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

Pitch perfect. Falkirk’s visit to Sport Exercise Science Labs

In line with the Edinburgh Napier’s commitment to students gaining valuable first-hand experience, two postgraduate Sports & Exercise Sciences students were recently scheduled to work with Falkirk FC’s squad, to produce a pre-season assessment.

The Club’s players assembled at the state-of-the-art laboratories at Sighthill in June, to take part in a series of tests designed to record everything from their percentage body fat to their counter movement jump height.

The session was run by Laboratory Technician, Russell Wilson, and two Sport Performance Enhancement MSc students, Kieran McManus and Jack Brennan. They soon had the squad working hard:

  • Using the School’s new SECA portable body composition analysers to measure variables such as overall body fat percentage, resting energy expenditure, sectional skeletal muscle mass measurements and visceral adipose tissue.
  • Performing counter movement jumps and squat analysis using Kistler force plates. These provide information on jump height, relative maximal power and time spent in each phase of the jump/squat.
  • The club’s physio also requested hamstring force measurements, to establish pre-season baseline hamstring strength.

Falkirk players in ENU Sports labs

The following day, Kieran and Jack attended Falkirk’s stadium to assist with some additional testing. There, the students ran the players through some speed and agility drills, including straight sprint speed testing and the 5-0-5 agility test, using Witty timing gates to provide accurate velocity information.

Graeme Henderson, Head of Performance at Falkirk FC, was delighted with the sessions, which were also attended by Falkirk’s head coach, Paul Sheerin, and the club’s head physiotherapist, Rachel Gillen.

“The data will prove invaluable over the course of the season,” said Graeme. “It gives us an ability to provide a comparison throughout the season in relation to the physical levels we expect of our squad. It also helps with return to play protocols, should any player unfortunately suffer from injury, as we can compare to the baseline scores we now have.

“Throughout the process, the support we received from Edinburgh Napier has been excellent and highlights their ability to assist elite level athletes. The Master’s students provided insight in interpreting data, further underlining the world class level of academic learning provided at Edinburgh Napier.”

These interactions underline the University’s commitment to strengthening its existing relationship with the Scottish FA, who accredited a new undergraduate degree in Football Coaching, launched in 2019.