrition or sport and exercise science. The first semester requires that you enrol in either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module, depending on your background. For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in human nutrition you will usually take the Exercise Physiology module. This format enables you to progress to advanced-level classes, where comprehensive knowledge of both human nutrition and exercise physiology is essential.

The first semester of full time study emphasises theoretical and research issues. The second semester then encourages application of the theoretical underpinnings in applied settings (field and laboratory settings).

Finally, the research project, which completes the MSc award, requires students to utilise both their theoretical and applied experience from the taught section of the course to complete a substantial piece of independent research.

To complete an MSc, you need to obtain 180 level 7 credits. The PGDip is awarded to students who obtain 120 level 7 credits by successfully completing either the Human Nutrition or Exercise Physiology module, and all the remaining modules except the Research Project.

Human Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) provides a comprehensive overview of the different nutrients required by humans throughout the life cycle and their sources in food in the UK and worldwide. It also critically evaluates methods used to assess nutrient intake at an individual and population level. The relationship between lifestyle and body composition will also be covered.

Exercise Physiology (20 level 7 credits) examines the fundamental concepts in exercise physiology. Content includes acute and chronic adaptations to exercise, biochemistry and function of skeletal muscle, principles of exercise training, physiology of special populations (eg children, women, elderly and elite athletes) and immune function. Teaching methods include seminars and laboratory sessions.

Sport and Exercise Nutrition in Practice (20 level 7 credits) draws upon expert experience from individuals who are involved in providing nutritional support for people who participate in sport and exercise. Where appropriate, the module will use the expertise of guest lecturers in addition to the core teaching team. Strategies that focus on selected techniques known to enhance healthy dietary strategies will be covered. Finally, the use of case studies and practical experience will link the theoretical and applied aspects of the course to provide graduates with the skills necessary to meet the challenges faced by contemporary sport and exercise nutritionists.

Research Methods (20 level 7 credits) provides a foundation and training in fundamental research methods, from literature searching, experimental planning and design to data analysis and presentation. Assessment is by coursework only.

Nutrition, Physical Activity and Health (20 level 7 credits) examines the relationships between nutrition, physical activity and health outcomes in humans. In particular, the influence of diet and physical activity on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity will be considered along with counselling and goal-setting for diet, nutrition and exercise.

Applied Practice in Sport, Exercise and Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) provides students with opportunities to reflect on their professional practice and to consider the legal and ethical boundaries when working in sport and exercise nutrition settings. Students will also gain training to assist in working with clients with special needs (e.g. young or elderly populations, disabled athletes, vegetarian athletes) or who come from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds that do not otherwise fit the 'standard' model of sport and exercise nutrition.

Laboratory Techniques in Sport and Exercise Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) consists of a practical component using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques including portable calorimetry, densitometry, haematology and urine analysis. The module will include comprehensive testing on both invited athletes and classmates. In addition to the practical element, a main focus of the module is placed on data interpretation and presentation to aid report writing for scientific publications and also athlete and coach feedback. Enrolment on the module also entitles you to complementary registration for the highly sought-after International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) Level 1 qualification (on completion of the required additional practical and theoretical components).

Research Project (60 level 7 credits) consists of an intensive period of research into a selected topic in sport and exercise nutrition. You will work closely with an appointed supervisor to establish a project topic and identify an appropriate intervention. The research project will be primarily assessed by dissertation submission. Past projects have included fluid and energy delivery from sports drinks during cycling and rowing, accuracy of calorie expenditure estimates of popular sports equipment and effects from ingestion of alcohol, protein, carbohydrate, fat and ergogenic aids including sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, dietary nitrate and creatine.Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly, the list of modules may vary from that shown here.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, with each module requiring approximately 36 hours of staff contact time and 200 hours of total student input in each 12-week semester.

The main theme of the teaching and learning aspect of this MSc is to encourage you to develop the necessary skills to understand and communicate advanced theoretical and research-based knowledge of nutrition to people who participate in sport and exercise. Learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics associated with applied sport and exercise nutrition and include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, practical exercises, laboratory sessions and project work. The research project will be supervised on a one-to-one basis.

Student performance in each module is usually assessed by evaluation of the quality of written or design work, and verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project case work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations, and practical exercises.

Specialist facilities

  • BASES-accredited Human Performance Laboratory.
  • Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit.
  • Functional Food Centre.
  • Specialist equipment including near-infrared spectroscopy, Qualysis motion capture system, online breath-by-breath analysis technologies and a BodPod.

Field trips

We encourage students to attend relevant industry and academic conferences to further their subject knowledge and take advantage of networking opportunities. When possible, we provide financial support for students to attend conferences (subject to availability).

Information for international students

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

Fees and funding


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


full time
8 months
part time
20 months

Course contact details

Programme Administrator
+44 (0)1865 482787