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We welcome applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Sport and Exercise Science.

Our Research School has expanded and developed into a varied and dynamic learning facility as the University has grown in size. As a research student you will join our vibrant student community and become part of our driven and knowledgeable research environment.



School of Sport and Exercise Science

The School of Sport and Exercise Science has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a diverse range of sport and exercise disciplines including Physical Activity, Health and Well-being, Biomechanics, Physiology, Psychology, Business Management, Sports Coaching and Sport Education.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award


  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement.

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study


  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline


  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement.

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in every component.

Course content

What will you study?

PhD year by year

After receiving your application, we try to establish if we have the necessary expertise to supervise your project and we begin to form a supervisory team for you. This will normally consist of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will be your lead supervisor, and at least one other second supervisor, who will offer you additional support and guidance throughout your studies. If, following a successful interview, you are offered a place as a full-time student, your programme of study will look something like this:

First year

You will have submitted a draft research outline with your application. In your first six months, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal, we call this an RDB1 Proposal. You will be aided in preparing for this by engaging with a 20-credit masters level module RTP401: Developing and Managing Your Research, and by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will meet with your supervisory team for 30 hours a year and this can be face-to-face or via Skype. Students who have not taken a recent research methods module in a relevant area will normally undertake a second module in their first year, in research methods. At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will work with your supervisors on completing a progress report, which we call an RDB7.

Second year

In your second year, you will be collecting data and working on your research project, under the supervision of your supervisors through regular meetings. In your second semester you will take a module titled RTP402: Dissemination, Impact and Engagement, which will help you begin to think about these three core themes. You may at this point have research papers ready to publish and you may wish to attend conferences to present your research to other experts in your field. You will be able to apply to our Research Student Support Scheme for some funding for this purpose (LINK). Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. At Transfer (RDB2), you will submit one to two chapters of your thesis and deliver a presentation to a question panel of experienced researchers.

Third and fourth year

In your third and fourth year, you will be writing up your thesis and preparing for your viva voce examination. This is an oral exam with two external examiners and a chair. You can also request that your supervisor be present at the exam. The exam will take place after you have submitted your final thesis. After the exam, it is not unusual for the examiners to ask that some minor amendments be made to your thesis before the final award is confirmed and you will have additional time to do this. It is possible to complete the course in three years, but we have found that the majority of students do take four years to complete the course.

Part time students follow the same structure as full time students but complete the PhD over a maximum period of six years.


Students are allocated a pathway appropriate to their research experience and background.

Students without a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 1. This means you will need to engage with all of the modules outlined above and undertake associated assignments. These modules will lead to the additional award of PG Cert in Research Methods at no additional cost.

Students with a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 2 and this will mean they will not be required to engage with the taught elements of the course to the same extent as students on Pathway 1. We do still recommend that they attend all of the workshops, for example, but they would not need to submit the associated assignments. Students on Pathway 2 may request to switch to Pathway 1 at the start of their course, with approval of their supervisory team.

Regardless of Pathway, the Researcher Development team organize a range of workshops that all students will be invited to attend.

Supervision areas

How will you be supervised?

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Supervision areas

The School of Sport and Exercise Science has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in a diverse range of sport and exercise disciplines including Physical Activity, Health and Well-being, Biomechanics, Physiology, Psychology, Business Management, Sports Coaching and Sport Education.

The School of Sport and Exercise Science also offer a Masters by Research in Socio-cultural Studies of Sport and Exercise.

Current research students are exploring the migration of professional basketball players; and the impact of notational analysis, the analyst and feedback on performance enhancement in elite wheelchair basketball. Additionally, our two newest students are conducting research on Olympic legacies post London 2012; and optimising physical activity for the regulation of acute energy balance and effective weight-management strategies. We also have a small group of PhD students conducting investigations into decision making in sports coaching. These studies incorporate a range of perspectives pertaining to both coaches and athletes and are founded on psychosocial and pedagogical perspectives. Past successful projects in Sport and Exercise Science have concerned the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the rivalry between the fans of Aston Villa and Birmingham City football clubs.


Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state-of-the-art library facilities. The Sport and Exercise Science team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project, including: a motion capture and biomechanics laboratory, well equipped physiology laboratories, the University Arena a first-class, multi-purpose sports facility, performance analysis laboratories and a sports and fitness centre. Additionally, we have access to and engage in research in the McClelland Health Centre and a world leading climate-controlled chamber at the University.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.


Please click on the name of the supervisor to follow a link to their webpage and find out more about their research interests and potential areas of PhD supervision. We recommend contacting a potential supervisor with your research outline before submitting a formal application, please read our guidelines for writing your research outline first.  Please only contact one supervisor. If another supervisor is better suited to your project, we will redirect your query.

Some supervisors have put forward ideas for potential PhD projects that they would be interested to supervise. These are listed below the name of the relevant supervisor. We also welcome original research proposals.

