University of Chester

Programme Specification
Exercise Health and Fitness FDS
2015 - 2016

Foundation Science Degree

Exercise Health and Fitness

Exercise Health and Fitness

University of Chester

St.Helens College

St. Helens College

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

2 years

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Business and Management Sport and Community Engagement

Health, Leisure, Sport and Tourism

University of Chester

FdSc Exercise Health and Fitness

Saturday 1st September 2012

Aim 1: To enable students to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of Exercise, Health and Fitness in a coherent and progressive manner.

Aim 2: To develop a range of skills & techniques, personal qualities and attitudes appropriate for successful transition into an appropriate career in the Exercise, Health and Fitness industry. 

Aim 3: To provide opportunities for students to develop their understanding of Exercise, Health and Fitness through both academic and practical reflective practice.

Aim 4: To widen access by providing opportunities for progression onto the Level 6 degree programme at the University of Chester and to provide students with the specialist knowledge, intellectual aptitude, enhanced awareness and key skills required to succeed within higher education. 

Aim 5: To develop strong external links within the Exercise, Health and Fitness industry to provide students with access to a range of valuable work based learning opportunities.

Aim 6: Following completion at Level 6, to produce graduates who are able to assimilate, evaluate and critically appraise information and to provide them with a range of skills to support future employment and life-long learning.

Knowledge and Understanding
Students will typically be able to:

Level 4

  1. Develop the ability to evaluate particular subject domains (SS4902, SS4903, SS4904, SS4905, SS4906)
  2. Acquire and interpret information appropriate to their context of study (SS4901, SS4902, SS4903, SS4904, SS4905)

Level 5

  1. Utilise a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach to study, drawing, as appropriate, from service, research and professional contexts (SS5901,SS5902, SS5903, SS5904, SS5905)
  2. Apply reflective practice to both academic and professional subjects (SS5902, SS5906)




Thinking or Cognitive Skills
Students will typically be able to:

Level 4

  1. Research and assess subject specific facts, theories, paradigms, principles and concepts (SS4901, SS4902, SS4903, SS4904, SS4905)
  2. Describe and analyse information (SS4902, SS4903, SS4904, SS4905, SS4906) 
  3. Develop a reasoned argument and challenge assumptions (SS4903, SS4904, SS4905)


Level 5

  1. Critically assess and evaluate evidence (SS5901,SS5902, SS5903, SS5904, SS5905) 
  2. Critically interpret data and text (SS5901,SS5902, SS5903, SS5904, SS5905) 
  3. Apply knowledge to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems (SS5901,SS5902, SS5903, SS5904, SS5905) 
  4. Take responsibility for their learning and continuing professional development (SS5902, SS5903, SS5906) 
  5. Evaluate and apply vocationally relevant concepts associated with the operational and strategic management of financial, human and physical resources (SS5902, SS5906)

Practical and Professional Skills
Students will typically be able to:

Level 4

  1. Plan, design and execute practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures (SS4901, SS4902, SS4903, SS4905)
  2. Undertake fieldwork with due regard for safety and risk assessment (SS4902, SS4903, SS4905)

Level 5

  1. Plan, design, execute and communicate a piece of independent intellectual work using appropriate media (SS5902, SS5903, SS5906)

Communication Skills
Students will typically be able to:

Level 4
1. Structure and communicate ideas effectively in both written and oral form (SS4902, SS4903, SS4904, SS4905, SS4906) 
2. Manage time and work to deadlines (SS4906)
3. Participate constructively in groups and understand roles and responsibilities (SS4903, SS4905) 

Level 5
1. Be confident in the use of ICT and develop electronic information management skills (SS5903, SS5905, SS5906)
2. Transfer techniques and solutions from one area of work to another (SS5902, SS5904, SS5906).

The format of the programme provides a balance between college-based learning, acquisition of practical skills and academic research. It incorporates a progressive strategy that creates the opportunity for students to gain a broad theoretical understanding that will support the development and practical application of theory to practice. 

The programme is modular in structure with 6 modules at level 4 and 6 modules at level 5.  The emphasis on level 4 study is to provide the student with the theoretical and practical skills to allow for successful transition to level 5 study.  Level 4 modules underpin and have clear lines of progression to level 5 study where students are expected to demonstrate higher analytical skills.

