Exercise Physiology - 3871

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Medicine


Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Typical Duration: 4 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 6

Max UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC For Award: 192

UAC Code: 428100

Domestic Entry Requirements: See Domestic Entry Requirements

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Exercise Physiology

View program information for previous years

Program Description

The program offers a comprehensive education in the area of health and exercise science with a focus on the use of physical activity as a preventative and rehabilitative therapy. Four years of full-time study leads to the award of a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology. A total of 192 units of credit must be successfully completed for the award of this degree. Graduates may expect to find employment as Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) in rehabilitation clinics and hospitals working in post-acute rehabilitation, sports medicine clinics, corporate health, specialised fitness centres, and private practice for rehabilitation/exercise prescription for people requiring specialist guidance (e.g. workplace rehabilitation). The Bachelor of Exercise Physiology is accredited by the national governing body, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). Graduates are eligible to become members of ESSA and practice as Accredited Exercise Physiologists.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

The degree is committed to excellence in teaching in the medical and exercise sciences and in clinical training. The degree is designed to enable students to:
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health
  • Attain competencies in conducting a broad range of exercise-based clinical tests and in delivering lifestyle change programs that use exercise for the primary prevention of disease and the management of chronic disease
  • Attain skills and detailed clinical knowledge relevant to cardiopulmonary, metabolic, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular rehabilitation
  • Develop advanced problem solving skills and a capacity for critical thinking
  • Develop an ability to engage in independent and reflective learning for the betterment of professional clinical practice
  • Develop a broad range of communication skills and an ability to work as a member and a leader of a team, with respect for diversity and a high standard of ethical practice

Program Structure

Foundation science courses are an important component of the early stages of the program and include chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, statistics and psychology. Building on this knowledge base, the medical sciences of anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology are studied concurrently with the exercise science sub-disciplines of biomechanics, motor control and exercise psychology - leading to an integrated understanding of human function in health and disease and how this is impacted by exercise. The professional role of Exercise Physiologists is emphasised from the commencement of the program in Stage 1 exercise science courses. Clinical courses in Stage 3 cover the four broad areas of practice for Exercise Physiologists being, 1) the primary prevention of disease in apparently healthy populations, 2) the management of chronic diseases under the broad categories of cardiopulmonary and metabolic conditions, 3) musculoskeletal conditions and work hardening and 4) neuromuscular conditions. Courses offer a mixture of traditional and interactive/case study approaches to learning.

Clinical practicum is a major component of this program with 100 hours completed across Stage 1 to 3 (as an element of course work) and 400 hours in dedicated clinical practicum courses in Stage 4. Clinical placements include the University's Lifestyle Clinic, and hospitals and private practices. Students undertake a research project completed in Stage 4 to refine skills specific to their areas of interest, and to further develop understanding of research and the scientific method and how this informs clinical practice.

Elective courses provide flexibility in the program and allow students to select courses according to their areas of interest and career specialisation. These may include: cardiopulmonary conditions, metabolic conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, neuromuscular conditions, nutrition, mental health, and rehabilitation biomechanics. Specific elective courses available are listed below under Electives.

General Education is a requirement of all undergraduate programs at UNSW Sydney. Elective and General Education courses in Stages 3 and 4 provide flexibility to facilitate international exchange in the latter stages of the program, while still completing the core courses and practicum required to be eligible to become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.


Semester 1

Semester 2


Semester 1

Semester 2


Semester 1

Semester 2
Plus 6 UOC of General Education or Elective courses (listed below)


Semester 1
Plus 12 UOC of General Education or Elective(s) (listed below)
HESC4551 Research Project may be taken in Semester 1 or 2

Semester 2
Plus 12 UOC of General Education or Elective(s) (listed below)

A Senior First Aid and CPR Certificate must be obtained before commencing HESC4611 Clinical Practicum A and must be valid for the duration of the clinical practicum courses. A Criminal Record Check and Working with Children Check are also required before commencing the clinical practicum. Up-to-date immunisations are a requirement of many clinical placement providers and any such requirements must be met prior to commencing HESC4611 Clinical Practicum A.

HESC4611 and HESC4622 are offered in Semester 1 or Semester 2 or Summer Terms and are completed in consecutive semesters.

Students must complete 6 UOC from the list below.

Students must complete 12 UOC from the list below.

Students must complete 12 UOC of General Education courses.

The rules for General Education can be found by clicking here. Please note that students must complete their General Education requirements with courses that are from faculties other than Medicine. This means that courses offered by the Faculty of Medicine (including GENM) and some courses from the Faculty of Science cannot be counted as General Education.

Participation and Enrolment Requirements

NSW Health require that all Exercise Physiology students placed in any of their facilities are compliant with their health and conduct requirements, these include an up-to-date immunisation record, a police record check (national or from your country of citizenship), and a code of conduct agreement. In addition, NSW Health require all students to complete mandatory online training modules when commencing a clinical practicum placement. Students who fail to satisfy the compliance requirements of NSW Health may be excluded from undertaking a clinical practicum placement. Students are responsible for obtaining the required documents and vaccinations needed to meet compliance requirements and to attend compliance checks for verification. Students are required to maintain up-to-date certification in senior first-aid and CPR for the duration of a clinical practicum placement. Students must also obtain a Working with Children Check number prior to the commencement of a clinical practicum placement.

Academic Rules

  1. Students must complete 192 units of credit including 12 units of General Education.
  2. Students cannot complete more than 60 units of credit in Stage 1 courses.
  3. Students must complete 3 electives, one of these must be an advanced elective (i.e. a stage 3 course)
  4. Clinical Practicum courses may not be commenced until a student has completed each of the Stage 3 clinical courses, HESC3504, HESC3541, HESC3532, and HESC3592.
  5. For a Degree with Distinction, a student must obtain a minimum of 75 WAM across the program and complete at least 96 units of credit in that program at UNSW to be eligible.
  6. Courses completed on international exchange may be substituted for program courses deemed to be equivalent, but grades awarded at institutions other than UNSW will not count towards a student's WAM. Recognition of studies on international exchange will typically be confined to general education and elective courses in the program.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee Website.

Area(s) of Specialisation