Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD/MSc by Research

Research is an essential component of the School's activity.

We are one of the leading research departments in the country, as reflected by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. With 90 percent of its research classified as world leading or internationally excellent our School is ranked in the top three for research in the sector.

Research is an essential component of the School's activity. Because of this, we believe that it is very important to invest in excellence in postgraduate training and research infrastructure, and to maintain an intellectually stimulating environment that supports high quality research.

The School is able to meet your aspirations by offering research degrees across a wide range of areas from exercise science to sport coaching. We have expertise in both the natural and social sciences, and we run programmes in collaboration with colleagues in the Medical School and Physiotherapy, and with professional groups such as the Professional Golfers’ Association. In this multidisciplinary environment, you can gain valuable academic and employability skills leading to a wide range of career outcomes. Supporting your personal employability aspirations is a key focus for all our postgraduate programmes. 

You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

Full details our currently available PhD opportunities can be found here.

Within the School there is a regular research seminar programme, in which expert speakers from other universities and institutions give talks on their own research. You also have opportunities to present your own research ideas and findings, and our postgraduates currently organise a seminar series to provide a forum for such presentations. You will also be encouraged to present your data at national and international conferences. In addition, each of our research groups runs internal seminars.

Why study this course

The School is one of the leading research departments in the country, as reflected by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which ranked us in the UK top three for research.

We have a vibrant postgraduate community, with over 50 doctoral researchers currently registered. We provide a supportive environment, with plenty of opportunities for you to meet fellow researchers, both socially and to discuss and present your work.

As part of this, we aim to make ensure that you are as well prepared as possible from the start of your doctoral life. When you join us, you will attend an informal introduction to the School, which gives you the opportunity to meet our Director of Postgraduate Research and to learn your PhD. You will also elect your student representatives for the School consultative committee. Finally, welcome drinks will take place in the atrium; this starts with introductions to all members of the School and leads into the first social event of the year.

Support during your PhD

Training and Skills Development

The School holds a number of introductory and welcome sessions for new doctoral researchers on School procedures, how to approach the PhD and teaching skills. As a doctoral researcher here you will have the opportunity to select from a wide range of skills training offered both within the School and by the University Graduate School. You participate in an annual development needs analysis and, as a result, have a structured training plan identifying which courses and activities will help you to meet these needs.

During your PhD you will have monthly review meetings with your supervisor as well as the opportunity to present you research plans and findings to other members of the school to receive feedback and advice.

Teaching Opportunities

Most postgraduate students will be invited to assist with undergraduate modules, by taking laboratory demonstrations, engaging in small group teaching (eg, seminars), and helping with assessment. Very occasionally, senior postgraduates may be invited to give a lecture. In all cases, you will be thoroughly prepared for the task.

Facilities and Equipment

The School in based in the largest custom-built Sport and Exercise facility in the UK, with state of the art research labs dedicated to exercise testing and sample analysis across the spectrum of sport and exercise sciences including: physiology, biochemistry, psychophysiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, motor skills, immunology, muscle mechanics and the neurophysiology of movement. In addition, the School uses a wide range of practical spaces for professional and vocational related research. View a full list of our laboratories.

The following list shows some of the equipment and techniques that we currently use in our research:

  • State-of-the-art advanced statistical analyses suites
  • 13-camera Vicon MX body motion analysis system 
  • Multiple Kistler force platforms to measure ground reaction forces 
  • Wired and telemetry electromyography systems 
  • Mobile high speed eye tracker to monitor eye movements 
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation n Functional magnetic resonance imaging 
  • Programmable motorised isokinetic dynamometer 
  • Oxycon-Pro indirect calorimeters 
  • Treadmills and large video screens for time trial simulation
  • Cybex resistance exercise training 
  • Environmental chamber to investigate fuel and fluid supply at non-ambient temperatures in relation to performance 
  • Oscillometric and continuous arterial blood and venous pressure 
  • Electrocardiography, 128-channel electroencephalography, impedance cardiography and limb blood flow 
  • Full blood count, whole blood viscosity, colloid osmotic pressure, coagulation 
  • Cell-separation and blood differential, immunochemical assessment, cell and tissue culturing, and sterilisation 
  • Cardiac, vascular and transcranial Doppler ultrasound circulation imaging 
  • Laser Doppler flowmetry for skin perfusion and strain gauge plethysmography for limb blood flow 
  • Respiratory function using mechanical hyperventilation 
  • Lode cycle ergometers

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply - This course is in Fee Band 2a for International Students

Fees for 2019

  Home/EU International - Fee Band C
  Full time Part time Full time only
(PhD) Sport, Exercise and rehabilitation Sciences £4,320 £2,160 £18,360

earn more about fees and funding 

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. 

Find out about scholarships for intenational students.

For further information contact the School directly or get in touch with the Funding, Graduation & Awards via the online enquiries system.

Exercise as Medicine studenships
Please note that the deadline for applying for these studentships has now passed.

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

EU Referendum

Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.

Entry requirements

Entrance to the PhD requires at least an upper-second class degree, while MPhil registration requires a relevant first degree and evidence of ability to undertake research.

Find our more about postgraduate entry requirements

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

Standard English language requirements apply (IELTS: 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any band)

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences conducts world leading research in the sciences of sport, exercise, health and rehabilitation. The mission of the School is to address one of society’s most pressing needs: increasing the quantity and quality of engagement in physical activity to enhance health and wellbeing. The School was ranked joint first in the UK for its research quality in the last research assessment exercise (RAE 2008).

The work of the School is driven by outstanding research in its core disciplines spanning the natural and social sciences. Examples include: exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology, sport pedagogy (coaching and teaching), motor control, sport policy and management; behavioural medicine, and areas relating to sport performance. In addition, collaboration across disciplines allows the School to develop multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research around five major research themes: 

  • Active Lifestyles 
  • Effective Learning 
  • Maximal Performance 
  • Movement Rehabilitation 
  • Healthy Ageing

More information on these research themes can be found on our website

Your time as a postgraduate student should be challenging, stimulating and enjoyable. It is a time for developing your capacity for independent research, for making new friends, and for attaining the research achievements upon which to build a successful career. To achieve that you will work within research group and take part in research and learning activities.

Birmingham is one of Europe's most exciting cities. If you are already based here you know what this vibrant, forward-thinking, international city has to offer. If you are moving here you are going to have great fun finding out. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Supporting you

Whoever you are, wherever you come from, we'll make sure you have all the support you need to make the most of your time at Birmingham. We have a student mentor scheme and offer other support, such as disability and dyslexia advice and support, childcare and nursery facilities and financial advice.

Postgraduate and Mature Student Association (PGMSA)

If you are a mature student it's worth considering joining the Postgraduate and Mature Student Association (PGMSA). This voluntary, student-led group has an active Facebook group where you can keep up with all the events and activities on offer.

Are you an International Student?

The University of Birmingham has one of the largest international student communities within the UK. The mix of nationalities and cultures on campus greatly enriches our learning and teaching environment and will help you feel at home during your time with us. Find out more at our international student website

Living in Birmingham

Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.