Institution / Ulster University Jordanstown
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Physical Activity & Public Health

The first course of its kind on the Island of Ireland that provides an expert overview of physical activity promotion for public health.


Study Physical Activity and Public Health at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

Physical activity, not often taught in traditional postgraduate programmes associated with health promotion, is now recognised as an essential component for understanding public health. Physical inactivity is a major public health concern in developed countries and is associated with the epidemic increases in preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. As well as providing grounding in popular aspects of health promotion, this programme provides students with an expert overview of all aspects of physical activity promotion in order to enhance the health of modern society. For careers in physical activity research or promotion, this postgraduate course is a must.


Physical activity has recently been described as the ‘best buy’ in public health. The increasing realisation of the importance of promoting higher levels of physical activity, alongside the Government’s aim to reduce the proportion of sedentary individuals, will require a co-ordinated public health approach from well-informed health professionals. This course enables students to understand the role of physical activity and public health by adopting a multidisciplinary approach to a sector that is currently of greater social importance.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

Applicants must possess:

- A second class honours degree (or higher) in a related subject area (for example - BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences, BSc Sport and Physical Activity or BSc Health Promotion) from a recognised university or; - An equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma, or an approved alternative qualification. All applicants should possess competence in written and spoken English by having GCSE English (grade C) or equivalent.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Transfer from other MSc programmes within the University is permissible. For example, the current programme is similar to the existing MSc in Health Promotion and Public Health and thus students can transfer onto and from this programme.



One year full-time at the Jordanstown campus.

Three years part-time at the Jordanstown (Belfast >2019) campus.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Careers: Health promotion professionals; sports development; pharmaceutical sector; further postgraduate study (e.g. PhD); biomedical research; and general health and fitness industry.

Further enquiries

Faculty Contact regarding adminissions and application process to the course:

Mrs Julie Nesbitt
T: +44(0)28 9036 6029

Course Director:
Dr Mary Margaret Meade
T: +44(0)28 9036 8450

Subjects taught

Year one

Principles and Practice of Health Promotion and Public Health
This module addresses in an in-depth, critical manner, the determinants of health and how these can be addressed by the disciplines of health promotion and public health. Key theoretical and professional perspectives are explored. Outcomes of these disciplines are critically analysed through an examination of key health psychology theory.

Populations and Policy for Public Health
Health promotion and public health specialists have a key role to play in reducing health inequalities. This module covers a spectrum of key skills and qualities to enable students to identify and address health inequalities and to effectively assess the impact of policies on health and inequalities. Assessment is by coursework.

Epidemiology and Statistics for Public Health
This module will develop the capacity and capability of professionals to use demographic statistics and epidemiological data and analysis to improve public health. Through the assessment framework students are enabled to apply their learning to specific chronic diseases within population groups.

Advanced Research Methods for Physical Activity, Sport and Action
This module is designed to enhance the knowledge and competencies of students to prepare them to undertake research in Physical Activity and Public Health; Psychology and Sports Nutrition. It focuses on the application of advanced elements in experimental design, conducting quantitative analysis, research synthesis and the presentation of data and findings. It equips students to review, conduct and commission research. ?

Physical Activity and Disease Prevention
Exercise, physical activity and physical fitness are now recognised as independent risk factors for a range of chronic degenerative diseases. This module provides students with a critical understanding of the associations between physical activity and health and the physiological mechanisms which underlie these associations.

Nutrition for Health and Disease Prevention
This module considers the relationship between nutrition, health and disease. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body and how good nutritional practices can be effective for good health and disease prevention.

Physical Activity and Psychological Wellbeing
This module examines the influence of psychological factors in understanding the link between physical activity and public health across different settings and populations. It provides a critical understanding of the development of scientific consensus to date and identifies areas in need of further research.

Research Project in Physical Activity and Health
Carrying out an original, independent piece of research from the formulation of a research question through to reporting findings in accordance with the conventions of the academic area is an important part of the research training provided by Masters level study. This module provides students with an opportunity for students to carry out an original independent piece of research in the area of physical activity and health and present findings in the form of a journal manuscript and a conference presentation.

Work placement / study abroad

Voluntary work placements opportunities are available to students on the course and more information can be obtained by contacting the Course Director.

Assessment method

Teaching and learning assessment

There are seven taught modules on the course, all of which are compulsory. Five of the programme modules are 15 credits points whilst Advanced Research Methods for Physical Activity, Sport and Action is a 30 credit point module and the Research Dissertation is 60 credits.

All modules are assessed through the submission of coursework (defined as any non-examination based assessment) and there is no sessional examination for these modules. Coursework assessments are designed to test both knowledge and skills and vary from essays, literature reviews, project reports, presentations and poster presentations.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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