Sports Science and Physiology student at University of Leeds

Emily McClintock

Emily graduated with a BSc Sports Science and Physiology in 2018, and is now undertaking a degree in Graduate Entry Medicine.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

The Sports Science and Physiology course offered by the University has is from a science background compared to other universities. I really liked the opportunity to choose modules to tailor my degree to my interests and with the riding range of dissertation choices I knew I would be able to research something I was passionate about. When I visited campus on an open day I immediately felt at home, and then seeing the facilities available to me for my degree was exciting. The labs on offer really appealed to me as I would be able to link my theory knowledge to practice by engaging in practicals. As a keen netball player, I was drawn by the sports facilities available in particular the strength and conditioning room for university teams. There was also lots of other sports available to try which was really appealing.

What did you do on your degree course? 

In the first year, it was quite a broad range of topics which was a good introduction to the field of sports science. This was really helpful in choosing the direction you wanted to be able to meet your interests. It also meant we got to know lots of lecturers, many of whom were experts in their fields and heard about their current research. Getting to know them was good for the following years, as had someone to turn to for help. Alongside lectures, there were small group teaching sessions which were good in getting to know course mates better as well as exploring lecture content more to have a better understanding of it. There were also lab practicals which were great at putting theory into practice. There was always help with written assessments and then exams when needed. What was really helpful was every lecturer had 2 consultation hours each week which you could just go to and ask any questions. Most of them were contactable by email too and all approachable. It was certainly a well-supported degree.

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

I was rewarded for my hard work and enjoyment of the course with the highest mark of the year in the first year and the Adamson Prize for services to Biomechanics in final year which was great to receive.

The greatest challenges were probably getting used to the University life but there was so much support available and assessments weren't until after Christmas so there was plenty of time to get used to it. Running my own research project for my dissertation was exciting but tough. There was so much to think about but my dissertation tutor was helpful all the way and in the end, it turned out to be a really enjoyable process. Being able to do both study and play netball was certainly a reward, it definitely helped me to get more out of my time at university with many friends and opportunities from it.

What support did you get when you first moved to Leeds and during your studies?

The welcome week was helpful in orientating us around the university and introducing us to key members of staff in the faculty. We were also introduced to other students in the years above who we could approach for help which was beneficial over the 3 years. Throughout my degree, both the academic and student support staff were extremely approachable whenever we needed any help which made life at University easier. The academic staff were really great at offering time to go and talk to them about concepts we didn't understand and support us with our assessments.

Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? If so how has this enhanced your time at the university?

I joined the Leeds University Netball club which has been great to be able to represent the University at sport. It has given me a group of friends beyond my course mates as well as enhancing my time management as it requires a lot of commitment. It has also given me responsibility as I’ve been on the committee for the last 2 years which has been a fab opportunity to help shape the club as well as give back to it.

What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course?

It’s really engaging as your practicals match up with the theory that you learn in lectures and you get to use different equipment to test theories. The staff are really friendly and helpful when you have questions about the course as well as pastoral queries. There are many opportunities to adjust your course to suit your interests as you can take discovery modules including those in outdoor activities. Ultimately Leeds is a great place to study Sports Science as it is research-led with great staff and you can tailor your studies to suit you.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the Faculty (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

The Faculty careers advisor has been great in supporting my career plans right from Year 1. They first introduced me to opportunities within sports science which I have since gained work experience towards. In particular highlighting jobs within clinical exercise physiology and the application requirements so I could tailor any volunteering or work experience to them. They are great at reviewing CVs and cover letters for applications having helped me with summer internship applications. They also offer help with other stages of applications like online psychometric or aptitude tests and assessment centres, which I used last year when applying for PWC. They encourage experience in all areas to help broaden your knowledge of available jobs which your degree offers you.