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Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness)

Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness)

Level 7

Gain advanced skills for the exercise industry with UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness) with majors in Physical Health and Wellness, Strength and Conditioning, and Sport and Recreation Management.

A photograph of UCOL staff and students carrying out V02 max testing on a client.
Quick info

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 3 years, full-time (part-time options are available)

Year 1 & 2: 28 Feb 2022 - 02 Dec 2022
Year 3: 21 Feb 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$7457.00 (Year 1); $7368.00 (Year 2); $7461 (Year 3)Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$21,500.00 each year

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

If you are passionate about using exercise to bring about positive change in the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness) will provide you with specialist knowledge and skills to enable you to have a direct impact on:

  • Diabetes prevention, obesity, corporate wellness, aged-care and mental health management;
  • Strength and conditioning for high-performance and aspiring athletes; 
  • Organising physical activity participation for community members and groups.

You'll progressively gain competencies and confidence to identify, plan, implement, evaluate and report on the impact of structured physical-activity opportunities and services delivered to clientele within your community.

Contextualised learning
Different from other degree programmes, you'll learn fundamental knowledge and skills in context. So, rather than just learn the theory in a foundation course, then build on it with practical knowledge, you'll learn the knowledge and gain the skills at once.

To further build on this, you'll be provided with many opportunities to apply your knowledge in supervised training environments. Firstly working one-on-one, with apparently healthy clients, then with groups, and then clients/communities requiring specialised programming needs (both in the sports, active-recreation and clinical health area). Thereafter students have opportunities to confirm their elected major and develop skills as an independent practitioner or project manager.

Although students will elect a major at the start of their degree, the first two years have been designed to give students a 'taste' of all the majors. Before starting their final year of study, students can confirm or change to one of the majors that suits their career plans the best:

  • Physical Health and Wellness
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Sport and Recreation Management

Practical experience
This degree comprises a large practicum component designed to create work-ready graduates as follows:

  • First year - 100 hours
  • Second year -  120 hours
  • Third year - 360 hours

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

At present, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, it's highly recommended that you are vaccinated against Covid-19 if you want to apply for this programme. All health sector organisations engaging health care workers have obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to take all reasonable steps to eliminate, or otherwise control, the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace. The New Zealand Government has mandated the vaccine for frontline health care workers (first vaccination by 15 Nov 2021, and fully vaccinated by 1 Jan 2022). Many of the health care providers we work with are requiring their staff, including any students on placement, to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination. As more providers follow suit, if you are unvaccinated or if you choose not to disclose whether or not you are vaccinated, or to provide evidence if asked, this will have an impact on healthcare placements that are allocated to you as part of your undergraduate health programme and will have an impact on you being able to successfully complete the programme.

You can see more information on this on UCOL's Covid-19 page, and on the Ministry of Health's website.

?Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Wellness) programmes will be able to plan and implement physical activity opportunities and services that lead to positive impacts on the health and physical conditioning of members within their communities.

Beyond being able to register as a personal trainer (with Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) accreditation), employment opportunities for Bachelor of Applied Science (with majors in Physical Health and Wellness, Strength and Conditioning and Sport and Recreation Management) graduates are diverse and, depending on the student’s chosen Major, could include:

  • Corporate wellness
  • Health promotion/education
  • Physical activity and dietary advisor
  • Physical health coordinator
  • Chronic disease intervention
  • Clinical exercise rehabilitation
  • Strength and conditioning coaching
  • Sports performance trainer
  • Sports coordinator
  • Active-recreation, sport event and project/event management
  • Secondary school or tertiary institution teaching
For some of these career options, further training and/or professional body registration may be required.

There are opportunities for further study at postgraduate or master level in the health, clinical exercise physiology, and sport sciences fields, or in teaching.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Sports and Fitness Professionals.

?Course Information

This programme comprises 360 Credits. This is a Level 7 programme.

Year 1

Socio-cultural and Professional Practices (15 Credits)
Learn how to conduct yourself professionally in the workplace, gain essential health and safety skills, understand the implications of multiculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand's exercise industry, relate various models of health and the impact of modern day society on the health and dietary practices in New Zealand, and discover some of the career pathways available to you.

Physical Health and Wellness Fundamentals (15 Credits)
Gain foundational knowledge and skills to describe and assess health-related human function in adults. Your studies will cover acute responses and physiological adaptations to cardiovascular training, and health and fitness testing including basic anthropometric measurements, resting and exercise blood pressure, flexibility and single-stage cardiovascular fitness testing.

