Physiology & Sports Science BSc/MSci

Physiological Determinants of Performance 4X core BIOL4215

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is intended to support students in gaining an advanced understanding of the physiological processes that influence exercise and sporting performance (both to enhance and limit performance) with an emphasis on integrating knowledge from whole body and cellular research. 


There are normally 4.5 hours of teaching on Mondays, which may be split over more than one session. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a written assignment (30%) that will be completed 'at home'. 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to support students in gaining an advanced understanding of the physiological (and to a lesser extent psychological) processes that influence human performance during exercise and sporting activities. It has an emphasis on an integrative approach to study the limits to human performance. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Explain how somatotype can influence performance and appraise common techniques used to determine body composition; 

■ Analyse the physiological demands of common exercise modalities and evaluate how acute and chronic adaptive responses provide homeostatic control; 

■ Explain the key concepts of the excitation-contraction coupling process and discuss how molecular adaptations may influence whole body responses to exercise and muscle fatigue; 

■ Discuss physical and psychological factors that influence training status and appraise common techniques used to assess such factors and how they can be manipulated. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.