Health and Performance Science

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Do you have an interest in Health and Performance? Do you care about the health of others and want to enhance their athletic performance and ability? Do you have an analytical mind, an inquisitive mind and think you could work well with teams and athletes? These are just some of the important qualities needed to work in this area. 

What is Health and Performance Science?

Health and Performance Science studies the scientific principles that are underlying in the promotion and enhancement of sport, physical health and exercise. 

What third level courses are available?

Universities and college in Ireland are offering course in the following areas:

  • Health and Performance Science – UCD

Studying Health and Performance Science in college 

The courses under this exact heading are limited to one main course that is offered in University College Dublin. It is a three year course and will give you all the relevant skills and knowledge needed to work in this area. 

Your first year of your course will be a foundation year where you will become familiar with all the basics related to the area of health and performance science as well as getting an insight into what will come throughout your degree. Modules you will cover in first year include Anatomy, Health and Fitness, Biochemistry, Physics, Exercise Physiology, Theory of Coaching and Strength and Conditioning. 

Your second year will introduce you to more in depth information as well as expand in border areas. Topics you will cover include Laboratory Skills, Sports Psychology, Biomechanics, Skills Acquisition, Research Methods and Exercise Prescription. 

Third year will see you carry out quite a lot of research as part of your research project thesis while also carrying out a practical case study. You will also keep focused on your theory and look at modules from Behaviour Change, Sports Injury Management and Skill Acquisition to Molecular Exercise Science and Statistics. 

It is important to note that a course such as this one will consist of lectures, small group tutorials, practical classes and working in laboratories. There may also be an opportunity to study abroad for a trimester. This information is based on the course offered in UCD.

Career options

Health and Performance Science is a broad area that opens up the possibility of many different roles. You can work in areas such as health promotion, sport and exercise consultancy, professional athlete or team support, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning and more. 

Many carry on their study at postgraduate level to specialise in a particular area of their interest. With experience you can then move into research and education roles if that interests you. 

Skills and qualities important in this area include excellent communication skills, the ability to work well with others, interpersonal skills, customer service skills, attention to detail, observation skills, analytical skills, organisation skills, time management skills, an interest in people and helping others, the ability to build strong relationships with others, trustworthy, ability to keep up to date with new research, research skills and a genuine interest in the area. 

Related Jobs

  • Health and Performance Scientist
  • Health and Performance Coach
  • Performance Psychologist
  • Sports Scientist
  • Sports and Exercise scientist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

Further Study

Many people want to specialise in a specific area at a master’s level. 

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

Certain QQI Awards in a relevant area may also be accepted. These change from course to course so be sure to research further. 

The points required to study Health and Performance Science in UCD in 2020 were 509 points. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • Adults should be active for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
  • Performance coaches can help your relationship with yourself, your diet, your sport and overall health and wellbeing
  • Performance Science Ireland work with athletes either one-to-one or in groups in order to accelerate their athletic performances


Student Grant Scheme 

Course details

Performance Coach Job Description

Health Scientist Job Description

Performance Science Ireland

Aedín Dunne

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