HomeProgrammesExercise & Sport ScienceBachelor of Applied Science (Wellness & Sport)

Bachelor of Applied Science (Wellness & Sport)

Level 7

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

Learner working in the exercise and wellness industry
Quick info

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

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

Y1: 26 Feb 2024 - 22 Nov 2024
Y2: 26 Feb 2024 - 29 Nov 2024
Y3: 19 Feb 2024 - 29 Nov 2024

Domestic Fees: *
Y1: $7,861.00 Y2: $7,766.00 Y3: $7,863.00

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$25,000.00 + Student Services Levy $591.00 per 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 well-being of individuals and communities, the UCOL Bachelor of Applied Science (Wellness & Sport) will provide you with specialist knowledge and skills to start a career in the exercise industry.

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. On completion of the programme graduates, with the appropriate majors, will be able to register with Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand (SESNZ) as an Exercise and Sport Scientist.

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

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 learners will elect a major at the start of their degree, the first two years have been designed to give learners 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

 Career & Study Outcomes

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

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 learner's chosen Major, could include:

  • Exercise trainer
  • Health coach
  • Physical health coordinator
  • Chronic disease intervention
  • Clinical exercise rehabilitation
  • Corporate wellness
  • 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 for Sport and Fitness Professionals, see careers.govt.nz

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

From 2023, UCOL Te Pūkenga and the programme you have enrolled in will become part of Te Pūkenga. So, if you join UCOL Te Pūkenga in 2023, you will be awarded Te Pūkenga certification. And, if you are a current learner graduating in 2023, you will be awarded a co-branded certificate.

This programme consists of 360 credits. 

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 health 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 essential 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

Students performing a V02 Max test with a person.

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

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

   Student being helped with bench press weight lifting

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

   Students planning an event

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.

 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
Learners 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 Academic Portfolio Manager.

Once admitted to the programme, learners 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 learner placements.

UCOL will undertake a safety check of all learners 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 learner's work history, verifying with trusted referees their suitability to work with children and the completion of New Zealand Police vetting.

First Aid Certification

Learners 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.

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). 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).


For more information about NCEA Credits see the UCOL Te Pūkenga NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international learner applicants.

English language proficiency
International learner applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). 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).

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

All applicants can request to be counselled about the demands of the programme. 

While UCOL does not require learners to be fully vaccinated against COVID, various placements may require this. As such, any learner not vaccinated against COVID may have limited placement opportunities.

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
Learners 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. 

Additionally, learners will need to meet the vaccination requirements of the placement provider.

Special needs or requirements
Learners need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating within a commercial gym and fitness assessment and training environment. Learners 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
The UCOL Bachelor of Applied Science (with majors in Physical Health and Wellness, Strength and Conditioning, and Sport and Recreation Management) replaces the 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 learner 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 Te Pūkenga Academic Statute and other relevant 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 (textbooks)

Students may use texts and other books, journals, online 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 may be a cost of $250 per year for this.

Printing cost
Approximately $150 each year.

All travel costs associated with work placement is at the learners’ expense.

The UCOL 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 and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning, a business division of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.