The Foundation Degree in Exercise, Health and Fitness complies with FHEQ generic and subject specific Benchmark Statements for Health, Leisure, Sport and Tourism 2008.  These are outlined in section 25.

The curriculum content ensures students will complete the programme with a firm understanding of how exercise and fitness impact on health status and how the knowledge and skills that have been developed can be applied in the practical work setting.














Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
SS4901 4 Anatomy for Exercise 20 Comp
SS4902 4 Health Related Fitness 20 Comp
SS4903 4 Introduction to Research Methods 20 Comp
SS4904 4 Introduction to Psychology 20 Comp
SS4905 4 Foundations of Physiology 20 Comp
SS4906 4 Work Based Learning 1 20 Comp
SS5901 5 Physiological Basis of Health 20 Comp
SS5902 5 Role of the Personal Trainer 20 Comp
SS5903 5 Further Research Methods 20 Comp
SS5904 5 Health and Exercise Psychology 20 Comp
SS5905 5 Health Perspectives and Physical Activity Intervention 20 Comp
SS5906 5 Work Based Learning 2 20 Comp

Level 4 requires 120 credits (6 x 20 credits)
Level 5 requires 120 credits (6 x 20 credits)
Successful completion of level 4 only, with accumulation of 120 credits = Certificate of Higher Education
Successful completion of levels 4 and 5, with accumulation of 240 credits = Foundation Degree

The programme intends to recruit students from a varied range of backgrounds and experience.  Application for admission to the programme will normally be through UCAS and all suitably qualified applicants will be considered. 

Applicants should possess a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades A, B or C including English Language, mathematics and a science. 


Standard entry onto the programme will require the equivalent or one or more of the following:


  • Successful completion of  related ‘A’ level study with a minimum of two subjects passed or equivalent to 160 UCAS points
  • National Diploma in Sports Science / Sports Development or related field equivalent to 160 UCAS points
  • NVQ Level 3 in related field and related occupational experience

 A UCAS tariff score of 160 is required for standard entry to this programme. (Functional Skills points are accepted).  Offers of a place on the programme will not be based solely upon academic qualifications alone and skills gained in the workplace will also be considered. The final decision in terms of acceptance onto the programme will lie with the programme leader.


The programme has been designed in accordance with generic and subject specific benchamrk statements taken from FHEQ Health, Leisure, Sport and Tourism indicated below.  Whilst the benchmarks indicated make reference to sport, the FdSc Exercise Health and Fitness places emphasis on the exercise and fitness aspect of the statements.


Generic benchmark statements:

Research and assess paradigms, theories, principles, concepts and factual information, and apply such skills in explaining and solving problems.

Critically assess and evaluate evidence in the context of research methodologies and data sources.

Critically interpret data of different kinds and appraise the strengths and weaknesses of approaches adopted.

Describe, synthesise, interpret, analyse and evaluate information and data relevant to a professional or vocational context.

Plan, design, execute and communicate a sustained piece of independent intellectual work which provides evidence of critical engagement with, and interpretation of, appropriate data.

Apply knowledge to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.

Develop a sustained reasoned argument, perhaps challenging previously held assumptions.

Demonstrate effective communication and presentation skills.

Work effectively independently and with others, take and demonstrate responsibility for their own learning and continuing personal and professional development

Self-appraise and reflect on practice

Plan, design, manage and execute practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures whilst demonstrating high levels of relevant skills.



Subject specific benchmark statements:

The programme integrates the study of human responses to sport and exercise, including:

Making effective use of knowledge and understanding of the disciplines underpinning human structure and function. 

Appraising and evaluating the effects of sport and exercise intervention on the participant.

Showing evidence of the skills required to monitor and evaluate human responses to sport and/or exercise. Providing a critical appreciation of the relationship between sport and exercise activity and intervention in a variety of participant groups.   

The study of health-related and disease management aspects of exercise and physical activity, including: 

Displaying an awareness of current government policy on disease prevention and the relevance of exercise.

Showing evidence of an ability to monitor health through exercise and prescribe appropriate interventions displaying a broad range of skills, including awareness of health and safety, ethical considerations, exercise prescription, population differences and the role of education, health and sports bodies in improving the health of the nation.


The programme’s learning and teaching methods are based upon the following core values:   

That students’ prior knowledge and experience should be utilised in the learning process at every opportunity. 

That students are enabled to develop from relatively dependent to more independent learners as the programme progresses.  

