Masters by Research/PhD Sports Science

About the course

A University of Hertfordshire research degree is an internationally recognised degree signifying high levels of achievement in research. It develops extensive subject expertise and independent research skills which are honed over an extended period, depending on the level of the award. You would undertake a substantial, original research project for the duration of the degree, under the supervision and guidance of two or more academic members of staff. Your supervisory team provides guidance both in the selection of a research topic and in the conduct of the research. You are also supported by attendance at postgraduate seminar series to develop subject specific knowledge and research skills relevant to your field of research. The degree is assessed solely on the basis of the final research output, in the form of a substantial written thesis which must be "defended" in a viva. During the course of the degree, you would be given opportunities to present your work at conferences and in refereed research publications.

Our current research within the Sport, Health and Exercise (SHE) Research Group falls within the following 8 areas:

Further information about our current research projects can be found here:

Research degrees can include MSc by Research, MPhil or PhD.  All are purely research based and involve doing a research project, writing a thesis and defending it in an oral exam called a viva.  We offer all three and with the following examples of past and present postgraduate research projects:

  • Prevention is Better Than Cure: Cardio-Metabolic Responses to Montmorency Tart Cherry Supplementation With and Without Exercise
  • Physiological and Thermoregulatory Responses to Epee Fencing
  • Exercise-induced oxidative stress, muscle damage and inflammatory biomarker responses to prolonged high-intensity, intermittent exercise: effect of quercetin supplementation
  • Immunosurveillance and recovery strategies in elite swimmers
  • Fatigue and complexity during whole body exercise
  • Leadership, behavioural change and skill acquisition. Developing an athlete centred framework for elite performance in judo (More judo PhD topics can be found here)
  • A Sociological Investigation of the Experiences of Sporting Reminiscence for People Living with Dementia
  • From London to Tokyo, via Rio: A sociological analysis of sustainability policies, practices and outcomes in the Summer Olympic Games 2012-2020

Potential research areas for postgraduate research degrees include:

Health and wellbeing:

  • Physical activity for health and wellbeing in various chronic health conditions for example inflammatory bowel disease.
  • The cardiovascular health benefits of nutritional supplementation such as polyphenols.

Adaptive physiology and functional nutrition:

  • The use of critical power for training benefits in both elite and unhealthy populations.
  • Immune responses in elite athletes
  • Mechanism of action of micronutrients

Sports and Exercise Psychology:

  • ‘Green exercise’ and benefits for health and wellbeing
  • Professional practice processes

Functional therapy and biomechanics:

  • Biomechanics of postural control and landing stability

Coaching and leadership:

  • Women’s sport leadership
  • High performance coaching
  • Understanding mentoring in elite sports coaching contexts and coach education
  • Gender-based violence in sport, female coaches experience of practice and education

Sports Development:

  • Social legacies from the Paralympic Games
  • The sport experience for disabled fans
  • Using sport as a vehicle to enact social change through intervention programmes
  • Using sport as a form of diplomacy for domestic and international audiences
  • Understanding sport participation – what barriers, benefits and enablers/motivators influence participation

Sport Management:

  • Economic aspects in sports facility management
  • Stakeholder management and entrepreneurship in governmental sports organisations

We are currently inviting applications for the following self-funded PhD projects:

  • Evaluating carbohydrate mouth rinsing/ingestion on neuromuscular and cognitive function in older healthy populations
  • The effect of individually designed, threshold-based training programmes on markers of cardiorespiratory fitness and responders and non-responders.
  • The experiences of participation in a sporting reminiscence project for people living with dementia

The projects are self-funded, however the opportunity may occasionally arise for paid tasks relating to teaching and research within the Faculty. Further information relating to fees and funding can be found on our postgraduate tuition fees page.

How to Apply

We recommend that you discuss your proposed research with the appropriate member of the academic staff in the School of Life and Medical Sciences before submitting your application. Please name this staff member when submitting your application.

For any applications for projects that are not listed on the research webpage, please include an outline research proposal.

For informal enquiries, please contact the relevant Departmental Research Tutor:

Psychology, Sport and Geography: email Dr Amanda Ludlow

Download an application form

Application forms should be returned to Mrs Liz Day, Research Degrees Administrator by email at

Teaching methods

Research degrees are not taught programmes, however, programmes of supporting studies are a key element.

What’s next for my career?

  • An internationally recognised research qualification.
  • Developing advanced subject expertise at postgraduate level.
  • Develop research skills through practice and extensive research experience.
  • Employers are looking for high calibre graduates with advanced skills who can demonstrate independence through research



Start DateEnd DateLink
29/09/201831/07/2019Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/201931/07/2019Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/201831/07/2019Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/201931/07/2019Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
29/09/201931/07/2020Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202031/07/2020Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/201931/07/2020Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/202031/07/2020Apply online (Part Time)

Course fees

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