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Sports Science Courses
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Sports Science Courses overview
Sports science is about understanding how the human body operates during exercise. Professionals in this field utilise that knowledge for a variety of purposes, including sports medicine, coaching and research. Postgraduate study covers a variety of topics, from broad fundamental scientific methodology to specific disciplines.
The origins of sports science reach back to the ancient Greek physician Galen, who wrote about improving one’s health through fitness and exercise. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century saw an increase in academia throughout the western world, which included the rise of more widely printed health science documentation. The 19th century saw medical journals spring forth in greater numbers than ever, with this field in particular thriving in light of new literature.
The scientific method has come a long way since its Socratic ancestor. Modern sports scientists utilise state of the art technology and medical knowledge to improve the health and well being of athletes and amateurs worldwide.
Is sports science for me?
Sports science is for those curious about how our bodies function under stress and why. It’s a versatile field that allows students to understand nutrition, strength, conditioning, human physiology and more through the critical lens of science. If you’re an analytical thinker who loves fitness and well-being, sports science could be for you.
Postgraduate qualifications can be taken up to master level, with certificates and diplomas being ideal for those unwilling to invest more than a year.
Graduate certificates in sports science range in specialisations from coaching to medicine. The University of Queensland exemplifies this through their Graduate Certificate in Sports Medicine, designed for experienced medical practitioners. This institution also offers courses in sports coaching, which are ideal for aspiring coaches and have a far lower barrier to entry. Both take six months of full time study to complete, or up to a year part time.
Graduate diplomas give students a broader perspective, taking one year of full time study to complete. The units offered vary substantially between different specialisations, with Bond University specialising in sports management and others in sports medicine. It’s therefore advisable for students to be very clear on career and academic goals for these. Entry requirements can vary extensively depending on whether students have taken a managerial or medical path.
Master degrees provide extensive knowledge in several areas of sports science, including medicine, coaching and management. Courses in sports medicine can be taken at the University of Queensland, featuring units in neck injuries, lumbar injuries, head injuries and a research project. Others from Bond University offer an entirely different spectrum of units in managerial finance, marketing fundamentals, organisational behaviour and more. These take two years of full time study to complete regardless of program, or longer if part time.
Coaches are needed in many sporting contexts, ranging from primary school teams to professionals competing on the world stage. Schools require coaches to assist in the management of after school sports programs, clubs require them to manage their teams and government agencies utilise them in recreational programs. The Australian government hosts a wealth of employment information for coaches here.
These professionals help clients maintain good health. Their expertise extends to the treatment of a variety of conditions, such as diabetes or heart diseases. Exercise physiologists can expect employment at places like AEP Health Group, who offer health consulting and treatment to clients.
The quintessential sport scientist works in a laboratory or the field to achieve the highest athletic results. Unlike coaches who serve a more interpersonal role, sport scientists devote themselves to utilising the scientific method to improve training methodology and common knowledge of sport. The Bowerman Sports Science Clinic and Smartasport are ideal examples of employers, providing every opportunity to develop the field to capable sport scientists.
There are a number of career paths for sport scientists wanting to specialise. The following are just a few of those opportunities: