Sport, Health and Exercise Science research degrees

How to applySport, Health and Exercise Science

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.


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


  • Dr Grant Abt
  • Prof Lee Ingle
  • Prof Sean Carroll
  • Dr Sam Nabb
  • Dr Rebecca Vince
  • Dr James Hobkirk
  • Dr Mark Fogarty
  • Dr Andrew Garrett
  • Dr Natalie Vanicek

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.


  • Phil Marshall 
  • Dr Adam Nicholls
  • Dr Sam Nabb
  • Dr Keith Earle
  • Dr John Perry
  • Dr Ed Cope
  • Dr Luke Jones
  • Dr John Toner
  • Dr Caroline Douglas

Admissions status

Open for admission in 2018/19

Research options

PhD: 4 years (full-time) / 7 years (part-time)

MSc: 1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time)


Home/EU: £4,195 (full-time) / £2,098 (part-time)

Overseas: £15,300 (full-time)

These fees are for all Sport, Health and Exercise Science research degrees research programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

It is now widely recognised by employers, professional bodies and research funding agencies that specialist expertise alone is not sufficient preparation either for research or a subsequent career. With this in mind, the University of Hull requires all its postgraduate research students to follow a research training programme relating both to their particular field of study and to generic skills; for example, information technology and communication skills.

Postgraduate Training Scheme

Next steps


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.

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 (language requirements)

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.


Hull is a great place to study Sport, Health and Exercise Science, boasting collaborative links with elite sports clubs and athletes, state-of-the-art facilities, and staff with world-renowned expertise.

We're at the forefront of sports research in the UK. We have established strong working relationships with top-flight sports clubs, athletes, the NHS and patients who want to better their health.