BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW

Since you’re up to date on what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW, it would make sense if you were now scouring the internet for a real student’s real opinion on the degree. 

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the perfect place. 

Say hi to Martjie, a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology graduate at UNSW, who gave us a genuine lowdown of the course, the uni and its culture. 

If you’re wanting to find out all there is to know about Exercise Physiology at UNSW — the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the ins and outs — keep scrolling! 

Why should you study an Exercise Physiology degree at UNSW?
Top 3 Pros of an Exercise Physiology Degree
Top 3 Cons of an Exercise Physiology Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting UNSW Exercise Physiology
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying UNSW Exercise Physiology
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study an Exercise Physiology degree at UNSW?

Exercise Physiology UNSW - Quote

The Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW can be summed up as the intersection between health and exercise, and the rehabilitative and preventative strategies used to manage injuries. It’s a four-year, full-time degree that’s served by UNSW’s Faculty of Medicine — so you’ll have access to plenty of useful wisdom and advice. 

As an Exercise Physiology student at UNSW, you’ll be involved in an industry-focused program that fosters knowledge through practice with clinical placements and hands-on training so you’ll be more than prepared when it comes to scoring your first full time gig. You’ll be learning how to support yourself and others in physical training to overcome injury through rehabilitation.

So, these are the perfect skills for a plethora of various professional roles. If you’ve ever envisioned yourself as a personal trainer, clinical exercise physiologist, wellness coordinator, strength coach, clinical research assistant or just someone who knows everything about exercise physiology — this degree may be perfect for you! 

With subjects ranging from anatomy, physiology and pathology to chemistry, physics and psychology, you can be sure that you’ll graduate having developed an advanced understanding of the diverse facets in the exercise physiology world. 

Top 3 Pros of an Exercise Physiology degree

#1: The tight knit cohort 

According to Martjie, one of the most defining characteristics of the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW was the close cohort and friendly peers. You’re almost guaranteed to foster heaps of great friendships as an Exercise Physiology student — friendships that Martjie told us she still maintains today. 

It’s almost like you’re in a school class, because you get really close with your EP cohort. You see them all the time in class because you all literally have to do the same classes. I guess you get to see these people grow up. You build good relationships with the people — I’m still friends with all the EP people and it’s been 2 years since we graduated,” Martjie explained. 

The Bachelor of Exercise Physiology is almost entirely prescriptive which means your classes and subjects are already set out for you and you don’t get too many chances to specialise or tailor the degree to your own interests. So, while you won’t get much freedom in choosing experimental subjects, you will get to know almost everyone in your year group. As Martjie said, you’re all growing up together! 

#2: Important and useful content 

As a student in the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology course at UNSW, you’re going to be developing some essential knowledge that is not only going to help you in the exercise physiology world, but will also lay some great foundations for almost any career you decide to pursue. 

Martjie told us, “It just made me aware of how important exercise is, a lot of people don’t think that exercise should be a part of your daily life or how important a healthy lifestyle is, and the degree makes you conscious of that. It made me really aware of how exercise affects your physiology.” 

So, you’ll be gaining a perfect balance of exercise-related and physiology-based experience to hack any industry. The most common areas of employment for graduates from Exercise Physiology include:

    • Workplace health and rehabilitation 
    • Community exercise and physical activity programs 
    • Public and private hospitals 
    • Private practice 
    • Aged care 
    • Mental health clinics

Even just from looking at the areas above, it’s clear that your role is going to be all about helping people no matter their physical abilities. If you’re someone interested in health and fitness and helping people — the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology may be perfect for you. 

#3: Passionate and helpful staff

[The staff] are all really helpful and really open. If you go up to them and ask for feedback, they’ll give you feedback. They’re open to sitting down with you and helping you out if you need it. They give you guidance,” Martjie said. 

It seems like the common denominator that makes this degree so great is the people involved. Not only are you going to be surrounded by kind and welcoming peers, but the faculty and staff make the program even better.

As a student in the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology program at UNSW, you’ll be connected to none other than the School of Medical Sciences. This is great because it means that you’ll have access to a wide scope of resources that make up the faculty.

For example, some of the other programs under the School of Medical Sciences include:

    • Bachelor of Science 
    • Bachelor of Medical Science 
    • Bachelor of Psychological Science 
    • Bachelor of Vision Science 

So, you’re in a very fascinating and informative spot. 

Martjie added, “By the end of my fourth year, I got to a point where I was even asking them to look over my resume and they would do that for me, which was really helpful.” 


Top 3 Cons of an Exercise Physiology degree

#1: Rigid course outline 

As we’ve mentioned, this is a course that requires almost no pre-planning when it comes to crafting your timetables by trimester. Instead, it’s pretty much all laid out for you.

