IMAPA is a 2 year (120 credits) Master's programme in partnership between the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium), the University of Olomouc (UP, Czech Republic), and a number of associate partners across the world. The programme aims at educating students in both a professional orientation (students can choose between education and active lifestyle), and a disciplinary specialization (students choose between biomechanics & exercise physiology, integrity and (dis)ability in sport and motor control-learning & psychology).
IMAPA aims to provide state-of-the-art research and teaching methodology in adapted physical activity (APA) and the social, pedagogical and technical aspects of physical activity adapted to the needs of persons with a disability. The programme combines the expertise of a number of universities throughout the EU and the world, and offers students comprehensive training and expert knowledge in the many aspects of adapted physical activity.
Each year, international expert academics and professionals are invited to conduct teaching and research assignments. The programme promotes the exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners from around the world. The multicultural aspects of the Master's programme are a great asset to the programme itself and to the field of adapted physical activity in general.
The first academic year takes place at KU Leuven (Belgium), in the second year the students will follow the first semester at the Palacky University of Olomouc (Czech Republic). The second semester of the second year will be completed at a partner university based on both the interests and specialization areas of the student. As such, IMAPA promotes the international exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners in Europe and from around the world, and therefore guarantees a flexible, custom made programme fine-tuned to the interest(s) of every individual student.
IMAPA is a flexible programme, allowing students to custom design the content of their curriculum depending on the competences they wish to acquire. Students can follow the entire programme as KU Leuven students, or fit a number of selected courses within their home university programme, while remaining registered at their home university.
The International Master Programme of Adapted Physical Activity (IMAPA) aims to provide state-of-the-art research and teaching methodology in adapted physical activity (APA) and the social, pedagogical, and technical aspects of physical activity adapted to the needs of persons with a disability. The programme combines the expertise of a number of universities throughout the EU and the world, and offers students comprehensive training and expert knowledge in the many aspects of adapted physical activity. The programme promotes the exchange of ideas between professionals and future practitioners from around the world.
The professional aim of the programme is to educate competent and critical professionals, who are able to design and evaluate adapted physical activity programmes using an evidence-based approach for people with a disability across the life span. Adapted physical activity is a developing field and graduates will be considered as having the key abilities to advance and develop its scope. To address the wide application of the field, IMAPA offers generic tools to use exercise as an intervention, which can be translated into different contexts. To achieve this professional aim, the programme provides specialization options to emphasize the competence to work in educational or active lifestyle settings, catering for students' special professional interest and potential work outflow.
The disciplinary aim of IMAPA is to educate people to conduct research in order to advance the field of APA. In addition, the programme offers scientific discipline specific specialization (Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Motor Control/Learning, Integrity and Dis/ability in Sport). As such, IMAPA provides basic scientific skills that will enable graduates to pursue an academic career or undertake further research or doctoral studies.
The global approach to the studies will ensure a critical outlook at national facilities for people with a disability. Given the multidisciplinary nature of adapted physical activity, students will have gained general problem-solving skills rather than those pertaining to a traditional profession.
Graduates who successfully completed the course will have acquired the scientific knowledge and critical insights to develop and bring the field of adapted physical activity forward in different national settings. Graduates will have the professional competence to work in a variety of contexts, where they will be able to set up appropriate adapted physical activity programmes and assess the requirements for exercise screening.
Given the wide area of adapted physical activity, as applied in the various countries, graduates will obtain the broad tools to implement and evaluate health, sports and leisure enhancing programs for people with disability.
The most important of these general tools is an evidence-based approach to intervention. Graduates of the IMAPA programme will also have gained sufficient research competence to work in research settings. They will have developed the skills to design innovative research questions in adapted physical activity and to report on scientific findings. Graduates will have gained the analytical ability to highlight the needs of people with a disability in different countries and identify current barriers for implementation of adapted physical activity. Furthermore, they will ensure appropriate intervention programmes and policy statements in the area of exercise and health for people with a disability. Overall, they will have an internationally-oriented spirit and seek out multicultural collaboration. IMAPA graduates will understand the role and meaning of interdisciplinary collaboration and stimulate a multi-professional input in the field. Graduates will be aware of the need of a professional structure and certification in adapted physical activity and have gained the skills to become leaders in their field and take this agenda forward.
Students specialized in adapted physical activity at the Master's level often work with persons with an impairment in career domains such as education, coaching, personal training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine or other health care professions. Some seek a research career by acquiring knowledge and expertise in both adapted physical activity and another discipline within kinesiology, and pursue a doctoral degree.
