MPhil and PhD Opportunities

Sport and Exercise Science

Postgraduate Research in Sport and Exercise Science.

Star Overview

Research overview

Research in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth explores issues in areas such as Psychology, Physiology, Biomechanics and Sports Development. Our research is conducted in the Department's designated Spinnaker building, which houses specialised facilites for our internationally recognised, interdisciplinary research. Research within the field of Sport and Exercise Science may also be closely linked to Biomedical Science and Pharmacy, and Psychology.

Research groups

Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science Group

The Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science Group adopts an interdisciplinary research approach to understand, evaluate, and enhance human comfort, performance, and survival in extreme environments. This encompasses the fields of sport, industry, emergency services, military and at the ultimate extremes, expeditions. In recent years it has included assistance to Olympic and Paralympic athletes in preparation for the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

Breast Health

The Research Group in Breast Health is internationally renowned for research on the biomechanics of the breast. The group are responsible for over half of the scientific publications in this area and regularly present work nationally and internationally. The Research Group is well known with over 60 million media mentions worldwide and commercial collaborations with many of the major lingerie, sports bra and sporting apparel manufacturers around the world. The Research Group aims to increase scientific knowledge of breast health, and to raise awareness of this important aspect of women’s health.

Human Performance and Health Research Group

The Human Performance and Health Research Group adopts an interdisciplinary research approach to understand, evaluate, and enhance human performance, for sport, exercise, work and health. To achieve these aims this research group undertakes high quality, high impact, internationally recognised research and over the last four years it has produced 80 peer reviewed publications, secured £350,000 funding from a variety of organisations, charities and industry, and presented research findings at national and international conferences where it has won a number of awards.


How to apply 

To apply for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll need a good first degree from an internationally-recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. We'll also consider outstanding applicants with exceptional equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

We're currently rebuilding our website, so to explore the 3 different routes you can take into a postgrad research degree at Portsmouth, visit our new 'How to Apply' pages.

Undertaking a research degree in the DSES offers opportunities for researchers to learn about science from an applied sport or exercise perspective, with access to state of the art facilities and world leading experts.

Joanna Wakefield- Scurr, Research Group in Breast Health Supervisor

Self-funded PhD opportunities

Key Facts


MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
By Publication: 1 year part-time
Start date: October/February


A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.  

MPhil/PhD Fees*

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan


Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,260 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,130 p/a*
International full-time students: £13,200 p/a*
International part-time students: £6,600 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase

By Publication Fees*


Members of staff: £1,550 p/a*
External candidates: £4,260 p/a*

*All fees are subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions



Sport and Exercise Science


Back To Top

Light bulb Research Areas

Environmental and Occupational Science

Research areas include:

  • Environmental and survival physiology, and medicine
  • Preparation for, and protection from, environmental extremes
  • Psychology of performance in extreme environments
  • Surveillance and cognitive function
  • Responses to cold water immersion
  • Peripheral vascular response to cold challenges 
  • Cold water swimming training, thermoregulation over the course of a season
  • The effect of exercise when exposed to hypoxia following habituation to hand and forearm cooling 
  • The influence of exercise in the cold on respiratory function, airway remodelling and the development of respiratory conditions
  • The influence of overweight and obesity on respiratory function, particularly in paediatric groups
  • Peripheral vascular responses evoked in normal and cold-sensitive individuals by iontophoresis of α1- and α2-adrenoceptor agonists
  • The effect of acute beetroot juice supplementation on local skin temperature and blood flow following cold water immersion in normal and cold-sensitive individuals
  • Diagnostic tests in Non-Freezing Cold Injury
  • Ethnic differences in thermoregulation Occupational physiology and fitness standards
  • Performance psychology of individuals and organisations
  • Role of exercise testing in elective and non-elective surgical screening and the effect of exercise prescription in managing surgical risk
  • Interaction of nutritional supplementation and exercise on health outcomes in individuals with chronic disease
  • Stress and emotion
  • Performance profiling
  • Psychology of extreme environment activities
  • Mechanism(s) of exercise limitation in patients with chronic disease
  • Influence of chronic disease on oxygen uptake kinetics and muscle metabolism
  • Respiratory muscle training and singing in children and adults with cystic fibrosis

Human Movement

Research areas include:

  • Understanding appropriate breast support
  • Clinical implications of breast pain
  • Influences of the breast on physical activity
  • Biomechanics of sports apparel
  • The behaviour of soft tissue during dynamic sporting activities
  • Breast support implications (biomechanical, physiological or psychological) for specific athlete or occupation populations
  • The effect of bra fit and breast characteristics on functional breast support
  • The development of educational material for breast health issues in specific populations
  • Enhancing human performance
  • Clinical exercise science and physical activity promotion
  • Breathing muscle limitations and training in sport and/or exercise
  • Swimming performance physiology
  • Breathing muscle limitations in swimming and/or methods to overcome limitations
  • Physical activity for type II diabetes
  • Evaluating exercise referral services
  • Exercise service provision for patients with cardiac, pulmonary and diabetes conditions
  • Force dissipation characteristics of different surface / footwear interfaces
  • Assistive devices
  • Relationship between physical activity and the development of sport and movement skills
  • Optimisation of training methods for improving perceptual skill and decision making
  • Psychology of elite performance
  • Psychological skills training for sports performance
  • Psychology of sports coaching
  • Talent identification of elite referees, pathways, referee selection and development
  • Analysis of refereeing pathways, structures, models, training and performance
  • Examination of spatio-temporal constraints on perceptual-motor control
  • Multi segment neuromuscular changes during impact in response to anticipated and unanticipated post landing movement directio
  • Professionalism in Sport – business ethics, corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct within the sports industry
  • The history of Women’s Rugby Union
  • Psychological Contracts and Risk Management within the Sports Industry

Back To Top

Monitor Facilities & Features

Flexible Learning

You will benefit from web, email or phone access to many of our facilities and services. Our student website will be your one-stop shop for all news, information and links to other services, and 24/7 online access to the University Library’s vast electronic book, journal and database collections will help you find the right resources for your research.


The department has a number of excellent facilities to support research students including Biomechanics, Physiology and Psychology laboratories. Please visit the Department of Sports and Exercise webpages to view the full list of facilities.

Practical aspects of research often take place in the Spinnaker Sports Centre which is attached to the Spinnaker Building, the home of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science.


Graduate School

From the moment you join us, you will be supported by the University's Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team. You will be invited to a two-day induction, helping you to get the most from our facilities and be part of our thriving research community. You can also extend your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

I have been able to gain additional research skills during my time at Portsmouth by being involved in paper writing, attending workshops (at the university and externally) and by being involved in other projects.

Emma Burnett, PhD Biomechanics

Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career Planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the comprehensive support we provide in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service - Purple Door - can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. 

The Graduate School Development Programme offers a series of dedicated workshops on career planning, specifically for research degree students. You will also have access to consultations with careers advisers or online support. This service is available for five years after graduation.


Doctoral graduates are highly-skilled researchers that make an impact in a range of sectors. They benefit from high employment rates and, on average, earn more than holders of undergraduate and Masters degrees. A doctorate demonstrates to employers that you are intelligent, capable and motivated, and that you have advanced technical and research skills.

In addition to supervision from experts in the field, you will be supported to become an internationally employable doctoral graduate. You will also develop skills that are desirable to employers including critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Back To Top

Similar courses to Sport and Exercise Science

Back To Top