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Intercalated BSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine

Sports and Exercise Medicine is now an established medical specialty. With an increasing interest in sports and leisure activities, together with the growing problem of obesity and chronic disease, the importance of treating injuries and preventing illness through exercise has grown considerably. The increasing focus on exercise medicine is reflected in the legacy aspects of the successful London 2012 Olympics, amongst many other initiatives.

Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) has been taught at Queen Mary for many years, with the post-graduate MSc programme being the oldest in Europe, and possibly the world. The undergraduate intercalated degree started as a younger sibling to the MSc but rapidly established its own niche as the first UK intercalated BSc in SEM and typically the most popular course at QMUL. Graduates go on to include SEM in their clinical practise as a sub-speciality, for example in general practise, orthopaedics, rheumatology or emergency medicine, or more directly via specialist training in SEM. SEM was finally recognised as a speciality in the run-up to the London 2012 games, with many SEM graduates from QMUL playing critical roles in the games and now the legacy delivery.

The iBSc is a 120 credit undergraduate (level 6), organized in six modules. We encourage applications from QMUL after MBBS year three or four, but also encourage and support applicants from other universities - with the interview and application process being handled equitably. The iBSc SEM syllabus addresses the fields of musculoskeletal injury, medical problems in sport and exercise as a health tool alongside detailed musculoskeletal anatomy teaching, biomechanics and injury rehabilitation.

Further, strong emphasis is placed both on paper based and quasi-experimental research with intercalating students undertaking both a systematic review and a full research project as part of their degree. These projects are supported by a Human Performance Laboratory and expertise in survey methods and clinical trials. Students’ publication rates are exceptionally high – with up to 70% of those who choose to pursue this objective achieving peer reviewed publication. Some recent examples are listed below.

Whilst keeping sight of our vision for excellence in Sports and Exercise Medicine education, the course continues to develop and innovate. In recent years we have amended the course by recognizing the significant amount of teaching delivered, and student work done, outside the core modules by adding a dedicated core module in place of the literature review element of the project. The aim of the Literature Reviewing module is to enable even more focus on structured evidence translation, enhancing the possibility of publication of your review work and augmentingh the transferable skills gained on your iBSc. 

Please note the Intercalated BSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine requires students to have completed at least three years of their MBBS programme or equivalent and so cannot accept applications from students in their 2nd year.

We look forward to your application.

Course structure and timing

The course begins in late September and ends in early June. There are two twelve week semesters (Sep – Dec, Jan- Apr) with exams at the end of each module. Hand-in of the research project dissertation is in late May.

Modules

  • Research Methods (semester 1)
  • Injuries and medical problems in sport (semester 1)
  • Literature reviewing (semester 1)
  • Research project (semester 1 + 2)
  • Biomechanics and rehabilitation (semester 2)
  • Exercise as a Health Tool (semester 2)

Summary of course units

Research methods in Sports and Exercise Medicine (15 credit)

As an emerging specialty, the importance of research in relation to sports and exercise medicine is paramount. This module will give you an understanding of the research process, from the initial idea, to its final presentation.

Through a series of lectures and interactive workshops you will learn how the different types of research relate to sports and exercise medicine, along with their advantages and disadvantages. Your preparation for each lecture will involve reading set texts and papers, which will give you the opportunity to become familiar with some research in this field. Discussion of what you have read will provide the basis for learning about how statistical data may be analysed and presented.

You will also learn about the practicalities of carrying out research, including how design a research proposal. By the end of this module you will have the skills to critique a research paper and understand its relevance to the practice of sports and exercise medicine.

Injuries and Medical Problems in Sport (15 credit)

This module covers the principles of sports and exercise medicine. It aims to provide you with a unique understanding of the evolving role of the sports physician. Through a series of interactive lectures and practical sessions, you will learn about the day to day injuries and medical problems encountered by doctors working within this speciality. You will develop your musculoskeletal examination skills, giving you the ability to diagnose a wide range of conditions.

Practising assessment skills on fellow students necessitates dressing suitably for practical sessions and the need to model and undress appropriately for your peers. If you have any concerns about this, e.g. for religious reasons, please contact the programme organiser to discuss the matter before applying.

Literature Reviewing (15 credit)

Literature reviewing is an essential part of the research process, and is therefore covered in detail in a dedicated module for those who wish to delve deeper, and learn more about meta-analysis for example. Throughout the process of reviewing, researchers identify knowledge gaps, make conclusions based on scientific evidence and formulate new research questions.

The LR module will focus on the review processes most commonly used in Sports and Exercise Medicine as well as developing critiquing and scientific writing skills. Students will learn about the different types of reviews (e.g. systematic, meta-analysis, review of reviews), how to use Quality Assessment Scales and graphic/presentation skills for review purposes (flow charts, table designing). The overall aim of the LR module is to enable students to produce high quality systematic review papers of or near to publication standard.

Research Project (45 credit)

This module will give you experience of the entire research process, in an area of sports medicine that is clinically relevant. Your project will contribute 37.5% of your final marks and you will therefore spend a significant amount of the year preparing it. It is expected that you will produce a piece of high quality research that will be potentially publishable. Intercalating students have had increasingly high levels of success in publishing and presenting their work.

Though you will be given possible project ideas, you will be expected to take ownership of the project, with suitable guidance and supervision. You may initially work in groups, but will then be responsible for carrying out and writing up your own 'strand' of the research.

Considerable emphasis will be placed on presenting your research in a professional manner, which will include writing it up according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine guidelines, as well as giving an oral presentation.

Exercise as a Health Tool (15 credit)

As future doctors you will be seeing an increasing number of patients with obesity and chronic health problems; such as heart disease, diabetes and back pain. The pharmacological agents to treat these conditions are well established, but have recent decreases in activity levels contributed to their increased prevalence? Can exercise be used to reverse this trend?
This module will provide you with a unique opportunity to learn about the latest evidence linking exercise and health. You will learn how specific exercise prescriptions can be used to treat cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and psychological conditions. The module will be taught through a series of lectures given by national experts.

This will be supplemented by a visit to a gym to see exercise prescriptions being carried out in practice, where you will plan and justify an exercise programme for a patient.

Biomechanics and rehabilitation (15 credit)

In semester 1 you will study injuries in relation to specific body regions (Injuries and Medical Problems In Sport module). Since many injuries develop from abnormal biomechanics, this module aims to give you an understanding of how the musculoskeletal system functions as a unit and how an abnormality in one area can lead to dysfunction in another.
This can then be related to the diagnosis and rehabilitation of injuries.

Another aim is to show how the biomechanics of different sports predispose to different injuries. Finally, this module will introduce you to the principles of rehabilitation and how this relates to the issues of biomechanics and sports-specific function.

Further information

If you would like any further information please contact Dr Manuela Angioi: m.angioi@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: 0208 223 8839
Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Mile End Hospital (Royal London), Bancroft Road, London, E1 4DG

Recently published iBSc projects:

  • Rowe V, Hemmings S, Barton C, Malliaras P, Maffulli N, Morrissey D. Conservative management of mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy: a mixed methods study, integrating systematic review and clinical reasoning. Sports Medicine 2012; 42 (11): 941-967
  • Mani-Babu S, Morrissey D, Waugh C, Screen H, Barton C. The Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy in Lower Limb Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review. Am J Sports Med. 2014; May 9. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Peter B. Tomlinson, Joseph, Angioi M. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower body muscle strength levels in healthy individuals. A systematic review with meta-analysis. J Sci Med Sport 2014 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.022
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