Physical activity, not often taught in traditional postgraduate programmes associated with health promotion, is now recognised as an essential component for understanding public health. Physical inactivity is a major public health concern in developed countries and is associated with the epidemic increases in preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. As well as providing grounding in popular aspects of health promotion, this programme provides students with an expert overview of all aspects of physical activity promotion in order to enhance the health of modern society. For careers in physical activity research or promotion, this postgraduate course is a must.
Physical activity has recently been described as the ‘best buy’ in public health. The increasing realisation of the importance of promoting higher levels of physical activity, alongside the Government’s aim to reduce the proportion of sedentary individuals, will require a co-ordinated public health approach from well-informed health professionals. This course enables students to understand the role of physical activity and public health by adopting a multidisciplinary approach to a sector that is currently of greater social importance.
One year full-time at the Jordanstown campus or three years part-time at the Jordanstown (Belfast >2019) campus.
Voluntary work placements opportunities are available to students on the course and more information can be obtained by contacting the Course Director.
Careers: Health promotion professionals; sports development; pharmaceutical sector; further postgraduate study (e.g. PhD); biomedical research; and general health and fitness industry.
All staff have completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PgCHEP) and/or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Many staff are recognised internationally as researchers in their specialist area and are members of the related University Research Institutes and Departments e.g. the Centre for Physical Activity and Health and the Centre for Sports Science and Sports Medicine.
Teaching staff have considerable research and practical experience that informs their teaching. In addition, many staff are qualified members of relevant professional bodies such as the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Physical inactivity has been recognised as a pandemic and is a global public health issue. This exciting new MSc will enhance knowledge and understanding of this field, and will contribute to building workforce capacity in this area.
The programme draws on the health sciences of psychology, physiology and epidemiology, and on both research and practice to provide you with a thorough knowledge and awareness of the role of physical activity in improving and maintaining health.
The programme is designed to provide academic training at a postgraduate level for recent graduates and the existing national and international workforce.
The programme combines compulsory and optional courses, which will make use of traditional lectures, tutorials, seminars and some laboratory and field practicals.
Assessment will involve a combination of essays, reports, case studies, examinations, oral presentations and practical demonstrations.
The MSc will culminate in a supervised dissertation.
Students will also choose 40 credits of optional courses selected from across the university, subject to availability and suitability for the programme. Example optional courses include:
This programme prepares you for a successful career in health promotion, primary care trusts, the health and fitness industry, physical activity development, or physical activity and health consultancy.
You could also go on to teach in further and higher education or progress to postgraduate research.
Study for a higher degree by research in one of our well-respected centres. Across our Sport Industry Research Centre, Centre for Sport and Exercise Science and Centre for Sports Engineering Research we focus on cutting edge applied research in sport and physical activity.
On this course you are part of a vibrant community of postgraduates, working closely with experienced academics to develop your knowledge and expertise.
We support a wide range of research opportunities and help you work towards your research degree by offering
You have the opportunity to choose from a range of research topics and are encouraged to circulate your research by publishing papers and attending conferences with other staff and students.
To gain an MPhil you critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic and display an understanding of suitable research methods.You present your work in a thesis, then explain and defend it during an oral viva voce examination.
Our main areas of sport and physical activity expertise are reflected in our research programmes. These include • the economics of sport • physical activity for health • elite sport • exercise physiology • event impact • performance management • sports engineering • biomechanics • programme evaluation • equipment mechanics • sports participation • workplace wellness • psychology • volunteers in sport • sport analytics • strategic planning.
In addition to well respected research profiles, many members of our academic team have extensive experience of applied work as consultants with elite sports, governing bodies and healthcare organisations in the UK and internationally.
A number of the team also have honorary academic appointments with universities in several European countries, and we have extensive collaborations with universities in Europe, North American, Australia, East Asia and the Middle East.
Starts September, January or May.
Research trainingWhen you begin your research, we allocate you a director of studies and one or two supervisors. Regular meetings between you and your supervisors are scheduled, with targets set for written and oral presentation of research progress.
As part of you personal, academic and professional development you undertake a training needs analysis. This identifies a bespoke programme of training you engage with during your studies such as
Thesis followed by viva voce examination.
Research degrees are a vital qualification for most academic careers, and for professional specialisation and development in an existing or planned career.