Ask an expert in health sciences and sport

The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at Stirling delivers a range of Masters courses across a breadth of health- and sport-related topics, including:

  • Sport Management
  • Sport Performance Coaching
  • Early Years Practice Health Visiting
  • Health Research

Professor Jayne Donaldson explains why Stirling is the ideal place to study health sciences and sport.

Jayne Donaldson

Professor Jayne Donaldson

As Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, Professor Jayne Donaldson is responsible for overseeing the delivery of teaching and research within the faculty. She is a Registered Nurse and Registered Nurse Teacher, and has worked in Higher Education since 1998. Jayne has a keen interest in the quality of patient experience within healthcare and prostate cancer diagnosis. She recently co-edited a special edition within Nurse Education Today relating to her work in compassionate person-centred care. She is an active member of Scottish Academic Heads for Nursing, the Allied Health Professions network and the UK-wide Council of Deans of Health.

In REF 2021, 100% of research environment, 80% of research impact and 83% of overall research in Allied Health Professions and Nursing was classed as world leading or internationally excellent. How does this inform teaching within the faculty?

"At Stirling, we encourage our students to think beyond the boundaries of traditional teaching. Our team of academics dedicate their time to discovering new knowledge in their respective fields, and developing a bespoke curriculum that is at the forefront of research innovation. Our success within health and sport research is testament to the passion, commitment and drive of our academic staff, and we pride ourselves in producing well-informed, skilled graduates who are highly attractive to potential employers."

We share our campus with a number of National Governing Bodies for sport. How closely do students work with industry?

"Collaboration with industry is a core element of Stirling’s sport and health science courses. We place a strong emphasis on combining theory with practice, and we take every opportunity to ensure that our students benefit from the latest industry insights.'

As Stirling is home to several national governing bodies (NGBs) for sport, students are afforded the opportunity to undertake work placements and conduct dissertation projects with our on-site partners. We regularly encourage our students to volunteer at national events and invite guest speakers to present talks on industry best practice."

Stirling is Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. How does this benefit postgraduate students?

"Being Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence is beneficial to postgraduate students in a variety of different ways. Due to this status, we hold close links with government officials, who visit campus to discuss and shape government policy within sport. Our students are therefore at the forefront of pivotal, industry-changing decisions and are taught by academics who make valuable contributions to cross-party working groups.'

Psychology of Sport students have the opportunity to engage with the University’s Sports Development Service, helping student-athletes to develop their performance in competition. At Stirling, we attract some of the top researchers from across the globe and our sports facilities are second to none."

What are the key challenges facing the healthcare sector and how does Stirling equip its students to tackle these?

"The health and wellbeing of our population is a growing concern. An ageing population, changing patterns of ill-health and a sector-wide skills shortage are putting a major strain on our national healthcare service. Through advanced teaching in public health, health visiting, and gerontology and ageing, our focus is on developing highly skilled health professionals who have the knowledge and experience to make a difference to society.

Our world-leading academics transfer their research findings into the classroom to ensure students learn from the most up-to-date advances in health-sector knowledge. The University of Stirling is also home to the Dementia Services Development Centre, a key UK hub for dementia research and education. Students benefit from the latest innovations in ageing and dementia research, and the centre’s international reputation helps to underscore the University of Stirling’s role as a thought leader in gerontology."

Do students gain from health and sport-related teaching within the same faculty?

"The positive correlation between physical activity and health is a proven one, with physical activity recognised as the only universal preventative for developed-world epidemics, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Stirling students benefit from our joined-up approach to teaching within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, and have access to the latest developments in both areas of world-leading research. Academic staff work together to provide students with the knowledge to help people to maintain, attain and retain their physical fitness. Physical, mental, emotional and even social health go hand in hand, and we aim to create strong, active role models who are able to work with people to change the behaviours that lead to illness."

How does the faculty prepare its students for life after study?

"We are committed to the employability of our graduates and we have close links with industry across both health and sport sectors. We also offer all of our degrees part-time - with a number entirely online - which allows our students to continue in employment and take learnings straight from the lecture theatre into a real-world setting."

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