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Health Sciences and Sport

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
  • 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.

Professor Jayne Donaldson

Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport

Professor Jayne Donaldson is a Registered Nurse and Registered Nurse Teacher, and keen interest in healthcare services provision, particularly in terms of the quality of care provision, and service redesign and improvement. Jayne has held a few Senior Management positions within the Scottish healthcare and Higher Education sector, and is a member of Council of Deans Health Scotland and UK.

We're ranked first in Scotland for health research and the quality of our sport research. How does this inform teaching?

'At Stirling, we encourage our students to think beyond the boundaries of traditional teaching. Our team of academics within Health Sciences and Sport dedicate their time to creating and 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 also have the opportunity to mentor our ‘Winning Students’ athletes and experience the psychological intricacies of high-performance sport firsthand. 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. Individuals who have made poor health choices – alongside a sector-wide skills shortage and an ageing population – are now putting 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. We believe in understanding the root cause of behaviours. If we can begin to understand why consumers are making poor decisions in the first place, we can begin to shape behaviour change interventions to influence health choices for the better.'

How do 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 cardiac 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. All sport students must undertake a work placement during their studies and will amass a considerable amount of time in industry putting their theory into practice. We also offer all of our degrees part-time, which allows our health students in particular to continue in employment and take learnings straight from the lecture theatre into a real-world setting.'

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