That teaching and learning methods clearly reflect the transition from dependence to independence and are balanced accordingly at each phase of the programme. 

That variety in teaching and learning stimulus is crucial to the promotion of effective learning. 

That students are provided with appropriate levels of support throughout their programme to enable them to evolve into autonomous learners.


As such, teaching and learning methods employed will be balanced between tutor-centred and student-centred activities that enable conformity to the above core values.   The following range of teaching and learning methods will be employed:        

 Lecture – This is used to impart a specific body of knowledge to students.  In most cases, theoretical concepts generated by lectures will be developed through supporting seminars (including use of multi-media presentations, video presentations and, where appropriate, guest speakers).        

Laboratory Work – This is where the students acquire laboratory skills to enable the measurement and evaluation of fitness / health and performance. 

Seminars - This functions as a forum for the presentation and dissemination of topics. This is student focussed where students will present information on a selected topic to the students.

Self-Directed Learning - The concept of independent study is an integral part of the programme.  It refers to the idea of student centred learning, whereby the student takes responsibility for setting his or her own goals and creating his or her own pathway of study within the framework of the course.  With this in mind, the programme team will act more as facilitators, enabling and encouraging learning by developing study skills, suggesting areas of investigation and research, and providing academic advice and counselling.       

Written Work – The course involves a range of written assignments.  These include essays,  laboratory reports,  projects and case studies.

Group Work – Certain assignments may require students to work together or in pairs, to practice or demonstrate learning or to initiate investigation and / or deliver presentations.

Visiting Lecturers – Students benefit from contact with a wide range of professional activities through direct contact with specialists involved in the fitness/health sector to introduce students to up to date and practical information/techniques.     

Individual Tutorials – This system is an extremely important element linked to the rationale of teaching, learning and assessment at St Helens College.  The individual needs of the student are effectively analysed with the aim to provide a clear pathway of learning to incorporate the style which most suits the student. These tutorials can be activated at the request of the tutor or individual student, and can be utilised in addition to the mandatory tutorials afforded to each and every individual student on the course.  This process has also been informed by feedback from past and current students who have identified how advice relating to achieving learning outcomes and utilising appropriate study techniques has been invaluable in supporting them towards achieving independent study and the results associated with this.  


Types of assessment opportunity provided by the programmes include: 

Coursework Assignment: includes traditional essay (with word limit), portfolio work, case study, reflective practice log, preparation of reports, analysis of research data, preparing a research proposal.  Assessments are where possible/appropriate based around consideration of authentic problems and challenges with the aim to demonstrate use of evidence based practice.

Formal Examination: typically represented by examinations of up to 2 hours applied at the end of a module. This could be a multiple choice, short answer, an essay or a combination of these formats.  

Presentation: including individual presentation based upon assigned and selected topics.

Work Based Learning: assessment elements include reflective portfolio and presentation.

Formative assessment is utilised as appropriate across the programme to support and gauge student progress and may include submission of essay plans, question and answer sessions, discussions and debates.

The strategic approach to assessment within the programme reflects a move from more practically based/reflective assessment at level 4 study towards a more theoretical/evaluative approach that requires evidence of ability to cite appropriate reading/research evidence. This ensures that students are prepared for the option of progression to a third year of study.

 On completion of the programme graduates will have the background knowledge and skills to achieve career progression in the fitness, leisure and health sectors. Vocations such as advanced fitness instructor, personal trainer, referral officer and allied physical activity roles are typical of the careers graduates will be able to develop. All students will have developed relevant background knowledge and skills to provide opportunity for progression onto a third year of a relevant Honours Degree programme.

In addition, industry-recognised qualifications gained on the programme, including the L2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and the L3 Certificate in Personal Training, will further equip graduates with the work based skills that will have the potential to attract employers.

St Helens College respects diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. St Helens College strives to ensure that no student receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of social background, age, disability, gender, sexuality, marital status, race, religion, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origin.  St Helens College will take positive steps to eliminate discrimination, reduce the effects of past discrimination, continue the drive to increase levels of under-represented groups and promote equality in students’ admissions and their experience in College. No student should be disadvantaged by unjustifiable conditions or requirements. It is the responsibility of all students to implement and support this policy. All students of St Helens College are expected to treat each other with respect, as well as staff and visitors. Action will be taken in the case of unlawful and/or unacceptable behaviour by students. The monitoring of progress against the policy is the responsibility of the Equality & Diversity Committee.

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