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About our programmes

Research in Sport, Health and Exercise Science aims to enhance understanding of practices and processes that support the active lifestyles, health and well-being and the sporting performance and coaching practices of both individuals and groups. We have world-class staff and facilities and collaborate with world leading clinical and scientific researchers.  

There are two research groups;

  • Exercise, Health and Human Performance (EHHP)
  • Sport, Pedagogy and Practice (SPP)

The EHHP group have medicine as an underlying theme and seek to understand the role and implementation of exercise testing for disease risk, the effectiveness of life-style interventions involving physical activity, and responses and adaptations to exercise and sport. The SPP group research seeks to develop innovative research that explores the complex and multi-layered nature of applied coaching practice and the challenging nature of personal experiences within sport and exercise.

There are postgraduate research options in Sport, Health and Exercise Science, at PhD and MSc by research levels. During a four-year PhD (seven years part-time), you will research and write a dissertation of 70,000 to 100,000 words on a topic chosen in conjunction with your supervisor. During a one-year (two years part-time) MSc by research degree, the main emphasis of the programme is on the research dissertation of 20,000 words, the topic being chosen by you with the advice of your supervisor. The MSc is an ideal step for those wishing to progress to a PhD.


Open for admission in 2018/19

Full time Part time
MSc by Research 1 year 2 years
PhD 4 years 7 years

Start in January, June or September


Exercise, Health and Human Performance (EHHP)

The research carried out by the EHHP group examines a broad range of topics related to the physiological, biomechanical, and nutritional aspects of exercise, health, and human performance. The research undertaken by this group focuses on four sub-themes:

  • Exercise epidemiology and meta-analysis
  • Clinical exercise testing and exercise training interventions
  • Biomolecular and nutritional aspects of exercise physiology and health
  • Monitoring and evaluation of elite sports performance


Sport, Pedagogy and Practice (SPP)

The over-reaching aim of the Sport, Pedagogy and Practice (SPP) group is to assess and influence coach and athlete well-being.

The research carried out by the SPP group examines psychological constructs among athletes (stress, coping, emotions, and morality) and coaches (coach behaviour and the coach-athlete relationship) in addition to the social-pedagogical complexities of coaching practice.

The research group uses a mixture of qualitative (interviews and diaries) and quantitative (Structural Equation Modelling) research methods and conducts investigations that are principally informed by the concepts and theories that have been taken from the academic disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, and Education.

The SPP group works and collaborates with leading sporting teams and professional bodies. These include:

  • Rugby Football Union
  • Rugby Football League
  • F.A. Premier League
  • Newcastle Knights RFL
  • Hong Kong Rugby Union
  • New Zealand Rugby League
  • Raleigh GAC
  • Leeds Carnegie RFU
  • Hull City FC
  • Hull Kingston Rovers

Research themes

Stress, emotions, and coping

The purpose of this research is to identify the stressors encountered by athletes (i.e., professional rugby union players or international adolescent golfers), how athletes evaluate these stressors, how it makes them feel, and what they do to cope. This research helps test existing theoretical models and provides guidelines for sport psychologists to improve how they teach athletes to manage stress.

Doping attitudes among adolescent athletes

Doping refers to athletes using banned substances and doping methods to improve their performance. Members of the research group are particularly interested in adolescents’ attitudes towards doping, because it is during this time that attitudes are formed. By shaping adolescent athletes’ attitudes towards doping, there is a greater likelihood of reducing doping when the athletes become adult competitors.


Morality refers to whether athletes will cheat or not. Researchers from the SPP group examine the factors that influence will cheat or play by the rules.

Performance analysis

In order to gain a competitive edge over rivals, many sports teams now use performance analysts to identify weaknesses in their own play and their competitors. The effects of such analyses on players’ and coaches’ are relatively under-studied. Researchers from the SPP group examine player and coach experiences of delivering and receiving performance analysis, with a view to developing the use of this tool.

Coach behaviour

The way in which a coach interacts and behaves around athletes can impact on athletes’ performance and their well-being. Researchers from the SPP group explore how coaches behaviour, the impact of such behaviour, and provide recommendations for improving coaching behaviour.


‘‘The work we’re doing and the University’s strong industry links means we are actively helping to improve patient care."

Simon Nichol, PhD in Cardiac Rehabilitation (Exercise Physiology)

Fees and funding

  • Home/EU: £4,260 (full-time) 
  • Home/EU: £2,130 (part-time)
  • International: £15,300 (full-time)

Please note, fees for International applicants for 2018/19 have not yet been confirmed, and may increase.

These fees are for all research degree programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit www.hull.ac.uk/money.

For information about bursaries and how to fund your studies see our money page, or take a look at our PhD scholarships page for specific funded PhD opportunities.

The University’s Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of modules (both generic and discipline-specific) to support research students through their programme.

Find out more

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential.

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain to slavery.

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Entry requirements

You should normally have, or expect to obtain, at least a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a sports science or related discipline appropriate to your intended research.

Once a member of staff has agreed to supervise your research project in principle, you can make a formal application.

International students

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. For other English language proficiency qualifications acceptable by this University, please click here.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.