SP5030 - Extreme Physiology

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will study the limitations to physiological function within the framework of extreme environments and fatiguing exercise. Specifically, you will study the responses and adaptations to exercise at extreme altitude and temperature, and how the human body manages the threat to homeostasis by studying the physiology of fatigue. With support from staff and peers you will design, conduct and report an original research study to answer a question on the aetiology of fatigue during exercise in an extreme environment. Through engaging with the research process, you will learn what is required of a scientist conducting research.

How will I learn on this module?

Your taught lectures will provide a theoretical framework and knowledge of the environments under study. During practical sessions you will conduct a series of experiments to study the physiological responses to exercise in extreme environments. As the module progresses you will transition toward an increasingly independent researcher, capable of designing and conducting experiments, and able to oversee experiments and ensure the reliable collection of data in various exercise models. During team-taught workshops you will work with the data you collect during practicals to answer questions relating to the limitations to exercise performance during extreme environments, and learn how to appropriately analyse, summarise and communicate data to an academic audience. Specifically, your numeracy and IT analytical skills will be enhanced.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

An introductory lecture will put the module into context with the rest of your degree programme, explain how your study will progress on the module and describe how, through engagement in the module, you will begin to learn and acquire the skills of a research scientist in a sport and exercise context. The module is structured in a manner that prepares you for the assessment by engaging with the research process throughout, with a gradual withdrawal of tutor input and an increasing expectation of independent practise and study. During workshops you will work with data and practise writing sections of lab reports, and receive peer and tutor formative feedback on your work. In the second half of the module you will work through the entire research process; conception of an idea and design of a study; recruitment of participants and collection of data during timetabled practicals; analysis, interpretation and reporting of data for your final assignment. Throughout this process your tutors will act as research assistants and mentors; you will work as part of a small practical group, where your ability to manage relations will be enhanced. You will be expected to independently analyse, interpret and report the data collected during laboratory sessions for your final lab report, with peer and tutor support available via an online discussion board. The eLP will be used to host teaching material, recorded lectures and video tutorials that demonstrate techniques to present and analyse data.

If this module is in option pot two for your programme, you will receive advice and guidance at a module options event to help you make an informed decision about how it fits with your own academic and professional development. Online pre-learning material will be made available to help you prepare for the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand and apply the physiological factors that challenge exercise capability in different environmental conditions;
2. Engage with the research process to design, conduct, interpret and report on an original experiment in environmental physiology.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Design and conduct an original research project;
4. Independently communicate the results of an original research study in a format suitable for an academic audience.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Engage in a questioning and critical approach to learning in the context of the research process.

How will I be assessed?

The module assessment requires you to design, conduct and report an experiment that assesses the effect of an environmental challenge on the physiological response to exercise. The report of the experiment (100%) will be submitted as a manuscript to a sport science journal, and will include a cover letter (500 words) and manuscript (2000 words). This process mirrors that which is required of a research scientist.

You will design and conduct the experiment in small groups to collect your own data during timetabled laboratory sessions, and then subsequently analyse these data and write your report individually.

This assessment addresses all of the module learning outcomes (KU 1,2; IPSA 3,4; PVA 5).

Formative Feedback
Throughout the module you will engage with all elements of the research process. Peer and tutor feedback will be provided during team taught workshops, where you will practise analysing, interpreting and reporting data from your experiments. This experience will prepare you to effectively design, conduct and report on your own study for your assessments.

Summative Feedback
You will receive written or audio feedback on your summative assessment to help you identify areas of strength and areas for development. There will be the opportunity to discuss your feedback with a member of staff during a tutorial.





Module abstract

On this module you will study the limitations to performance in environmental extremes of cold, heat and altitude. Working in our state of the art environmental chamber, you will design, conduct and report an original experiment to answer a novel question in sport and exercise science. Through the module you will transition toward becoming an increasingly independent research scientist, capable of working through all aspects of the research process. This module will be of particular interest to students wishing to carry out an experimental dissertation project in their final year.

Course info

UCAS Code CB65

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy