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Health and Fitness

The 4-year Honours (NFQ Level 8) Bachelor of Science in Health and Leisure course, TL871, is designed to provide the graduate with the knowledge, skills and competence to work in the health, fitness and leisure sector as a well-qualified, informed, engaged honours degree graduate. Honours degree students are expected to become policy makers, valued sectoral professionals and advocates for a holistic, positive strengths approach to healthy living. The course involves the study of six subject pillars: Exercise Science, Health Studies, Activity Leadership, Physical Education, Professional Practice and one of the elective pillars, Education in Aquatics or Outdoor and Experiential Learning.

All subjects have a mix of applied theory and practice, designed for the student to develop a broad, relevant  skills based. Most students will follow a common programme for the first three years. At the end of second year, however, some students may apply to enter the Physical Education (PE) or Adapted Physical Activity (APA) specialisms in third year or General Health and Leisure streams which allows students to begin to specialise in specific topics in third year or continue to take the general health and leisure programme.

Students undertake a significant work placement in third year, which is completed with a local, national or international service provider.

Students on the Level 8 programme, who have not already opted to specialise in either Physical Education or Adapted Physical Activity, progress to fourth year in one of three specialisms. These are: Health and Wellbeing, Sports Development or Athletic Performance. Each of these specialisms includes a major independent study or research project which the students must undertake during fourth year. Level 8 students graduate with a degree award title which reflects the specialism they took in fourth year.Full attendance at all programme activities is expected. A minimum attendance regulation applies.

The Health and Leisure Studies programmes were first offered in Tralee in 1993. Throughout that time, we have continued to be innovative in our approach to teaching and learning, ensuring the programme content will equip students with the breadth of knowledge, skills and competency to perform at the highest levels. Graduates will have a bachelor of science degree and a variety of discipline-specific professional (various health-related, exercise professional-related and aquatics or outdoor education) certifications. Students are expected to become sufficiently competent practitioners to become eligible for professional fitness instructor registration in group exercise, gym instruction and personal training.

Graduates enjoy a rich variety of employment opportunities. They work in health and leisure centres, in health promotion units, in spa/ wellness centres, in coaching and team sport settings, in performance training, exercise programming, hotels, mainstream and special-needs schools, community centres, disability service providers, clinical settings, in the private/entrepreneurial area, in local sports partnerships and governing bodies of sport, in swimming pools and in the great outdoors.

ADAPTED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY specialism graduates are health and leisure professionals with a specialist knowledge and experience in working with people with disabilities. They work in health and leisure centres, in sports camps, in health promotion, in mainstream and special needs schools, in community centres, in clinical settings, in residential and day care services and outdoor education centres.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION specialism graduates work within the school environment, and also in youth work, adult education and broader community sport and leisure settings. They take on coaching roles in leisure facilities and run coaching courses for communities, schools, colleges and teams. This programme also provides an alternative pathway into a second level physical education qualification.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING specialism graduates work where physical activity, recreation and sport are used to enhance wellbeing. Their studies are especially relevant to employment settings which demand a focus on health and health promotion through physical activity, recreation and sport. These include: the HSE as health promotion officers, spa/wellness centres as wellness leaders within gyms, spas and studios, positive youth development workers, therapeutic recreation coaches, well-being coaches.

SPORTS DEVELOPMENT specialism graduates focus on advancing sport in society. Their studies enable them to plan, research, implement and evaluate sports development policy, programmes and practices to facilitate physical activity provision throughout the stages of life. This might include addressing particular groups which may not have equity of access to physical activity, sport and recreational opportunities. For example: older adult populations, females, ethnic minorities and those with special needs.

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE specialism graduates work as strength and conditioning specialists, fitness conditioning consultants, fitness and leisure operational managers, commercial group exercise leaders, personal trainers, group exercise leaders, gym instructors/supervisors and as fitness and programming professionals for teams/athletes.

 

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