Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing MSc (2024)

Table of Contents
Why study MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing at Middlesex University? About your course What will you study on the MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing? Modules Compulsory During this module you will explore the normal anatomy, physiology and pathological changes for each condition and how this relates to exercise prescription for special populations. The module aims to equip you with knowledge and understanding of the abnormalities seen in function and provides the opportunity to study the general pathological mechanisms seen in diseases. This includes aspects of systemic disease with respect to aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pharmacology. This module focuses on the design, management and implementation of exercise programmes across all conditions, as well as common comorbidities including: contraindications and useful exercises. It aims to provide the opportunity to develop knowledge, inquiry and work-based activities that improve and inform therapeutic areas of your own practice. You will explore both academic and practical applications of specialist knowledge and demonstrate the learning gained. This module is designed to provide a critical overview of the main methods and approaches used for research at masters level, and to equip you to apply this knowledge in planning a research proposal. The module affords students opportunities to appraise the strengths and weaknesses of published work in their specialist area, or in health care in general. You will learn in groups and will explore philosophical, ethical and methodological differences which underpin various approaches to knowledge generation that can inform health care work. Workshops allow you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation, consider its adequacy and limitations, and justify the approach taken. Throughout the dissertation module you will be supported while undertaking research with a focus appropriate to your area of interest, potentially building upon the research proposal formulated in the Research Methods module. The module creates a peer learning community for students, enabling you to provide guidance and critically support one another on matters of ethical application, research methods, data collection, analysis and writing-up in the research process in addition to that provided by your supervisor. This module provides students with the opportunity to reflect on existing practice and put new knowledge gained from other modules into application in a real work scenario. You will be required to adopt a reflective and critical approach to your working practice and to promote a problem-solving approach in a work environment. Register your interest Teaching How will the MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing be taught? North London campus Student support Facilities and support Facilities Student support How can the MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations support your career? Entry requirements Qualifications Interviews, entrance tests, portfolios and auditions Qualifications Fees and funding Scholarships and bursaries Student Testimonials Get answers from our Unibuddy student ambassadors Next steps Why not explore Open Days Research Accommodation Student Life

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Course overview

Originally developed at Middlesex University, the first degree in the UK to focus purely on how to prescribe safe and effective physical activity, exercise and sporting participation to those living with the 18 most common chronic diseases in the UK.

Why study MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing at Middlesex University?

The health and fitness industry has witnessed an explosion in recent years as more and more people realise the importance of exercise. With this comes new challenges for professionals who must consider the wide range of long-term medical conditions which could impact their clients or patients, and how physical activity can positively aid healthy ageing.

Our postgraduate degree promotes cutting edge professional practice, giving students the opportunity to undertake leading research and acquire the latest knowledge of effective practice prescription for special populations, under the supervision of highly experienced experts.

In our partnership with Saracens Rugby Club, you’ll have access to the fantastic resources at StoneX Stadium, including the brand new £23 million redevelopment project of the West Stand which offers state-of-the-art facilities as a top educational and high performance centre for teaching and research excellence. With some of the most advanced equipment in the UK, you will be able to utilise the new specialist spaces, simulation suites, specialist labs, plus much more.

The course has been designed specifically for qualified graduates and health and fitness professionals, so understands that you will bring experience and working knowledge with you. We help you put this into context and develop it. During the course you will learn how to justify your professional decisions with evidence-based practice and develop your professional understanding and accountability.

You might already have a Level 3 GP referral qualification, a Level 4 individual condition qualification or a BSc degree, but this Level 7 degree takes that knowledge to the highest level. At the end of the degree you will have a comprehensive understanding of 18 of the most commonly presented conditions and how to manage them singly or as comorbidities through exercise prescription, and how to prescribe exercise to promote healthy ageing.

