A (resource packed!) overview of Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) intercalated degree courses

Undergraduate perspective on Sport & Exercise Medicine – a BJSM blog series

By James Murphy

This blog follows up my previous post where I broadly discussed intercalation FAQs (READ IT HERE). Here, I intend to give medical students interested in intercalating in SEM an overview of their different options. I provide, to the best of my ability, a comprehensive list and basic description of the SEM and closely related courses offered in the UK. The information is from course web pages and from my own contact with course directors. My own observations on the courses are shown in bold italics.

Sports and Exercise Medicine courses

Sports and Exercise Medicine MSc, Nottingham University

All students on the MSc course complete compulsory modules as well as a research project.

The compulsory modules include anatomy and the assessment of sports injury. The ‘Pitch side Care of the Injured Athlete’ compulsory module is a great opportunity for students to get hands on experience in pitch side care. As part of this module students study and attend an “advanced emergency care course”(1) and also provide first aid cover at some University sports pitches. The other compulsory modules are: ‘Physical Activity in Health and Disease’ and ‘Research Methods’. The optional modules are listed on the course page.


Despite the stated entry requirements, the course directors are open to applications from intercalating students.

BSc Sports and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London

On this course students complete 120 credits, organised in to six modules. The modules are: ‘Research Methods’, ‘Injuries and medical problems in sport’, ‘Literature reviewing’, ‘Research project’, ‘Biomechanics and rehabilitation’ and ‘Exercise as a Health tool’. The breakdown of the modules is on the below website.


The taught research methods and literature reviewing modules prepare students to carry out research and critically appraise papers. Relating research skills to sports and exercise medicine literature allows students to appreciate the importance and application of the skills. As part of the degree students undertake a systematic review and a full research project, many students work towards, and succeed in having their work published.

BSc (Med Sci) Clinical Medicine, Glasgow University

Students can apply to undertake the Sport and Exercise Medicine subject and research project within this Clinical Medicine Degree. The degree is split into four different areas:  the ‘Core Course’ (which aims to provide students with “transferable research skills”(3)), the ‘Specialist subject’, ‘Medical Statistics’, and a ‘Research project’. For their specialist subject students can apply to take the SEM course. The SEM course aims to cover “exercise in health promotion, disease prevention and treatment of disease states”.(3)

Students undertake three modules: ’Clinical Sports Injuries’, ‘Sports Medicine in Practice’ and ‘Exercise in Clinical Populations’.

University of Glasgow B.Sc. (Med. Sci.) Clinical Medicine Sport and Exercise Medicine – Course information


Sports and Exercise Science courses

Sports and Exercise Science (intercalated), Loughborough University

Students taking the Intercalated degree study alongside the final year Sport and Exercise Science BSc students. Intercalated students take 120 credits worth of modules from a great variety of options (the list can be found on the website below). Alongside their modules students complete a research project and have the opportunity to observe sports medicine practitioners in NHS clinics in Leicester.


In my opinion the list of modules offered on the Loughborough course is the most varied amongst all the SEM or SEM-related courses in the UK. With no compulsory modules this course provides students complete control over what modules make up their degree.

BSc in Medical Sciences (Sports Health and Exercise Science), University of Hull.

This degree offers students the “opportunity to engage with the theories and methods related to the bio-scientific study of sport and exercise, including sports injury.”(7) Students choose 120 credits, 40 of which are the dissertation module. Students choose at least two of ‘Human Locomotive Systems’, ‘Ageing, Obesity and Health’, ‘Fitness and Injury Prevention’. Furthermore students choose another two from ‘Environmental Physiology’, ‘Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention’, ‘Psychology in Sport Rehabilitation’, ‘Sport and Exercise Nutrition’, ‘Exercise Physiology’.

The general areas students can undertake their research project in are: psychology, exercise physiology, biomechanics and sport rehabilitation.


University of Hull, Sports Health and Exercise Science 2016 programme description

Sport and Exercise Science (intercalated) BSc (Hons), Cardiff Metropolitan University

Here intercalating students study ‘Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise’ and “an independent project in one or more of Biomechanics, Physiology or Psychology”(8) and then choose three optional modules.

The optional Modules are: ‘Exercise Physiology for Sport Performance’, ‘Exercise Physiology for Health’, ‘Sport Psychology’, ‘Exercise Psychology’.


BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Intercalating students join the final year of the BSc Sport and Exercise Science course at the University of Brighton. However, students are also given the chance to attend second year lectures and laboratory sessions if they wish. On the course students develop research method skills and complete a dissertation. Final and second year modules can be found in the “Course in detail”(9) section on the below webpage.


Students hoping to gain hands on experience are able to complete a placement at a sports medicine practice on campus (numbers permitting).

BMedSci Sports Science Medicine, University of Edinburgh

This course combines SEM with the sports performance and exercise sciences (biomechanics, physiology, psychology and skill acquisition). Students can gain an “understanding of sports injuries and the health, performance and rehabilitation role that exercise can play in active sports people, specific patient groups and the wider population”.(11) The connection with the university’s SEM centre allows students to shadow members of the multidisciplinary SEM clinics. Students also acquire transferable skills such as literature appraisal, and how to plan and execute a research project.



B.Sc. Sport Science in Relation to Medicine, University of Leeds

This flyer explained that on the course students have the chance to develop “research, analytical and critical evaluation skills,” and learn about “the major sport science disciplines – biomechanics, exercise physiology, psychology and motor control.”(12) The course also provides students the chance to study “the links between exercise and health from a scientific perspective”.

As part of the course students undertake a research project and compulsory modules in ‘Interdisciplinary issues in Sport and Exercise Sciences’, ‘Advanced Exercise Physiology’ and ‘Sports Medicine, Health and Nutrition’. Students also complete 40 credits of optional modules.

Information was obtained from B.Sc. Sport Science in Relation to Medicine course flyer, kindly sent to me by Stuart Egginton, Professor of Exercise Science at the University of Leeds.

List of References

  1. https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/courses/medicine/medical-sciences/sports-and-exercise-medicine-msc.aspx
  2. http://www.smd.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/intercalated/sem/index.html
  3. http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/medicine/undergraduate/intercalateddegrees/clinicalmedicine/
  4. University of Glasgow B.Sc. (Med. Sci.) Clinical Medicine Sport and Exercise Medicine – Course information
  5. http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ssehs/undergraduate/courses/ses-intercalated/
  6. http://www.hyms.ac.uk/undergraduate/intercalated-degrees/intercalation
  7. University of Hull, Sports Health and Exercise Science 2016 programme description
  8. http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/schoolofsport/courses/Pages/Sport-and-Exercise-Science-(Intercalated)-BSc-(Hons).aspx
  9. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/courses/study/sport-and-exercise-science-bsc-hons.aspx
  10. http://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/undergraduate/medicine/mbchb/intercalated-honours
  11. https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/Intercalated+Honours+in+Sports+Science+Medicine/1_8iujw34v/42261371
  12. Sc. Sport Science in Relation to Medicine course flyer.

Other Resources

USEMS website



Much of the information in this article is taken from course webpages and handbooks with the permission of the Universities. My thanks go to the course directors and leaders who gave me permission to include the courses in this article. Their help and support was much appreciated.

About the author:

James Murphy has completed four years of medicine at Newcastle University and is currently intercalating on the MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine course at the University of Nottingham.

Manroy Sahni (@manroysahni) co-coordinates the BJSM Undergraduate Perspective blog series. Please send your blog feedback and ideas to: manroysahni@gmail.com

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