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Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) MSc/Postgraduate Diploma

Start date
MSc – Minimum 13 months, maximum 6 years; PGDip - Minimum 10 months, maximum 4 years
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Taught

£14,490 (UK students) (*max)
£25,740 (International students) (*max)
More detail


Our innovative Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) MSc is aimed at physiotherapists and doctors either working within football medicine or interested in moving into football medicine.

The programme is aimed at physiotherapists and doctors and is ideal for those either working within football medicine or interested in moving into football medicine.

The programme includes two specialist modules, which are partly taught in the tranquil grounds of St George’s Park with input from some of the Football Association’s key sports medicine staff.

This is a research-led programme delivered within a School with 90% of its research classified as world leading or internationally excellent, with experts from football medicine, sports medicine and musculoskeletal medicine.

The programme is part of a collaboration framework of MSc and MRes programmes between the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

The overall aim of the programme is to enable exploration of the theoretical basis of exercise and sports medicine in general and football in particular, and its application to the development of a physiotherapist's and doctor's clinical reasoning. Using the process of clinical reasoning as its framework, the programme will integrate the key issues central to practice in this specialist area, including: clinical assessment, communication skills, accurate diagnosis, differential diagnosis, diagnostics and prognostics, treatment interventions, management approaches, best evidence, evaluation of outcome, strategies to reduce injury time etc.

The programme will facilitate the evaluation of existing evidence through the exploration of the assessment and management of athletes. It will provide students with the opportunity to tailor their learning experience to meet their personal and professional needs, developing their their capacity for leadership within a multidisciplinary team providing clinical management in football. The programme will promote enquiry based learning through a range of strategies including case analysis and problem based learning.

The programme was written in line with the international competencies and standards established by the International Federation of Sports Physiotherapists and the Specialty Training Curriculum for Sports and Exercise Medicine from the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board, and in collaboration with The Football Association and physiotherapists and doctors working within football and other sporting contexts.

I studied Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) at the University of Birmingham part-time while I was working in a third division professional football club in Italy. I would not hesitate to recommend this course, which I feel made a difference in allowing me to secure a position at Juventus Football Club. The award itself from such a prestigious University surely made my CV stand out among the others, but what I feel most important are the strong clinical reasoning skills I developed throughout the course particularly thankfully to a top-class faculty of lecturers.

Mattia Zambaldi, MSc Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) alumnus

Why study this course?

The specific aims of the programme are:

  • To critically evaluate approaches and methodologies for researching theoretical and practical issues relating to exercise and sports medicine with a focus on clinical practice within football.
  • To critically evaluate previous professional development and plan future development within the framework of contemporary exercise and sports medicine within football.
  • To critically analyse the theoretical and conceptual issues underpinning assessment, evaluation, management and rehabilitative approaches within football.
  • To use advanced clinical reasoning and clinical skills to enable optimal clinical effectiveness and holistic management of complex clinical presentations in athletes.
  • To develop a high level of clinical and research skills to enable leadership within a football medicine context.
  • To critically evaluate the scientific and clinical evidence of exercise and sports medicine in football.
  • To formulate a justifiable research design and conduct analytically an investigation to address a given problem.
  • To produce a written research report and presentation worthy of scrutiny in both academic and clinical settings. 

Unique features of the programme include:

  • Part delivery of two specialist modules at The Football Association's National Football Centre, St George's Park at Burton on Trent. 
  • Anatomy skills development taught at the prosectorium in the Medical School,
  • A further specialist module that promotes professional practice/clinical mentorship within a football/sports medicine environment.

A range of skills can be gained from undertaking this programme that contribute to advanced practice within the speciality of Sports Medicine (Football). Specifically they include: oral communication, written communication, leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, time management, cross-cultural awareness, enterprise skills, commercial/business awareness, numeracy, ICT, adaptability/flexibility, advanced interpersonal skills, managing own development, advanced clinical reasoning, prioritisation skills, and excellence in practical skills.

Masters level study

Self-directed study

Independent study forms a critical component of a higher education’s students development into an autonomous learner.

Therefore, university students are expected to engage with a significant amount of study outside timetabled teaching hours.

At a Masters level of study, self-directed or independent learning typically accounts for two-thirds of the total time spent on a module (although this may vary between modules).

Our Academic Skills Centre has excellent support services to facilitate your self-directed study:

Literature searching support

In some modules on our MSc/PGDip Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy and Exercise Sports Medicine (Football) programmes, students will be expected to complete a ‘mini-literature review’, which forms part of their assessment and final grade.

Before joining our programmes, we highly recommend that all students access these freely available resources. They will support your preparations for the independent research components of our programmes:

The University of Birmingham. ‘How to’ Videos.

The University of Birmingham. Literature Searching.

The University of Birmingham. Systematic Reviews and Other Reviews. A Library Guide.

Cochrane Interactive Learning. Module 1. Module 1: Introduction to conducting systematic reviews.


The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) is awarded with successful completion of six 20 credit masters level modules.

In addition, you will choose one option module to the value of 20 credits from within the College (subject to availability and viability).

The award of Master of Science (MSc) in Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) will be awarded following successful completion of the Research Dissertation (60 credits) to provide a cumulative total of 180 M level credits.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


2023/24 programme fees

UK students: max. £14,490
International students: max. £25,740

Part-time: Exact fee depends on the modules taken. Contact the School for full details.

