Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD/MSc by Research

Start date
September, but flexible by negotiation
The duration of programmes for PhD/MSc by Research is as prescribed by University regulations and pro rata for part-time, depending on the percentage of time spent on research.
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

£4,778 FT (UK students)
£21,360 FT (International Students)
More detail


Our Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD allows you to conduct research in one of the leading research departments in the country.

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.

Please see our website for full details of PhD opportunities that are currently available.

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.

Like many others I was instantly sold on the University simply by the aesthetics of the campus. It just so happened that the course fit perfectly with what I wanted to learn, allowed me to gain work experience and has truly lived up to the reputation of the University.

Jake Stanley

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


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

Fees for 2024/25

Code 575A: UK students: £4,778 FT
Code 577A: UK students: £2,389 PT
Code 575A: International students: £22,380 FT

Code 613B: UK students: £4,712 FT MSc
Code 613B: International students: £22,380 FT MSc

Learn more about fees and funding.   

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

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.

How To Apply

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard 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 Requirements

International Students

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).

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

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.