Strength and Conditioning Fundamentals (15 Credits)
Gain foundational knowledge and skills to explain and improve the physiological functions of the musculoskeletal system in individual clients. Your studies will cover gym training including isotonic and isoinertial exercises, as well as modification, regression and progression techniques. You'll also study the metabolic and fatigue resistance characteristics of the different muscle fibre types.

Sport and Coaching Science Fundamentals (15 Credits)
Learn the essentials skill-set required by sport and coaching professionals. Your studies will include the principles of motor control and movement accuracy, and preparing, organising and delivering coaching sessions.

Client Assessment and Programme Prescription (30 Credits) (30 Practicum Hours)
Gain the necessary knowledge and have the opportunity, within a supervised environment, to apply industry practices to design safe and effective training programmes for a variety of healthy individuals. You'll work with clients to establish training needs; keep accurate records of baseline data and referral decisions; conduct fitness assessments; analyse, interpret and communicate assessment results to clients; and construct and trial safe and effective customised physical fitness conditioning programmes.

Leading Client Exercise Interventions (30 Credits) (70 Practicum Hours)
Develop the skills required to implement personalised training to a variety of clients within a supervised environment. This includes demonstrating and teaching correct form; learning how to motivate clients; adapting customised exercise programmes with a range of structured and/or advanced exercise options; learning how to refer clients to a network of allied professionals; and reflecting on client interactions and interventions. Additionally you'll learn how to apply basic business and marketing tools to assist you as a professional trainer.

Year 2

Strength and Conditioning Practices (30 Credits) (50 Practicum Hours)
Learn the practical skills to carry out appropriate performance-related physiological assessment and conditioning techniques used in the strength and conditioning industry. Your studies include analysing individual athletic requirements; reliably conducting valid tests to measure athletes' ability; designing, leading and critiquing structured training sessions for competitive athletes; discussing and selecting fatigue-management strategies to enhance athletic training and performance; and developing a basic periodised conditioning plan for competitive athletes.

Sport and Recreation Project Management Skills (15 Credits) 
Learn how to research for and plan a simple project for a local community group in the sport, fitness, recreation, and health and wellness industry.  

Small Business Skills (15 Credits)
Learn about small business strategic planning, resource alignment, marketing and financial practice in Aotearoa/ New Zealand in the context of physical activity interventions and/or project management. You'll identify the characteristics of small business models within the exercise industry, compare and evaluate the financial and legal obligations, and determine the financial viability of a proposed small business operation.

Physical Health and Wellness Practices (30 Credits) (50 Practicum Hours)
Learn clinical intervention strategies to address widespread health conditions (e.g. obesity). Your studies will include:

  • Body composition calculations
  • Haemodynamics within multi-stage predictive cardiovascular fitness tests
  • Exercise termination points
  • Clinical programme prescription and training implementation, monitoring and progress.

Research Skills for Exercise Professionals (15 Credits) 
Learn essential research skills to become a consumer and reporter of research.

Sport and Group Coaching Practices (15 Credits) (20 Practicum Hours)
Gain experience in implementing a sport skills development community project, and develop practical skills required by sport and exercise professionals to manage common musculoskeletal injuries.

Year 3

In third year of your degree you'll advance your knowledge via your chosen major - Physical Health and Wellness, Strength and Conditioning or Sport and Recreation Management.

Physical Health and Wellness Major

Advanced Physical Health and Wellness (30 Credits)
Gain advanced knowledge and skills for assessment and intervention strategies to manage a range of musculoskeletal conditions and prevalent diseases evident in modern-day lifestyles. Your studies will include:

  • Pathophysiology of common cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and mental health conditions/disorders
  • Role of exercise in wellbeing
  • Health appraisal, ethics and patient confidentiality
  • Change behaviour strategies
  • Contra-indicators, symptom limits and the exercise guidelines for people with special considerations
  • Clinical exercise prescription
  • Corporate Wellness and physical conditioning in the workplace and workplace ergonomics

Applied Professional Practice: Physical Health and Wellness (90 Credits) (360 Practicum Hours)
Immerse yourself in structured industry environments so that you can independently apply and develop your knowledge and practical skill-set in delivering safe and effective clinical training programmes to clients. Your studies also include conducting a pilot research project and reporting on the effectiveness of your interventions on health related parameters.

Strength and Conditioning Major


Advanced Strength and Conditioning (30 Credits)
Learn how to conduct and apply advanced assessment and intervention techniques to competitive athletes. Your studies also include planning a testing session for a group of competitive athletes (including risk management) and the application of sports strapping.


