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 and Accredited Exercise Scientists.
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.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 UOC of research courses in their final year. The majority of students achieve this through enrolment in HESC4501 Exercise Physiology Research Seminars and then HESC4551 Research Project. However, students can opt to take an additional 6 UOC of research by enrolling in a supervised research internship. Selection of this additional research component improves student eligibility and preparedness for entry into higher degree research programs (e.g. Masters by Research; PhD). Students who choose to take a total of 18 UOC of 4th year research can take HESC4501 Exercise Physiology Research Seminars, then HESC4561 Research Internship A followed by HESC4571 Research Internship B. Enrolment in HESC4561 and HESC4571 will constitute the first and second halves, respectively, of a 20-week supervised research internship.
Students are required to take one elective course (6 UOC) throughout their program. This allows students to select a course according to their areas of interest and career specialisation. These may include: a research internship, or coursework focusing on 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 Stage 4 provide flexibility to facilitate international exchange in the latter stage of the program, while still completing the core courses and practicum required to be eligible to become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.