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. Email financial support for more information. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Visit our website for information about scholarships for international students

For further information contact the School directly or email

How To Apply

International students requiring visas

1 July 2023 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2023 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2024.

UK students

31 August 2023 is the application deadline for UK students. We are not able to consider applications for 2023 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2024.

Applications for 2023 entry are now open.

Making your application

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

Our Standard Requirements

For applicants undertaking clinical practice in the UK as part of the Continuing Professional Development and Mentored Practice module:

  • Current registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for physiotherapists (includes professional indemnity), or
  • Current registration with the General Medical Council, and evidence of appropriate professional indemnity for mentored practice within a football environment for doctors.
  • Satisfactory current Disclosure and Barring Service (previously criminal Record) check.
  • Satisfactory health declaration and immunisation record.

For applicants undertaking observation and supervised practice (where legal and professional responsibility rests with the mentor) within the UK, as part of the Continuing Professional Development and Mentored Practice module:

  • Satisfactory current Disclosure and Barring Service check. 
  • Satisfactory health declaration and immunisation record.

For applicants undertaking clinical practice outside of the UK, as part of the Continuing Professional Development and Mentored Practice module:

  • Professional registration and professional indemnity appropriate to the country in which the mentored practice will take place.

For all applicants: 

  • A BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent, normally first or upper second class Honours degree for physiotherapists / MBChB for doctors. 
  • Documented evidence post qualification experience of practice within a sporting context. 
  • Supporting evidence of appropriate Continuing Professional Development during this post qualification experience. 
  • Letter of support from employer.

All applicants will be interviewed, either face to face or by conference call.

Learn more about entry requirements including Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Evidence of a minimum of 1500 hours experience post qualification of using manipulative/musculoskeletal physiotherapy within a musculoskeletal context. Supporting evidence of appropriate continuing professional development during this experience will also be required.

Please be aware that students wishing to use APCL credits towards their degree will not be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate loan for Masters study in the UK. You can find more information at

International Requirements

International Students

If applying from overseas, you should also bear in mind that the process of applying for a visa can be a long and complicated one and you are therefore advised to submit your application for study as early as possible, enabling us to provide you with the offer letter that will be necessary for your visa application well ahead of the programme start date.

Academic requirements

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

English language requirements

Standard English language requirements apply (IELTS: 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any band)

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

As a Birmingham student, you will be joining the academic elite and will have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts, as well as your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

You will participate in a range of teaching styles such as lectures, small group tutorials, presentations, peer group learning, self-study etc.

The two specialist Sports Medicine (Football) modules will be delivered at The Football Association's National Football Centre, St George's Park at Burton on Trent, with contributions from a range of national experts within the field.

The programme also includes anatomy development within the prosectorium in the Medical School, and practice mentorship within a football/sports medicine environment.

You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues.

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. See individual modules for further details.

Resources to support your studies with us

These resources and material can support some excellent preparation for your programme of study.

Research critical appraisal

How to read a research paper

Academic assignments: Referencing your sources

Academic assignments. Essay planning

Neuromusculoskeletal assessment and management resources (Not an exhaustive list):

  • Joy Higgs; Gail M. Jensen; Stephen Loftus; Nicole Christensen 2018. Clinical reasoning in the health professions. Elsevier, Fourth edition, ISBN 9780702065057
  • Mark A. Jones; Darren A. Rivett 2019. Clinical reasoning in musculoskeletal practice. Elsevier, Second edition. ISBN 070205979X, 9780702059797
  • Palastanga, N. and Soames, R. (2018) Anatomy and Human Movement: Structure and Function. 7th Edition. Elsevier.
  • Nicola Petty and Dionne Ryder 2017. Musculoskeletal Examination and Assessment - A Handbook for Therapists, 5th edition, Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 9780702067174, 978-0702067174
  • Karim Khan 2015. Grieve's modern musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Elsevier. Fourth edition. ISBN 9780702066504
  • Paul Brukner and Karim Khan 2019. Brukner & Khan's Clinical Sports Medicine, 5th edn, Vol 1 and 2. McGraw Medica
  • Compassionate care.


The programme has been written collaboratively with The Football Association for physiotherapists and doctors either working within football medicine or interested in moving into football medicine, to enhance your employability. Specifically, the programme has been written in line with the international competencies and standards established by the International Federation of Sports Phsyiotherapists and the Speciality Training Curriculum for Sports and Exercise Medicine from the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board, and in collaboration with The Football Association and physiotherapists and doctors working within football and other sporting contexts.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market.

Here are just a few ways in which we can help postgraduates to get ahead:

  • Careers Networking opportunities
  • Effective careers strategy toolkit
  • Year planner for all postgraduate students
  • Masters Career Coaching Workshops
  • One to one careers guidance

The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. They also have a dedicated careers website for international students where you can find useful resources and information.


“We have hired some fantastic Birmingham graduates and postgraduates in the past, and believe that they have the experience and intelligence to understand the challenges of working with Procter and Gamble.”

In an independent survey, over 75% of employers regarded a postgraduate Masters-level qualification as ‘essential’ or ‘preferred’ when recruiting. ‘Talent Fishing: What Businesses want from Postgraduates’ A CIHE Report for Department of Business Innovation and Skills, March 2011.

For more information visit the Careers Network website.

Professional Accreditation

This course is accredited by:

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy logo 

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