Course highlights

  • One of the few masters degrees in the UK to focus purely on the prescription of safe and effective physical activity across the most common chronic diseases and promote healthy ageing
  • You will consider the most effective way to work in a range of working environments, from fully equipped gyms to clients' own homes
  • Learn to understand the underlying pathologies of the most common chronic diseases
  • Learn the relevance of good nutrition and advise on appropriate diets
  • Learn motivational factors of exercise adherence and utilise models to help keep your clients on track
  • Look in great depth at a specific condition that interests you through an individual research project
  • Once you complete the course you will be one of the highest qualified specialist trainers in the health and fitness industry
  • You learn using state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, at a university recognised as one of the best in the country for sport and exercise science and rehabilitation
  • The course allows you to build a sound foundation of individual research interests which can then be taken to PhD level.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

About your course

About your course

What will you study on the MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing?

This programme has been designed to give sports scientists and health and fitness practitioners the expertise and qualifications to prescribe exercise regimes to the 18 most common special populations in the UK and diet and healthy ageing.

The course examines the baseline prescription for a healthy population, and specific approaches to: eating disorders, obesity and dieting, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, elderly, depression, alzheimer’s disease, asthma, pregnancy, cancer, menopause, working with multi-morbidities, epidemiology of lifestyle factors, Baseline prescription and adaption, principles of nutrition, motivation and adherence psychology.

Students will also consider epidemiology and lifestyle factors of special population conditions. You will also explore how to advise on a healthy diet and look at applied psychological models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI).

The first three modules see you study the pathology of chronic diseases, nutrition, the best practice in exercise prescription, research method. In the following two modules you will develop an understanding of your professional practice and apply your newly acquired knowledge in a work environment and then undertake a research project on a topic that particularly interests you.

Full-time students

Full-time students will complete all five modules in one year.

Part-time students

Part-time students will complete the first three modules in their first year before undertaking the Professional Practice and Dissertation modules in the second year.

Modules

Here is a brief overview of the modules you will study on your course.

Compulsory

During this module you will explore the normal anatomy, physiology and pathological changes for each condition and how this relates to exercise prescription for special populations. The module aims to equip you with knowledge and understanding of the abnormalities seen in function and provides the opportunity to study the general pathological mechanisms seen in diseases. This includes aspects of systemic disease with respect to aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pharmacology.

This module focuses on the design, management and implementation of exercise programmes across all conditions, as well as common comorbidities including: contraindications and useful exercises. It aims to provide the opportunity to develop knowledge, inquiry and work-based activities that improve and inform therapeutic areas of your own practice. You will explore both academic and practical applications of specialist knowledge and demonstrate the learning gained.

This module is designed to provide a critical overview of the main methods and approaches used for research at masters level, and to equip you to apply this knowledge in planning a research proposal. The module affords students opportunities to appraise the strengths and weaknesses of published work in their specialist area, or in health care in general. You will learn in groups and will explore philosophical, ethical and methodological differences which underpin various approaches to knowledge generation that can inform health care work. Workshops allow you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation, consider its adequacy and limitations, and justify the approach taken.

Throughout the dissertation module you will be supported while undertaking research with a focus appropriate to your area of interest, potentially building upon the research proposal formulated in the Research Methods module. The module creates a peer learning community for students, enabling you to provide guidance and critically support one another on matters of ethical application, research methods, data collection, analysis and writing-up in the research process in addition to that provided by your supervisor.

This module provides students with the opportunity to reflect on existing practice and put new knowledge gained from other modules into application in a real work scenario. You will be required to adopt a reflective and critical approach to your working practice and to promote a problem-solving approach in a work environment.

Register your interest

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

Teaching and learning

Teaching

You'll be taught by an experienced teaching team with a wide range of expertise and professional experience.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

How will the MSc Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing be taught?

The course will be taught using blended learning through live teaching and online learning materials, recorded lectures, seminars and tutorials. Preparatory work for the following week's topic is put up on UniHub together with a wide range of resources to aid learning. You are expected to attend the online or live seminar each week fully prepared with opinions and observations based on your preparatory reading and work experience to explore ideas fully in class. You will also give occasional presentations to your class based on your personal research into topics.

