Exploring laboratory and field-based practical provision within sport and exercise science undergraduate programmes: an audit of uK-based higher education institutions


Status: complete



The ambitions of this project was to facilitate a review examining the extent of current laboratory and/or field-based curriculum provision across a wide range of higher education institutes delivering sport and exercise science programmes.

Project Leader:  Dr Mark F Smith
Institution: University of Lincolm
Email: mfsmith@lincoln.ac.uk 
Start: August 2010
End: July 2011

Project Overview

Higher education provision orientated towards the scientific study of sport and exercise require inclusion of essential laboratory and field-based practical experience and competency development (QAA, 2008)1. Essential graduate outcomes as stipulated by QAA benchmark statements (pg: 21, 6.17-6.19) make generalised reference to the study of human responses to sport and exercise, which includes showing evidence of skills required to monitor and evaluate such responses to sport and/or exercise in laboratories and/or field settings.

In support of QAA benchmarking necessity, and fostering professional standards within the sport and exercise science profession, BASES developed an undergraduate endorsement scheme (BUES), awarding accreditation to programmes that fulfil curriculum, resource and opportunity appropriateness. As part of such scheme, requirements include inclusion of laboratory and/or field-based practical ‘experience’, which stipulates a minimum of 150 hours of laboratory experience across three disciplines (i.e. physiology, biomechanics and psychology), as well as resources that should be made available to students within a laboratory. Relevance and value of practical exposure to develop technical skills should be seen therefore as an essential component in achieving professional educational standards in sport and exercise science.

Acknowledging the importance of student exposure to laboratory and field-based monitoring and evaluation activities as broadly guided by QAA and BASES, practical curricula should ensure ‘progressive’ experience to a variety of relevant specialist equipment, core technical procedures and delivery techniques. Considering however curriculum design flexibility, student numbers within practical sessions, resources and expertise levels between institutions, the explicit content and associated activities within laboratory and field-based practical sessions within and between Levels, 1, 2 and 3 across the three disciplines are likely to be somewhat different. What is not currently known is the extent of such differences in activities at each level of learning and how these may impact on student experience and programme currency across institutions.


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