Clinical Exercise Physiology launches at Edinburgh Napier

Programme leader Dr Amanda Pitkethly discusses the need for Clinical Exercise Physiologists in today’s workforce, what the subject is all about and what careers you can go into if you choose to study this masters course at Edinburgh Napier University.

What is Clinical Exercise Physiology?

CEPs specialises in the prescription and delivery of evidence-based exercise interventions to optimise the prevention, treatment and long term management of acute, sub-acute, chronic and complex conditions.

As a graduate Clinical Exercise Physiologist, you may work in a range of primary, secondary and tertiary care settings as part of a multidisciplinary team of health care and rehabilitation providers.

CEP services aim to optimise physical function and health and promote long-term wellness through lifestyle modification and behaviour change across the lifespan.

Why should people study this as a post-graduate degree?

Our MSc programme develops the skills that graduates need to meet the Academy for Healthcare Sciences (AHCS) Standards of Proficiency which are in line with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency.

We teach the curriculum framework developed by Clinical Exercise Physiology-UK (CEP-UK), delivering the required knowledge and skills to be a competent Clinical Exercise Physiologist in the UK. Completing this MSc forms part of the requirement for eligibility to register with the AHCS.

What kind of career can I go into when I graduate from this programme?

The role of CEP is to work as part of healthcare teams across healthcare settings from hospital to community. For example, within:

  • Secondary care pre/rehabilitation settings
  • Primary Care
  • Private hospital settings
  • Public and private multidisciplinary clinics and leisure services
  • Defence Medical Services n Population/Public health/ Policy advisors
  • Workplace health and rehabilitation
  • Research/Academia

What will a clinical exercise physiologist do?

CEPs specialise in exercise testing and assessment, alongside the design, delivery and evaluation of evidence-based exercise interventions. CEP scope of practice encompasses apparently healthy individuals to those with chronic and complex conditions, along the care pathway from primary prevention, through acute management, to rehabilitation and maintenance. Interventions are exercise or physical activity-based and also include health and physical activity education, advice and support for lifestyle modification and behaviour change. CEPs work in a range of primary, secondary and tertiary care settings as part of a multidisciplinary team of health care and rehabilitation providers and in community settings.

Do I need any previous experience in this area to apply to the course?

The usual entry requirements for the courses are an undergraduate degree in a sport and exercise science (or related area i.e. your undergraduate degree must include the common elements of a sport and exercise science degree i.e. physiology, psychology and biomechanics). Additional vocational training (e.g. CIMSPA Gym Instructor etc) and experience working in health and fitness is not necessary but would support your studies well.

What do you look forward to most about teaching this course?

As a programme team, we are proud to be part of this brand new registered profession in the UK, we are all passionate about developing truly empathic, reflective and professional scientist-practitioners who enjoy helping individuals with health conditions, and who can also make an important impact in our healthcare systems in the same way that other countries, e.g. Australia, have been doing for 20+ years.

Why should I choose to study Clinical Exercise Physiology at Edinburgh Napier?

Since 2016, we have a track record in Edinburgh, and Scotland more widely, for developing clinical exercise scientists. Many of our previous graduates have gone on to valuable work in healthcare systems and research. Our team of excellent academics have so much to offer including: international reach and esteem, involvement in the recognition of the profession of CEP in the UK and its promotion, involvement in developing the national curriculum, applied clinical experience and much more.

To learn more about the course and apply, visit