The course is very focused on the application of knowledge into practice and work placement allows for classroom knowledge to be applied. A reflective process of professionalism and efficacy is integrated through discussion in class through the production of a learning journal together with online learning materials. This again illuminates areas of your practice that you might then use for your own research project for the dissertation.

Both work placement and the four-day practical sessions. Should either of these activities be impossible to undertake, you will be given alternative ways of learning.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown
Live in-person on campus learningContact hours per week, per level:6 hours
Live online learningAverage hours per week, per level:1 hours
Tutor set learning activitiesAverage hours per week, per level:4 hours

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We'll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.

You will be based at our north London campus in Hendon.

You will be assessed by a variety of means, including:

  • Presentations
  • Practical
  • Diet programme design
  • Essay
  • 24 hour case study
  • Literature review
  • Research proposal
  • A dissertation (4,000 word research paper).

You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing MSc (1)

North London campus

Our north London campus is 23 minutes away by underground train, travelling from London Kings Cross.

Learn more

Student support

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health, and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability and Dyslexia team.

Wellness

Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above. Visit the Middlesex Unitemps page.

Facilities and support

Facilities and support

Facilities

Our sport and exercise science facilities are based nearby to our Hendon campus in StoneX Stadium, offering unique access to academy and elite players and coaches.

The Sheppard Library

Our library is open 24 hours a day during the term and includes:

  • Over 1,000 study areas with rooms for group study and over 600 computer spaces
  • 350,000 books and e-books and more than 24,000 online journals
  • Free laptop loans, Wi-Fi and printing.

Student support

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with ourDisability and Dyslexia team.

Wellness

Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above.Visit the Middlesex Unitempspage.

Financial support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and ourMDX Student Starter Kitto help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide tostudent life on a budget.

Careers

How can the MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations support your career?

The course has been designed specifically for sport scientists and qualified health and fitness practitioners, providing a Level 7 degree which is the highest level of qualification in the industry.

Whether you are a personal trainer, physiotherapist, clinic rehabilitator, nurse, home visitor or other health professional; this Masters equips you to be one of the highest qualified specialists in the field and enables you to help people achieve their fitness, health and lifestyle goals safely and effectively.

Students with an undergraduate degree in a relevant area who wish to continue their education before pursuing one of the above careers would find this masters valuable.

The degree is also suitable for individuals working in specialist clinical units such as stroke or heart units, or those with an interest in research at doctoral level, who need a thorough baseline knowledge and require research experience with special populations.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Qualifications

  • Students will require an undergraduate degree in a sport or exercise related field (2.2 or above). Students with undergraduate degrees in non-related areas will be considered subject to relevant industry experience and professional qualifications. Alternatively, prospective students who have substantial experience in the area and/or completed vocational qualifications, will be considered via interview.
  • Alternatively prospective students who have completed a lower equivalent qualification in a relevant subject and have extensive experience in the area will be considered via interview. Students may be invited to an interview if they have 5+ years of experience.
  • Prospective students who fail to meet some of the above criteria may be directed to some preliminary study.

Further requirements

DBS (disclosure and baring service) is required for student placements*.

These checks will be explained and conducted during the first semester.Obtaining a successful DBS will enable you as a student to undertake a placement or work experience hours as agreed by the programme or module leader. An unsuccessful DBS or lack of a DBS, could hinder a student’s ability to achieve any placement hours and prohibit you from graduating with a full degree.

*May be required for MSC SPA and MSC S&C (DE).

Eligibility

UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.

Academic credit for previous study or experience

If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit ourAccreditation of Prior Learning page.

Interviews, entrance tests, portfolios and auditions

Prospective students may require an interview, either in person or via Skype/telephone.

Qualifications

We accept the equivalent of the below qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification.

  • Students will require an undergraduate degree in a sport or exercise related field (2.2 or above). Students with undergraduate degrees in non-related areas will be considered subject to relevant industry experience and professional qualifications. Alternatively, prospective students who have substantial experience in the area and/or completed vocational qualifications, will be considered via interview.
  • Ideally applicants will have 1-2 years relevant experience in the sport and fitness industry
  • Alternatively prospective students who have completed a lower equivalent qualification in a relevant subject and have extensive experience in the area will be considered via interview
  • Prospective students who fail to meet some of the above criteria may be directed to some preliminary study e.g. Summer school.

