Thinking about a degree in Exercise and Sports Science? Read this first.

The Careers Department

The Careers Department

Apr 30, 2019 — 3 mins read

We chatted to Peter, who dropped out of Exercise and Sports Science at ACU and Sophia who studied at CSU. Here’s the list of things they think you should know.

1.    Many students who undertake an exercise or sports science degree end up transferring to another course or going on to post-graduate study.

Sophia told us that a huge bulk of her class transferred out of the degree after they gained entry into the specialisation that they wanted.

“It’s tricky. If you study speech pathology you graduate as a speech pathologist, but if you study exercise science you aren’t going to work as an exercise scientist. So you’ll need to get some work experience in areas like athlete rehabilitation, nutrition, personal training or as a strength or conditioning coach. In my experience, most people will continue studying after their undergraduate degree.”

According to a survey completed in 2017 by Southern Cross University, 47% of Exercise and Sports Science graduates go on to post-graduate study.

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2.    Without further qualifications, graduates can work in the health and fitness industry for example as a personal trainer, or in sports management and administration.

Peter for example, dropped out of his course at ACU to become a personal trainer.

“I wasn’t very clear on what I wanted to do after finishing. The course gave ideas of what you could get out of it, but I was always like, “Will I actually do that?”

I decided I didn’t really want to become a PDHPE teacher or anything in that area really so, I dropped out. I didn’t stop fitness though – I work as a personal trainer now, so it wasn’t a complete waste because I did learn stuff.”


3.    It’s quite common for graduates to switch industries after a few years in the sport, exercise, and fitness industry due to the limited career progression and the relatively low or unstable wages.

“Being a PT isn’t a very sustainable job actually, it fluctuates a lot. In the long term I think I’m thinking of leaving to do something else,” says Peter.

58% of graduates surveyed said that lack of jobs, opportunities, and recognition were all barriers to their career progression.

So, what’s the advice for prospective students?

Peter: “I would tell them to look into the other options, to look at the differences and to see if they can talk to people from other unis. ACU is a good uni, but I wasn’t sold on it.

It’s a small uni and the uni life wasn’t the greatest, I found it to be quite a boring campus. There weren’t a lot of social places to meet new people other than in class. I think at UTS or Sydney University there are bars where you can hang out, but ACU does not have that.

I wanted a place that I could go and talk to people that aren’t in my course.

4.    Two Australian universities ranked in the top 10 universities for sports related subjects in the world, based on the 2019 QS World University Rankings.

The University of Queensland was ranked second, and the University of Sydney ranked fourth. But these highly sought-after courses have a competitive ATAR to match. A Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Queensland has an ATAR rank of 89.

Peter ended up studying at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) because the ATAR was more attainable for him.

“The facilities at ACU were alright… I don’t know for sure if the facilities at other unis are better, but I have heard sometimes that they are. Like obviously Sydney University is really competitive so you would imagine they’ve got great facilities.”


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