Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) MSc/Postgraduate Diploma

fa-logoThis innovative programme with its football medicine focus is delivered through a partnership between The Football Association and the University of Birmingham.

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.

This course is accredited by:

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy logo 

The learning and teaching for two specialist modules is delivered in the tranquil grounds of St George’s park, the Football Association’s flagship national facility. Anatomy teaching is delivered in the state-of-the-art prosectorium at University of Birmingham

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 Msc in Exercise and Sports Medicine (football) significantly improved my clinical reasoning skills in relation to sports injury assessment and rehabilitation...”

Steven Polley - Lead Academy Physiotherapist at Aston Villa Football club

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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.


“I never regret my decision to be a part of the University of Birmingham”

Kent Andreas Khurniawan, Indonesia

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 is 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.

Download the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences Postgraduate courses brochure here

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 reserach 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 the delivery of two specialist modules at The Football Association's National Football Centre, St George's Park at Burton on Trent. In addition, also anatomy development within the prosectorium in the Medical School, and to practice 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.


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 2018. 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.

Related staff

Fees and funding

2018 programme fees

  Home/EU International
  Full or part time Full-time only
(MSc) Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) £12,150 FT

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

(PGDip) Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) Contact the school  

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 sfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Entry 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.

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

If applicants are from overseas and English is not their first language they can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

Requirements for this programme are:

  • English to IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component) or TOEFL Internet based 88 overall with no less than no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking, 21 in Writing.

How to apply

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 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 2018 made after this date; a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

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

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.

Oliver Leaper“The majority of my classmates are also working in professional football, which helps with networking and learning from others' practise...”

Oliver Leaper - Physiotherapist at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

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.

“'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, Italy


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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