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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

Entry requirements

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.

Programme structure

Programme structure

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 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 year, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal. You will be aided in your research by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will also be supported through your first year by engaging with a series of three modules as part of our Researcher Development Programme:

  • RSDP4001: Developing as a Researcher
  • RSDP4005: Approaches to Research
  • RSDP4004: Planning Your Research Project

At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will reflect on and formally review your progress with your supervisory team and MPhil/PhD Course Leader. We call this annual meeting an Annual Progress Review (APR).

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. 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. Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. This will be part of your Annual Progress Review for this year.

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 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 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. At the end of each year of your registration, you will go through an Annual Progress Review.


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, performance analysis laboratories, a sports and fitness centre, and the University Arena, a first-class, multi-purpose sports facility. Additionally, we have access to 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.

Part time students follow the same structure as full-time students but normally complete the PhD over a period of five to six years. Part-time students take two modules in each of their first two years, and will normally Transfer to PhD in their fourth year.

Research areas

Research areas

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.

Current research students are exploring the effects of stretching intensity on exercise performance and recovery, sports nutrition practices in football, and consequences of living with high levels of drive for muscularity. We also have a 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 regulation of performance during exercise.

The School of Sport and Exercise Science also offer MSc courses in Applied Sport Physiology and Applied Sports Performance Analysis.


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 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.



All students engage with our Researcher Development Programme (RDP). The RDP aims to develop and enhance the skills, both generic and specific, that you will need to complete your research degree but also to become an effective researcher. The RDP is organised around thematic clusters, consisting of modules, and workshops, delivered face-to-face by subject specialists from across the University and the dedicated Researcher Development Team, or online through our virtual learning environment.

As part of the RDP, you will complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods (PG Cert). All students must complete the PG Cert in order to progress on their MPhil/PhD Programme. The PG Cert is strongly focused on developing your programme of research, starting from establishing your development needs, and preparing you for the planning and subsequent delivery of your programme of research.

Full-time students will complete the PG Cert in 12 months and part-time students in 24 months.


Fees and funding


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 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 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 to 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 an Enhanced 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

Information about application and interview deadlines

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.

January start

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