EXERSCI 302 : Exercise Physiology for Special Populations


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examination of the role of exercise for special populations. Physiological responses and adaptations to exercise and training, and exercise and training recommendations for selected medical and athletic populations. Evaluation of cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic and neuromuscular function.

Course Overview

The course applies basic exercise physiology to special circumstances when a medical/environmental limitation, or highly adapted physiological excess, alter physiological responses to exercise and adaptations to training. The course examines the physiology of persons with specific disease states (medical populations), the physiology of elite sportspeople (athletic populations) and the physiological challenges faced when exercising in challenging environments (Extreme Environments). Practical skills involve administering and interpreting physiological tests suited to special populations and presenting outcomes in scientific reports.

This is a recommended elective course for students planning postgraduate study in Clinical Exercise Physiology. The skills developed in this course are particularly useful for those wishing to have a career as an Exercise Physiologist.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: EXERSCI 301 or SPORTSCI 301 Restriction: SPORTSCI 302

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Recall theoretical and practical aspects of the physiological responses and adaptations to physical activity in special populations and extreme environments. (Capability 1)
  2. Recognise how clinical and environmental limitations, or highly adapted physiological excess, alter physiological responses to exercise and adaptations to training (Capability 1)
  3. Follow the principles and methodologies of functional testing and evaluate limitations of assessments of special populations. (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Administer laboratory exercise tests and diagnostic procedures, analyse and interpret physiological data. (Capability 3 and 4)
  5. Prepare written reports that present outcomes of physiological tests, critically evaluate and interpret the procedures. (Capability 2 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Test 30% Individual Test
Reports 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam

Coursework is composed of 2 laboratory reports. The course includes two tests, a midsemester test (20% of overall grade) and a lab test (10% of overall grade).

Key Topics

Learning is organised into three Modules: 1. Athletic Populations. 2. Extreme Environments. 3. Medical Populations. Each module is composed of self-directed learning topics, weekly lectures/seminars, and experiential laboratory classes.

Learning Resources

All resources are available via the learning management system.

Special Requirements

The laboratory classes are designed to provide students with an opportunity to administer exercise tests. Each class will require a healthy volunteer to take part as an exercising participant. The conduct of these classes is approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (reference number 023051).

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

 Each week you can expect up to 2 hours of lectures/seminars, a 3 hour lab class, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 3 hours of work on assignments.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

In the previous delivery of this course, 100% of students were satisfied with the quality of the course, 100% of students found the lecturers (A/P Gant & Dr Reading) to be effective. Students found the modern teaching methods to be most helpful for their learning and no improvements were suggested for 2020. Online versions of laboratory classes have been developed for those unable to attend  classes (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html).


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 10/07/2020 10:31 a.m.