Find out more about entry requirements for international students.

If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearestRegional officefor support.

Further requirements

DBS (disclosure and baring service) is required for student placements*.

These checks will be explained and conducted during the first semester.Obtaining a successful DBS will enable you as a student to undertake a placement or work experience hours as agreed by the programme or module leader. An unsuccessful DBS or lack of a DBS, could hinder a student’s ability to achieve any placement hours and prohibit you from graduating with a full degree.

*May be required for MSC SPA and MSC S&C (DE).

Visas and immigration

You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see ourVisas and immigration pagefor further information.

International students who require a Student route(formerly tier 4) visa to progress on a course at Middlesex University must apply for study on a full-time basis. However, this course is offered part-time so you are eligible to apply on a part-time basis.

Part-time study

Changes to the Immigration Rules introduced in January 2018 now allows international applicants to apply for Student route (formerly tier 4) visasfor part-time postgraduate study (courses leading to a qualification at RQF level 7 or SCQF level 11 and above).

Student route visa students studying part-time are subject to certain restrictions:

  • no work (paid or unpaid)
  • no work placements as part of the programme
  • no dependants
  • no extending under Student route visa in the UK. This includes Student route visa applications to work as a Students' Union Sabbatical Officer or for the Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists
  • not eligible for the Student route visa Doctorate Extension Scheme

*Please note that, if the course of your choice involves work experience, unpaid work, placements or internships, we will be unable to sponsor you to study a part- time course under the Student route (formerly tier 4) visa.

English language requirements for international students

You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit ourEnglish language requirements pagefor a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.

If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensivePre-sessional English course.

Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit ourPostgraduate application page for further information and to apply.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

The fees below refer to the 2024/25 academic year unless otherwise stated.

UK students*

MSc Full-time students: £10,500
Part-time students: £70 per credit
Part-time students: £35 per dissertation credit

International students

MScFull-time students: £16,800
Part-time students: £112 per credit
Part-time students: £56 per dissertation credit

*Course fees are subject to annual inflation so the total costs for part-time study are shown here as a guide.

For more information and to answer your frequently asked questions, please visit our postgraduate funding page.

Course costs

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • A free electronic textbook for every module
  • All printing and copying required for your study
  • Self-service laptops available for loan for a maximum of 24 hours
  • Audio-visual equipment available for loan, including digital stills cameras, digital video recorders, digital audio recorders

Scholarships and bursaries

As an undergraduate alumnus continuing postgraduate studies at Middlesex, you are eligible for an alumni award worth 20% off your fees.

Student Testimonials

"I chose this course because I had previously worked with people with different chronic conditions and I felt that I was lacking some crucial knowledge of the sector. The MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations really looked like it would help me to gain a deeper understanding of these conditions and therefore improve my practice.

The support on the course was amazing throughout; I was able to really focus on my studies and gain one to one support from the lecturers. I also received assistance with my academic writing, and the library staff were extremely valuable in helping me to understand the system used to access journals.Weekly presentations helped me tremendously with my confidence and English speaking skills.I was never told what to do but instead was guided which is exactly what I was looking for at master’s level.

My MSc project examined the effectiveness of an exercise programme for informal carers of people living with dementia.I believe that carers need something designed that is just for them, to promote balance and enhance quality of life. Currently I am a PhD student, inspired by my passion for this project and desire to continue researching this area. A PhD to me is like an ocean of opportunities – even though there are sharks and other dangers, there is so much to explore!

To anyone considering this course, I would say to trust the professors instinct and engage 100%. It is such a broad and dynamic course so you can really pick your focus from a diverse range of topics. It is a challenging course so be prepared to take the leap and commit yourself for one year - the rewards will be immense!

Tija Hubej

MSc Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations graduate

Get answers from our Unibuddy student ambassadors

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We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circ*mstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations and Healthy Ageing MSc (2024)
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