So, you’re swapping personalisation for structure, a tight knit cohort and long-term relationships with your tutors and staff (who will also stay with you throughout your degree). That’s a pretty decent swap if you’re asking me. 

Martjie said, “They’ll tell you everything, the only subjects you choose are like 2 or 3 electives. Everything else they do for you. So, there’s not much flexibility.”

#2: It can be tough to balance study and work (especially in fourth year)

In the last year, it was hard to juggle everything because we were expected to do placement as well as research. And, you know, you might be doing a placement the whole time throughout that — that’s why I chose subjects that were online because I was going home doing my assignments, and then going to placement,” Martjie explained. 

Students in the Exercise and Physiology program will be welcomed into the world of placements in the fourth year which comprises a whopping 400 hours of experience. These hours are divided between 2 subjects known as Practicum A and Practicum B.

These classes will provide students with a valuable chance to gain academic credit as an intern with a company of their own choice. These placements can really be anywhere — from a pilates studio to the hospital. 

Martjie told us that alongside these placement classes, you’ll have a research component to complete. The combination of the two was what Martjie admitted to finding difficult. 

“And then you’re also doing research. So it was quite hard to juggle, I kind of wish that they didn’t do it like that. It was definitely quite hard to juggle the fourth year.” 

#3: That’s it! 

Despite the cons above, Martjie was sure that her decision to study a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology was absolutely worth it. 

If this has convinced you, take a more extensive squiz at the course right here

Any regrets? 

As expected from Martjie’s struggle to list more than 2 cons in the degree, she hasn’t had any regrets. In fact, it sounds like it was the perfect avenue for Martjie. 

It’s also good to remember that everyone has completely different experiences at uni. It may be the best few years of your life, or it might be a time that you want to get over and done with so you can start doing the real thing.

Whatever your circumstance, it’s still a fabulous few years to gain some knowledge and get a taste of the world beyond classrooms and lectures. 

What do you wish you had known before starting the degree? 

While Martjie took advantage of getting involved with societies like a pro, it can be easy to overlook. Perhaps you think you’ve got too much on your plate as it is, or maybe you’re worried about joining a club that you don’t know anything about — they might seem a little intimidating but in reality everyone considering joining a uni society is in the same boat.

So, if you’re hesitant about the prospect of uni societies, this is your sign — just do it! Becoming a member of a range of different uni societies is a great way to grow professionally, intellectually and socially.

In fact, there’s an association that’s purely devoted to exercise physiology. So, if your exercise physiology classes aren’t enough, you can join UNSW’s Exercise Physiology Society to get even more benefits from the degree! 

Martjie told us, “You can be a part of the EP society which organises all these cool events. There’s another society called RAHMS, which is the Rural Allied Health and Medical Society, and as an EP you can be a part of that as well. They do some interesting stuff if you’re interested in rural health.” 

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

#1: Medicine faculty connections 

As we’ve mentioned, a fab feature of the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology degree at UNSW is that it comes underneath the broad School of Medical Sciences. This means that you’ve got access to a variety of resources that will make your studies that much more valuable and far-reaching. 

“I’m pretty sure it’s the only exercise physiology degree that is in the Faculty of Medicine. And because it’s in the Faculty of Medicine, it’s much more medically based than other EP degrees. Other EP degrees don’t do subjects like pathology and pharmacology,” Martjie said. 

#2: State of the art infrastructure 

Another differentiating feature of UNSW as opposed to other unis, according to Martjie, is their impressive facilities and infrastructure. She explained, “We have new facilities, if you compare it to, like, USYD, our facilities are a lot newer.” 

What inspired you to choose this degree?

By the sounds of it, Martjie’s always been into exercise. But not just exercise as strict physical regimens and only spinach diets. Instead, Martjie has developed an education based around exercise and physiology as a form of rehab and ones that suits a sustainable lifestyle.

Since she knew that exercise was the way to go, her choice came down to the perfect uni and from the advice above, it’s clear that UNSW fitted that spot perfectly. 

What are the possible career paths?

Exercise Physiology UNSW - Careers

There are plenty of options and to make them even more diverse, you can really score these roles anywhere! Perhaps you’d like to work in hospitals, aged care, mental health clinics, community exercise programs or workplace rehabilitation centres. So, not only do you have loads of potential career paths but you can get them almost anywhere! 

The great thing about the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at UNSW is that you’ll be developing the essential foundations that will support you in any industry. You’ll be learning all about health and exercise science, physical activity as well as preventative and rehabilitative therapy strategies.

So, it’s filling the supply to a need that’s always in demand. People are always going to be wanting to exercise and look after their health and that’s where you come in! 

Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect! 


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