Dr Paul Blakey 
Expertise: The Business of Sport: sport marketing, sport sponsorship, branding in sport, sports entrepreneurship, digital applications in sport, and sports event leverage and impact analysis.

Dr Andy Cale 
Expertise: Sports coaching, sports pedagogy, coach education and applied sports psychology. Research in Applied settings across a variety of team sports.

Dr Matthew Cook 
Expertise: Effects of functional foods on exercise performance and physiological responses.

Dr Darren Cooper
Expertise: Sports Therapy; Anatomy and Biomechanics, Soft-tissue techniques, Manual Therapy Mobilisations, Performance and Recovery strategies. Learning and Teaching; Instructional Videos and Cognitive, Affective and Psychomotor Skill Acquisition.

Dr Mark Corbett 
Expertise: Cycling biomechanics and bike fitting; repeatability and variability of motion capture and gait analysis; electromyography and interdisciplinary elements of pacing.

Dr Dan Eastough 
Expertise: Perception and action; motor control; effect of observation on action; movement volition; minimalist footwear.

Dr Christian Edwards 
Expertise: Muscularity-oriented body image (drive for muscularity, Muscle Dysmorphia, and associated behaviours); psychology of strength exercise; qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches to research.

Self-funded project: Men’s lives: the consequences of living with high levels of drive for muscularity

Dr Louise Martin 
Expertise: Variability of athletic performance; regulation of pacing.

Self-funded project: Investigation into the impact of running in costume
Self-funded project: Enhancing understanding of pacing behaviour during endurance competitions

Dr Jessica Mee
Expertise: optimising athlete and occupational workers (including military personnel) for competing and working in hot climates using novel, accessible and effective strategies; understanding the additional challenges female endurance athletes may face associated with hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

Professor Győző Molnár
Expertise: Globalisation; labour migration; the Olympic movement; post-colonial socio-cultural issues; sociology of the body; ethnography and social theories.

Self-funded project: Men’s lives: the consequences of living with high levels of drive for muscularity

Dr Andrew Renfree 
Expertise: regulation of pacing.

Self-funded project: Enhancing understanding of pacing behaviour during endurance competitions

Dr Clare Rhoden 
Expertise: Psychological factors associated with exercise, ageing and physical activity; age stereotypes and physical activity; emotions and affect in sports performance; psychological factors associated with sports performance.

Dr Don Vinson 
Expertise: Sports coaching; sports pedagogy; Game Sense; coach education; servant leadership. Experience in supervising quantitative, qualitative and multiple methods approaches.

Supervisors outside of the School of Sport and Exercise Science

Several supervisors located outside of the School of Sport and Exercise are able to supervise projects with a sports focus:

Dr Alison Blank
Expertise: phenomenological research methods exploring existential topics around human occupation, meaning and belonging. Current research is focused on physical activity and ageing.

Dr Paul Golz       
Expertise: arts enhanced learning: dance as an education tool; dance and digital: how digital technologies can enhance and change the performance paradigm, especially augmented reality and wearable technology; strength and conditioning in dance: creating s&c sessions that can be delivered within a dance context; deaf dancing: using technology to improve inclusion within dance in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Professor Derek Peters
Expertise: Physical activity & sedentary behaviour assessment, intervention & relationships to health & wellbeing in all populations; childhood overweight & obesity; Exercise for health & wellbeing; sport performance analysis; interdisciplinary sport & exercise science. Research methodologies: Quantitative & qualitative.

Self-funded project: Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, Health & Wellbeing PhD Studentship Opportunities

Dr David Storey
Expertise: rural change and development; territory and national identity; sport, place and identity.

Dr Yvonne Thomas
Expertise: Qualitative research methods to explore Wellbeing and Occupational participation, homelessness, marginalised and excluded populations, and AHP professional practice.


Where could it take you?

All research students must engage with the Researcher Development Programme (RDP), a core curriculum of training and development which provides them with the general and subject-specific knowledge, skills and behaviours to support them in the completion of their research degree. At the beginning of an MPhil/PhD degree, you will be allocated to one of two pathways depending on your experience and knowledge as a researcher. This will determine which elements of the programme are core and which are optional.At the beginning of the programme you will be required to complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) in conjunction with your Director of Studies. This identifies the training that you will need to undertake, in addition to the mandatory elements of RDP, in order to complete the programme and to become an effective researcher. This TNA is revisited at the beginning of each subsequent academic year. All students are offered a wide range of optional training workshops throughout the programme focused around the following themes:

  • Developing and Managing Your Research
  • Dissemination, Impact, Engagement
  • Completing Your Research Degree
  • Research Methodology Master classes
  • Data Analysis
  • Research Funding
  • Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness
  • Careers and Employability
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Sports Scholarships

At Worcester we are committed to supporting elite and talented sports performers who are dedicated to both sporting and academic success. Our sports scholarships are available for a range of team and individual sports. For further information, visit our sports scholarships pages.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain a DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr Matthew Cook ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

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