Applied Professional Practice: Strength and Conditioning (90 Credits) (360 Practicum Hours)
Immerse yourself in structured industry environments so that you can independently apply and develop your knowledge and practical skill-set in delivering structured training programmes to athletes. Your studies also include conducting a pilot research project and reporting on the effectiveness of your interventions on performance related parameters.

Sport and Recreation Management Major


Advanced Sport and Recreation Management (30 Credits)
Gain advanced knowledge to research for and plan community-based projects within the context of the Aotearoa/New Zealand sport, fitness, active-recreation, and health and wellness industry. Your studies include understanding community needs, working with, and leading, volunteers and event/project management. 

Applied Professional Practice: Sport and Recreation Management (90 Credits) (360 Practicum Hours)
Immerse yourself in structured environments where you can independently apply and develop your knowledge and practical skill-set in implementing effective community projects and be able to report the impact of physical activity participation. Your studies also include reviewing research findings/insights to inform community project variables, in-depth post event evaluations and community communications.

?Student & Staff Profiles

?Domestic Entry Requirements

University Entrance


New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Levels 4 or 5)


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean


Provisional enrolment


Provisional enrolment is defined by NZQA as being Discretionary Entrance and includes the following clauses:

Discretionary entrance may be granted to those applicants under the age of 20 who:

  • Are New Zealand or Australian citizens and permanent residents under 20 years of age
  • Must have a minimum of 14 credits in an approved subject at Level 2 towards NCEA
  • Must also have met the literacy and numeracy standards required for University Entrance

Applicants 20 years of age or over:
A person having reached the age of 20 years before the first day of the programme in the year for which admission is sought, who does not meet the academic qualifications above may be required to attend a conversation prior to their enrolment being accepted. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss their career goals, reasons for study, choice of study, possible challenges and the support that is available for them at UCOL.

Background checks
Students must declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed; and authorise UCOL to undertake a background check on the applicant with the Police Licensing and Vetting Agency. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment; the decision is at the discretion of the Head of School.

Once admitted to the programme, students are required to inform UCOL of any pending charges or changes to their conviction status.  A change of status may not necessarily result in exclusion from the programme, but it may impact the availability of student placements.

UCOL will undertake a safety check of all students working with children under the age of seventeen years old to ensure legislative requirements of the Children’s Act are met. The safety check involves confirming the student’s work history, verifying with trusted referees their suitability to work with children and the completion of New Zealand Police vetting.

First Aid Certification

Students must hold a current Comprehensive First Aid Certificate, or have gained that Certificate prior to the second semester of the programme. The Certificate must remain current while the student is enrolled in the degree as it will impact on their practical ‘placement’ opportunities.

Note: First Aid Certification may be organised by UCOL at various time points, but the cost of such courses remains the responsibility of the student.


For more information about NCEA Credits see?UCOL's NCEA explained page.

?International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants:

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).  UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre

Applicants under 20 years of age: Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

?Advice & Guidance

All applicants can request to be counselled about the demands of the programme. To optimise their chance of success, any applicant concerned about their ability to succeed in the degree will be encouraged to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise to help develop the necessary knowledge and skills. 

Work placements
Students will participate in work-integrated-learning experiences, which may require students to work on weekends and/or evenings. Off-site travel is not included in the programme costs. 

Work placements comprise supervised and unsupervised, off-campus activities.

Participation in these experiences is subject to students holding the required first-aid certification and having a Children’s Act (CA) clearance. 

Special needs or requirements
Students need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating within a commercial gym and fitness assessment and training environment. Students are advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Programme Leader before the programme begins.

Major availability
The availability of a particular elective course is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that course.

Previous related programmes
UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Science (with majors in Physical Health and Wellness, Strength and Conditioning, and Sport and Recreation Management) replaces Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN), (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable).
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme.
  • Fill out the Declaration and Consent to Disclosure of the New Zealand Police Vetting Service Request and Consent Form (New Zealand domestic applicants only.
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

?Additional Costs

First Aid Certification
Students must hold a current Comprehensive First Aid Certificate, or have gained that Certificate prior to the second semester of the programme. The Certificate must remain current while the student is enrolled in the degree as it will impact on their practical ‘placement’ opportunities.

Note: First Aid Certification may be organised by UCOL at various time points, but the cost of such courses remains the responsibility of the student. The fee depends on the number of participating students, however may be around $180.

Resources (text books)

Students may use texts and other books, journals, on-line databases, and the Internet to increase their awareness and knowledge of the subject material. Most required textbooks are provided via a subscription to an online Exercise Science collection. There is a cost of $250 per year for this.

Travel associated with work placements.

UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Science (Wellness and Exercise) students are required to wear a uniform for client training sessions and work placements. The approximate cost is $200. 


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.